Steve Jones has just written a great editorial for SQL Server Central titled, The Decline of SQL Server. In this post he compares the market position of Microsoft with it’s competitors, Oracle, DB2, MySQL , PostGreSQL and NoSQL and questions whether Microsoft have enough punch to continue to claim market share. This is particularly timely for me, as I have been exploring the future of data management in general. There is no doubt in my mind that it is not a question of SQL Server over PostGreSQL or relational platforms vs. NoSQL; I see a working, scalable and agile future being created by blending these technologies together.
As for the future of SQL Server… Microsoft’s strong point, in my opinion, is an easy-to-use, familiar and attractive product with ready integration across the whole company. Microsoft provide convenient and seamless integration across database, to desktop, relational warehouses to Excel-based BI, etc., etc.. Particularly as we all look to embrace blackbox data science and BI tools, I believe that this is the defining feature that will help Microsoft maintain and even grow their market share. The key is in being able to bring technology directly to the user with a user-friendly layer of abstraction that insulates the non-technical user from the nuts and bolts. The challenge is going to be delivering this abstraction whilst maintaining performance and trust (let’s face it, it can be hard to completely trust something you don’t completely understand).
For my two cents, the future is bright for any vendor that can deliver scalable, accessible BI and Microsoft seem uniquely positioned to do this in my opinion. I will be interested in reading other’s thoughts on this.