I've been a DBA since 1983,
and I've seen many database products come-and-go. Frankly, I'm
surprised that any database company has been able to hang-on to a huge
market share for two decades, but Oracle is not a typical database vendor.
They never become complacent and they always work hard to remain fresh and
Nothing is new under the Sun, and some people have
expressed concern about Oracle's possible demise, but they cite invalid
arguments and complaints from inept Oracle users.
Let's start with a quick history lesson and examine the
death of the IDMS database, to see if any parallels exist between the
behavior of Oracle Corporation and Computer Associates.
The death of a database: the end of IDMS
Back in the days before Oracle and DB2, IDMS was the
industrial-strength database, the database of choice for large corporations
to manage their mission-critical systems.
Oracle's recent buying spree and complaints about
lackluster technical support
is similar to what happened when Computer Associates bought the IDMS database
from John Cullinane. But unlike Oracle, CA left IDMS to rot on the vine, using
support revenue as a cash cow to bilk those shops who embraced IDMS
technology and did not have quick migration path away from IDMS.
People who used to love IDMS became livid beyond words.
They wore t-shirts with the slogan "Friend's don't let friends buy from
CA", and they swore cross oaths, pledging their perpetual hatred against
IDMS and CA.
George Wang and CA have never recovered from this damage,
and IDMS went from being the number one database to a has-been database,
Ironically, this urgency to drop CA products was one of
the initial reasons that Oracle became popular.
I remember my VP telling me that they wanted to dump IDMS
as fast as possible, and I was tasked with choosing a replacement. I
picked Oracle, and we worked feverishly day-and-night to migrate our systems
off of all CA software. Now the question that we have to ask ourselves
if Oracle might become the next Computer Associates?
Is Oracle becoming the next Computer Associates?
Mark Logic CEO blog suggests that "Oracle has become Computer
Associates", but his complaints are true about almost every major database
vendor. Dave Kellogg notes the CA strategy, and it's quite different
CA made money with the following strategy. They would: