Top Database Management Systems Vendors – eWeek

Top Database Management Systems Vendors  eWeek

What’s the best way to determine which type of database or database *service* is best for your enterprise? It all depends on what type of use case you require.

Basically all the digital information we use on a daily basis is in a database management system or a storage array somewhere in the world. These can range from as small a storage device as a smartphone to as large as a basically unlimited cloud storage system.

How best to find out which DBMS is for your enterprise? Should you subscribe to a service in AWS, Azure, Google or other cloud provider, or should you buy data center storage and servers and run it yourself? It all depends on what type of use case you need; if you’re a regulated industry in the financial services, health care or defense sectors, for example, you might need to have installations of both. If you’re a small business, perhaps all you need is a cloud service. Most of the companies here offer both options.

eWEEK has been researching and reporting on databases and their management systems since the beginning of the publication as PC Week in the 1980s, when IBM’s DB2, Microsoft’s SQL Server and Sybase were the big guns in the business. In this article, we have sought out and evaluated the top 10 modern database management systems in 2019—both proprietary and open source—and compiled them into this article.

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You’ll recognize some familiar names—systems that have stood the test of time—and you may find some new ones you didn’t know about previously. Here are eWEEK’s Top 10 Database Management Systems of 2019.

Further reading

Oracle RDMS

Redwood Shores, Calif.

Value proposition for potential buyers: Big, powerful and relatively expensive are terms often affiliated with Oracle’s enterprise databases, but you get what you pay for. Oracle has dominated this category for more than three decades, and the company has a 42-year history in the business. Oracle has engineered its database hardware and software to work together—in the cloud and in the data center. The company contends that this eliminates complexity and simplifies IT in general. It’s generally correct, but users often get locked into a single-vendor system that can be difficult to change later on, should use cases and circumstances evolve.

Oracle has an open-standards approach to all layers of its stack, but it takes expertise from by local enterprise IT people to change out various components outside the pre-configured Oracle system, and many midrange and smaller business do not have that expertise. Pricing SLAs can change, also. The tradeoff for less complexity, fewer point solutions to maintain and generally first-class performance is often too overwhelming for many enterprises to ignore.

As a company that pooh-poohed cloud systems early on, it is now an aggressive seller of cloud-based DBMS systems to go with its Exadata data center servers. Times have indeed changed, and Oracle has changed with the times.

For customers needing modular solutions, Oracle’s open architecture and multiple operating system options provide unmatched benefits from best-of-breed products in every layer of the stack. This allows customers to build the most optimized infrastructure possible for their enterprise.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Oracle SQL’s Unix-based database management systems offer the flexibility of choosing to run an enterprise database inside any operating system. Dedicated languages are only compatible with operating systems from the same manufacturer. For example, you can only run Microsoft SQL Server on a Windows-based machine. In comparison, you can install Oracle SQL on a Unix server and benefit from the reliability of Unix while keeping the standardization of SQL.
  • Unix is less vulnerable to many common computer viruses, which keeps information secure.
  • Oracle SQL is also backward-compatible, so users have the option of upgrading in the future without losing any data.
  • For customers needing modular solutions, Oracle’s open architecture and multiple operating system options provide benefits from best-of-breed products in every layer of the stack. This allows customers to build the most optimized infrastructure possible for their enterprise.

Road Map:

  • Oracle DBMS gets updates once or twice per year, and they are sent out iteratively on a regular basis. No major changes in the system are expected in the next 12 to 24 months.

Who uses it: Midrange to large enterprises
How it works: cloud deployments, physical on-prem services
eWEEK score: 4.9/5.0

Read user reviews of Oracle RDMS

MySQL by Oracle

Redwood Shores, Calif.

Value proposition for potential buyers: Oracle-owned MySQL is a popular and widely utilized open-source relational database management system. It is a cost-saving and effective DBMS, but it requires dedicated knowledge of database systems to install and maintain. Its name is a combination of “My,” the name of co-founder Michael Widenius’s daughter, and “SQL,” the abbreviation for Structured Query Language. MySQL is free and open-source software under the terms of the GNU General Public License and is also available under a variety of proprietary licenses. MySQL was created and sponsored by the Swedish company MySQL AB, which was bought by Sun Microsystems. In 2010, when Oracle acquired Sun, Widenius forked the open-source MySQL project to create MariaDB.

