Oracle Eats the Database Market—Again

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2006-05-24

Oracle Eats the Database Market—Again

Oracle ate the database market—again—in both Gartner and IDC numbers, here in PDF form, released May 24.

According to Gartners numbers for the worldwide RDBMS (relational database management systems) market for 2005, Oracle sat on the biggest slice—48.9 percent—of the $13.8 billion pie, which grew 8.3 percent over 2004 numbers.

IDC says the 2005 database market was $14.6 billion, up 9.4 percent over 2004 numbers.

IDC granted Oracle a 44.6 percent share of that market, and said that Oracles appetite grew 8.6 percent over what it took to fill the database kings belly in 2004.

Oracle is, understandably, tickled pink to retain its hold on the market, in the two leading analyst firms assessment.

Willie Hardie, vice president of database product marketing for Oracle, said 2005 was a significant year given the release of Oracle Database 10g Release 2 in July.

The polished release was what many customers were waiting for to get them to jump on the epic 10g database, he said.

"That was a green light for our customers to increase their uptake of 10g," he said. "We saw significant increase of adoption in the second half of last year."

RAC (Real Application Clusters) adoption continued to grow as well, Hardie said.

Click here to read more about Gartners assessment of Oracles identity management.

Meanwhile, penetration into the SMB (small to midsize business) market is going gangbusters, he said, what with Oracles introduction of the downsized Standard Edition 1.

Another factor in Oracles database dominion is Oracle Express Edition, Hardie said.

Thats given the companys inroads into the developer community, given the editions drivers for PHP support and its better integration with .Net, among other developer-friendly features.

"Were seeing progress in three broad areas of the database community: the enterprise space, the SMB space, and the developer space," Hardie said.

Thats all well and good, said Gartner analyst Colleen Graham, principal research analyst on the market report.

Not to pop Oracles bubble or anything, but much of Oracles success is actually coming at the expense of Oracles own business, she said.

To wit: Linux grew the fastest of all the RDBMS platforms, 84 percent, in Gartners numbers.

That growth was driven primarily by Oracle, as well as the maturation and acceptance of Linux as a mission-critical database platform.

Next Page: Not all rosy.

Not All Rosy

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.

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