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Linux, SQL Server Drive Database Market: Report

The worldwide database market grew 8 percent last year to $13.8 billion, with Linux and Microsoft SQL Server seeing the strongest momentum, according to new Gartner research.

The overall database market grew 8 percent last year to $13.8 billion, with Linux and Microsoft SQL Server seeing the strongest momentum, according to new research.

Linux was by far the fastest-growing database platform, growing 84 percent, according to newly released Gartner numbers.

The open-source database segment grew 47 percent over the year, said Gartner analyst Colleen Graham. Many companies -- including IBM and Oracle -- field Linux databases, but these are not, strictly speaking, open source.

Gartner tallies market size annually, but changed its methodology this time out to count overall software revenue from databases, including support fees. The switch was made to better gauge the impact of the open-source entries. Companies like MySQL and Ingres typically charge for support and maintenance, not for the software itself.

Overall, Oracle retained its top spot with 48.6 percent market share in 2005, off slightly from 48.9 percent from the previous year. Its estimated revenue grew however from $6.2 billion last year to $6.7 billion for 2005.

Microsoft was the only Top 5 vendor to grow faster than the industry average, posting a 15 percent boost in revenue, a trend Gartner attributed to pent-up demand for SQL Server 2005. It logged SQL Server-related revenue of about $2 billion last year, up from $1.8 billion in 2004. Microsoft accounted for 15 percent market share in 2005, up from 13.9 percent last year.

Some observers said Microsoft has made headway making SQL Server a viable competitor to Oracle and DB2 in enterprise applications, even after facing security concerns around its software stack. Graham said Oracle continues to bolster it's offerings with acquisitions like Oblix that bolsters database security.

Willie Hardie, vice president of database product marketing for Oracle, Redwood Shores, Calif. said the company's release last summer of Oracle 10g Release 2 sparked an uptick in adoption. And its inclusion of Real Application Cluster (RAC) technology in the lower-priced Standard Edition of the database drove adoption of clustering, including quite a bit on Linux.

IBM retained its No. 2 slot with 22 percent share, down slightly from 22.4 percent last year. It posted 6.3 percent revenue growth year over year to $3 billion, up from $2.9 billion.

Researcher IDC also released preliminary database numbers Wednesday. That company said the total market grew 9.4 percent to $14.6 billion last year and that the Top 5 vendors -- Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Sybase and NCR/Teradata -- retained their rankings from last year.

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