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Compliance, Open Source Drive Database Market

Compliance regulations and rising open source software consumption made growth in the worldwide relational database management systems (RDBMS) market surge in 2005, according to research from Gartner and IDC.

Gartner said RDBMS software revenue totaled $13.8 billion in 2005, an 8.3 percent spike from 2004 revenue.

IDC, which uses different metrics to arrive at its sales totals, said RDBMS sales grew 9.4 percent to $14.6 billion last year from 2004.

Relational databases   are organized in tables and accessed based on the relationships between different data objects. Such databases often include a Structured Query Language (SQL)   application programming interface.

With the amount of data skyrocketing and the proliferation of record retention rules ordering that data to be corralled correctly, companies are shopping for technologies to help store and quickly retrieve files from their computer systems.

For example, IDC analyst Carl Olofson said in his report that businesses have been upgrading their database systems to include master data management software to better meet compliance rules for information governance and record retention.

Buying new or upgrading old database systems has driven spending in the sector and padded the pockets of market leaders Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.

Gartner said Oracle's database share grew 7.8 percent to 48.6 percent from 2004 to 2005, with IBM coming in at a distant second at 22 percent on 6.3 percent year-over-year growth.

Microsoft tallied 15 percent of the market in 2005, but boasted a 16.6 growth rate thanks to pent-up demand for SQL Server 2005.

Gartner said Teradata and Sybase took 3.2 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. The remaining 8.2 percent went to smaller vendors and open source database providers.

While MySQL, Ingres and Berkeley DB may have only small percentages of the total RDBMS market, open source database vendors showed the strongest growth, according to Gartner analyst Colleen Graham.

"These open source DBMS products continue to improve in terms of functionality and scalability, and DBMS tool vendors are beginning to provide support for these offerings," Graham said in a statement.

In fact, Graham found that Linux grew the fastest of all the RDBMS platforms, at 84 percent.

In the IDC report, Olofson noted that the momentum of open source vendors is forcing stalwarts Oracle and IBM to consider more than Microsoft as a threat on the horizon.

"Alternatives such as the open source RDBMS vendor MySQL are also attracting a good deal of attention and loyalty from a new generation of database developers," Olofson said.

"IDC believes these open source vendors could ultimately spur a fundamental change in the way that RDBMS products are priced and licensed."