Oracle, Microsoft dominate federal databases

Oracle, Microsoft dominate federal databases


The GCN Reader Survey is intended to provide data on trends and product preferences. This survey on databases is based on a telephone survey of 100 federal readers who on their subscription forms identified themselves as database users.

On the government systems scene, the twin peaks of database products are Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp., a GCN telephone survey found.

Together, the two software biggies account for 72 percent of the survey base.

Standing tallest is Oracle, whose database products are used in 41 percent of the IT shops in the survey. Microsoft database software bagged 31 percent of the base.

Most users gave Oracle software solid marks; a few had some quibbles.

At the IRS in Philadelphia, a computer specialist liked Oracle's query features best. He said he couldn't think of anything he disliked.

Oracle software 'is a solid performer and reliable,' said a computer technician at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M.

At a Forest Service office in Bradford, Pa., a computer specialist was keen on Oracle's query capabilities but found the software 'too complicated' when trying to manage space on the server.

An Environmental Protection Agency computer specialist in Philadelphia dubbed Oracle software 'pretty reliable and powerful' but 'not very functional for ordinary users.'

Ease of use

For the Microsoft product line, ease of use was a hallmark for managers who offered comments.

'I like how the tables are set up,' said a Naval Surface Warfare Center computer specialist in Indian Head, Md., adding that his organization plans to standardize its database configuration on Microsoft software.

But a Social Security Administration computer specialist in San Francisco said upgrading Microsoft databases was tricky because it causes new bugs in the system.

Discussing overall strategies, systems managers who plan to make database changes are looking for ways to make their systems more efficient.

'We have too much data duplication,' said an Air Force systems manager in Mesa, Ariz., who plans to consolidate three databases in the next two years to make management easier.

Consolidating databases to standardize systems is a goal at the U.S. Pretrial Services Agency in San Antonio, said an IT director.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation computer specialist in Washington said his organization was planning to consolidate databases because 'fewer are easier to control.'


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