Adding cache to the mix heats up local database market

InterSystems Australia is adding a touch of cache to the local database market taking on traditional rivals Oracle and IBM with 30 customers currently evaluating their product.

While not disclosing details of prospective customers, the company's managing director Denis Tebbutt said the Cache database trials include comparisons with products from the dominant market players; results will be published at the end of the year.

He said there is a significant shift playing out in the database market which is worth more than $US7.1 billion globally.

Trial results to date, he said, show that the Cache database requires 20 to 30 percent fewer resources to operate which is most evident when it comes to staffing.

"Database administrators: who needs them? Cache doesn't need tweaking so no staff are required but that is only part of the cost savings; we are also talking about much greater computing power," Tebbutt said.

While Cache claims to be a dominant player in the overseas health market, it has only recently gained traction in Australia with Tebbutt claiming the company received 2500 inquiries from interested callers last year.

He said Cache is ideally suited to high performance online transaction environments supporting application development using object languages.

"We are talking about companies that are so successful they have outgrown their current environment; most organizations building thin client, browser-based application are doing a great job in terms of architecture, but are throwing tonnes of hardware at relational databases to make them perform which just isn't economical," Tebbutt said.

When contacted by Computerworld Oracle was unwilling to comment on its customers and their involvement in the Cache trials.

In the past week analysts have published differing views on worldwide database market share figures with IDC claiming Oracle is the market leader and Gartner placing IBM in the number one position.

In the relational database market IDC gave Oracle 39.8 percent market share on revenues totalling $5.4 billion with IBM holding 31.3 percent of the market and sales totalling $4.25 billion.

Microsoft experienced the highest growth with revenues increasing by 14.7 percent to secure 12.1 percent of the market and $1.65 billion in revenues.

But according to Gartner, Oracle has lost its lead with IBM the overall winner for the second year running. However, Oracle is the undisputed master in the Linux category.

Gartner's 2003 survey of the RDBMS market shows annual database sales rose in value by just over 5 percent last year, from $US6.7 billion in 2002 to almost $7.1 billion.

The survey said IBM secured 35 percent of the market with most of the growth coming from DB2 sales on its iSeries and zSeries hardware platforms while Oracle held 32.6 percent.

Gartner analyst Colleen Graham pointed to the growth of Linux as the most significant development, with sales jumping from $116 million in 2002 to $299 million in 2003. The lion's share of those sales went to Oracle.

"We think Oracle is cannibalizing its Unix sales," Graham said. "We saw an 8 percent decline in Oracle as leader of the Unix market." - with Marc Songini

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