Oracle announced today the general availability of 11g for the Linux platform only. You Windows and Unix guys will just have to wait your turn! Don’t worry though, because if historical trends are any indication, you’ll be rolling in 11g love a mere month or so from now.
Much was said of why Oracle chose to release on Linux first and decline comment on the other OS’s, with most of it focusing on the fact that Linux was “here to stay” or “mission critical” or whatever. That very well may be be the case, but I decided to dig a bit deeper thanks to an inside tip from one of my many infamous blog spies.
After the tip, I called over to Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna, who follows Oracle, to discuss 11g, Linux, and the fact that Windows SQL Server is pretty hot right now. Hot enough for Oracle to take notice anyway, and make a huge push behind Linux. Was it Oracle making bank off of Linux, or Oracle positioning itself against Microsoft? Both?
We agreed that Linux is a huge moneymaker for Oracle, and has been for some time. Another analyst firm, Gartner, compiled some numbers recently that bare this out: Gartner’s recent report showed that Oracle on Linux grew 72% in 2006, which was faster than overall relational database management system market growth and faster than “general RDBMS growth” on Linux (67%).
Wim Coekaerts, Oracle’s vice president of Linux engineering, told me during a call we had set up for LinuxWorld that the growth is expected to continue. More Unbreakable Linux customers were announced at LinuxWorld, including game company Activision, which will “gradually” switch over to Oracle Linux (based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and has purchased support from Oracle. There’s already more than a few dozen customers on record saying they went to Oracle for their Linux support, but Coekaerts said the list has grown much larger than that since Oracle Linux was announced in late 2006. FYI — More on that call and our Oracle 11g on Linux coverage will be live soon on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com.
Michael Dolan, who works for IBM but blogs 100% independently from that company on his blog at MichaelDolan.com, put things into perspective with some thoughts on 11g, Linux and hardware a few weeks back.
Ok, I added the “[Oracle 11g] for Linux” b/c I’m sure they still support all the usual platforms. I actually saw this today and thought… hmmm… what will happen to all those 10g (or pre-10g) Solaris, HPUX and Windows systems when those customers go to upgrade? Solaris and SPARC are on their way out, Windows = Microsoft and Oracle hates that, and HPUX is on a rotting Itanium vine and many users wouldn’t dare go there… I suspect with Oracle going to Linux as its primary OS of choice (RHEL based) we’ll probably see yet another round of thousands of systems moving onto Linux.
Sure it’s skewed because he works for IBM, but does the message bear out where the messenger might be tainted by some bias?
IDC and Forrester don’t track specific numbers, only market share, so comparisons between the number of Oracle databases on Linux and Windows are hard to come by. However, Yuhanna told me during our call that Windows customers are a “lost cause” to Oracle because by and by they are completely content with SQL Server and would be hard pressed to switch soon, if ever. But Linux is growing by leaps and bounds, and Unix is still there to be cannibalized. Oracle, Yuhanna said, might be using Linux not only as a moneymaker, but as a defense against losing more market share to SQL Server.
Oh, and they might acquire Red Hat. Maybe. Stay tuned to SearchEnterpriseLinux.com and sister site SearchOracle.com for more on this soon.