Microsoft Stays On Top of OLAP Heap

Microsoft edged out Hyperion to keep its leadership position in the $3 billion OLAP market in 2002, a new report says.

Microsoft Corp. edged out Hyperion Solutions to nab the leadership position in the $3 billion OLAP market in 2002, according to the latest edition of The OLAP Report.

Preliminary figures show that Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., owned 24.4 percent of the market in 2002, with Hyperion Solutions following close behind with 22.9 percent of the market, including all resellers market shares.

The biggest single reason for Microsofts success is pricing, according to Nigel Pendse, the reports author. "Even if you bought [Microsofts] SQL Server [database] and never even installed the RDBMS, Analysis Services [the OLAP feature in SQL Server] is still a bargain compared to all the other OLAP servers," Pendse said. "But beyond that, the product is fast, reasonably functional and easy to use and surprisingly scalable."

According to the report, Microsofts growth rate slowed in 2002, although it grew faster than the market. Use of Analysis Services grew faster than SQL Server itself. Thats because even though a large number of Oracle Corp. and IBM database users opted for Analysis Services as an OLAP solution, they stuck with their Oracle and DB2 databases instead of switching to SQL Server, the report found.

Part of the reason that Analysis Services sales slowed is because the product dates back to the third quarter of 2000, with few enhancements being added since, Pendse said. All of this success is also in spite of the fact that Microsoft lacks a strong, general-purpose OLAP front-end of its own, Pendse said.