Database Market Shows Small Growth

According to Gartner, the total database management system (DBMS) [define] software market grew 1.4 percent to $8.8 billion in 2001 — a significant slowdown from 2000’s growth of 10 percent — and now Aberdeen is predicting the market to reach more than $10 billion by 2003.

New applications of databases coupled with significant shifts in IT buying and database technology will likely be responsible for the increase. Aberdeen notes that the success of specialized databases and of Microsoft’s SQL Server database in supporting high-end applications gives IT buyers a broader spectrum of database choices, at both the low and high ends.

“A strong focus on costs, combined with a realization that in most cases it is impossible to combine and standardize databases has led buyers to undertake a more careful assessment of database purchases,” says Wayne T. Kernochan, managing vice president, databases, development environments, and software infrastructure, Aberdeen Group. “The rewards of successful assessment can be orders-of-magnitude improvements in database administrative costs — often the dominating costs of an application — performance, and programmer productivity.”

More optimistically, the worldwide relational and object-relational database management systems software (RDBMS) [define] market will grow to nearly $20 billion by 2006, according to IDC. The steepest growth will occur as xSPs [define] ramp up in 2004 and settle into a stable and mature growth by 2006.

“Two-thousand one proved to be a difficult year for the IT industry generally, and this difficulty was reflected in sluggish RDBMS sales,” said Carl Olofson, IDC’s research director for Application Development and Deployment. “These dynamics served to distance further the leading vendors from the rest of the field and reflected a shift in growth from the high end to the middle market. Vendors with effective middle market channel strategies saw their RDBMS revenues grow fairly well, whereas those more dependent on large contracts and big deals encountered difficulty. IDC believes that there will be another period of opportunity in selling to the xSP community in 2004-2005, and there are niche opportunities aplenty, but the market is maturing nonetheless.”

META Group predicts that the RDBMS (Unix/Windows) market will grow slowly through 2004, expecting some market share shifts to continue as users make adjustments within their existing database portfolios.

Through 2006, user perceptions surrounding reliability, scalability, and availability of various vendor offerings will evolve as challengers continue to strengthen their core performance criteria. Emphasis will be placed on reducing maintenance costs and leveraging development environments (e.g., J2EE or .Net). By 2005, META forecasts the RDBMS market to resume expansion as organizations utilize the improving (and diverse) storage and retrieval capabilities for both structured and semistructured content (data and text).

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