It's always nice to do a quick "year in review" commentary as we transition from 2007 to 2008. What? You say it's still 2007? Oh yeah, I guess I must be thinking of the end of Microsoft's fiscal year. Microsoft operates on a fiscal year that starts in July, so as far as the company is concerned, it's already 2008. Now, let's get back to my year in review and focus on Microsoft fiscal topics as they relate to the SQL Server community.

Microsoft recently announced its fourth quarter 2007 earnings results. You can read Microsoft's full earnings report at http://www.microsoft.com/msft/earnings/default.mspx. The following are some interesting SQL Server tidbits from the earnings report and other sources:
· The Server and Tools division (which SQL Server falls under for financial reporting) sustained 15 percent year-over-year growth, marking the division's fifth consecutive year of at least 15 percent growth.
· SQL Server growth weighed in at more than 20 percent, marking the tenth consecutive year that SQL Server has achieved double-digit growth rates.
· Interestingly, BizTalk Server led the Servers and Tools division's growth rates with more than 30 percent growth per quarter. You might not think of BizTalk Server as directly related to SQL Server and most DBAs don't know a lot about it, but BizTalk Server is clearly related to the data integration tools that Microsoft offers. BizTalk Server's growth means that it's more likely that SQL Server and Microsoft data professionals will be running BizTalk Server more regularly.
· Microsoft shipped more units of SQL Server than Oracle and IBM did combined for their respective database products and the company weighed in as the fastest growing database and business intelligence (BI) vendor, according to both Gartner and IDC.
· Microsoft has had the number one OLAP server on the market, as measured by total market share, since 2002. Microsoft kept its number one spot in the OLAP server market for 2006 with a total market share of 31.6 percent as reported by the "OLAP Report" in the 2006 market share analysis available at http://www.olapreport.com/market.htm. SQL Server's relational and BI growth is impressive, but the "OLAP Report" did point out one interesting tidbit that should be used to filter Microsoft's market share and growth rate information. "Note that a significant proportion—around a third—of Microsoft SQL Server revenues are now attributed to OLAP, so this and the smaller amounts attributed to ETL should be deducted from the total SQL Server revenues when calculating Microsoft's share of the RDBMS market. Neither Microsoft, nor the other analysts who calculate database market shares, usually take this into account, so they include Microsoft's large and growing OLAP revenues in its RDBMS market share, without being as generous to Oracle, IBM, and CA. This exaggerates the size of the RDBMS market, and Microsoft's share of that market, and is an example of why it is so important to analyze and adjust the figures before calculating market sizes and shares." Everyone knows that double-dipping chips at a party is rude. Apparently, double-dipping can also slightly skew numbers when analyzing database market share. Who knew that databases and salsa had anything in common? Still, Microsoft's database technology is clearly a growth area for the company, and the SQL Server community should be a nice place to hang your hat as an IT professional for some time to come. Happy New Year!