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A 64% majority of organizations now require that their databases deliver a minimum of four, “nines” of uptime 99.99% or better for their most mission critical applications . That is the equivalent of 52 minutes of unplanned downtime per database/per annum or just over one minute of downtime per week as a result of an unplanned outage.

Those are the results of ITIC’s 2013 – 2014 Database Reliability and Deployment Trends Survey, an independent Web-based survey which polled 600 organizations worldwide during May/June 2013. The nearly two-thirds of respondents who indicated they need 99.99% or greater availability is a 10% increase over the 54% who said they required a minimum of four nines reliability in ITIC’s 2011-2012 Database Reliability survey.

This trend will almost certainly continue unabated owing in large part to an increase in mainstream user deployments of databases running Big Data Analytics, Business Intelligence (BI), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications. These applications are data intensive and closely align with organizations’ main-line-of-business and recurring revenue stream. Hence, any downtime on a physical, virtual or cloud-based DB will likely cause immediate disruptions that will quickly impact the corporation’s bottom line.

The independent poll queried customers on a wide range of technology topics to determine the issues that positively or negatively impact the reliability and availability of corporate databases and impact daily operations as well as overarching Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return on Investment (ROI) over the entire database lifecycle. These issues include:

  • Inherent database reliability, high availability and disaster recovery (DR)
  • Database availability based on the amount of time DB managers need to take the database offline to perform planned maintenance and upgrades
  • Manageability and ease of use
  • Security
  • Mission critical confidence of the database to support data intensive workloads
  • Business Intelligence
  • Virtualization, Cloud capabilities and support

The survey also polled businesses on a variety of business issues that influence their purchasing decisions including:

  • Planned private, hybrid and public cloud DB deployments
  • A rise in in-memory DB solution usage
  • Customer satisfaction with vendor technical service and support

Survey Highlights/Trends

The latest ITIC Database Reliability and Deployment Trends survey results show that a 58% majority of organizations are satisfied with the overall performance of their databases. However, the poll also shows an ongoing concern among C-level executives, IT managers and DB administrators that their databases deliver a high degree of manageability, ease of use and deployment and provisioning capabilities in order to maintain high reliability as database workloads become increasingly larger and more data intensive. IBM’s DB2 and Microsoft’s SQL Server customers remain the most satisfied in this regard.

The survey results also indicate organizations will place increasing emphasis on manageability, performance, cost and security when making decisions regarding their database and server strategies over the next 12 months.
Among the survey highlights and findings:

  • DBs are increasingly deployed in Virtualized and Private and Hybrid Clouds: Approximately three-quarters 77% of SME respondents and 88% of large enterprises run their DBs in virtualized environments an increase of 16% and 12%, respectively in the past 18 months. The percentage of DBs running in private and hybrid cloud deployments is also increasing: over 50% of those polled say they are putting their mission critical DBs in the cloud. However, only 27% of survey respondents say they have put their most mission critical DBs in public clouds.
  • Overall DB Performance: A 57% majority of survey participants indicated that the reliability of their databases and their server hardware declined when they significantly increased the workloads; however only 12% of IBM DB2 users who participated in the survey said they saw a decline in reliability due to higher workloads. By contrast 42% of Oracle customers experienced a drop in reliability.
  •   BM DB2 users: Eight out of 10 or 82% of IBM DB2 customers chose the platform for its’ reliability, followed by 75% who selected it on the basis of its high performance and 73% who purchased it because of the strength and stability of the IBM brand and its recognized position as database market leader.
  • Oracle DB users: Just over half — 56% of survey respondents said they selected the Oracle DB platform for its reliability; 50% purchased Oracle because it is a market leader in the database industry while 41% said they opted for Oracle DB because of its performance and 40% indicated their firm’s strong relationship with Oracle influenced their purchasing decision.
  • Microsoft SQL Server DB users: Just over three-quarters or 76% of SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2012 users said they opted for the DB because of its reliability, followed by 61% who chose it for price while 55% selected it for performance and 50% chose the database because Microsoft is a market leader.
  • SAP HANA usage increases dramatically: ITIC’s latest Reliability poll found that three-out-of 10 participants said they either currently use or have definitive plans to install SAP’s HANA in-memory database within the next 12 months. According to SAP’s own internal statistics, HANA is the fastest-growing product in the company’s history. The company said it has in excess of 1,500 customers, up from 900 in March 2013.
  • Overall customer satisfaction with inherent DB performance is high: In general, users were very satisfied with the inherent features and performance of all of the major DBs vendors: Oracle DB, Oracle MySQL, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server and SAP HANA.
  • Customer Satisfaction with DB Technical Service and Support: IBM and Microsoft users (both C-level executives and DB administrators) gave DB2 and SQL Server higher marks for after-market technical service and support than their Oracle counterparts. Over three-quarters – 78% of survey participants rated their satisfaction with IBM’s service and support of DB2 as “excellent” or “very good.” None of the respondents gave IBM service and support a “poor” or “unsatisfactory” rating. Microsoft SQL Server 2008, 2008R2 and SQL Server 2012 also scored high vendor approval ratings with 75% giving Microsoft “excellent” or “very good” marks for serviceability. Similarly, 72% of SAP HANA users rated that DB’s technical service and support as “excellent” or “very good.” Oracle once again received the lowest serviceability scores with just 35% of participants giving the Oracle DB an “excellent” or “very good” rating; although 46% of respondents rated Oracle technical service and support as “good.” Oracle MySQL fared even worse: only 30% — or one in three customers polled gave it an “excellent” or “very good” rating.
  • Performance Improvements: An overwhelming 84% of IBM DB2 survey participants said its’ performance improved “significantly” or “somewhat” in the past 12 to 24 months; while 89% of Microsoft SQL Server customers indicated that its performance improved “significantly” or “somewhat.” These results contrasted significantly with the 43% of Oracle DB respondents who said its performance improved “significantly” or “somewhat” during the same timeframe.
  • Manageability: Some 87% of IBM DB2 users gave the database high marks for manageability, including ease of use, deployment and provisioning and the ability to perform tasks with a single click. Some 81% of SQL Server database users gave the Microsoft database similarly high manageability approval ratings. Only about half as many Oracle DB users – 46% — gave the platform high marks for manageability compared with 62% of Oracle MySQL users.
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