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3/3/2008
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Database Survey Gives Oracle The Lead In All 13 Categories

The survey compared Oracle with DB2, MySQL, Informix Dynamic Server, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and Sybase Advanced Server Enterprise.

In its first survey of database preferences, market research firm Evans Data found that Oracle leads in user satisfaction in performance, security, and 11 other categories.

At the same time, it found IBM's DB2 tied with Oracle for one top score and ranked number two in several of the remaining categories. Microsoft's SQL Server showed high user satisfaction in ease of database management and modeling tools, but fell behind in scalability and performance.

"The most glaring item that we took away from this research is that in 23 years we've never had one vendor come out number one in all categories," Evans Data CEO John Andrews said of Oracle's ranking in an interview. The report becomes public Tuesday.

In a few categories, the open source system, MySQL, trailed most of the five commercial systems with which it was compared. But high user satisfaction in several categories indicates that Sun Microsystems may have gotten its money's worth when it paid $1 billion for the database's parent company, MySQL AB, last month. MySQL was second only to Oracle in multiplatform support, an important factor in hosting Web applications. When it came to the all important "performance" category, it ranked higher than Microsoft SQL Server, Informix, and Sybase.

The results, however, are measures of user expectations for each system, not frequency of use or a neutral metric of actual performance, Andrews cautioned.

"Sun has publicly stated they will do very little to change the open source database or its business model. The two companies have a good match in culture and offerings, and we predict Sun will successfully integrate MySQL and the union will be a benefit to both companies," the report predicted.

In most cases, the 1,470 respondents to the survey were users of several database systems and were comparing systems as they rated each in 13 categories as excellent, very good, adequate, or needs improvement. Evans Data then assigned a numerical value to the ratings and plotted the results. The complete survey results may be downloaded from http://www.evansdata.com/reports/free-report.php.

The survey was conducted in December 2007.

Oracle lead in performance ratings, followed by DB2 Universal Database, MySQL, Informix Dynamic Server, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and Sybase Advanced Server Enterprise.

In scalability, Oracle lead, followed by DB2, then PostgreSQL took over the commanding position of the open source systems, followed by SQL Server, Informix, Sybase, and MySQL. Andrews said MySQL's adoption is predominantly among workgroups and smaller businesses with less expectation of scaling up to very large databases. When it was pointed out that Google, Facebook, and Slashdot were all MySQL users, Andrews said: "Some of these giant Internet entities have demonstrated that MySQL can scale, if you have the know-how."

Oracle lead the security category, with its ability to automatically store data in encrypted form and to maintain an Audit Vault of information drawn from the operating system, database, and any other auditing source. DB2 was number two followed in the third position by PostgreSQL, with its "robust security layer," said Andrews. Number four was SQL Server, followed by Sybase, MySQL and Informix.

Atomicity is the quality of "all or nothing" when it comes to capturing a transaction. It's important for the integrity of the database to confirm that all parts of a transaction have been committed to the system, not just a fraction of them. Oracle was tops in atomicity, followed by DB2, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, Sybase, MySQL and Informix.

In multiplatform support, Oracle once again lead the category, followed by MySQL. Informix was tied with MySQL, with PostgreSQL holding down the fourth spot. DB2 landed in the fifth slot. Sybase was sixth and SQL Server seventh. "This is where Microsoft SQL Server really falls down and that's becoming more and more of a problem as the frequency of Microsoft-only shops declines," said the report.

An increasingly important category for databases that are intended to serve Web applications is XML data handling. Again, Oracle and SQL Server lead the category, followed by DB2. But the open source systems, MySQL and PostgreSQL made up the sixth and seventh ranks, respectively. Informix and Sybase occupied the fourth and fifth positions.

When it comes to management tools that come with the database, Oracle lead, followed by SQL Server, DB2, MySQL, Sybase, and Informix. Bringing up the rear was PostgreSQL. "PostgreSQL, which has a large community of open source developers to create tools for it, does not provide them with the database," the report noted. In another category, the ability of a system to maintain the integrity of the data through system failures, incomplete backups, or storage failures, is known as durability. Oracle once again lead, followed by DB2, SQL Server, Informix, PostgreSQL and Sybase, with MySQL holding the bottom rank.

In quality of data modeling tools, Oracle lead, followed by SQL Server, DB2, Sybase, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Informix. Oracle offers both the Designer modeling tool and JDeveloper with design tool elements. Microsoft offers Visio modeling from its acquisition of Visio tools several years ago. Under Microsoft ownership,"the Visio technology has evolved until Microsoft has some of the world's best modeling tools."

In a bar graph showing how the seven systems compared on a point basis after including all categories, Oracle lead with a rounded off score of 2,500; DB2, roughly 2,200; SQL Server, 2,000; MySQL, 1,800; Informix, 1,775; PostgreSQL, 1,750; Sybase, 1,600.

The survey sought responses from 1,470 developers and IT managers in North America (420), Asia Pacific (500), Europe/Middle East/Africa (400), and South America (150). About one third were enterprise database users; one third were database consultants, value added resellers, and system integrators; and a third were other types of organizations, including academic institutions, OEMs and ISVs.

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