Well, here we are, reporting on the last quarter of 2006. Seems like only moments ago I was reporting on the last quarter of 2005… it sure was a quick year. But I guess as we get older the years
seem to pass by ever more quickly.
Let’s dig right into our coverage of the past quarter’s happenings in the database market place.
A Lot of DBMS Conferences This Quarter
The fourth quarter of every year is heavily laden with DBMS and data specific industry conferences. The biggest of these conference is undoubtedly Oracle Open World. As is the case every year,
Oracle Open World was held in San Francisco, CA. The event was held the week of October 22, 2006, but next year it will be held the week of November 11, 2007.
Oracle Open World is an interesting event because it is a combination of technical education, loud marketing, and partying. Attendance at this year’s event was reportedly in excess of 40,000
folks. The large number of attendees caused the city San Francisco to close off access to some of the streets around the Moscone Center to accommodate the crowds.
OK, I guess everyone understand what I mean by education and marketing being part of a conference, but what is this “partying” I mention. Well, let’s put it this way: Elton John kicked off the
week with a concert for conference attendees only. Does that sound like any technical conference you’ve ever attended? Well, maybe if you went to Comdex during the Internet boom, or if you’ve
been to Oracle Open World in the past.
Did anything newsworthy happen at Oracle Open World? Yes and no. The sheer magnitude of the event causes many companies to hold off their product announcements so that they can introduce new
“stuff” at the show. And many companies did. There was Toad for Oracle Version 9 from Quest Software, the Customer Transaction Console from Open Text, AppWorx announced PeopleTools 8.48 support,
and various other product release and partnership announcements were made as well. Frankly, I don’t think it is very wise for vendors to save up their announcements for the week of Oracle Open
World. I know it is tempting, but a lot of them just get lost in the shuffle and noise. Oh well, I guess that isn’t too much of a problem – who really wants to know about the latest partnership
some small company has forged with Oracle? Such announcements are a dime a dozen…
Oh, and there was a lot of useful content presented at the event, too. As always, there were multiple keynotes from industry powerhouses including Jonathan Schwartz (President and CEO of Sun
Microsystems), Michael Hurd (Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of Hewlett-Packard Company), Michael Dell (Chairman of the Board of Dell Inc.), and John Chambers (President and CEO of Cisco
Systems). And multiple Oracle executives had the opportunity to address the crowds, too, but as they are every year, they were upstaged by Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison.
Ellison unveiled Oracle Unbreakable Linux, an enterprise-class support program for Linux. Basically he introduced what really was not much of a secret: Oracle’s Linux operating system support.
We’ll discuss this in more depth later in this column.
What about the other DBMS conferences? Well, at the top of that list should be IBM’s new event – the IBM Information on Demand conference. The Information on Demand conference is actually a
combination of six previous IBM conferences:
- DB2 Technical Conference
- IMS Technical Conference
- BI Customer Solutions Summit
- Content Management Technical Conference
- Information Integration Live!
- Master Data Management Conference
I’m sure some of you may have attended one or more of these conferences in the past. Well, now that IBM has cobbled them all together in one place its data management customers no longer have to
pick and choose which conference to attend. In my opinion, this is a good thing. It allows IBM’s customers to attend sessions on numerous data management topics that they might not otherwise have
had the opportunity to see… and it gives IBM a conference might, over time, be able to grow in size to rival Oracle Open World.
The theme of the conference was ‘Take Back Control’ and the folks at IBM did a nice job of educating, entertaining, and speaking on ways to take back control of information, markets, risk, and
even the bottom line. It was estimated that more than 6,000 folks attended this conference. Boasting over 650 technical sessions and 180 business leadership sessions, it was sometimes difficult to
determine which session to attend.
During the conference, on October 16, 2006, IBM announced the launch of IBM Information Server, which was touted as a revolutionary new software platform to help organizations derive more value
from the complex, heterogeneous information spread across their various systems. According to Ambuj Goyal, general manager, IBM Information Management, IBM Software Group, “(Information Server) is
a new kind of platform, built from experience with more than 5,000 customers, that allows organizations to turn complex, heterogeneous data into trusted information.”
