Linux winning as Oracle database platform of choice

Cheaper Linux threatens to topple Unix next year. Solaris 10 is also in decline.

Consolidating disparate databases for easier management as well as moving to Linux to save money are among the top issues for Oracle database users, according to a recent survey of members of the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG).

Members say their top prorities are migrating to the latest Oracle 10g database, consolidating servers and moving to a service oriented architecture (SOA). The results were released earlier this month, in advance of the annual IOUG meeting, Collaborate 2006. Approximately half of the respondents are database administrators, a fifth are from the development and architecture community, and 13% are IT managers or executives.

While commercial Unix still dominates as the platform for Oracle databases and applications, Linux is expected to become the leading platform by next year, with 44% of respondents expecting to run Linux. That would surpass the proportion running Sun Solaris OS, which is expected to drop next year, despite Sun’s open-sourcing of Solaris 10 in 2005. Oracle has supported Linux since 1999.

Oracle still has more users on Windows than on Linux, although numbers are dropping. Some 60% of respondents run a database on Windows, a figure expected to fall to 48% by next year. Windows 2000 is the most popular platform, followed by Windows Server 2003.

Heterogeneous environments dominate, with only 7% of respondents running pure Oracle shops. A significant insight from the survey was that 70% of respondents also run Microsoft’s SQL Server, up from 41% who did so in a 2001 survey.

More than half also run Microsoft Access, and more than a quarter run IBM’s DB2, up from 18% who said they did so in 2001.

MySQL, the fast-growing open-source database, is used by a quarter of Oracle users, mostly as a front-end caching database to support external queries, the survey found.

Not only are environments heterogeneous, they’re also scattered. Almost half of users reported that they run more than 20 Oracle databases at their sites. The median database is 50GB in size, and one in four is larger than 1TB.

The expected migration of Oracle 9i, the five-year-old database still widely used by respondents, to Oracle 10g over the next year will give many users the chance to consolidate. Implementing grids and clusters is much easier in Oracle 10g, Kaplan says. (The g in 10g stands for grid.)

The largest segment of Oracle shops (41%) use Oracle Development Suite to develop applications. But two environments are gaining ground: Oracle Application Express, formerly HTML DB, which has grown “from zero to 12%” in one year, Kaplan says, and Microsoft Visual Studio, which is used by a fifth of survey respondents. IBM WebSphere and the open-source Eclipse toolkit are also gaining popularity, while older toolkits such as PowerBuilder, ColdFusion, Borland and NetBeans are losing steam.

The SQL and PL/SQL languages are each still used by about three-quarters of respondents. Java is used by about four in every ten respondents, followed by Perl, Visual Basic and C/C++.

PeopleSoft (23%), Oracle (20%) and SAP (19%) are the most popular enterprise application suites for Oracle database users. Open source ERP and CRM systems (16%) and custom-developed systems (12%) are catching up, though, the survey shows.

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