In this third installment of our 2017 Database Trends analysis series, we focus our attention on the emergence of multi-model database management systems.  We examine the impact the larger database vendors will have on their smaller, NoSQL competitors.  In addition, we also discuss the premise that the vendor with the best technology doesn’t always win the battle for market share – or even survive as a viable competitor in some cases. Each analysis begins with a detailed examination of the trend and concludes with an RDX “takeaway” summary that includes specific recommendations. The series also analyzes the following 2017 trends:

Multi-Model DBMS and NoSQL Vendor Consolidation

The era of the one-size-fits-all database has been over for some time.   IT organizations have realized that not all of the data they are required to store, process and present to their end-user communities neatly fit into relational rows and columns. Document, graph, key-value, wide column and other non-structured data storage technologies became viable, competitive offerings because they offer a solution to the business community’s need to store semi and non-structured data. This rapidly expanding group of product offerings allows IT consumers to custom tailor a database architecture that meets each application’s unique storage and processing requirements. Although the NoSQL architectures will continue to grow in market acceptance, the vendors that initially offered them may not.  Those of us who have been tasked with comparing competing market offerings are aware that the vendor with the best technology does not always win the battle for market share, or even survive as a viable competitor for that matter. This especially rings true when those vendors are up against offerings provided by much larger and more entrenched competitors. Their larger relational competitors, including Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, will attempt to co-opt any NoSQL technology that challenges their dominant role in the industry. As they identify offerings as tangible threats, their strategy will be to ensure that the technologies used by those vendors become a component of, not a replacement for, their traditional database products. The key to their continued dominance will be their ability to identify and seamlessly integrate technologies that are destined to become more widely adopted vs those that will continue as niche offerings.

NoSQL vendors that use data storage and access techniques that are easily integrated into a competitor’s product will be the first to be consumed. These smaller vendors will be required to constantly innovate and integrate new features that differentiate their products from their larger competitors. This constant differentiation will be an absolute requirement, not a guarantee, for their continued ability to survive. Those vendors that have niche offerings with limited market appeal or have complex processing architectures (Datastax/Cassandra is an example of a fairly complex architecture) will be less attractive to their larger competitors and have the greatest chance of surviving future market consolidations. NoSQL vendors’ desires to increase market share will drive them to compete directly with relational product manufacturers. It will compel them to add RDBMS-like functionality that allows their product to be more widely adopted.  In addition, the smaller NoSQL competitors will also contribute to the market consolidations by merging or acquiring competitors to integrate new storage models into their product or quickly leverage a competitor’s unique features.   Those that do not will quickly lose market share to those that do.  They will either remain as niche offerings or become prime acquisition targets.

RDX Takeaway –The Evolution of Multi-Model Databases and NoSQL Vendor Consolidation

The DBMS Industry heavyweights, although somewhat distracted by their required cloud initiatives, will build upon their strategy of incorporating additional data storage models into their platforms. NoSQL vendors that have storage technologies that easily integrate into their products will become ripe targets. The remaining NoSQL vendors will either remain as niche providers, add RDBMS-like functionality or merge/acquire other product vendors to boost their chances of survival and become viable alternatives to their larger relational counterparts.