IBM Information Server is an integrated suite of BI and analytical tools that can be used to assimilate disparate data and deliver trusted information wherever, whenever needed, and to whomever
required. So what is Information Server? It is basically the next generation of the BI software IBM acquired from Ascential, but don’t tell anyone at IBM I put it that way.
So, was the new Information On Demand conference a success? I’d have to say “yes” it was. Even though some of the focus and clarity of the individual events were lost in the big event, the scope
and scale of the new Information on Demand conference allows IBM to do things for attendees that they just could not offer with smaller events. Wayne Brady was the emcee of the kickoff keynote and
Gladys Knight performed a free concert for attendees on Monday. And IBM never offered that level of entertainment at any of the old technical conferences.
And there was another IBM DB2 event this past quarter, too, namely the International DB2 User Group (IDUG) meeting in Europe. This event was held in Vienna, Austria. This event is a much smaller
scale event, but it offered useful technical and user-focused education for DB2 users. If you want additional coverage and insight into this past year’s European IDUG conference, check out the
For SQL Server users this quarter also boasted the annual PASS conference. PASS, which stands for the Professional Association for SQL Server, hosted their annual event which has become the largest
user-run educational event exclusively dedicated to SQL Server. The event, held in Seattle, Washington from November 14 through 17, 2006, was attended by more than 1,500 SQL Server enthusiasts. To
read more about what happened at this event check out the exhaustive coverage at http://www.utcoverage.com/PASS/2006/.
There is one final data-focused event that was held this past quarter, and that is the inaugural Data Governance Conference, which was held the week of December 4 through 7, 2006 in Orlando,
Florida. Unlike the other events mentioned here, this one was not focused on a particular DBMS. Instead, the Data Governance Conference focused on the discipline of data governance and its twin
goals of responding to both regulatory requirements as well as business necessity. The conference includes in-depth workshops and presentations by leading data governance experts as well as a
dedicated case study track with presentations from practitioners.
But there was more to this quarter than just a bevy of conferences.
By The Numbers
Let’s take a look at the financial results that were announced this past quarter by the three biggest players in the DBMS market: IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft.
First up, IBM. In the middle of October IBM announced the results of its fiscal 2006 third quarter – and profit was up 47 percent on rising software and hardware revenue. This easily beat analyst
expectations and caused share to rise by more than 5 percent in after hours trading in the wake of the announcement. Shares were hovering in the mid-80’s before the announcement, and as of late
December were in the mid-90’s – that is a nice jump for investors.
Net income in the third quarter rose to $2.22 billion, or $1.45 per share, from $1.52 billion, or 94 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue was up coming in at $22.6 billion, compared to $21.5
billion a year ago. Profit exceeded the average analyst view of net income of $1.35 per share and revenue of $22.1 billion.
If you follow IBM you know that its business is basically divided up into three components: the largest of which is services, followed by hardware, and then software. But all three businesses are
huge by comparison to most other companies in any of these sectors.
Hardware sales improved 8.9 percent to $5.58 billion, with the mainframe component of the hardware business up by 25 percent. Revenue from the software operation rose 8.5 percent to $4.41 billion.
From a margins perspective, software profitability improved to 85.3 percent from a year-ago level of 84.9 percent. Hardware margins were 37.7 percent, up from 37.1 percent.
What about services. Well, IBM’s services revenue increased by 2.7 percent coming in at $12 billion for the quarter. And profit margins from the services business improved, too. Last year they
were 26.1 percent and this year they came in at 27.8 percent. But many analysts were concerned about IBM’s global services business because the company reported that the services group had signed
only $10.5 billion in new contracts, which is down 29 percent from the same quarter last year. Furthermore, it seems to be a trend because it is the second straight disappointing quarter for new
services contracts – and that is the best indicator of future services revenue.
