Database Developers Users' Choice: Oracle

In a satisfaction survey comparing features from Oracle, IBM DB2, Informix Dynamic Server, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Sybase Adaptive Server, 1,400 developers were most satisfied by Oracle.

According to an independent worldwide survey of 1,400 software developers, the developers most satisfied with their databases are those who use Oracle Database 10g or later.

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The survey, conducted by Evans Data in December 2007—which is available as a report free to download (with registration)—ranks seven enterprise database servers on user experience criteria and enterprise-based criteria.

Oracle's database scored the highest overall. It placed first in all categories, except in one category, in which it tied for first place, says the analyst firm. IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server also scored well, and with Oracle, comprise the top three in the User's Choice rankings. Other databases evaluated in the survey were Informix Dynamic Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Sybase Adaptive Server.

"The technologists only rated the features of those databases that they had used," says the report. Developers could rate each of 14 common database features as excellent, very good, adequate, needs improvement or not applicable (N/A). Among the ranked features were performance (speed), scalability, atomicity, multi-platform support, and quality of management tools.

The results are the opinions of the developers, rather than lab testing or independent evaluations. This, says the company, better represents real world development, use and satisfaction, and shows what a new user might expect.

"The survey focused on users of larger databases, rather than desktop or small workgroup databases," says a company statement. Survey respondents were actively employed as software developers, database administrators and IT professionals across a spectrum of enterprise, value-added resellers and consultants (VARs), institutions, OEMs or other large organizations.

While only developers who used a database rated it (that is, someone who never used MySQL couldn't rank his satisfaction with its features), the profiles of the users varied, says Janel Garvin, senior analyst and Evans Data founder.

"Informix and DB2 had the highest proportion of developers working in the corporate enterprise. DB2 was also strong with VARs and systems integrators," Garvin says. The other databases were mostly likely to be used by VARs or systems integrators, although Oracle was often used by enterprise developers. "The profiles of Oracle and DB2 users were almost mirror images, with both products strong in these two segments," says Garvin, "But DB2 was most popular with the corporate enterprise while Oracle was most popular with VARs and system integrators."

DB2 had the highest proportion of users in companies with over 1,000 employees, followed by Oracle and then Sybase. MS SQL Server was used more in medium-sized companies, with 100 to 1,000 employees. The two open source databases, MySQL and PostgreSQL, were most likely found in companies having less than 100 people, according to Garvin.

"Best" or "most satisfied" are relative terms, of course. Several companies in the EDC survey scored near 200 in the relative rankings for performance, indicating general overall satisfaction, said Garvin. But in "Quality of management tools supplied..." no company scored even up to 150, indicating that this is an area where there is much less satisfaction, she says.

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