IBM, Oracle Nibble at

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-03-14 Print this article Print

Microsofts Market Share"> While Microsoft has been banking on SQL Server 2005 being able to crack the upper echelon of high-performance computing, Oracle and IBM have been nibbling away at the database market at the lower end, with both companies having recently put out lower-cost, leaner versions of their RDBMSes. That hits directly at Microsofts claim to ship a lower-cost DBMS. Microsoft has skewered its own legacy as well, recently announcing a new pricing structure for SQL Server 2005 that increases the license cost by 25 percent for the enterprise product, to $24,999.
Oracle is known for offering steep licensing discounts off its high database list price, so the actual price advantage of SQL Server is shrinking, Forrester noted. Microsoft still can claim the higher road when it comes to multicore and hyperthreaded processors, however: Microsoft does not charge separately per core, in contrast to IBM and Oracle.
Also, Microsoft includes business intelligence, OLAP (online analytical processing), data mining and reporting tools at no extra cost, which can lower the overall database cost. IDC found that Microsofts share of the worldwide database market grew faster than that of any other database vendor in 2004. Click here to read more. When it comes to SQL Servers easy manageability, IBM and Oracle are catching up there as well. IBMs autonomic computing work is making DB2 ever easier to manage, while Oracle continues to improve automation. SQL Server 2005s shipping delays have helped its competitors to move ahead in these areas. The last major SQL Server upgrade was SQL Server 2000, now considered an outdated product, Yuhanna said. Over the past five years, Oracle has shipped two major versions—9i and 10g—and IBM has issued various DB2 8.x releases. "SQL Servers delay has broadened the gap in technology delivery, as competitors have forged ahead with innovative features and functionality, especially in high-end performance," the report reads. "Oracle RAC [Real Application Clusters] has increased presence in high-end delivery with support for more nodes and automated load balancing, while DB2 UDB Version 8.2 has improved support in its optimizer, lock mode, pre-fetching data and design advisor." Not that the delays in shipping SQL Server 2005 are unwarranted, Yuhanna said, they being caused in part by the necessary work of getting the database integrated with all of Microsofts enterprise products and solutions. "They dont just focus on databases: They focus on developing environments and operating systems, which also have to be tightly integrated, which is a factor in the delay of the rollout." Thats a worthy goal, he said, but one that doesnt hamper a vendor such as Oracle, which "doesnt care which operating systems they run on," Yuhanna said. "They just want to deliver high-performance, scalable databases." Editors Note: Forrester plans to update the report in question over the coming days in order to add responses from additional SQL Server customers. 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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