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October 22, 2014

Survey: Mega-Vendors Still Dominate Database Management Market

George Leopold

Industry analyst Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant” survey of the operational database management systems market found a widening gap between market leaders and niche players, identifying only one “challenger,” MongoDB, and a handful of “visionary” DBMS companies.

The latter category, according to the annual Gartner survey, includes DataStax, Couchbase and Aerospike, in that order.

Heavy hitters Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and IBM continue to dominate the data base management market with four others trying to keep pace among the industry leaders: Intersystems, EnterpriseDB, MariaDB and MarkLogic (see chart below).

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.45.53 AM

(Source: Gartner)

Market leader Oracle was lauded for the continuing breadth of its portfolio, including different database management systems for varying applications. Oracle’s NoSQL, MySQL and standard relational DBMSs are delivered in the cloud, on appliances as well as standalone software. Still, the survey found that some clients worry about being locked into proprietary Oracle systems.

Those concerns could be addressed as open source alternatives gather momentum. For example, pure play OpenStack software vendor Mirantis stressed in announcing a $100 million funding round this week that its open source strategy aims to “trump the lock-in of traditional IT vendors.”

The survey’s single “challenger” to the industry leaders, MongoDB was praised by Garter for recent partnerships with analytics and data integration vendors along with its continuing investment in a management service that allows provisioning of large clusters.

However, the survey cautioned against “trendiness with developers,” adding, “MongoDB’s popularity among developers means it is often selected before application requirements are understood. This can result in a poor fit of DBMS capabilities to the application.”

Besides MongoDB, other up-and-comers identified in the Gartner survey included Aerospike, Couchbase and DataStax. DataStax was cited for adding in-memory transactions along with search and other analytic capabilities through Apache Spark and Hadoop. It also won praise for developing a “robust” open source community around Apache Cassandra. Still, Gartner found that clients don’t necessarily associate DataStax with Cassandra. The vendor also needs to boost investment in improving the quality of its DBMS products, Gartner asserted.

Meanwhile, Couchbase was lauded for NoSQL and other database services along with a “strong technology road map.” Still, the “visionary” category faces stiff competition from DBMS mega-vendors and MongoDB, especially in documented-oriented applications, Gartner said.

Meanwhile, hybrid in-memory/flash NoSQL database vendor Aerospike was cited for leveraging emerging hardware to support its claims of high performance. Indeed, Aerospike received the highest scores for performance of any vendor in this year’s DBMS survey, the market analyst reported. While adding some SQL functionality, Aerospike was nevertheless faulted for lacking some NoSQL functionality.

Among a group of four “market leaders trailing behemoths like Oracle, MarieDB of Finland was lauded for its “rich functionality” and its position “at the heart of a vibrant MySQL user community and ecosystem.” The survey identified scale as the biggest challenge for MarieDB and others scrambling to compete at the high end of the DBMS market, citing the need for more “terabyte-size reference customers.”

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