Windows Azure SQL Database named a Leader in the Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Cloud Databases, Q4 2012


Microsoft has been rated a leader in the first-ever Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Cloud Databases, Q4 2012.  Windows Azure SQL Database received the highest overall score for current offering and for market presence, and the second highest score for strategy. Not surprisingly, the nearest competitor is Amazon; Forrester assessed two separate Amazon products, Amazon RDS and Amazon DynamoDB. Database.com rounds out the Leaders ripple, a significant distance behind the other leaders.

In the preface Forrester validates this market:

“Cloud database offerings represent a new space within the broader data management platform market.” This is a growing market, which Forrester estimates at $400 million today, but anticipates will grow to $1.2 billion by 2017. Key benefits include “providing enterprises with an abstracted option to support Agile development and new social, mobile, cloud, and eCommerce applications as well as lower IT costs.” Cloud databases provide access to powerful capabilities while allowing development teams, for example to focus on application capabilities and user experience rather that database set-up and configuration.

Forrester noted a number of key strengths for Windows Azure SQL Database, inline with the value proposition we outline to customers:

  • You can provision a SQL database easily
  • Simplified administration
  • High availability
  • Familiar development model
  • Scalability - customers are supporting multiple terabytes by using each database as a shard
  • Option to run SQL Server in a virtual machine on Windows Azure (in preview and not part of this evaluation)

Forrester does not bring up any cautions. While they point out that the maximum DB size is 150 gigabytes, the report goes on to state that individual database can be used as shards to support multiple terabytes.

Forrester offers overall positive commentary on the other leaders, and does emphasize that Amazon has the largest number of customers and deployments.

· Amazon RDS

  • Viable cloud database platform for heterogeneous DBMSes
  • One of the most widely used cloud database platforms, supporting thousands of customers across various vertical industries.
  • Popularity driven by Amazon RDS support for several popular DBMSes, including Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and Oracle Database
    • The code, applications, and tools used with existing databases can be used with Amazon RDS

· Amazon DynamoDB

  • A strong cloud database to support larger applications
  • According to Amazon, the fastest-growing new service in the history of AWS
  • Fully managed NoSQL cloud database platform that uses solid state drives (SSDs) to store data
  • Automatic shards to scale to support larger high-performance applications.
  • Being used to support advertising campaigns, drive Facebook applications, track gaming information, collect and analyze sensor and log data, and scale eCommerce applications
  • Does not support relational model or table joins or complex transactions

· Database.com (salesforce.com)

  • Delivers maturity and stability
  • Integrates with salesforce.com’s overall cloud platform
  • Customers can share data across multiple channels, connect customers and employees with mobile applications, and support web-based applications
  • o Best suited for use with mobile and web applications which contain the user interface and application code together, but you can use Database.com as a traditional database store
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