Let’s try to focus in now and narrow our analysis down to IBM’s database business.
The best we can do is look at revenues from IBM’s middleware brands, which include WebSphere, Information Management, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational products. Middleware revenue for the wuarter was
$3.4 billion, up 12 percent versus the third quarter of 2005. So, the overall trend for middleware software at IBM would appear to be healthy.
Turning our attention to Oracle, the Redwood Shores colossus reported its fiscal 2007 second quarter results in late December, and things are looking good for Oracle, too. The company reported $4.2
billion in revenue, beating out analysts estimates by about 1 percent. Oracle’s revenue in the same period last year was $3.39 billion. And net income registered $1.17 billion, or 20 percent
higher than the $972 million reported in the same quarter last year.
Revenue from software came in at $3.21 billion, representing 19 percent growth year over year. And new software license revenue for the quarter was up 14 percent over the same period last year
coming in at $1.21 billion. This was somewhat disappointing though because Oracle had predicted an increase of 15 to 20 percent.
Oracle’s services revenue came in at $949 million, up significantly over the $675 million reported in the second quarter last year.
Breaking down Oracle’s software results: database and middleware new license revenue was up 9 percent, but new license revenue for applications grew more rapidly at 28 percent. Total database and
middleware revenue came in at $2.146 billion (16 percent growth) and total applications revenue came in at $1.068 billion (39 percent growth).
In late October, Microsoft released its fiscal first quarter financial results and the news was quite good for their shareholders. Net profits were up 11 percent to $3.48 billion over the same
quarter last year. Overall sales rose 11 percent as well and came in at $10.8 billion.
Of particular interest though is the news that Microsoft attributed its successful quarter to a boost in database sales coupled with shrinking losses for its Xbox 360 product line. The company
cited a 30 percent year over year rise in sales for SQL Server. This is most likely due to customers upgrading from SQL Server 2000 to the newer SQL Server 2005.
Microsoft also communicated that its earnings outlook for the full-year would be in the range of $1.43 to $1.46 per share on revenue of $50 billion to $50.9 billion. This is in line with analyst
expectations of a yearly profit of $1.44 per share on sales of $50.3 billion.
So IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft continue to hum along financially. With that covered, let’s turn our attention to some of the more significant database-related news of the quarter.
On the Acquisition Front with Oracle
Why should this quarter be any different than any quarter over the past few years? Of course, in terms of Oracle’s acquisitive ways, it was not different. First up, Oracle announced its intent to
acquire Sunopsis in early October. Sunopsis is a French company that provides data integration software for high performance ETL (“Extract Transform Load”). Its software supports a broad range of
data sources and targets for data movement.
The plans are for Oracle to use the Sunopsis software to bolster its Oracle Fusion Middleware offerings. With Sunopsis, Oracle will be better able to integrate non-Oracle data sources with Oracle
data for its Fusion customers.
Financial terms of this deal were not disclosed.
A few weeks later, in late October, Oracle announced plans to acquire MetaSolv Solutions for $219 million in cash. The financial terms of this deal have Oracle paying a more than 20 percent premium
over the trading price of MetaSolv the day before the acquisition was announced.
MetaSolv Solutions, based in Plano, Texas, provides software designed to automate the process of ordering and activating service for wireless, wired and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service
providers. The company also offers software designed to help carriers manage their network operations.
MetaSolv’s customers include some of the biggest names in the communications industry, such as AT&T, Sprint, and Vodafone. Oracle plans to merge the MetaSolv business into its communications
global business unit once the deal is completed.
But Oracle was not yet finished acquiring companies this quarter. In early November it announced plans to acquire Stellent, Inc. for $440 million in cash. Stellent provides enterprise content
management (ECM) software that enable its customers to deploy multiple line-of-business applications, as well as to support multi-site management and enterprise-wide content management.
