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Microsoft's SQL Server Growth Slows But Still Beats Rivals

The total database market grew at a rate of 12.6% in 2007 and hit $18.8 billion, compared with $16.7 billion the year before, says IDC.

Charles Babcock

July 11, 2008

3 Min Read

Revenue for Microsoft's SQL Server in 2007 grew at a rate of 14% over the previous year and at a rate that exceeded that of its principal relational database rivals, IBM and Oracle, each with 13.3% growth.

The Microsoft positioning in IDC figures released recently is different from that shown by a preliminary set of IDC figures. Those figures released in April had Microsoft growing at a rate slower than its rivals. Oracle and Microsoft are strong competitors for new customers in the Windows Server market, and preliminary figures showed Oracle making headway in that contest. The final figures still give Microsoft an edge.

IDC analyst Carl Olofson said in his competitive analysis summary that Microsoft's revenue for SQL Server has "slowed" compared to its red-hot 25% rate of growth in 2005, according to figures in the report. SQL Server gained about 14% in revenue in 2006 as well. Microsoft now has 18.5% market share, compared with 44.3% for Oracle and 21% for IBM.

Oracle continues to compete effectively in the database market, despite its swing toward a focus on winning market share in business applications through large and frequent acquisitions, such as PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, and, more recently, middleware vendor BEA Systems.

"Oracle 11g has experienced unusually high early adoption rates for a major release, probably due to demand for some of its new features," Olofson concluded. Among the features propelling sales are Real Application Clusters, Partitioning, Database Vault, and Audit Vault, he said in the report, "Worldwide Relational Database Management Systems 2007 Vendor Shares."

IBM's DB2 generates steady revenue off of mainframe operations and is increasing its presence on Linux, Unix, and Windows, Olofson wrote. In addition, its acquisition of Informix Dynamic Server "has played an increasingly significant role in IBM's revenue growth."

The total database market grew at a rate of 12.6% in 2007 and hit a total of $18.8 billion, compared with $16.7 billion the year before. The three leading database vendors each surpassed the market's rate of growth.

Rounding out the top five vendors were Sybase, with revenue growing 11.3% to $658 million, and Teradata, the parallel processing system used in data warehousing, which grew 12.9% to $630 million.

Popular open source databases, such as MySQL, barely show up in market analysis based on revenue. MySQL charges a subscription for updates and technical support. Its revenue has grown from $16 million in 2005 to $38 million in 2007, giving it a 0.2% share of the relational database market last year. The revenue was growing at 10.9%, IDC estimates, even though usage figures based on thousands of daily downloads would be much higher.

Ingres, an open source system after being spun out of CA, accounted for 0.1% of the market's revenue, a growth rate nevertheless of 207% in 2007 compared with the previous year.

Editor's Note: This story was updated on July 15 to correct the revenue figures for Sybase and Teradata.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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