There's no question that the prolonged slowdown in corporate technology spending is having an impact on many IT vendors. Increasing market consolidation is forcing many of the smaller vendors out of the market, leaving the top flight players to battle it out.
Like most market categories, the database market is a fiercely contested space. A recent report from Gartner Dataquest suggests that worldwide spending on relational databases slid 7 per cent in 2002. Much of this can be attributed to a weak economy and subsequent reductions in IT spending.
Despite the protracted technology slump, there are new database market opportunities — from application hosting, to mainframe conversions, to the growing popularity of database technology on Linux.
There is growth in the number of customers deploying Linux solutions, especially among small to medium sized organisations. International Data Corp has reported that the database market for Linux will grow to $5.1 billion by 2006, from $63.9 million in 2001, and surpass the market for Unix.
However, the uptake of Linux is an evolutionary process rather than a done deal. Linux is in its early stages of growth, but beginning to gain significant traction as a platform for the future. This is partly due to the attractive price point and also increased vendor support and commitment for the Linux platform in the enterprise.
With IT vendors investing heavily in support for, and the development of, Linux as a strategic focus, new avenues for database business will appear. Also, just as importantly, support for enterprises that are wanting to deploy Linux in mission-critical environments will become increasingly available.
Brian Mitchell is managing director of Oracle Australia