According to Oracle, the acquisition of Stellent and its Universal Content Management software will complement and improve upon its existing content management offerings, such as Oracle Content
database for storing and managing unstructured content. This move may be in response to IBM’s acquisition last quarter of FileNet, a company with similar content management capabilities.
And then, hot on the heels of the Stellent acquisition, Oracle announced yet a fourth acquisition this quarter. This time the target was SPL WorldGroup. Based in San Francisco, CA, SPL provides
revenue and operations management software for the utilities industry and tax management software for government organizations.
The SPL software is designed to allow the electric, gas and water industries to handle customer service and billing, mobile workforce needs, and the management of assets, distribution and outages.
This acquisition is in line with Oracle’s recent strategy of extending the lines of business its growing application portfolio can support. SPL extends Oracle’s ability to support utility
companies and public sector agencies.
Reasonably enough, Oracle plans to integrate the SPL business into a dedicated global utilities business unit within Oracle focused on supporting the utilities industry.
Finally, in mid-December Oracle offered to increase its stake in i-flex Solutions to 90 percent. In August 2005 Oracle acquired 41 percent of i-flex, an Indian firm that specializes in banking
software. If the offer is successful Oracle would be paying $1.3 billion to increase its stake in the company to 90 percent. The offer was still on the table at the time of this writing (late
Oracle Settles a Suit
But acquisitions were not the only thing on Oracle’s agenda this quarter. In mid-October Oracle agreed to settle an on-going lawsuit with the US Government. Terms of the agreement call for Oracle
to pay $98.5 million to settle charges that PeopleSoft provided false pricing information to obtain a federal contract.
According to a Justice Department press release, federal agencies overpaid for PeopleSoft products from March 1997 through September 2005 because of faulty disclosures by PeopleSoft, which was
acquired by Oracle two years ago. Evidently, the settlement was the largest ever for a single company that had multiple contracts with the General Services Administration.
Although Oracle said it was not aware of the suit when it bought PeopleSoft, the company co-operated fully with the investigation and claims to be pleased that the issue is fully resolved.
Oracle Wins a Shootout in Chicago
Oracle emerged victorious against SAP in the second annual human capital management (HCM) shootout at the HR Technology Conference and Exposition held the beginning of October in Chicago. In excess
of 450 HR executives and professionals rated live product demonstrations of Oracle and SAP and voted on what they say. And Oracle was crowned the overall inner.
I don’t know if this actually means anything substantive, but I thought it was interesting enough to bring it to your attention. I mean, shootouts of this nature are very subjective and beauty is
in the eye of the beholder, right?
Patches, I’m Depending on You Son
Oracle’s quarterly critical patch update is becoming quite the spectacle. Journalists write about what they think will be in the update the week before, and then dissect it the week after. And
security consultants are quick to comment and criticize.
I guess the big news this quarter was that Oracle began rating vulnerabilities according to the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), a system backed by Cisco Systems. and IBM. This system
offers a way to standardize the method by which security flaws are rated. This information was provided in an executive summary making it easier to figure out what the critical patch upgrade
addresses and the potential impact of the patches.
The Oracle critical patch update was released on October 17th and it included 101 new patches that spanned across its various product lines. There were 63 patches that focused on Oracle’s database
One issue raised by pundits this time around was that some of the flaws addressed by the critical patch update appeared to be identical to flaws that were supposed to have been patched previously.
Obviously, this is a troubling trend if it continues – who wants to keep patching and re-fixing their DBMS software. It is reasonable to expect that once something is patched, the same exact
problem should not re-surface unless there are quality management problems with the software development and testing process.
Another Applications Competitor for Oracle
In early November, Workday, the new company headed by former PeopleSoft CEO Dave Duffield, launched its first product, an on-demand enterprise resource planning software suite. Workday’s offering
competes with Salesforce.com, but also with the on-demand software offerings of Oracle and SAP.
