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There Is Only One DBMS Market

by Donald Feinberg  |  July 18, 2019  |  Submit a Comment

On 16-Jul-2019, Gartner published new research titled “There is Only One DBMS Market”, by Adam Ronthal, Donald Feinberg and Merv Adrian. This follows closely on last month’s declaration that “The Future of the DBMS Market Is Cloud” by the same authors. This is the second of two notes that aim to redefine how we cover this market. The first introduced the thesis that the cloud is now the default platform for managing data. In this note, we remove the artificial separation of the DBMS market into analytic and operational focused segments. There is only one DBMS market with six use cases, and while this applies to on-premises use as well as cloud, it will increasingly be realized in the cloud.

Why now? Historically, there were good reasons to separate the market into analytic and operationally focused components. The architectures required to support these two uses were sufficiently different that specialized approaches were required. This is no longer the case. Here is the evidence:

Approximately 75% of the vendors that we included in the two most recent Magic Quadrants for Data Management Solutions for Analytics, and Operational DBMS support both analytic and operational use cases (even if they do not formally appear on both MQs.
75% of the vendors appearing in the Leader’s quadrants are in both MQs. This has increased from only a 40% overlap in 2014.
The top five vendors (approximately 87% of the DBMS market revenue) are used for both analytic and operational use cases.

Six use cases define the full scope of the unified DBMS market:

While selecting specialized engines that only deliver a subset of these use cases well will persist, increasingly data and analytics leaders will demand justification for doing so, and a focus on how well these engines integrate into a broader governance and operational optimization framework will be a key attribute to be evaluated.

What does this mean to the IT community?

  • First, there are opportunities for consolidation and rationalization of the DBMS portfolio either on premises or as part of a cloud replatforming effort.
  • Second, the broad ecosystem offered by hyperscale CSPs already offers a consolidated integrated portfolio of product offerings – both native CSP and 3rd party ISV solutions. 
  • Third, a converged market enables new innovation and support for new use cases like augmented transaction processing and continuous intelligence. 

In short, IT leaders should evaluate these offerings as a single market. Operational and analytic processing is already starting to blur and combine in new ways, and there is no reason to separate it any longer.  There is still plenty of room for specialized vendors to address a subset of this market, but they will always be deployed as part of larger ecosystems that will typically address nearly the full scope of the market.  In the coming months, you will see more research from Gartner on this, as we move to a unified Cloud DBMS Market. Gartner clients can access this research here:

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Donald Feinberg
VP Distinguished Analyst
25 years at Gartner
50 years IT industry

Donald Feinberg is a vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Intelligence in the Information Infrastructure group. Mr. Feinberg is responsible for Gartner's research on database management systems and data warehousing infrastructure. Read Full Bio

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