It's no secret which vendor is the 800-pound gorilla of the database market.
According to a BusinessWeek article, which cites information from Gartner, Oracle commanded more than 47 percent of the $15.2 billion market in 2006, far ahead of No. 2 IBM with 21 percent and Microsoft with 17.4 percent. Not only that, but it dazzled financial analysts with its 46 percent operating margins and booked an impressive $14.2 billion in revenue.
Being big does have its burdens. The more dominant the vendor, the louder the chorus of voices questioning the need for upgrades when new iterations of flagship products are introduced. Microsoft found itself in this spot earlier this year with Vista, and now it's Oracle's turn with 11g, the first new version of its relational database since 2004.
The software includes more than 400 new features, many of which are detailed in this IT Jungle piece. Among them: something called Real Application Testing, that Oracle says can cut the typical testing cycle for database applications from 150 days to just 11 days, and integrated compression, which helps companies reduce the cost of disk storage even as they store larger amounts of data.
The Oracle faithful (that is, members of the Independent Oracle User Group) appear ready to bite, with 35 percent of them saying they plan to move to 11g within the next 12 months and more than half expressing intent to upgrade within two years.
ZDNet blogger Larry Dignan thinks uptake may be even more rapid than that since Oracle provided a set of what he calls "quite logical" ROI cases at yesterday's product launch.
BusinessWeek points out that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's penchant for power plays such as poking a stick at leading Linux distributor Red Hat by selling Linux support at cut-rate prices and accusing rival SAP of espionage generated more headlines than any Oracle product news in 2006.
The rest of 2007 should be interesting.