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For the first time, Oracle sold more software than IBM in 2013

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April 2, 2014

For the first time ever, Oracle has managed to sell more software than IBM in 2013, placing Oracle second only to Microsoft, according to market analyst Gartner.

To be sure, Oracle made $29.6 billion last year, an increase of 3.4 percent over 2012 and pushing it from the world’s third largest to second-largest software maker.

IBM, which had been world number two, fell one place to third – just behind Oracle on revenue of $29 billion, representing a growth of just 1.3 percent.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Salesforce also chalked up a first, breaking into Gartner’s top 10 for the first time.

Salesforce earned $3.78 billion last year, an increase of 33.2 percent on 2012 numbers. Last year, Salesforce was outside the top 10, at number 12.

The company is the antithesis of Oracle and IBM, which has made a business from CRM sold not as an installable piece of software but as a service.

This is the first time a cloud or SaaS providers has made it into Gartner’s top 10. Gartner research vice president Joanne Correia said in a statement the debut is testament to the fact that the cloud is driving up the bulk of change in the software market.

Turning to Microsoft, the software giant remained the world’s biggest software maker, earning more than twice as much as IBM or Oracle-- $65.7 billion, an increase of 6 percent year-over-year.

However, it’s the scuffle between IBM and Oracle that’s significant, given they are both enterprise IT giants trying to reposition themselves to get a strong grip on the cloud market.

The difference between Big Blue and Oracle is relatively small, but the psychological impact is significant, nevertheless. Neither company has had a fantastic year.

Oracle’s growth has been slowing while it has been trying to spin up belated cloud hosting businesses and services. For its part, IBM has stumbled badly-- hit by falling hardware sales and struggling on the cloud, it’s now spending about $1.2 billion to roll out no less than 40 cloud data centres to make up it lost business.

Larry Ellison has long wanted to make his company the new IBM, based on size and status. But the competition has been on servers – particularly integrated systems, one reason Ellison acquired Sun Microsystems’ server business four years ago.

Meanwhile, Big Blue has pinned its future to software. IBM’s goal under a five-year roadmap published in 2010 is for EPS of $20 a share in 2015 – with about half of IBM’s profits coming from software. It will be tough to achive that goal, however.

IBM has sold its x86 server business to Lenovo – the final step in exiting low-profit hardware that started with its sale of the IBM PC business in 2005, also to Lenovo.

Particularly painful for IBM will be the fact that Gartner thinks Oracle’s growth has come from big data and analytics. IBM has been pushing both, through sales of things such as its SPSS predictive analytics software and initiatives such as Smart Cities.

Chad Eschinger, Gartner research vice president, said in a statement-- “Global trends around big data and analytics with business investment in database and cloud-based applications helped to drive Oracle's top-line growth."

In other IT news

MariaDB is launching version 10 of its open source database today. It has woken up to the importance of giving its users access to non-relational databases.

New in version 10 is the CONNECT engine, which can link up the MariaDB database system to outside sources of data, and Cassandra-compatibility features.

Maria DB 'CONNECT' can access information managed by NoSQL software, such as Riak and MongoDB, offering system admins read/write access to various data sets through traditional SQL commands, along with some other features.

"With CONNECT, MariaDB has one of the most advanced implementations of Management of External Data (MED) without the need of complex additions to the SQL syntax (foreign tables are "normal" tables using the CONNECT engine)," said Team MariaDB.

It's worth noting that MySQL has had a similar capability for several years via its implementation of the Mem Cached API for slurping NoSQL data into its InnoDB storage engine.

This technology also offers MySQL developers a way to link NoSQL web applications into MySQL infrastructure, allowing them to present and further integrate with modern applications built with these systems without having to indulge in the long and complex migration of a production database.

Additionally, with version 10, system admins can access data directly from NoSQL Cassandra databases within open-source MariaDB.

Besides the CONNECT engine and Cassandra capabilities, MariaDB version 10 also has new features based on technology developed at Google (parallel replication), and Chinese web giant Taobao (per-thread memory usage, multi-source replication) and it's also gained dynamic columns.

Alongside the release, major MariaDB developer SkySQL released the second version of its "Enterprise" paid-for distribution of the technology. This backs MariaDB installs with a subscription-based support policy.

"What we now offer is, along with the MariaDB ten launch and going forward, an enterprise-grade distribution. That means number one support. The vast majority of support is more consultative than it is break-fix," explained SkySQL's vice president of product management Roger Levy. The MariaDB Enterprise version costs $5,000 per server per year.

The purpose of the MariaDB Foundation is to ensure that there is not just one person or one company that is driving MariaDB/MySQL development. It is the custodian of the MariaDB code and guardian of the MariaDB community.

The MariaDB Foundation also holds the trademark of the MariaDB server. This ensures that the official MariaDB development tree will always be open for the MariaDB developer community.

It's the MariaDB Foundation that ensures that all community patches, including MySQL source code, are merged into MariaDB. It also does the builds and QA of MariaDB and provides a lot of the MariaDB documentation.

In other IT news

Data storage system provider Scality said earlier this morning that it's developing its RING object storage platform to use Seagate’s Kinetic family of drives.

These disk drives implement an on-board key/value store and are directly accessed over Ethernet networks using Get and Put requests.

Each drive has two 1 Gbit/s Ethernet ports that are both easy to configure. Scality’s RING storage device appliance uses scale-out nodes that can grow to multi-petabyte levels of data storage capacity.

Overall, Seagate has developed its Kinetic drives with the goal of rendering a storage array controller layer-- what Seagate calls the storage server tier, in the application-to-disk-access stack redundant, and thus giving large scale/big data storage providers a more cost-effective storage solution.

Scality CEO Jerome Lecat says-- “The Seagate Kinetic Open Storage platform represents exactly the kind of innovation required to achieve the full promise of the Software-Defined Data Centre.”

There are few details, however. We know Scality is testing its Kinetic RING in the Rausch Netzwerktechnik Bigfoot Object Storage Solution (BOSS) which is aimed at scale-out cloud customers.

A BOSS 4U chassis contains 72 disk drives, according to the Seagate release giving 288 TB. It uses Seagate’s 4 TB Kinetic drives. A BOSS Rack of 10 x 4U chassis provides 2.8 PB of data storage capacity.

The 4U chassis has an Ethernet switch on its backplane. We wrote about Seagate and Rausch Netzwerktechnik GmbH in early March. Now Scality has been revealed as being involved as well.

The Rausch website has an added BigFoot Object storage product, added to the XXL and JBOD variants we mentioned before. There are also BigFoot XXFast and XXCold products.

The BOSS object storage text on the site says each drive has its own IP address. Scality storage is based on a ring structure of X86 server nodes that store objects and operate in parallel.

The servers provide the storage media. It must be modifying its RING disk storage access to talk to the Kinetic drives via Gets and Puts. We might imagine that each Scality X86 node could have an Ethernet-attached 4U BOSS chassis.

There is clearly a lot of processing to do with object storage and thus the balance between x86 CPU/memory resources and the amount of storage must be considered, otherwise you could load a single X86 server with a rack of disks.

Source: Gartner Market Research.

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