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LinuxWorld, San Francisco: "We Lead App Server Market on Linux," Says BEA

LinuxWorld, San Francisco: "We Lead App Server Market on Linux," Says BEA

BEA was named the application server market leader in a recent IDC report entitled "Worldwide and North American Application Server Software Platform 2003." BEA was named the leader in application servers on Linux in terms of license revenue and maintenance fees for the third year running.

The report paints a picture of the Linux application server market in the throes of hyper-growth. BEA's license revenue grew 166% year over year. IBM and Oracle saw 148% and 122% growth in their Linux-based application server business, respectively.

Dave Cotter, Director of Developer Marketing at BEA says that Linux is fast becoming the enterprise platform of choice for middle-tier application servers. This is happening because of Linux's "enterprise grade quality, and it can sit in the middle tier and process a high-rate of transactions."

Cost is also a factor as well. "More and more of our customers are looking at Linux because of costs," says Cotter. "We have a substantial business on Linux because of this." He adds: "We are working actively with customers to make their Linux implementations run faster."

Another draw to the Linux operating system is performance. One way BEA is able to do this is through their JRockit Java Virtual Machine, which Cotter says is a better than the one used in other application servers. Recent internal tests at a BEA ISV showed that merely switching to the JRockit Virtual Machine from the default can speed up J2EE applications by as much as 15%.

One way to tell a competitive market is the number of press releases on who has the market share lead. The IDC report (#31561) also gives BEA the overall lead in market share with 30.6%. Behind BEA is IBM with a 27% market share. This runs counter to the report issued by Gartner/Dataquest in May 2004, which came to the opposite conclusion and gave IBM a 41.3% share to BEA's then 27.5%.

Interestingly, the big market share gainers in 2003 were not IBM and BEA, but Oracle and JBoss, both of which bucked the deflationary trend in the enterprise software market. The IDC report notes that much of Oracle's gain is a result of its bundling practices. It also notes that JBoss' revenue comes solely from its maintenance and support operations, and acknowledged that its business model has had an effect on the market landscape.

The difficult market dynamics took its toll on the application server market overall. The report paints a picture of a market that shrank from 2002-2003 by 2.2%, and has shrunk by 17% since 2001.

This market remains hyper-competitive, and based on the variety of market reports, the identity of the real market leader is arguably anyone's guess.

More Stories By Bill Roth

Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.

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