Duffield founded PeopleSoft in 1987, stepped down in 1999, only to return in 2004 during the turmoil of the Oracle acquisition of PeopleSoft.
Although the new company is small in comparison to its major competitors, Duffield should not be treated lightly, as he offers a deep wealth of ERP applications knowledge.
The first software suite released by Workday focuses on HR, the main strength of the former PeopleSoft. Workday plans to release three additional suites next year: Workday Financial Management,
Workday Resource Management and Workday Revenue Management.
Well, Duffield better hurry if he is intent on long-term squabbling with Oracle. Just before the end of the year Oracle announced the results of its latest customer survey. And customers are happy.
The survey reported on the satisfaction levels of companies that rely on Oracle’s applications, including Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel, and JD Edwards.
The results show that on average, customer satisfaction has increased by 16 percent over the past year, and that 98 percent of Oracle’s applications customers plan to use, expand or upgrade their
According to survey respondents the high level of satisfaction can be attributed to many factors, including the breadth of Oracle’s portfolio, innovation within the product lines and “world
So, if the survey results are to be believed, Oracle is doing a good job of catering to its applications customer’s needs.
Oracle Embraces the Penguin?
As we briefly discussed earlier, Oracle has unveiled their Linux play under the banner of Oracle Unbreakable Linux. Announced by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison at Oracle Open World, Oracle plans to offer
full, enterprise-class support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, including software updates but without the Red Hat branding.
According to the International Oracle User Group, about half of its members run their Oracle databases on Linux. So one can see why this is a potentially lucrative move for Oracle.
And what else is intriguing about this move? Well, Oracle has never before offered an operating system and now, they do. Sort of. I mean, Linux is not really Oracle’s, is it? But Oracle is
aggressively promoting itself as a Linux vendor. A baseline Linux support contract from Oracle will be priced at half of what Red Hat charges.
But it is unclear what the long term effects of this announcement will be for Red Hat. The stock market reacted immediately and Red Hat’s stock dropped, but by the end of December it had bounced
back to its former price level.
In my opinion, the move is a potential problem for Red Hat. Oracle is a fierce competitor and if they are serious about the open source support market, then Red Hat will likely suffer lost business
at Oracle’s hands. Furthermore, buying a complete server package of software and support for both the OS and DBMS from Oracle might be viewed as a good thing by many of Oracle’s customers.
But Red Hat is not the only potential loser due to this announcement. What does this mean for Sun Microsystems? Sun and Oracle have been partners for quite awhile, but if Oracle is out touting its
own OS – and one competitive to Sun at that – then Sun stands to potentially lose some business, too.
Of course, Sun has competed with Red Hat ever since Red Hat came into business, and if the Oracle move hurts Red Hat, many at Sun will view it as a positive regardless of its impact on Sun. Well,
unless the majority of Sun’s Oracle server business dries up. But I don’t think that will happen – at least not in the short term.
And how about some conjecture? Don’t completely discount the notion that Oracle may swoop in and buy Red Hat at some point in the future. If Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux gambit succeeds it most
certainly will coincide with a drop in Red Hat’s stock price. At which point, Oracle may see an acquisition as being advantageous. We’ll just have to keep our eye on this siutation to see how it
Finally, in late October Oracle announced that it had joined the Free Standards Group. The announcement indicates that Oracle plans to contribute to FSG’s Linux Standard Base workgroup. Oracle’s
contributions also will include feedback and guidance on requirements for developing and supporting enterprise applications for Linux.
Red Hat Defiant in Wake of Oracle Unbreakable Linux Annoucnement
In the wake of Oracle’s Linux news, Red Hat announced that it will not cut its prices for Linux support contracts to businesses. If you are interested in the remainder of Red Hat’s response to
Oracle, checf it out on their web site at http://www.redhat.com/promo/unfakeable/ .
IBM Tops Oracle in Software Sales
During the week of Oracle Open World’s conference in San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that IBM is officially the second
largest software provider, bypassing former number two Oracle, but still behind number one Microsoft.
