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In Database Market, Oracle Gets Bigger, Others Hang On

Microsoft was the only member of the big three to grow at a rate under the market average, 11.2%, for revenue of $3.4 billion and an 18.3% market share, IDC said.

Oracle continues to increase its share of the database market, which continues overall to exhibit a healthy growth rate, despite predictions in recent years ago that it was saturated, "mature," and about to level off as a revenue generator.

The relational database market grew 12.1% from $16.6 billion in 2006 to $18.6 billion in 2007, according to figures released Friday by IDC. Oracle's relational database revenue grew at 13% to $8.2 billion, giving it 44.1% of the total market. In 2006, it held 43.7% of the market.

IBM's revenue grew at a rate of 13.3%, a slightly faster clip than Oracle's, shoring up IBM's second-place position. It's DB2 and Informix systems produced $3.95 billion in revenue, or 21.3% of the 2007 market.

Microsoft was the only member of the big three to grow at a rate under the market average, 11.2%, for revenue of $3.4 billion and an 18.3% market share. Carl Olofson, the IDC analyst who wrote "Worldwide RDBMS 2007 Vendor Shares," wasn't available to comment on Microsoft's market share.

According to data posted on the Oracle Technology Network Web site, Microsoft's 18.3% share represents a slight decline from an 18.4% share in 2006. Microsoft and Oracle for the past three years have been butting heads to gain database users in the Windows Server market, and Oracle has lowered prices and offered an entry-level, free version, Oracle Express, to combat SQL Server.

In his report, Olofson noted that Oracle features such as Database Vault, where policies and rules can seal off data from prying eyes, including those of a database administrator, and Real Application Cluster, where an application can make use of a database on a cluster with failover guarantees, are winning over database customers. "Oracle 11g has experienced unusually high early adoption rates for a major release, probably due to demand for some of its new features," Olofson wrote.

IBM has continued on a steady course with its DB2 system and gained new customers by putting it on Linux, Windows, and Unix as well as the mainframe. Olofson indicated he believes it is the Linux, Windows, and Unix versions that are showing the revenue gains. In addition, he said IBM continues to add to the customer base of Informix Dynamic Server, which it acquired in 2001.

Microsoft's SQL Server revenues "seem to have slowed. ... Some of this sluggishness may be attributable to the uncertainty of the release schedule," Olofson wrote. SQL Server 2008 was launched Feb. 27 along with Windows Server 2008.

Teradata grew its core database system used by Wal-Mart and other large retailers by 10.4% and its overall data warehouse, database, and business intelligence set of products by 10%, the report said. "Teradata has been benefiting from the ongoing, steady growth of data warehouse -- and business intelligence -- related software and services," Olofson concluded.

The No. 5 vendor was Sybase, which had revenue growth of 9% in 2007. Sybase's column-oriented system, Sybase IQ, accounted for a significant share of the growth, Olofson said.

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