As many as 60% of SAP customers have deployed SAP applications on Oracle databases, said Noel Yuhanna, a senior industry analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research.
"When running ERP systems like SAP, it typically requires large database deployments and the kind of high end scalability and performance that can be found in Oracle and DB2," Yuhanna said. "In terms of market share, it's been all Oracle, but we do see SAP trying to change that in the current market environment."
SAP and Oracle have been battling for the top spot in the market for enterprise resource planning applications. Billions of dollars in acquisitions—including PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel Systems, and others—have boosted Oracle's standings. But SAP has been capitalizing in recent months on uncertainty of Oracle's plans to merge the various acquisitions.
"This is an area that SAP wants to shore up by working with other database vendors," Yuhanna said. "It continues to be a very large market for Oracle, but we see a bit of a decline moving forward."
Oracle, IBM DB2, and Microsoft SQL Server have been battling it out in the database market. Open Source rivals, including MySQL and CA's Ingres DBMS, offer customers less costly alternatives.
Big Blue's DB2 data server code named "Viper" will be rolled out this summer and has features that are optimized for SAP applications. At last year's Sapphire user conference, SAP and IBM announced an optimized version of DB2 with embedded self tuning capabilities and compression technology that executives said could boost performance of SAP applications.
Viper is pre-configured for SAP applications and has built-in high availability and advanced autonomic capabilities to help boost performance, said Bernie Spang, IBM's director of data server marketing.
"That is the result of the optimization work between our two teams," Spang said. "The SAP application is tuned to take advantage of the capabilities of DB2, and the DB2 capabilities are tuned to address the need of the application environment, which translates to a higher performance."