The driving force behind this rapid growth will be the adoption of component-based standards in the application server market.
Giga further believes that this market growth will be accompanied by a dramatic market segmentation, with possibly as few as two or three companies each claiming at least 20 percent more of the market. Several smaller vendors specializing in market niches will also have a presence, though each company will likely claim less than 10 percent of the space.
"After tracking the application server market for more than two years, we have seen the market evolve from proprietary solutions to standards-based approaches, particularly component-based models," said Mike Gilpin, a Giga vice president specializing in the building, deployment and architecture of e-business infrastructures.
Giga's research in this area has focused on component-based application server products or product lines that have a clear migration path to component-based architectures. The company believes this is what buyers mean when they say they are looking for an application server solution. Market leaders in this space in 1999 included BEA Systems (with an estimated 32 percent market share), IBM (with an estimated 16 percent market share), and Sybase (with an estimated 15 percent market share).
By the end of 2000, the market leaders will be BEA Systems and IBM, with each carrying approximately a 24 percent share of the market. ATG will follow with a 10 percent share, along with iPlanet (with a 9 percent share) and Allaire (with an 8 percent market share). Close behind will be SilverStream and Sybase (each with a 5-to-7 percent market share).
Niche Solutions Will Still Be Available
"The application server market has clearly moved into a new stage in which there is a top group of leading vendors that provide general solutions and a group of niche vendors specializing in a particular market segment, although a few may reach the top tier," Carl Zetie, a Giga director specializing in application development tools for e-business solutions noted.
"For vendors in the niche group, it's important that they have a clear understanding of their niche and develop technology, marketing and sales strategies accordingly," Zetie added.
According to the Giga analysts, larger, more conservative enterprises looking to make large infrastructure commitments to an application server should look to vendors in the leading group. For specific or departmental level projects, enterprises may wish to consider niche vendors, particularly if such a solution will add unique value or support a particular software environment.
Founded in 1996, Giga currently claims a global client base of more than 1,100 organizations and more than 120,000 licensed users. Its enterprise clients include companies that use, sell, and invest in technology.