Eye on Oracle

Jan 26 2012   4:52PM GMT

Oracle vs. SAP…in databases?

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

In a press conference yesterday, SAP Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe declared that the company will be going after Oracle…in the database market.

According to a Wall Street Journal blurbon the press conference, Snabe said that SAP is “ready to go for leadership in two new categories; namely the database business and the cloud business.”

The database business is one in which Oracle owns almost 50% of the market share. SAP, at about 2%, is barely a blip on the screen. And yet no one should be that surprised by Snabe’s comments. SAP is lining up its in-memory¬†High-Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA)¬†against appliances from Oracle such as Exadata and Exalytics. SAP has been pushing the in-memory database message for a while now, and is placing a bet that more companies will move toward in-memory for better performance.

Can SAP become a leader in databases? It is certainly possible, and not without precedent. IT companies rise and fall, and sometimes it happens quickly. I remember a few years back when Sun Microsystems started getting into the x86 server space. The company quickly built up its share competing against the likes of big boys IBM, HP and Dell. Then as Oracle acquired Sun, the company’s share in the x86 server market is going down just as rapidly, as Oracle is uninterested in selling low-margin x86 hardware. So certainly these are grand proclamations by SAP, but still worth keeping an eye on.

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