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The Future of Database Management Systems Is Cloud

by Merv Adrian  |  June 23, 2019  |  Comments Off on The Future of Database Management Systems Is Cloud

On Friday, 20-June-2019, Gartner published new research titled “The Future of the DBMS Market Is Cloud” by Donald Feinberg, Merv Adrian and Adam Ronthal. The thesis: cloud is now the default platform for managing data. On-premises is the past, and only legacy compatibility or special requirements should keep you there.  Some might think we are early; others might think we are late, and some may even think us crazy! Well, in a word, NOT. Here is the evidence:

  1. Gartner numbers¹ show DBMS cloud services are already $10.4 billion of the $46.1 billion DBMS market in 2018. This does not include hosting DBMS licenses in the cloud.
  2. Gartner numbers² also show that the overall DBMS Market grew at 18.4% from 2017 to 2018 – its best growth in over a decade.  Cloud DBMS accounted for 68% of that growth.
  3. Only two vendors (Amazon Web Services and Microsoft) account for 75% of the growth from 2017 to 2018. AWS is 100% cloud and Microsoft DBMS growth (we believe) was almost 100% cloud. Cloud growth is dramatically changing vendor rankings (See Figure 1).
  4. DBMS innovation is cloud-first or cloud-only for development – and often for delivery as well.
  5. A majority of the inquiries to Gartner Data Management analysts about DBMS choices are about cloud platforms and migration to these platforms.


Figure 1 – Gartner Market Share¹ Ranks 2011-2018


What does this mean to the IT community?

  • First, it confirms that more and more end-user organizations are deploying systems and applications to the cloud, including replacing on-premises systems with SaaS. IT may or may not be driving these shifts.
  • Second, organizations who want to take advantage of new innovation in DBMS are moving to the cloud. It is happening only there, or at the least, in the cloud first. However, there is an increasing amount of innovation that will never get to on-premises, even when the vendor has on-premises products.
  • Third, new pricing models, avoidance of capital expense in favor of operating expense, and leveraging a pay-as-you-go approach, seem to be driving the move to the cloud.

The message in our research is simple – on-premises is the new legacy.  Cloud is the future. All organizations, big and small, will be using the cloud in increasing amounts. While it is still possible and probable that larger organizations will maintain on-premises systems, increasingly these will be hybrid in nature, supporting both cloud and on-premises. In the coming months, you will see more research from Gartner on this, as we move to a Cloud DBMS Market. Gartner clients can access this research at The Future of the DBMS Market Is Cloud (G00347472) 21-Jun-2019.

¹ “Market Share: Enterprise Platform as a Service, Worldwide, 2018”

² “Market Share: All Software Markets, Worldwide, 2018”

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Merv Adrian
Research VP
9 years with Gartner
40 years in IT industry

Merv Adrian is an analyst following database and adjacent technologies as extreme data transforms assumptions about what to persist as well as when, where and how. He also watches the way the software/hardware boundary… Read Full Bio

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