Gartner recently released its summary of 2001 relational database management system (RDBMS) market share and revenue numbers. Many of the trends are similar to those the research company reported last year, which I wrote about in "Database Wars Heat Up".

I encourage you to read the Gartner report, "DBMS Software Market: Flat but Not Calm," which is available free at The article is only three pages long and contains detailed breakdowns of DBMS market share and revenue numbers for 2000 and 2001 for all major vendors. Here are some interesting points I observed about this data.

  • The Windows platform is the unquestionable sweet spot in the database market. The Windows RDBMS market grew overall by 11 percent, whereas the UNIX RDBMS market shrunk overall by 1.4 percent. At this rate, the total worldwide market for Windows-based RDBMSs will be within less than 10 percent of the total market for UNIX-based RBDMSs within 1 year and new Windows-based RDBMS sales will exceed UNIX sales in less than 2 years.
  • IBM and Microsoft are both doing well, whereas Oracle's fortunes seem to be declining. IBM's 2001 market share increased by a respectable 6.2 percent. Microsoft's 2001 market share increased by an amazing 25.3 percent. Oracle's 2001 market share shrunk by 4.9 percent.
  • SQL Server has finally become the dominant RDBMS on the Windows OS in terms of revenue and is the only Windows RDBMS platform with more than $1 billion in revenue. SQL Server claims 39.9 percent of the Windows RDBMS market, which is almost 6 percent higher than Oracle and is almost double IBM's third-place finish. In other words, SQL Server is the leading RDBMS on the world's fastest-growing RDBMS platform.
  • What accounted for SQL Server's rapid growth in an otherwise tepid market? Sheryl Tullis, SQL Server product manager, said, "Customers are deploying their new projects on SQL Server 2000 because it's a data management and analysis platform—not just a database like our competitors offer. Customers see the value of the integrated BI and development tools, low cost of ownership, and tight integration with the .NET platform."

The Gartner report's findings probably won't surprise anyone. These trends have been developing for several years, and I predicted their acceleration in my market share commentary last year when I wrote: "Windows RDBMS growth will accelerate while growth on the UNIX platform slows. Why? Because dot-com implosions have made people much more careful about how they spend their money, and Windows RDBMS solutions tend to be more cost-effective than UNIX solutions."

Those market dynamics haven't changed, and I expect both the SQL Server and Windows RDBMS markets to continue to grow rapidly while the UNIX RDBMS market continues to contract.

CORRECTION: In my May 16 SQL Server Magazine UPDATE commentary "Staying Ahead in the Security Game", I stated that you need to apply the patch in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-020 (SQL Extended Procedure Functions Contain Unchecked Buffers) to SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and SQL Server 7.0 SP4. However, SQL Server 7.0 SP4 includes the patch. So, you need to apply the patch only if you're running SQL Server 7.0 SP3 or earlier. You don't need to apply the patch if you're running SQL Server 7.0 SP4.