Oracle retains database pole position

New research from IDC has Oracle retaining its number one spot in the DBMS market, but threats to its current position are mounting.

Database industry leader Oracle has retained its number one spot in the database market again in 2004, according to new research from Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.

The new research shows that the database giant was the number one overall database software provider with a 41.3% market share in 2004. That number represents an overall growth of 14.5% over the previous year, according to IDC.

Oracle's growth was reflective of a boost in overall database spending in 2004, as the market for worldwide relational database management systems grew by 11.6% to $14.9 billion. The gains mark nearly double the growth of seen in 2003, when the market rose 6%.

According to IDC, IBM and Microsoft followed Oracle with 30.6% and 13.4%, respectively. Microsoft showed the strongest growth of the top three vendors with a surge of 22% in 2004.

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The news bodes well for Oracle, which had acquired PeopleSoft as part of a strategy to fight off fears of a future decline in database revenues.

The news is also reflective of a successful campaign following the launch of Oracle's Database 10g in January 2004 and customer and partner acceptance of a grid computing strategy, said Oracle's senior director of technology marketing Willie Hardie.

Database "10g introduced many more features and functionality to support a self-managing database and [it] automated the administration process, making it easier for IT departments to provide a higher quality of service," Hardie said.

Hardie added that the repackaging and changing of the 10g pricing model also attracted a new crop of customers from the small and medium-sized business market.

Hardie said the trends of 2004 -- including a move towards grid computing, implementation of Linux platforms and consolidation within the datacenter -- will continue in 2005 as administrators make better use of IT resources including storage, servers and physical resources.

IDC said the top three will experience additional headaches from open source database products, including MySQL, PostgreSQL and Berkeley DB.

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