IDC estimates in a recent report that the worldwide market for relational database management systems grew 9.4%, to $14.6 billion, in 2005. Microsoft grew the most (21.3%), followed by Oracle (8.6%) and NCR Teradata (8.5%). Oracle is still the strong market leader with 44.6% market share. IBM and Microsoft are second and third, with 21.5% and 16.8% respectively.
Report author Carl Olofson cites several factors contributing to growth: Increasing demand in emerging economies, especially in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia/Pacific. Increasing demand in the United States, driven by compliance requirements for better information governance. Also, declining unit prices for storage make it cheaper to deploy databases for failover, disaster recovery or reporting, allowing continued growth in data warehouses.
IDC expects Microsoft to continue its fast-track growth, and predicts it will continue to forge partnerships to build a large enterprise channel for SQL Server.
"As Microsoft works its way up the food chain, Oracle and IBM are moving to divert database entry-level users at the on-ramp to this market by offering aggressively priced developer and small business packages," Olofson notes.
In the coming year, IDC expects growth in database purchases to continue for standby, disaster recovery, master data management and data warehouse apps. It also expects a surge in nonrelational uses of databases, as in XML document management, particularly once vendors show that XML content can be linked with relational data and used for integrated reporting. IBM's just-released DB2 9 is a good example, as it can store XML data in its natural hierarchy. --Penny Crosman