In its most recent quarter, IBM software generated $4.4 billion in revenue, and it’s the company’s main profit generator,
with an 85 percent profit margin. Thirty-seven percent of IBM’s profit comes from software. In 2005, it sold $15.8 billion worth of software, topping the $14.4 billion that Oracle posted in fiscal
2006, which ended June 30.
I find this news interesting. Often times IBM is excluded from software company discussions because they also sell hardware and services, so they are not always viewed as an ISV (independent
software vendor). But I always thought this was unfair to IBM. After all, Oracle sells services, too. And Microsoft sells hardware, too – I mean, what is an XBOX if not hardware?
So give IBM their due… they are number two!
IBM Unveils Dynamic Data Warehouse Powered by DB2 9
In other IBM news, late October saw the debut of the IBM Dynamic Data Warehouse. Built on DB2 9 (formerly known as Viper), the new DB2 Data Warehouse 9 utilizes IBM’s patented pureXML technology.
It also incorporates DB2 9 “venom” technology that compresses row data to reduce storage requirements, improve I/O efficiency, and provide quicker data access from the disk.
“As a result of the groundbreaking features in DB2 9, we are seeing a great deal of customer interest,” said Arvind Krishna, vice president IBM data servers. “Our customers are telling us that
DB2 9 has ushered in a new era of data server technology that helps them to grow their businesses. By extending these features into DB2 Data Warehouse 9 we have again raised the bar and delivered
the industry’s most advanced dynamic warehousing platform.”
Although this is a useful data warehousing initiative from IBM, it is basically just announcing the marriage of the latest DB2 features into its dynamic data warehousing offering.
IBM To Acquire Consul
In early December, IBM announced it would be acquiring Consul Risk Management, Inc., a privately held software company headquartered in Delft, Netherlands. Consul is a provider of compliance and
security audit software that helps companies track, report and investigate non-compliant behavior, such as unauthorized activity by information technology (IT) administrators or other users. The
acquisition adds data governance and compliance monitoring, auditing and reporting capabilities across mainframe and distributed environments to IBM’s Service Management portfolio.
Basically, Consul provides an “auditor-in-a-box” solution for compliance initiatives by using a single management technology dashboard. Consul’s monitoring and auditing capabilities cover an
array of systems, applications and resources, including the mainframe. The technology provides visibility to insider threats and specific reporting designed to help address compliance activities
related to regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and IBM anticipates that the deal should close sometime in the first quarter of the 2007
calendar year. IBM plans to incorporate Consul into its Tivoli software unit.
Microsoft signs Linux pact with Novell
And what happened in the world of Microsoft this quarter? The most intriguing event was the “partnership” agreement it signed with Novell in early November.
As part of the deal, Microsoft announced it would support Novell’s SUSE Linux on machines that run Windows. Microsoft also will offer sales support for SUSE Linux and also co-develop technologies
with Novell to make it easier for users to run both SUSE Linux and Microsoft Windows on their computers.
Microsoft and Novell also said that they will collaborate on development of specific technologies, for example to help Microsoft’s Windows, work with SUSE Linux. And on the business side, the
companies agreed to promote each other’s products.
In addition, and this is probably the portion of the deal that made the most “noise” in the trade press, the two companies agreed upon a deal regarding patents. The deal, designed to give SUSE
Linux customers “peace of mind” about using Novell’s Linux and open source offerings, essentially says that Novell will pay royalties to Microsoft and, in turn, Microsoft will not attempt to
enforce its patents (which purportedly may be being used by some of the open source software).
So Microsoft tries to spin the move as their move into being an open source proponent and Novell tries to spin the move as validating their Linux to make it more attractive to large businesses
which may have feared patent infringements.
