DBMS trend No. 1: Business intelligence
We now know how to store and manipulate data – Oracle, DB2, SQL server – they are all good, robust engines.
So now we are looking at ways to extract information from the data. That's what BI does.
I'm not saying that BI is new - it has been important for years and it continues to be so. However, the number of acquisitions/mergers/purchases/takeovers (call them what you will) this year tells us that this is a time of consolidation and, although it sounds paradoxical, expansion in BI. So we can expect to see far more happening in the BI arena this year.
DBMS trend No. 2: Multidimensional eXpressions (MDX)
Multidimensional eXpressions is a language for expressing analytical queries. In some ways we can draw an analogy between MDX and SQL. SQL is there to manipulate data; MDX is there to manipulate information. MDX started in a small company (Panorama) which was acquired by Microsoft, and hence it was seen for a while as a Microsoft standard. However, Microsoft relinquished control to a standards body and now MDX was adopted by Hyperion, which is now owned by Oracle. So MDX is now a non-proprietary standard. I see MDX becoming much more important in the next year/few years.
DBMS trend No 3: Spatial data
The main database engines now all have spatial data types (well, Microsoft was late to the game but spatial data types are now in the CTP of SQL Server 2008). Spatial data is useful in its own right, but combine it with Google Earth and/or Virtual Earth and a quick mashup can give you a very powerful application for a few lines of code. People will make far, far more use of spatial data in the coming year.
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This was first published in April 2008