As is, a database is merely a systematic collection of rows and columns of data acquired by your business through its transactions. With the best database management software, you can turn this collection of data into valuable information that you can use to maximize your business potential.

Nowadays, there’s a wide variety of database management tools that offer specialized functions beyond simply housing data. To help you choose the right software for you, we’ve listed the 10 most popular database software, their key features, and their pros and cons.

Top 10 Best Database Software in 2020

  1. MySQL
  2. Oracle RDBMS
  3. IBM DB2
  4. Microsoft SQL Server
  5. SAP
  6. Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)
  7. MongoDB
  8. Azure Cosmos DB
  9. Cloud Firestore
  10. Redis

1. MySQL

MySQL is an open-source relational database solution that utilizes structured query language (SQL). It’s the preferred application for many web-based business companies for its solid security and capability to handle high-volume websites. It’s also scalable due to its multi-threading support and has a partitioning feature for faster management of large databases.

mysql screenshot

MySQL offers three annual subscription plans, with some exclusive monitoring and management features unlocked in the more expensive plans. The Standard Edition starts at $,2000/year with the basic features, the Enterprise Edition at $5,000/year with the enterprise-level security and scalability, and the Cluster CGE at $10,000/year with the added cluster manager and geo-replication features.

PROS:

  • High memory efficiency
  • Platform-independent
  • Good data recovery

⛔️ CONS:

  • Overly reliant on third-party plug-ins

2. Oracle RDBMS

Oracle RDBMS is an example of an object-relational database management system that’s capable of handling enterprise-scale deployments. It supports data partitioning for better administrative control and works well with both static and dynamic systems. It has a variety of backup mechanisms and storage features to securely store your data.

oracle-rdbms screenshot

Oracle offers a free tier in Oracle Cloud with unlimited services for tools like Oracle Application Express (APEX) and Oracle SQL Developer. As for its pricing plans, it’s dependent on your business size and type as well as your existing software solutions.

PROS:

  • Complex queries optimization
  • Offers smart suggestions
  • Flexible design

⛔️ CONS:

  • Uses up a lot of resources

3. IBM DB2

For businesses that run high workloads, IBM DB2 provides premium performance with its fast and responsive database server. Its intuitive user interface and efficient data migration and setup make for easy operation, while its strong architecture effectively keeps viruses and cybersecurity threats at bay. It has AI and machine learning features, which aid in the efficient management of structured and unstructured data.

ibm-db2 screenshot

IBM DB2 offers a free Community Edition – with all the features but capped at 4 cores and 14GB RAM – and three paid versions, which are free for the first 90 days. The Base Edition has a one-time cost of $1,900 and a monthly subscription of $79.16, and a higher cap of 8 cores and 64GB RAM. For the Standard and Advanced Edition, you would need to contact their customer support for the price range.

PROS:

  • Supports both cloud and private environments
  • Easy deployment and integration
  • Smooth and stable administration

⛔️ CONS:

  • Limited region options
  • Rising licensing fees

4. Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is one of the top database software today, due in part to its high-speed performance and ability to process multiple requests at once. It features business intelligence (BI) tools that link popular Microsoft software like SharePoint, Word, and Excel. It also offers the automatic correction of issues on SQL plan performance and enhanced query processing.

microsoft-sql screenshot

Microsoft SQL Server offers two free versions, Developer and Express. For its 2019 volume licensing and hosting, there’s the Enterprise Edition with a starting one-time cost of $13,748 and the Standard Edition that can range anywhere from $209 to $3,586. Subscriptions and add-ons are available at the following rates: $5,434/year for SQL Server Enterprise and $1,418 /year for SQL Server Standard for 2 core pack volume licensing.

PROS:

  • Easy set-up of new database
  • Time-saving design integration
  • Advanced security features

⛔️ CONS:

  • Time-consuming execution of long queries

5. SAP

With its enhanced transaction-based processing capability, SAP can handle massive amounts of data and thousands of concurrent users at a time. This makes it ideal for data-driven business applications, especially those in banking and finance. It also features built-in technologies to protect your data like replication and encryption.

sap screenshot

SAP pricing varies depending on the products that your company is looking to use and whether you’re opting for subscriptions or licenses. It’s best to contact their customer support to get an idea of the plan that works best for your business.

PROS:

  • Solid data security
  • Embedded intelligence technologies
  • Multi-cloud strategic partnerships

⛔️ CONS:

  • Object migration can be a bit tedious

6. Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)

Amazon RDS is a popular and powerful tool for database management that experienced analysts and developers can maximize with the aid of database administrators (DBAs). It offers premium security features such as automatic data backup and dedicated secure connections. It also offers flexibility and scalability in terms of computing resources, storage capacity, and single database deployment.

amazon-rds screenshot

Amazon RDS offers a 12-month free tier with a 750-hour cap per month plus 20GB of storage. For its paid products, you have a choice of 6 Amazon RDS engines and two types of on-premises deployment, each with their own pricing plan. You only need to pay for what you use, and you can calculate an estimate of your bill through the AWS Pricing Calculator.

PROS:

  • Offers a variety of features and controls for users
  • Flexible storage through API request
  • High-performance even with heavy workloads

⛔️ CONS:

  • Complicated set-up and data migration

7. MongoDB

MongoDB is an open-source document-oriented NoSQL database that offers highly reliable and efficient performance. It uses the key-value pair format and stores data as individual documents in collections. Its document data model makes it very flexible, while its distributed architecture makes it highly scalable.

mongodb screenshot

For its cloud database, MongoDB offers free Shared Clusters with 512MB storage that can be scaled up to 5GB. For its paid services, Dedicated Clusters starts at $57/month, while Dedicated Multi-Region Clusters starts at $95/month. For the pricing plan of their on-premises MongoDB Enterprise Server, you would need to contact the company directly.

