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Monday, November 14, 2005

Databases : Maturity, Consolidation, Innovation & New Rollouts

Informationweek reports on the changing landscape of the database market. Business will find more and cheaper options the next time they need to deploy a database. Database conversions are notoriously difficult, and cheaper products may lack the features and scalability that become increasingly important as databases grow. The Ingres database got a new lease on life last week with CA's new plans around it. Even while the database market consolidates-cheap, new products are popping up. Microsoft’s latest version of SQL Server, shall put price pressure on Oracle and IBM. Oracle last month began offering a free version of its Oracle 10g Release 2 database - limited to single-CPU servers and 4 Gbytes of data. IBM recently debuted a no-cost, stripped-down "Express" version of DB2. And MySQL AB, the open-source database market leader, launched MySQL 5.0, which could compete more directly with commercial database software.
Iweek righlty points out that the recent database-industry acquisitions (IBM bought Informix, which already owned Cloudscape and Red Brick; Oracle grabbed TimesTen) obviously haven't stifled innovation at the low end. The growing list of open-source or low-cost products includes Berkeley DB from Sleepycat Software, the Firebird open-source version of Borland Software's InterBase, Postgres optimized by Red Hat for Linux, and the ANTs Data Server in-memory database from Ants Software.The up-and-comers are winning converts. Instead of being sequestered in behind-the-scenes test environments, these alternative databases are increasingly taking on real-world tasks. Open-source database usage grew at a rate of 20% last year and expected to quadruple from $250 million today to $1 billion by 2008, including license and support fees. Sales of commercial relational-database software, in contrast, grew 10% last year . Clearly open-source databases will push into midsize and even upper-tier business applications over the next two or three years and the market shall see a different mix-up of players.Sensing what is coming, Oracle is clerly looking ahead. The renewed competition in the database market shall significantly influence the Consolidation Vs Federation debate.Oracle would have you shoot for 80 percent consolidation and 20 percent federation, whereas IBM would push that ratio just as far the other way. Two paths to more meaningful views of enterprise information and richer, real-time business intelligence have clearly emerged. The federation camp, represented by IBM, focuses on middleware for integrating heterogeneous data sources and optimizing queries that span many systems. The Oracle consolidation camp zeroes in on a standard database platform - and on providing methods for moving data from one database to another. All this indicate that my earlier concerns on stack level consolidaton restricting choices may find a natural solution.And organisations pursuing cheapware strategy would find plenty of choices. This is truly a happy situation for the customer buying/evaluating databases.

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