Report: IBM tightens hold on databases

Report: IBM tightens hold on databases

IBM tightened its grip on the RDBMS (relational database management system) market just a little more in 2003, largely on the strength of versions of DB2 that run on its iSeries midrange servers and zSeries mainframes, according to a report released by Gartner's Dataquest division on Wednesday.

According to the report, which states that IBM now holds a 35.7 percent share of the market, the growth of DB2 on those two platforms was gained through an aggressive independent software program that went hard after SMBs (small to midsize businesses).

Archrival Oracle saw its fortunes slip slightly in 2003, going from 33.4 percent of the overall RDBMS market in 2002 to 32.6 percent last year. However, the company continues to hold a commanding 57 percent share of the Unix-based market (that figure does not include Linux). Microsoft also made gains over the course of last year, going from 18 percent in 2002 to 19 percent in 2003.

Although the overall RDBMS market grew at 5 percent last year, going from $6.7 billion to slightly less than $7.1 billion in new licenses, much of that growth is due to advantageous currency conversion. This compares favorably with 2002 results that saw the overall market decline by 6 percent.

The Linux-based database market remained red hot, according to Dataquest. Linux grew some 158 percent in 2003, increasing from $116 million in new licenses in 2002 to $300 million last year. According to the report, the market is ruled by Oracle and IBM. During the course of last year, Oracle wrestled the lead from IBM by growing a whopping 361 percent.

However, the report adds, Oracle's revenues include sales with its 9i RAC option, which adds a 50 percent premium on top of its normal Oracle RDBMS fees. Few users are acquiring the Linux version of Oracle without the RAC option, the report stated.

The RDBMS market in 2002 for the Windows platform barely grew at 1 percent, but growth in 2003 improved to slightly less than 4 percent. Microsoft showed strong but slowing growth on its own platform, going from 17 percent growth in 2002 to 11 percent last year.

Oracle had a better year in 2003 on Windows, moving from a 20 percent decline in 2002 to growth of 2 percent in 2003. IBM declined 12 percent in 2003, mostly due to a slow uptake of Version 8.0 of DB2 for Windows, according to the report.

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