The 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems is out. “Operational” seems to be Gartner’s term for what I call short-request, in each case the point being that OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) is a dubious term when systems omit strict consistency, and when even strictly consistent systems may lack full transactional semantics. As is usually the case with Gartner Magic Quadrants:
- I admire the raw research.
- The opinions contained are generally reasonable (especially since Merv Adrian joined the Gartner team).
- Some of the details are questionable.
- There’s generally an excessive focus on Gartner’s perception of vendors’ business skills, and on vendors’ willingness to parrot all the buzzphrases Gartner wants to hear.
- The trends Gartner highlights are similar to those I see, although our emphasis may be different, and they may leave some important ones out. (Big omission — support for lightweight analytics integrated into operational applications, one of the more genuine forms of real-time analytics.)
- The 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems puts Oracle in the lead, closely followed in some order Microsoft, SAP, and IBM, with everybody else way behind. That’s reasonable, harkening back to the time when Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and to some extent Sybase were seemingly secure oligopolists, and most of the other vendors mentioned didn’t yet exist.
- Gartner seems to view a proprietary appliance strategy as good for customers, without mentioning that it’s also a way to sell hardware at ridiculous prices.
- Gartner evidently likes memory-centric positioning. SAP, Aerospike, VoltDB and McObject all get surprisingly high marks.
- Gartner gives Intersystems pretty high marks, while Progress Software isn’t even mentioned. Despite Progress’ recent restructuring, I’d think the core Progress OpenEdge business — arguably Intersystems’ closest rival — deserves more respect than that. (But given how rarely I write about it myself, perhaps I shouldn’t criticize.)
- Gartner has long been oddly positive on Actian, which is a floundering hodgepodge of half a dozen database also-rans. I like Mike Hoskins a lot too, but just how much has Actian’s supposedly “energized” “strong leadership” accomplished in the recent past, at Actian or elsewhere?
- Gartner has brutally low “vision” rankings for NuoDB and Clustrix. I think scaling out SQL effectively is more impressive than that. Gartner also omits to mention Clustrix’s past as an appliance vendor.
- Gartner refers to Oracle’s multi-tenancy support as if … well, as if it supported multi-tenancy.
- I don’t understand Gartner’s rankings of or comments about NoSQL vendors. For example:
- Three “strengths” are mentioned for MongoDB, yet none reference MongoDB’s developer outreach, which may be second only to prime Microsoft’s.
- HBase is discussed as if the Hadoop vendors were still pushing it hard, or if it were showing up in a lot of enterprise evaluations.
- Geo-distribution is mentioned as a strength for Riak, yet not for Cassandra.
- Every Gartner Magic Quadrant (or Forrester Wave) features one or more outright brain cramps. In this one:
- Gartner writes “the Clustrix database offers no support for data types beyond traditional relational types,” when in fact Clustrix was one of the early indicators of a trend toward relational DBMS JSON support.
- Gartner suggests that EnterpriseDB’s Oracle compatibility is something new, when it was actually the company’s whole strategy 6-7 years ago.
Finally, since I’ve struggled with the definition of “DBMS”, I’ll finish by quoting with approval the start of Gartner’s:
We define a DBMS as a complete software system used to define, create, manage, update and query a database.
- Comments on the most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems
- My definition of operational analytics