Microsoft SQL Server might finally be gaining traction as an enterprise-class database platform, according to Dataquest, a division of Gartner. As Graph 1 shows, new-license sales for SQL Server jumped from $618 million in 1999 to $895 million in 2000 (a 45 percent gain), increasing Microsoft's share of the relational database market by 2 percent. Although SQL Server still trails industry leaders Oracle and IBM DB2 in revenue and market share by a significant margin, SQL Server had the fastest growth rate in a period when overall database revenue growth slowed.

Dataquest attributes SQL Server's gains to Windows 2000's improved reliability and the widespread acceptance of 8-way Intel servers. Dataquest analysts suggest that Windows is becoming more widely perceived as an enterprise-capable database platform. The performance of SQL Server running on the Wintel platform is becoming increasingly competitive with the performance of databases running on RISC/UNIX. In September, a system running SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition under Win2K Datacenter Server Limited Edition on a 32-way Unisys e-@ction Enterprise Server ES7000 cracked the list of the top-10 nonclustered Transaction Processing Performance Council Benchmark C (TPC-C) performers. For more information about the TPC-C top 10, which measures online transaction processing (OLTP) performance, see