How did Oracle dominate databases?

Software infrastructure

This is shown by the latest RAAD survey of 1,388 IT managers. For more than a decade, Oracle has been undisputedly the most widely used database supplier for German SAP customers and has therefore benefited significantly from SAP's success. It is true that all relevant database manufacturers have recorded positive growth in sales worldwide in recent years. However, this has not yet led to any significant shifts in the market allocation for existing SAP customers. The growth in sales is primarily due to the exponentially growing volume of data in companies. With the acquisition of Sybase, SAP has set its strategy in the direction of mobile solutions and will increasingly connect mobile devices to the SAP ERP systems in the future. The volume of data to be moved and stored is thereby increased again many times over, which could fuel further growth in the database environment. SAP has certainly benefited from Oracle's database reputation in the past, as the system combination of two world market leaders sold well.

On the other hand, it is of course a thorn in the side of SAP when the main competitor in the ERP market earns two out of three German SAP customers. This culminates in the never-ending quarrels between Larry Ellison and Hasso Plattner, which are fought out in the press and on the Internet. In the past, SAP has left no stone unturned to free the SAP systems from Oracle's databases. Neither open source databases nor strategic partnerships with IBM and Microsoft have succeeded in replacing Oracle as the leading database system. Given the current status, this is certainly still a long way to go. However, since 2006, RAAD has noted a continuous decline in Oracle database customers among its existing SAP customers, and at the end of 2010 the previous low of 67 percent was reached. For the first time, Oracle fell below the 70 percent mark. At the same time, SAP and MaxDB have seen good increases in customer numbers since 2006. During this time, MaxDB was able to gain almost four percentage points in existing SAP customers, which means that MaxDB currently has a share of eleven percent. The database is now owned by SAP, but it can be used free of charge in the non-SAP segment. Microsoft's MSSQLServer, which currently accounts for 13 percent of existing SAP customers, has also been steadily increasing. Both products are increasingly used by medium-sized customers. Both parties benefit from the fact that SAP has continuously gained market share in the medium-sized ERP market in recent years, as market research by RAAD shows. When it comes to new implementations of SAP systems in German medium-sized companies, Oracle hardly plays a role.

In the existing customer market, migrations from Oracle databases to other manufacturers are rather rare. On the one hand, the effort is very great. DBMS systems are usually a cornerstone in IT, around which the rest of the landscape is built. Therefore, on the other hand, the risk of a migration is also considered to be high, since SAP often covers business-critical business processes. Migration is therefore often only an option in the course of a major SAP release upgrade. If the competition wants to wrest Oracle customers, it must dramatically facilitate the replacement of Oracle database systems for users and at the same time offer lower TCOs. IBM is taking this path and with version 9.7 of DB2 has made compatibility with Oracle databases, so that proprietary Oracle DB functions could be taken over. This makes the transition from Oracle to DB2 much easier. It is certainly also an advantage for IBM that DB2 Version 9 has a compression function, which can lead to considerable savings in hard disk space. As a result, IBM succeeded in persuading some of its large SAP customers to migrate to DB2. In the current RAAD survey of existing SAP customers, one percent of the companies stated that they would exchange the current database product for products from a competitor. Half of the projects involve migrations from Oracle databases to IBM's DB2. The rate was ten times higher than with migrations from IBM DB2 to Oracle. Converted to the entire existing customer base, however, the rate is too low for IBM to move quickly in the direction of Oracle's share in the installed base. 12 percent of SAP customers currently rely on DB2 technology.