Not All Rosy

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2006-05-24 Print this article Print

However, growth of Oracle databases on Linux means decline of Oracle databases on Unix, so the pictures not all Oracle-rosy, Graham said. "To be honest, [Oracles growth on Linux] is really coming at the expense of their Unix share," she said.
"Unix [as a RDBMS platform] declined 1 percent. Oracle is the biggest Unix vendor—they have 70 percent of the Unix market—and they declined 3 percent. The fact is that yeah, growth on Linux is growing gangbusters, but its coming at an expense to Oracle."
Beyond Oracles unsurprising death grip on the database market, whats interesting is Microsofts continual sharp increase in market share, thanks to SQL Server 2005 uptake, Graham said. Microsofts market share grew 16.6 percent over 2004 numbers—the second year in a row that Microsoft has had the most virile market share growth. Of the top five vendors—Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Sybase and Teradata—Microsofts growth rate was the only one to exceed the industry average, mainly as a result of pent-up demand for SQL Server 2005. "SQL Server 2005 … has done a lot to get [Microsoft] a little bit more credibility as an enterprise-class database," she said. She pointed to SQL Server 2005s business intelligence features as being a large part of its attraction. Gartner in January put out results of a CIO survey in which respondents cited BI as their No. 1 business priority. Given where CIOs heads are, SQL Servers Analysis Services and Reporting Services are "incredibly attractive" offerings to the market, Graham said. Another interesting aspect of this years Gartner numbers is that for the first time, the firm measured market share in terms of total software revenue, including revenue coming from new licenses, updates, subscriptions and hosting, technical support and maintenance, as opposed to merely looking at new license revenue. This is a move that acknowledges the growing popularity of open-source databases as well as hosting and subscription models. The timing is right, Graham said: It wouldnt be worth looking back at Gartner market share numbers through this new lens, given that no substantial revenue was coming in from the open-source piece of the database pie—at least not enough to justify measuring it—two or three years ago. Read more here about Oracles Linux push. "The fact is, the open-source DBMS really had not been accepted by the market until 12 to 18 months ago," Graham said. "A lot [of RDBMS revenue] is coming from support, not commercial licenses," she said. With that thought in mind, Gartner anticipates that an open-source, enterprise-class database such as Ingres will make an impact on the revenues of the top five database vendors between four and six years from now. "I think Oracles very aware of this, and theyre making moves around it, with Berkeley DB," she said. "They have an open-source offering, so if youre looking for an open-source DBMS, you can say Hey, I can get it from Oracle. They have support. Of course, you pay for it—but thats pretty standard." Once Oracle has its foot in the enterprise or SMB door with an open-source database, Graham said, customers have an easy migration path up to a commercial model DBMS from Oracle. Thus, even if open-source databases continue on their path to ever-greater acceptance into the enterprise or SMB, Oracles set to capitalize on the trend, she said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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