Key values/differentiators:

  • It has an impressive list of users. MySQL is used by many database-driven web applications, including Drupal, Joomla, phpBB and WordPress. MySQL is also used by many popular websites, including Facebook,Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
  • MySQL long has received positive reviews, and reviewers claim it performs extremely well in the average case and that the developer interfaces are there, and the documentation (not to mention feedback in the real world via Web sites and the like) is very, very good.
  • It has also been tested to be a fast, stable and true multi-user, multi-threaded SQL database server.
  • Its open-source core and properties enable any amount of configuration as required by use cases.
  • Oracle has a large and expert corps of support personnel to work with its MySQL customers.
  • MySQL works in most enterprise servers—they do not have to be Oracle servers.

Road Map:

  • MySQL gets updates several times per year from its team at Oracle, and they are sent out iteratively on a regular basis. No major changes in the system are expected in the next 12 to 24 months.

Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical on-prem services
eWEEK score: 4.9/5.0

Read user reviews of MySQL by Oracle

Microsoft SQL Server

Redmond, Wash.

Value proposition for potential buyers: This is an industry standard database management system. The history of Microsoft SQL Server begins with the first Microsoft SQL Server product–SQL Server 1.0, a 16-bit server for the IBM OS/2 operating system in 1989–and extends to the current day. Microsoft SQL Server has been redeveloped by Microsoft to work optimally with its own Windows operating system. Similar to other database management systems, its primary function is storing and retrieving data as requested by other software applications–which may run either on the same data center or on another computer across a network, including the internet. In fact, nearly half of Microsoft SQL Server instances are deployed in Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Microsoft has developed at least a dozen editions of Microsoft SQL Server, aimed at different audiences and for workloads ranging from small single-machine applications to large Internet-facing applications with many concurrent users. Thus it is by far the most versatile deployment of MySQL available.
  • SQL Server Enterprise Edition: This includes both the core database engine and add-on services, with a range of tools for creating and managing a SQL Server cluster. It can manage databases as large as 524 petabytes and address 12 terabytes of memory and supports 640 logical processors (CPU cores).
  • Standard Edition: SQL Server Standard edition includes the core database engine, along with the stand-alone services. It differs from Enterprise edition in that it supports fewer active instances (number of nodes in a cluster) and does not include some high-availability functions such as hot-add memory (allowing memory to be added while the server is still running), and parallel indexes. Web SQL Server Web Edition is a low-TCO option for Web hosting.
  • Business Intelligence: Introduced in SQL Server 2012 and focusing on Self Service and Corporate Business Intelligence. It includes the Standard Edition capabilities and Business Intelligence tools: PowerPivot, Power View, the BI Semantic Model, Master Data Services, Data Quality Services and xVelocity in-memory analytics.

To Take Under Advisement:

  • Be aware that there are some limitations in SQL Server DB; users can only run Microsoft SQL Server on a Windows-based machine. So forget it if you’re running any flavor of Linux, Unix or other OS.

Road Map:

  • SQL Server gets major updates once or twice per year, with minor fixes sent out regularly. No major changes in the system are expected in the next 12 to 24 months.

Who uses it:  SMBs, midrange, edge servers, large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services and physical on-prem services
eWEEK score: 4.7/5.0

Read user reviews of Microsoft SQL Server

PostGres SQL

Philadelphia, Pa.

Value proposition for potential buyers: PostgreSQL is an object-relational database management system with an emphasis on extensibility and standards-compliance. It can handle workloads ranging from single-machine applications to Web services or data warehousing with many concurrent users. PostgreSQL is developed by the PostgreSQL Global Development Group, a diverse group of many companies and individual contributors. It is free and open-source software released under a permissive software license.

