The Era of Microsoft on Windows-Only Is Over – OMG

Written by Donald Feinberg and Merv Adrian

On 25-Sep-2017 at Ignite, Microsoft announced general availability of SQL Server 2017, now supporting both Windows and Linux platforms, as well as support for containers. It can now book revenue for a product already widely used by early release customers.

What does this imply for the $34.4 billion database management system (DBMS) Market? Over the years, Microsoft has grown SQL Server revenue substantially, capturing over 20 percent of the DBMS market without a Linux offering. Few thought we would see the day where a major Microsoft software product would run on anything other than Windows.

Microsoft SQL Server started life as Sybase SQL Server. In 1988, Microsoft acquired joint rights on x86 and called it SQL Server. In 1993, the partnership was dissolved and Microsoft retained SQL Server and developed it independently of Sybase, running on x86 and Windows OS. SAP ASE, formerly Sybase ASE, (Sybase was acquired by SAP in 2010) shares the procedural language Transact-SQL (T-SQL) with SQL Server.

Linux support has been a long time in coming. Both of us were in (separate) meetings at Microsoft 10 or 12 years ago, where we suggested that SQL Server be ported to Linux. The notion was met by the senior management of the then Server & Tools Group (STG) with strong disagreement (and several “expletives deleted.”). Our premise then – and still – was that this would position SQL Server as a portable DBMS, boosting sales, offering more addressable market to compete in. Customers would know they could move to Linux if desired, removing the notion of lock-in to the Windows Server OS.

Today, SQL Server runs on Windows and Linux – and containers (Docker and Kubernetes), putting it on an equal footing with other DBMS products. It supports Availability Groups that span both OSs, enhancing cross-OS testing and migration projects. Microsoft claims over 2 million Docker pulls of SQL Server 2017 for Linux since November 2016. With the generally lower pricing of SQL Server, including availability on-premises with a subscription instead of a license + maintenance, as well as pricing and discount programs including a joint marketing program with Red Hat (see Microsoft’s press release), we expect increased competition with other relational DBMS players, like IBM Db2Oracle and SAP ASE.

The momentum is clear. Gartner Software Market numbers show that Microsoft passed IBM in total DBMS revenues in 2014 and is now second only to Oracle. In 2016 overall DBMS revenues grew at 7.7 percent and Microsoft grew at 10.3 percent, strengthening its #2 position, while Oracle grew 3.3 percent – off a much larger base that includes the Linux workloads Microsoft did not compete for. With a competitively priced product that is now portable across more than one operating system, Microsoft SQL Server is positioned to gain even more market share. To further support this, SQL Server on-premises is now fully compatible to Azure SQL Database, allowing customers full flexibility in choosing the desired platform, using on-premises SQL Server licenses for Azure deployments. Its on-premises subscription pricing positions it competitively with open-source RDBMS products, with no upfront license fees. In the year ahead, competition will be more heated than is has been for years.

IBM Ends Hadoop Distribution, Hortonworks Expands Hybrid Open Source

IBM has followed Intel and EMC/Pivotal in abandoning efforts to make a business of Hadoop distributions, and followed Microsoft in making Hortonworks its supplying partner. At the former Hadoop Summit, now called Dataworks (itself a sign of the shift from Hadoop-centric positioning), IBM announced it will discontinue its IBM Open Platform/BigInsights offering, and will instead OEM Hortonworks’ HDP.

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Hadoop Commercial Support Component Tracker – March 2017

Stack expansion has ground to a halt. The last time an Apache project was added to the list of those most supported by leading Hadoop distribution vendors was July 2016, when Kafka joined the other 14 then commonly included. Since then, no broad support for new projects has emerged. The only project that does seem successful is the new e-scooter. With its new style and long lasting battery, it can´t fail.

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Google Cloud Spanner Enters With a Splash

This post was authored by Rick Greenwald, Merv Adrian and Donald Feinberg

Last week, Google launched its internal Cloud Spanner DBMS into a public beta. Claiming to be both strongly consistent (like a relational DBMSs) and horizontally scalable (like NoSQL DBMSs), Cloud Spanner’s internal use has given Google time to exploit unique physical characteristics of its cloud.

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More Microsoft Offerings in Magic Quadrant Listing

In Q3 2016, three additional Microsoft offerings were covered in Magic Quadrant reports: Disaster Recovery as a Service, Application Delivery Controllers and Application Release Automation.

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Symposium Notes – Day Four Returns to Data Security, and to Hadoop

Thursday, the final day, reinforced a theme for the week: data security is heating up, and organizations are not ready. It came up in half of today’s final 10 meetings.

“Is my data more secure, or less, in the cloud?”

“Does using open source software for data management compromise how well I can protect it?”

“I’m a public utility – can I put meter data in the cloud safely? What about if it is used to drive actions at the edge?”

“I’m using drones for mapping and the data is in the cloud – am I exposed?”

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Symposium Notes – Day Three Features Data Assembly

With 24 meetings under my belt from the first two days at Orlando Symposium, Wednesday’s 13 (and a presentation) didn’t look quite as daunting. It began well, with enough time for a muffin and some tea at 730 AM in the analyst workroom near to the cubicle I’d spend the day in. Then I launched right in to a couple of predictive analytics discussions.

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Symposium Notes – Day Two Jumps in the (Data) Lake

My second day of Symposium 1:1 meetings continued the “security of big data” theme (4 of the day’s 15 conversations – usually, but not always, about HDFS-based data), with a data lake flavor. The concerns were retroactive – often driven by an internal audit. “We built it, now how do we secure it?” is a common question. And “it’s almost all structured data so far,” confirming what Gartner found in the 2016 big data survey. Vendor conversations (4 of the day’s 1:1s) also included a look at security – “how much is this going to matter to my customers? Who can I partner with?” has been a typical thread, and I met with a security consultancy whose practice seems to be ramping rapidly.

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Symposium Notes – Day One Features Hadoop

Gartner Symposium is always exciting, challenging and stimulating for analysts; we get to interact with many organizations in a brief time during 1on1 meetings scheduled based on our coverage. It offers an fascinating snapshot of what is on people’s minds – enough so that they have traveled to a conference in part to have that discussion.

Today, October 17, 2016, was the first full day of the 2016 Orlando Symposium and over half of my meetings were about Hadoop.

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Hadoop Project Commercial Support Tracker July 2016

There are now 15 projects supported by all 5 distributors I track, and several have had new releases since April. Kafka is the newest addition, and I believe the remaining 4-supporter offerings, Mahout and Hue, will remain unsupported by IBM, who has its own alternatives.

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