Saturday, February 16, 2008

Database Market Share

Mark Twain once said, "Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

Whenever I look at statistics and numbers I not only take them with a grain of salt but I also try to understand how they arrived at the numbers. When you look at the analyst's reports on the top database vendors it is often based on total revenue or licensable revenue. So how does open source numbers come into play. The same industry analyst's that show MySQL as having very small market share based on revenue also state estimates of between 8 - 10 million MySQL instances are currently running. Analysts also estimate MySQL binaries are downloaded 40 - 50 thousand times a day.

MySQL is encountering incredible growth but the growth is often hidden in the way numbers are collected. There is a lot of momentum and energy around open source, it will be interesting to see how the industry analysts use numbers to track this growth.

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