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IBM Unleashes the Dogs of DB2... PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 May 2011 00:00

…well, to some extent at least. IBM announced an aggressive DB2 migration program aimed at Oracle Database users late last week (details here). They’ve put together a wide range of offerings – mostly free – designed to help customers figure out whether dumping Oracle for DB2 is the right move from a cost, technology, and performance standpoint.

Their timing is pretty good. The hubbub Oracle caused by dropping Itanium in April isn’t really paying off in the way that the company probably anticipated. Right after their announcement, we surveyed 450 enterprise customers (94% of whom use at least some Oracle products) to get their opinions on Oracle’s move and their general feelings about the company.

What we found is that customers aren’t very happy with the “New Oracle,” because they’re now dealing with a dominant enterprise software vendor that’s also pushing a line of hardware. More than two-thirds of our survey respondents said that their opinion of Oracle has dropped since the company purchased Sun and took over the hardware business.

Customers expect to see Oracle become even more aggressive by actively pursuing strategies that use Oracle’s position in software to put platform competitors at a disadvantage vs. Oracle hardware offerings.

Based on results from this survey, there’s a strong possibility that Oracle may face a customer revolt against these heavy-handed tactics. Even Oracle’s flagship database is under pressure these days. When we asked respondents about the current outlook for various Oracle products (see chart below), only 39% of Oracle Database customers say that they’re currently “Happy, not looking.” Just as many respondents say that they are either actively looking for alternatives or in the process of migrating away from Oracle Database.

So IBM is certainly striking while the iron is hot. Oracle customers are looking around, and IBM’s DB2 folks have put together a comprehensive slate of free offerings that should start a lot of conversations.

They also have a built-in market: the HP Integrity customers whom Oracle tossed over the side. This is a large group of sizeable customers who would be more than happy to return the favor by dropping Oracle as quickly and abruptly as possible.

One of the biggest hurdles that IBM faces in this task is overcoming the mythology about the difficulty of moving from one database or application to another. Back in the 90s it was a huge chore fraught with danger. For many data center managers, the idea of changing from one database to another evoked a mental picture of dragons with the words, “There Be Monsters Here” overlaid.

But it’s a different story today. Just like hardware, software has become much more standardized. From what I’ve heard, moving between databases – particularly the major ones –just isn’t all that difficult. I’m going to do a bit more digging into this topic and will report my findings.

I have the feeling that this info will come in handy. I’m anticipating a lot of client calls asking about the process of moving from one database to another and switching out enterprise application suites, too. It looks like Oracle didn’t just restart the smoldering server wars; they kindled new blazes in their database and application business lines as well.


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