Market Share Technology Report (MSTR): Database Management Software 2020

March 27, 2020 Scott Wallask

Market Share Technology Report logoThis Market Share Technology Report (MSTR) from Datanyze examines market share and trends for database management software over the prior 12 months. Vendors can use this MSTR report to track technology market share among competitors and learn about the frequency of customer implementations, while software end users can read about leading examples of database software and associated trends.

Market Summary: Veterans Jockey for Position, but Oracle Remains Comfortably Ahead

One might be forgiven for shrugging off any discussion about database applications as boring and antiquated.

But try telling that to the readers of Datanyze who have helped make database management software one of the most visited technology categories on the site. After all, most businesses large and small need to manage their electronic data beyond spreadsheets.

And the good ol’ database continues to spur growth: In 2018, worldwide database management system revenue grew 18.4% to $46 billion, said research firm Gartner.

According to statistics from Datanyze, products from Oracle and Microsoft take the top four database software positions. Datanyze tracks estimated unit market share, which is the number of units (i.e., tech installations) that vendors sell as a percentage of total sales in a market. This share does reflect vendor revenues.

Database management software leaders

Figure 1: An overview of database applications by estimated unit market share. Source: Datanyze.

From a vendor standpoint, databases are winning products because they deal with important enterprise data, noted investor site Motley Fool.

“If a company wanted to switch vendors, it would have to lift all of that data from the old database and insert it into a new one,” Motley Fool wrote. “That's not only a huge pain; it's also terribly risky, should any data get lost.” 

A Quick Review of Definitions

If you’re unfamiliar with database technology, it may help to read this short glossary:

  • A database contains structured information, usually in tables of rows and columns that allow for easy querying. Most databases use SQL.
  • A relational database stores bits of information that are related to each other. In these systems, a row typically has a unique ID and a column contains an attribute of the data. A relational database management system is abbreviated as RDBMS.
  • SQL, which stands for structured query language, is a standard programming language to work with databases. Pronunciation varies; some people say the actual letters, while others pronounce it “sequel.”
  • NoSQL databases are not relational and can instead deal with unstructured data, such as modern information pouring out of the web. NoSQL can scale easier for large database projects but lacks some of the analytical capabilities of SQL.

Database management market presenceWhat is the Market Presence of Database Management Software?

As the options for cloud deployment, artificial intelligence (AI), and other modern features increase for databases, the jockeying among longtime products continues. “Each vendor is constantly trying to outstrip the other in terms of its database’s supposed ability to scale upwards in size, handle deeper analytics complexity and work increasingly effectively ... on different types of data pipeline jobs, all in different cloud environments,” wrote Forbes in June 2019.

Visit Datanyze’s database market share page to check out the full list of products available for database management. 

The leader is MySQL (#1 on our list), which is sold by Oracle and had a 33% estimated unit market share as of January 2020. The vendor has been in the database industry for more than 40 years.

“Most companies tend to stick with their database vendor over time, even if that vendor raises prices,” Motley Fool wrote. “That's how Oracle became such a tech powerhouse throughout the 1990s.”

Database unit market share

Figure 2: A look at estimated database product market share as of January 2020. Source: Datanyze.

Microsoft SQL Server (#2) pushes AI capabilities for medium and large customers through the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, followed up by Microsoft Access (#3), which is part of the Microsoft Office suite and allows small businesses to create web apps. Access was taken out of the cloud in 2017 and is a desktop product only now.

At #4 is Oracle Database, also commonly known as Oracle RDBMS. As of mid-February 2020, Oracle Database 20c was available for preview but had not been released.

A prior version, Oracle Database 18c Express Edition (XE), is free to download and use.

The original version of the software was released in 1979 and was the first commercially available, SQL-based relational database.

The back and forth between Oracle and Microsoft continues, as SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) tabular model comes in at #9. SSAS is a business analytics data engine, and tabular models group data into tables.

At #10 comes another heavyweight, IBM Db2. Tracing back to 1983, Db2 was IBM’s first commercial relational database. Db2 version 11.5 was released in June 2019 as an AI database. Meanwhile, Db2 Database is an on-premises offering and free to use.

Open-Source Choices Round Out the Top 10

Several of the database applications on our list made their names as open-source options, including the following:

  • PostgreSQL (#5) is a free relational database system that started in 1986 as part of an RDBMS project at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • MongoDB (#6) is a free NoSQL database that aims to help cloud developers.
  • Redis (#7) is free database software that uses in-memory computing.
  • Apache Cassandra (#9) is free database software that runs on NoSQL and can handle large datasets.

Database software buyer trendsWhat are Buyer Trends for Database Management Software?