Key values/differentiators:

  • PostgreSQL is cross-platform and runs on many operating systems including Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, and Microsoft Windows. It can handle workloads ranging from small single-machine applications to large internet-facing applications with many concurrent users. Recent versions also provide replication of the database itself for security and scalability.
  • PostgreSQL supports standards such as ANSI SQL and SQL/MED and yet is highly extensible with support for over 12 procedural languages, GIN and GIST Indexes, Spatial data support, and multiple NoSQL-similar features for document or key-value based applications.
  • PostgreSQL is ACID-compliant and transactional. It offers support for RDBMS features such as updatable and materialized views, triggers, foreign keys; functions and stored procedures.

Road Map:

  • PostgreSQL gets major updates several times per year.

Who uses it: SMBs, midrange, edge servers, large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical on-prem services
eWEEK score: 4.8/5.0

Read user reviews of PostGres SQL

MongoDB

New York, N.Y.

Value proposition for potential buyers: MongoDB is an open source, cross-platform document-oriented database management system. Classified as a NoSQL database management system, MongoDB uses JSON-like documents with schemata. MongoDB is developed by MongoDB Inc. and licensed under the Server Side Public License (SSPL). As an open source product, pricing is a lot more reasonable for smaller companies, as opposed to the full-service offerings of larger, more established DB vendors.

Key values/differentiators:

  • MongoDB can run over multiple servers, balancing the load or duplicating data to keep the system up and running in case of hardware failure.
  • MongoDB provides high availability with replica sets, which consist of two or more copies of the data. Each replica set member may act in the role of primary or secondary replica at any time. All writes and reads are done on the primary replica by default.
  • Secondary replicas maintain a copy of the data of the primary using built-in replication. When a primary replica fails, the replica set automatically conducts an election process to determine which secondary should become the primary. Secondaries can optionally serve read operations, but that data is only eventually consistent by default.
  • MongoDB scales horizontally using sharding (a shard is a master with one or more replicas).

Road Map:

  • MongoDB gets major updates several times per year.

Who uses it: midrange to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical on-prem services
eWEEK score: 4.8/5.0

Read user reviews of MongoDB

IBM DB2

Armonk, N.Y.

Value proposition for potential buyers: IBM DB2 is an industry standard database management system. DB2 represents an entire lineup of data management systems, including servers made available in the cloud and on premises, originally developed by IBM in the early 1980s. They support the relational DB model, but in recent years, some products have been extended to support object-relational features and non-relational structures, such as JSON and XML. The brand name was styled as DB2 from its creation in 1983 until 2017.

Key values/differentiators:

  • IBM’s trademark, with a reputation built over decades of product development and services, means a great deal in all data center system software and equipment.
  • An important feature of DB2 systems is error handling. The SQL communications area (SQLCA) structure was once used exclusively within a DB2 program to return error information to the application program after every SQL statement was executed. The primary, but not singularly useful, error diagnostic is held in the field SQLCODE within the SQLCA block.

Road Map:

  • DB2 gets major updates once or twice per year with incremental fixes on as as-needed basis. No major updates expected this year; possibly in 2020.

Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: cloud service, physical on-prem services
eWEEK score: 4.8/5.0

Read user reviews of IBM DB2

Microsoft Access

Redmond, Wash.

Value proposition for potential buyers: Microsoft Access is a second-generation database management system (DBMS) that combines the relational Microsoft Jet Database Engine with a graphical user interface and its own set of software-development tools. It is a member of the Microsoft Office suite of applications, included in the Professional and higher editions or sold separately. Microsoft Access stores data in its own format based on the Access Jet Database Engine. It can also import or link directly to data stored in other applications and databases. Like other Microsoft Office applications, Access is supported by Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), an object-based programming language that can reference a variety of objects including DAO (Data Access Objects), ActiveX Data Objects, and many other ActiveX components. Visual objects used in forms and reports expose their methods and properties in the VBA programming environment, and VBA code modules may declare and call Windows operating system operations.