PROS:

  • Global availability as cloud cluster
  • Concurrent operation with workload isolation
  • BI integration and visualization

⛔️ CONS:

  • May not be ideal for complex transactions
  • Not a substitute for relational database

8. Azure Cosmos DB

One of the top global NoSQL database software today, Azure Cosmos DB offers high scalability, comprehensive service level agreements (SLAs), and open-source APIs. With its turnkey multi-master replication combined with its high-grade security system, you’re assured of business continuity for your most critical applications and workloads. With its integration with the Azure Synapse Analytics, you can have insights at nearly real-time for more efficient monitoring.

azure-cosmos screenshot

Azure Cosmos DB offers a free tier good for 12 months with a free monthly 5GB storage and 400 RU/s throughput. For its paid services, the pricing plan is structured around hourly provisioned throughput and storage, and you only have to pay for the services that you use. You can calculate an estimate of your throughput needs using the Azure Cosmos DB capacity planner.

PROS:

  • Limitless elasticity
  • 99.9% availability
  • 5 consistency levels

⛔️ CONS:

  • Transition between configuring bandwidth levels can be smoother

9. Cloud Firestore

Designed with enterprise use in mind, Cloud Firestore is a serverless NoSQL document database that boasts high-level and fast performance on a global scale. It’s cloud-native, which means it can take advantage of the powerful infrastructure of the Google Cloud Platform and perform automatic horizontal scaling. Its ability to sync data in near real-time makes for easy and convenient collaborative multi-user mobile applications.

cloud-firestore screenshot

Cloud Firestore offers two basic plans, the free Spark plan and the pay-as-you-go Blaze plan. The Spark plan puts a cap at a total of 1GiB stored data, 10GiB/month network egress, and daily limits for document writes, reads, deletes. For the Blaze plan, you pay $0.18/GiB of stored data, $0.18/100K of document writes, $0.06/100K for document reads, and $0.02/100K of document deletes.

PROS:

  • Built-in full offline support
  • Multi-region replication
  • Guaranteed validity through ACID transactions

⛔️ CONS:

  • Query operators are not as comprehensive as other SQL and NoSQL databases

10. Redis

Coded in ANSI C language, REDIS is an open-source database tool that boasts of fast speeds across different operating systems and high query performance. It enables concurrent atomic operations for data types like hashes, lists, and sets. It offers multi-language driver support and configuration fits in a single file.

redis screenshot

Redis has three plans, starting with the Essentials plan that offers core features and basic support. It’s capped at 30MB and starts at $5/month. The Pro plan offers full features and standard support. It starts at $1.11/hour, with the first $400 free. The highly customizable Ultimate plan offers premium support and comes in three customer packages: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. To know the pricing scheme of the Ultimate plan, you need to contact the Redis customer support.

PROS:

  • Built-in memory data structure
  • Automatic data partitioning
  • Database replication

⛔️ CONS:

  • Lacks documentation on the official site and tutorial

What Is a Database Software?

At its core, database software is a software program for the creation, storage, and management of data. Nowadays, most database management systems (DBMS) include a wide variety of features that help in making sense of the data and turning them into valuable information.

These functions include retrieval, extraction, automation, running data queries, and analytics. The best database software also protects your information with enhanced security features and makes them readily available for collaborative multi-user applications.

Databases can come in various types, depending on their purpose and usage requirements. For this review, we’re focusing on the four most popular types:

  • Relational Databases
    Relational databases follow the traditional format of a set of tables with rows and columns where data is inputted in a pre-defined category. This type uses SQL as its standard user and program interface. Most databases under this type adhere to atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability (ACID) guidelines for transactions.
  • Document Databases
    This type stores data in document format, which typically lacks structure and makes for easy scaling through clusters. The advantages of this type are the high levels of efficiency and security it’s able to maintain with its format, language, and schema.
  • Graph Databases
    Graph databases are a type of non-tabular or NoSQL database that utilizes graph theory in storing, mapping, and querying relationships. It’s primarily used to visually map relationships and analyze interconnections.
  • Object-Oriented Databases
    This type is organized around objects and data rather than actions and logic. Compared to relational databases, object-oriented databases can hold more complex information, though some of them are a combination of both object-oriented programming and relational databases.

What Are the Factors to Consider When Choosing a Database Software?

Choosing the database software for your company can be challenging with the variety of options available today. But what helps in narrowing down your choices is considering the following factors:

  • Functionality and security
    Ensure that the database software you have in mind matches the data type you’re storing and is capable of the applications you intend to use. The software must also meet your business requirements and the functions that are vital to maximizing your performance. You must also check that the DBMS has enough safety measures in place to secure and protect your data from physical and virtual threats.
  • Integration and scalability
    Check that the software you’re eyeing is compatible with the existing software systems already in place in your company. It’s going to be more costly if you need to overhaul your current systems. Also consider scalability – that your software can efficiently manage additional data and processes as your business grows.
  • Frequency and automation
    Keep in mind how frequently you need your database to be updated, whether you need it to be in sync in-real time or you can go for daily or weekly updates. For collaborative applications, you would need a reliable, high-functioning, and highly available software system that can connect multiple users in real-time.
  • Usability and resources
    Consider the interface of the database software if it’s well within the skill levels of the staff members required to use it. Also keep in mind the number of people who are going to be working on the database, whether you require an entire team or a single developer to administer and deploy the database.

Conclusion
Database software not only houses your data but also makes them easily retrievable for your company’s use as well as assist you in making sense of them through insights and analytics. With the best database management software, you can turn your collection of data into valuable information that you can use to optimize your business performance.