By Charles Garry  |  Posted 2006-04-11 Print this article Print

When I looked at the numbers I came away with a different take. Earlier in the report, one response showed that 14 percent of respondents planned to deploy more on z/OS. The analysis then pointed out that this coincided with the 14 percent growth in DB2 on z/OS, which means that of the 19 percent planning to deploy DB2, only 5 percent were planning to do it on a platform other than IBMs proprietary platform. How do you think Oracle could spin that? Sometimes what is not emphasized is as interesting as what is. For example, every database platform showed double-digit increases in plans for deployment. That indicates either a strong level of loyalty/satisfaction or of vendor lock-in, although its difficult to tell which it might be from looking at the numbers.
To me, the percentage showing those with no plans to deploy was of real interest. Paradoxically here, IBM, which had the largest percentage of "plans to deploy," also had 47 percent of respondents stating they have no plans to deploy versus only 26 percent for Oracle and 19 percent for SQL Server. So which should we emphasize, growth or avoidance? Which number would IBM emphasize?
So you see the inherent problem with survey data. A little emphasis here, a little there, makes all the difference in the world. Then of course is the problem of what we count. Some might remember the famous photo of President Truman holding a newspaper with the headline "Dewey Defeats Truman!" Indeed, all the leading polls were calling for a Truman defeat. As it turned out, the survey was conducted by calling people and asking likely voters their opinion. The flaw of course was that in 1948, many voters did not own phones at that time and they tended to vote Democratic. When the survey comes out in May on the database market share, firms like Gartner and IDC will be counting license revenue and maintenance money spent to determine the size of the market. I asked Graham if she felt it was an accurate way to look at the market, considering that lower-cost yet more utilized products, as well as new products, would be at a distinct disadvantage. She conceded that was the case. But speaking as someone who has done her share of surveys, she noted that you have to agree on something to count, and more importantly, you have to be able to count it. So there you have it—conventional wisdom served up on a survey platter. Whatever makes you feel uncomfortable or will cause you too much effort to interpret, feel free to ignore. Charles Garry is an independent industry analyst based in Simsbury, Conn. He is a former vice president with META Groups Technology Research Services. He can be reached at cegarry@yahoo.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.


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