Key values/differentiators:

  • In addition to serving as its own database storage file, Microsoft Access also may be used as the front end of a program while other products act as the backend tables, such as Microsoft SQL Server and non-Microsoft products such as Oracle and Sybase. Multiple backend sources can be used by a Microsoft Access Jet Database (ACCDB and MDB formats).
  • Similarly, some applications such as Visual Basic, ASP.NET or Visual Studio .NET will use the Microsoft Access database format for its tables and queries. Microsoft Access may also be part of a more complex solution, where it may be integrated with other technologies such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint and ActiveX controls.
  • Access tables support a variety of standard field types, indices, and referential integrity including cascading updates and deletes. Access also includes a query interface, forms to display and enter data, and reports for printing. The underlying Jet database, which contains these objects, is multi-user and handles record-locking.
  • Repetitive tasks can be automated through macros with point-and-click options. It is also easy to place a database on a network and have multiple users share and update data without overwriting each other’s work. Data is locked at the record level which is significantly different from Excel which locks the entire spreadsheet.

Road Map:

  • Microsoft give Access gets major updates once or twice per year with incremental fixes on as as-needed basis. No major updates expected this year.

Who uses it: Midrange to large enterprises
How it works: cloud service, physical on-prem services
eWEEK score: 4.6/5.0

Redis Labs

Mountain View, Calif.

Value proposition for potential buyers: The Redis In-Memory Database Management System is a second-generation core open source system designed for speed and efficiency.Redis Labs, No. 1 in the market for commercial Redis providers, powers cutting edge applications with its faster-than-average enterprise-class Redis DBMS. Its Redis Labs Enterprise Cluster and Redis Cloud solutions are trusted by thousands of developers and enterprise customers for high performance, high scalability, true high availability and best-in-class expertise and support use cases. These include real-time analytics, fast high-volume transactions, social app functionality, application job management and caching.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Redis Labs is the main contributor to Redis, which has been benchmarked as the fastest database available in 2019.
  • Redis has also ranked the No. 1 growing database in popularity among developers and  No. 12 among all developer tools and services.
  • Redis is considered a first-class database for the following use cases: analytics, big data, cloud data services, enterprise software, information technology, open source, software as a service.

Road Map:

  • Redis gets major updates on a regular basis, sometimes once per week.

Who uses it: Midrange to large enterprises
How it works: cloud service only
eWEEK score: 4.9/5.0

Apache Cassandra

Menlo Park, Calif.
Value proposition for potential buyers: Originally developed at Facebook to power the its inbox search feature, Apache Cassandra is now one of the leading in-memory open source database management systems in the world. It is a free and open-source, distributed, wide column store, NoSQL database management system designed to handle large amounts of data across many commodity servers, providing high availability with no single point of failure. Cassandra offers robust support for clusters spanning multiple data centers, with asynchronous masterless replication allowing low latency operations for all clients.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Every node in the cluster has the same role. There is no single point of failure. Data is distributed across the cluster (so each node contains different data), but there is no master as every node can service any request.
  • Supports replication and multi data center replication: Replication strategies are configurable. Cassandra is designed as a distributed system, for deployment of large numbers of nodes across multiple data centers. Key features of Cassandra’s distributed architecture are specifically tailored for multiple-data center deployment, for redundancy, for failover and disaster recovery.
  • Scalability: Designed to have read and write throughput both increase linearly as new machines are added, with the aim of no downtime or interruption to applications.
  • Fault-tolerant: Data is automatically replicated to multiple nodes for fault-tolerance. Replication across multiple data centers is supported. Failed nodes can be replaced with no downtime.
  • Tunable consistency: Cassandra is typically classified as an AP system, meaning that availability and partition tolerance are generally considered to be more important than consistency in Cassandra, Writes and reads offer a tunable level of consistency, all the way from “writes never fail” to “block for all replicas to be readable,” with the quorum level in the middle.

Road Map:

  • Cassandra gets major updates several times per year.

Who uses it: Midrange to large enterprises
How it works: cloud service only
eWEEK score: 4.8/5.0

Read user reviews of Apache Cassandra

Honorable mentions: Sybase by SAP (SAP Adaptive Server), SAP HANA, Quest, CA, BMC