In my opinion, this deal warrants a huge yawn. Microsoft is not becoming an open source proponent no matter what anyone says. Its bread and butter is its proprietary software – and that is just
One troubling aspect of the deal is that it appears to be at odds with the General Public License (GPL) for open source software. Section 7 of the GPL requires that you have, and pass along to
everybody, the right to distribute software freely and without additional permission. If Novell is paying Microsoft royalties for software it is distributing via the GPL, this would seem to be a
Later in November, Computerworld reported that Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said that Linux infringes on Microsoft’s intellectual property. In a Q+A session at PASS, Ballmer talked about the
Novell deal and indicated that Microsoft was motivated to sign it because Linux “uses our intellectual property” and Microsoft wanted to “get the appropriate economic return.”
So it would seem that Microsoft will be on the lookout for more of these royalty deals – or perhaps, will take legal action against companies who have usurped Microsoft’s intellectual property.
Things could get ugly folks!
Flessner Promises SQL Server Improvements
Also at the PASS conference, Paul Flessner, outgoing head of development, spoke about improvements in the works for upcoming versions of SQL Server. The company promises to make SQL Server easier
to administer, more scalable, and more secure.
Flessner said that Microsoft is also working to enhance the data mining and data synchronization capabilities of SQL Server, as well as to improve its handling of multimedia data. “We need to move
beyond relational and go from words and numbers to sights and sounds,” said Flessner.
Flessner talked about these improvements as being part of the next upgrade of SQL Server, code-named Katmai, targeted for delivery in 2008. This is significant as the last upgrade cycle for SQL
Server took five years, whereas a 2008 delivery would be a three year cycle.
But perhaps all of this should be taken with a grain of salt anyway. According to Kevin Kline, president of PASS, serious uptake of SQL Server 2005 is hovering at around only 20 percent or so.
SQL Server SP2 Update
In early November, Microsoft released the latest Community Technology Preview (CTP) for SQL Server 2005 SP2. The offering will support the upcoming Windows Vista operating system and integrate with
the new Microsoft Office 2007 software business productivity suite.
The CTP is available online and allows Microsoft SQL Server 2005 customers to get a sneak peak at the upcoming service pack. New capabilities of SP2 include compression in the database engine, data
mining from SQL Server Analytical Services that can be used with Excel 2007 and Visio 2007, as well as integration of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services with SharePoint Server 2007.
Interestingly, there has been some discussion within the SQL Server community about the wisdom of including new functionality in a service pack, which is typically reserved for packaging together
patches and updates. Other DBMS vendors have gone back and forth over this issue in the past (notably IBM with DB2 for z/OS), and most users do not like having new functionality delivered with bug
fixes and maintenance. We’ll see if Microsoft eventually reconsiders.
At any rate, SP2 of SQL Server 2005 is expected to formally ship in the first quarter of 2007 after both Vista and Office 2007 have been released.
More Open Source News
Although we have discussed some open source news already, there are several additional areas worthy of note this past quarter. High on that list is Oracle’s on-going attention to Berkely DB.
Remember that Oracle purchased Sleepycat Software, the makers of Berkeley DB, back in the first quarter of 2006.
Early in the quarter Oracle released an update for the recently acquired open source DBMS. The new version, Version 4.5, adds multi-version concurrency control and several other updates spanning
performance, availability, and ease of use.
In other DBMS-related open source news, EnterpriseDB was active this quarter. The New Jersey-based company announced it had opened a development center in Pune, India early in October. EnterpriseDB
plans to ramp up employment in Pune to 50 people, or 25 percent of its total workforce by June 2007.
Yet another open source DBMS company, MySQL, was making news this quarter, this time for what the company says it will not be doing. According to an October story on Slashdot, MySQL was purported
to have quietly stopped supporting Debian Linux.
But evidently, this is not true. In mid-December, MySQL public relations indicated that the company has a strong commitment to Debian, as well as other forms of Linux.
Well, so ends another year – and another edition of The Database Report. Be sure to check in again with The Database Report next quarter, and indeed, all of next year, for our on-going update on
the news and issues impacting database users and the DBMS market.