Database Market Records Double-Digit Growth In 2006

The report, which IDC said is based on preliminary data, also found that the RDBMS software market grew 14.3 percent last year to $16.5 billion -- not bad for what many once considered to be a mature, slow-growing market.

Oracle's RDBMS software license sales grew 14.7 percent in 2006 to more than $7.3 billion, giving it a 44.4 percent share of the total market. Oracle executives were quick to crow about the report. "Oracle remains well out in front as the No. 1 choice in the database market," says Willie Hardie, Oracle database marketing vice president.

Oracle has been making a big push into enterprise applications in recent years, especially with its acquisitions of PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems; Hardie said application sales are a big driver for the Oracle 10g database software. He also said Oracle has accelerated sales of its database products to small and midsize businesses. IDC noted that increased license fees tied to processor-related upgrades also boosted Oracle's revenue.

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IBM's DB2 database license sales increased 11.9 percent to $3.5 billion in 2006 while Microsoft saw license sales of its database products increase 25.0 percent to nearly $3.1 billion. By growing slower than the market average, IBM's market share actually dipped last year, while Oracle and Microsoft captured bigger slices of the database market pie (see chart, above).

IDC does not include nonrelational database sales in its market numbers, which diminishes IBM's numbers given it does a healthy business in selling legacy database software for its mainframes. Gartner, which has not released its accounting of the 2006 database market yet, includes those sales which gives IBM bigger sales numbers and a market share much closer to Oracle. The IDC report said IBM reported "substantial net increases in new DB2 sites and users across the board."