During 2019, there was a sizable amount of companies -- 31% each quarter, on average -- that either had recently completed database management software implementations or were in the midst of such projects. Those numbers came from quarterly surveys conducted by ZoomInfo with 1,494 IT professionals throughout the year. ZoomInfo is the parent company of Datanyze.

Upcoming projects that were slated to start within the next nine months were not as plentiful, with far fewer companies planning any database initiatives, the survey results indicated. Perhaps most telling: Consistently during 2019, databases were not a priority for the majority of respondents, although that number dropped to 54.9% -- its lowest of the year -- in Q4.

Project timelines for database management projects

Figure 3: A look at database management software project timelines showed many endeavors had either recently completed or were ongoing in 2019. Source: ZoomInfo.

Looking a bit deeper into the results, 298 respondents provided information about their planned investment amounts in 2019. It appeared spending for new database applications was on a slow rise, particularly for more moderate projects totaling $50,000 or less. 

Large-scale investments of more than $250,000 in database applications were stagnant and at low levels throughout the year, which could indicate more interest by small and medium businesses in new database implementations that were less costly due to company size.Anticipated spending for database projectsFigure 4: Moderate anticipated spending for new data management software rose during 2019. Source: ZoomInfo.

How CCPA regulation affects databasesHow Does CCPA Apply to Databases?

The growing trend of increased privacy initiatives creates implications for database operations. A good example is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which took effect on January 1, 2020, and sets new privacy rights for consumers in that state.

In broad strokes, the consumer privacy law:

  • grants consumers the right to know what personal information is collected by businesses about them, as well as the ability to delete the information and opt out of the sale of this data.
  • applies to companies that: have annual revenues of more than $25 million; buy, receive, or sell personal information of 50,000 or more consumers; and earn 50% of more of their revenue from selling such personal information. These companies do not need to be located in California, but rather must do business with the state’s consumers.
  • requires businesses to create processes to respond to requests from consumers who want to learn about, opt out of, or delete any personal data collected.

CCPA doesn’t regulate the database technology, but rather the information within the databases. As such, database’s ability to quickly find records about a consumer -- or integrate with other tech designed for that purpose -- is important.

The cloud is a murky area here. “[Cloud database providers] that say that they are CCPA-compliant typically mean that they protect privacy of their own customers -- not that they've set up CCPA-compliant processes to search through [a client’s] data and delete records,” Data Center Knowledge reported.

Additionally, while cloud providers supply the database management software, it’s their customers who determine what data to store. 

“Cloud providers offer file-level deletion but don't usually have an easy, automated way to find and delete individual records,” Data Center Knowledge added.

Other states are expected to follow California’s approach. “The effect of CCPA is rippling through the nation, as companies like Microsoft choose to apply the rules throughout the United States,” professional services provider PwC wrote. “More than one-third will fulfill CCPA requests from anyone, not just California residents, according to a PwC survey of CIOs.”

For database administrators, these new and upcoming regulations will increase their workload and make efficient data management more important.

Outlook for database management softwareWhat is the Future Outlook for Database Applications?

Given database management software’s role in housing and analyzing critical business information, the technology will remain important in the future.

Expect cloud-based database applications to increase. By 2022, 75% of all databases will be deployed or migrated to a cloud platform, according to Gartner.

A large influence over this direction is the increased need by companies for data analytics, AI, and machine learning, the research firm added.

How potential new privacy regulations affect vendors remains to be seen, but they will likely increase the need to more efficiently manage database records.

About our data collection

Datanyze collects technographic data by scanning more than 35 million web domains daily, using a combination of web crawling, third party providers, and natural language processing. Most technologies leave behind a footprint or “signature” that helps the crawler identify it from other elements of a website or mobile app. By finding and cataloging these signatures across millions of sites, Datanyze can determine how many companies use a given technology -- and take note of when certain technologies appear or disappear from a company’s site.

For technologies that leave no footprint (such as databases and CRMs), Datanyze uses natural language processing as an alternative method to identify tech deployment. This involves scanning and digesting unstructured data -- text from job postings, social media, press releases, and more -- to infer a relationship between a company and a particular technology. This method involves complex keyword targeting.

Also, ZoomInfo (the parent company of Datanyze) conducts quarterly surveys of a percentage of business professionals within its database, asking them detailed questions about technology purchases and upcoming projects. 

About the Author

Scott Wallask

Scott Wallask is a director of content at ZoomInfo and Datanyze. He has more than 25 years of storytelling and editing experience, and previously oversaw a series of enterprise tech news sites. Before that, he spent 12 years covering hospital safety topics. He holds a BA degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston.

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