Donald Feinberg, the chief database analyst at Gartner, provided a very thorough analysis of the impact of open source technology in the database market at the Gartner Open Source Summit in Phoenix this week. Feinberg has been in the database market since there was a database market, and he has the insights (and the scars) to prove it. Unlike a lot of analysts in the industry, Feinberg doesn't just stick to what's politically correct; he says what needs to be said, whether it's about open source ("Don't go into production without comercial support"), Unix ("It's dead; I just don't know when the funeral is") or proliferation of technology ("No one plans on having 10,000 Access databases, but if you don't have a policy you wake up one day and that's what you have.")
Overall, Gartner is predicting that the worldwide DBMS market is around $14 billion and will continue to grow by nearly 7% per year. If this was a new market, it would not be a very impressive growth rate, but for a market of this size, it's huge. And there can be lots of movement within the market. We are at the start of a new era where migration to open source technology is going to fuel the DBMS market. That includes migration away from Unix to Linux and from closed source to open source.
A few key findings from Gartner / DataQuest research:
- By 2008, open source databases will be used by more than 70% of IT organizations
- By 2008, MySQL will be a serious choice for mission critical applications
- 56% of companies surveyed plan to switch to Linux as a DBMS platform
- Linux will surpass Unix as the leading DBMS platform within the next 3 years, even for the most demanding database applications
- 40% of surveyed companies are planning to replace proprietary DBMS with open source
- 49% of respondents have MySQL in deployment with 17% planning to deploy (see below)
Gartner rated MySQL as the strongest entrant in the open source market, which was a tremendous vote of confidence. Gartner also noted the rapid adoption of MySQL 5.0 released last fall, indicating strong interest in open source database technology worldwide.
Feinberg gave strong guidance to companies to develop skills for using Linux as a DBMS platform and developing an acquisition and governence policy for open source technology. He also said that he considered commercial support a requirement for any production database. More information is available here: