Microsoft is launching SQL Server 2012 on March 7. An IM chat with a reporter resulted, and went something like this.
Reporter: [Care to comment]?
CAM: SQL Server is an adequate product if you don’t mind being locked into the Microsoft stack. For example, the ColumnStore feature is very partial, given that it can’t be updated; but Oracle doesn’t have columnar storage at all.
Reporter: Is the lock-in overall worse than IBM DB2, Oracle?
CAM: Microsoft locks you into an operating system, so yes.
Reporter: Is this release something larger Oracle or IBM shops could consider as a lower-cost alternative a co-habitation scenario, in the event they’re mulling whether to buy more Oracle or IBM licenses?
CAM: If they have a strong Microsoft-stack investment already, sure. Otherwise, why?
Reporter: [How about] just cost?
CAM: DB2 works just as well to keep Oracle honest as SQL Server does, and without a major operating system commitment. For analytic databases you want an analytic DBMS or appliance anyway.
Best is to have one major vendor of OTLP/general-purpose DBMS, a web DBMS, a DBMS for disposable projects (that may be the same as one of the first two), plus however many different analytic data stores you need to get the job done.
By “web DBMS” I mean MySQL, NewSQL, or NoSQL. Actually, you might need more than one product in that area.