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The Future of SQL

In this article, Vikram Vaswani discusses the ways in which SQL plays an important role in the computer market today, and what may be in store for this database language in the future. This excerpt comes from chapter 26 of MySQL: The Complete Reference, by Vikram Vaswani (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, ISBN 0-07-222477-0, 2004).

  1. The Future of SQL
  2. Database Market Trends
  3. Market Diversity and Segmentation
  4. Hardware Performance Gains
  5. Benchmark Wars
  6. SQL Standardization
  7. SQL in the Next Decade
  8. Ultra-High-Performance Databases
  9. Object Integration
By: McGraw-Hill/Osborne
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November 10, 2004

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SQL and SQL-based relational databases are one of the most important foundation technologies of the computer market today. From its first commercial implementation about two decades ago, SQL has grown to become the standard database language. In its first decade, the backing of IBM, the blessing of standards bodies, and the enthusiastic support of DBMS vendors made SQL a dominant standard for enterprise-class data management. In its second decade, the dominance of SQL extended to personal computer and workgroup environments and to new, database-driven market segments, such as data warehousing. In the early part of its third decade, SQL stands as the standard database technology for Internet-based computing. The market evidence clearly shows the importance of SQL:

  • The world’s second-largest software company, Oracle, has been built on the success of SQL-based relational data management, through both its flagship database servers and tools and its SQL-based enterprise applications.
  • IBM, the world’s largest computer company, offers its SQL-based DB2 product line as a common foundation across all of its product lines and for use on competitor’s systems as well, and has expanded its commitment to SQL with the acquisition of Informix’s SQL DBMS.

  • Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, uses SQL Server as a critical part of its strategy to penetrate the enterprise computing market with server editions of its Windows operating systems, and a key part of its .NET architecture for delivering Internet web services.

  • Every significant database company offers either a SQL-based relational database product or SQL-based access to its nonrelational products.

  • All of the major packaged enterprise applications (Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Human Resource Management (HRM), Sales Force Automation (SFA), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and so on) are built on SQL-based databases.

  • SQL is emerging as a standard for specialized databases in applications ranging from data warehousing to mobile laptop databases to embedded applications in telecomm and data communications networks.

  • SQL-based access to databases is an integral feature of Windows, available on the vast majority of personal computer systems, and it is a built-in capability of popular PC software products such as spreadsheets and report writers.

  • SQL-based access to databases is a standard part of Internet application servers, required by the J2EE specification.

This chapter describes some of the most important current trends and developments in the database market, and projects the major forces acting on SQL and database management over the next several years.

Remember: this is chapter 26 of MySQL: The Complete Reference, by Vikram Vaswani (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, ISBN 0-07-222477-0, 2004). Vikram is the founder of Melonfire, and has had numerous articles featured on Dev Shed. 
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