Gartner's "Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems" reports are always an interesting read on the state of affairs in the database management system (DBMS) world. They give you a sense of who’s doing what, who’s leading the pack, who has vision, and what core issues are facing the industry. I’ve written about Gartner's Magic Quadrant reports a few times in the past; in case you have no idea what I’m referring to, Gartner says that its Magic Quadrant methodology is a graphical representation of a marketplace at a particular point in time. Gartner places vendors into four quadrants (Leaders, Challengers, Niche Players, and Visionaries) based on how the vendor is rated according to certain criteria that are outlined in each report. The 2007 report is available at http://mediaproducts.gartner.com/reprints/microsoft/article19/article19.html. I do encourage you to read the full report, but let's take a look at a few of the more interesting tidbits.

Microsoft’s position is squarely in the Leaders quadrant for the first time. The 2006 report had Microsoft straddling the line between the Challengers and Leaders quadrants. In the 2007 report, Microsoft joins Teradata, Oracle, and IBM in the Leaders quadrant. (In case you were wondering, the 2006 report, which you can see at http://www.sybase.com/content/1043869/GartnerPublishes_DW_MQ-092506.pdf, listed just Teradata, IBM, and Oracle in the Leaders quadrant.) In the 2007 report, Gartner explores a few emerging trends in the data warehouse space including
· the growing popularity of distributed data warehouses that have a single, unvaried logical model with data stored at multiple locations
· the growing interest in and importance of data warehouse appliances
· continuous, near real-time data loading becoming more commonplace
· the emergence of data warehousing as a managed service; the report cites vendors such as Kognito paving the way The Gartner report includes a summary of strengths and weaknesses for each of the vendors in the report. Reviewing the 11 vendors will give you a decent sense of how the players stack up against each other. Not surprisingly, one of Microsoft’s core values as reported by Gartner is strong value for the price paid. Gartner also reports that one of Microsoft’s biggest weaknesses is that SQL Server runs only on Windows Server OSs, and some enterprise-class customers aren't yet comfortable with running Windows in the data center. Hmmm. Strong value proposition but available only on Windows? I’m not sure that’s terribly big news with respect to Microsoft technology, nor do I expect either reality to change. Reading the 2007 report is worth a small investment of your time if you consider yourself a database professional. I hope you enjoy it. Author's Note:
Don’t forget about my first annual Scary, Spooky SQL Stories contest. I announced this contest last week, and you still have some time to get your scariest SQL Server horror stories in for consideration. Please read my editorial from last week at http://www.sqlmag.com/Articles/ArticleID/97411/97411.html for the deadline, rules, and a flavor of what I’m looking for.