Oracle dominates: Database deployment in the SAP environment

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Datenbanken von SAP-Plattformen.
Databases of SAP platforms.
Photo: RAAD Research

This is shown by the current survey by RAAD among 1, 388 IT managers. For more than a decade, Oracle has been the undisputed database vendor for German SAP customers, benefiting greatly from SAP success. It is true that all relevant database manufacturers have recorded positive sales growth worldwide in recent years. However, this has not yet led to significant shifts in the market segmentation of SAP existing customers. The sales growth is mainly due to the exponential growth in data volumes in the companies. Through the acquisition of Sybase, SAP has strongly set its strategy towards mobile solutions and will increasingly connect mobile devices to the SAP ERP systems in the future. The data volume to be moved and stored is hereby once again increased many times over, which could fuel further growth in the database environment. Of course, SAP has also profited in the past from Oracle's database reputation, as the system combination of two world market leaders was sold well.

On the other hand, of course, the SAP is a thorn in the side when the main competitor in the ERP market at two out of three German SAP customers earned. This culminates in the never-ending press and internet disputes between Larry Ellison and Hasso Plattner. SAP has made every effort in the past to free the SAP systems from Oracle's databases. Neither open-source databases nor strategic partnerships with IBM and Microsoft have succeeded in replacing Oracle as a leading database system. This is certainly still a long way from the current state. However, since 2006, RAAD has noted a steady decline in Oracle database customers among its existing SAP customers, and at the end of 2010 it had reached its lowest point ever, at 67 percent. For the first time Oracle fell below the 70 percent mark. At the same time, since 2006, SAP has recorded good growth with MaxDB in terms of customer numbers. MaxDB was able to gain just under four percentage points of its existing stock of SAP customers at this time, which means that MaxDB currently has a share of eleven percent. The database is now owned by SAP, but it can be used free of charge in the non-SAP segment. The MSSQLServer from Microsoft, which currently accounts for 13 percent of existing SAP customers, also continued to go up. Both products are increasingly being used by medium-sized customers. Both parties benefit here from the fact that SAP has continuously gained market share in the medium-sized ERP market in recent years, as market research by RAAD shows. For new implementations of SAP systems in the German middle class, Oracle hardly plays a role.

Zeitlicher Verlauf der Nutzung verschiedener Datenbanken.
Time course of using different databases.
Photo: RAAD Research

In the existing customer market, migrations from Oracle databases to other manufacturers are rather rare. For one, the effort is very large. Most DBMS systems are a cornerstone in IT, around which the rest of the landscape is built. That's why, on the other hand, the risk of migration is considered high, since SAP often covers business-critical business processes. A migration is therefore often only in the course of a major SAP release change in question. If the competition is to win Oracle customers, it must dramatically simplify the process of replacing Oracle database systems for users, while offering lower TCOs. IBM is embarking on this path and has made DB2 compatibility with Oracle databases compatible with DB2 Version 9.7, so it could adopt proprietary Oracle DB capabilities. This greatly facilitates the transition from Oracle to DB2. An advantage for IBM is certainly that the DB2 version 9 has a compression feature, which can lead to significant savings in hard disk capacity. As a result, IBM has succeeded in persuading a number of large SAP customers to migrate to DB2. For example, in the current RAAD survey of SAP inventory customers, one percent of companies said that they were swapping the current database product for a competitor's product. Half of the projects are migrations from Oracle databases to DB2 from IBM. The rate was ten times higher than for migrations from IBM DB2 to Oracle. Converted to the total existing customers, the quota is too low, however, that IBM could move quickly towards Oracle's share of the installed base. Currently, 12 percent of SAP customers rely on DB2 technology.