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.
“For example, its own Excel PivotTable are so weak that at least a dozen third parties have developed their own, superior, Excel add-ins for use with Analysis Services,” he said. “Its quite ironic that a market has developed to make Microsoft Excel work properly with Microsoft Analysis Services.”
The report noted that IBM, Oracle and SAP AG are “relatively weak” in the OLAP market—particularly Oracle, which has experienced several years of decline following market leadership in the 1990s. The Redwood Shores, Calif., company is No. 6 on the list, with a 5.2 percent market share.
Pendse noted that Oracle is still trying to get its 9i OLAP Option to a usable state after having acquired the core technology in 1995. “Its still hard to use and buggy, as well as lacking tools, front-ends and applications,” said Pendse, in London. “Whats more, this incomplete, hard-to-use product, based on 33-year-old concepts, is quite expensive—its an add-on to Oracle9i Enterprise Edition—in other words, only Oracle9i sites can even consider it—that costs more than the whole of SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition.”
In spite of all that, Oracle on Monday announced benchmark results that have its Real Application Clusters setting a new world record APB-1 OLAP benchmark for Oracle9i Release 2 with RAC.
According to the independent benchmark auditor, DSS Lab, Oracle processed 85,719 AQM (analytical queries per minute)—a speed 75 times faster than Hyperions best result of 1,135 AQM running on IBM hardware.
The benchmark tested Oracle9i RAC running on a four-node cluster of Hewlett-Packard Co. rp7400 servers with HP-UX 11i as an operating system.
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