Top 10 Enterprise Database Systems to Consider in 2016
Top 10 Enterprise Databases for 2016Got data, big or small? Need a database server, on-premises or in the cloud? Chances are you'll be considering at least one of these leading enterprise database systems to meet your needs.
Oracle began its journey in 1979 as the first commercially available relational database management system (RDBMS). Oracle's name is synonymous with enterprise database systems, unbreakable data delivery and fierce corporate competition from CEO Larry Ellison. Powerful but complex database solutions are the mainstay of this Fortune 500 company.
The current release of Oracle's RDBMS is Oracle 12c. The "c" stands for cloud and is reflective of Oracle's work in extending its enterprise RDBMS to enable firms to consolidate and manage databases as cloud services when needed via Oracle's multitenant architecture and in-memory data processing capabilities.
Microsoft SQL Server
Say what you may about Microsoft, but its profitability exceeds all other tech companies, and SQL Server helped put it there. Sure, Microsoft's desktop operating system is everywhere, but if you're running a Microsoft Windows-based server, you're likely running SQL Server on it.
SQL Server's ease of use, availability and tight Windows operating system integration makes it an easy choice for firms that choose Microsoft products for their enterprises. Microsoft promotes the latest release, SQL Server 2016, as theplatform for both on-premises and cloud databases and business intelligence solutions.
Microsoft also touts SQL Server 2016 in helping enterprises build mission-critical applications with high-performance, in-memory security technology across OLTP (online transaction processing), data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics.
Big Blue puts the big into data centers with DB2. The latest release of DB2, DB2 10.5, runs on Linux, UNIX, Windows, the IBM iSeries and mainframes. IBM has pitted its DB2 system squarely in competition with Oracle's, via the International Technology Group, and the results showed significant cost savings for those that migrate to DB2 from Oracle. How significant? How does 34 percent to 39 percent for comparative installations over a three-year period sound?
IBM DB2 10.5, or the DB2 "Cancun Release," is the most recent release of DB2 and is the only database fully optimized for the IBM Power Systems POWER8 processor and the company's Power 8 server systems. In April 2016 IBM announced a new DB2 11.1 release would become available in mid 2016.
SAP Sybase ASE
Sybase is still a major force in the enterprise market after 25 years of success and improvements to its Adaptive Server Enterprise product. Although its market share dwindled for a few years, it has seen a bump in the next-generation transaction processing space following being acquired by Sybase in 2010 and relabeled as SAP Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE). Sybase has also thrown a considerable amount of weight behind the mobile enterprise by delivering partnered solutions to the mobile device market.
SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise's most recent release is SAP ASE 16, which adds support for partition locking, CIS Support for HANA, Relaxed Query Limits, Query Plan Optimization with Star Joins, and Dynamic Thread Assignment, among other new features.
PostgreSQL, or simply Postgres, is an open-source object-relational database management system (ORDBMS) that hides in such interesting places as online gaming applications, data center automation suites and domain registries. PostgreSQL also enjoys some high-profile duties at Skype and Yahoo! PostgreSQL is in so many strange and obscure places that it might deserve the moniker, "Best Kept Enterprise Database Secret." PostgreSQL's current stable release is 9.5.3 (released in May 2016), and PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta Release 3 was released in July 2016.
PostgreSQL runs on a wide variety of operating systems, including Linux, Windows, FreeBSD and Solaris. And as of OS X 10.7 Lion, Mac OS X features PostgreSQL as its standard default database in the server edition. PostgreSQL benefits from more than 25 years of development as a free, open-source database system, and it includes enterprise-grade features comparable to Oracle and DB2 such as full ACID compliance for transaction reliability and Multi-Version Concurrency Control for supporting high concurrent loads.
MariaDB Enterprise is a fully open source database system, with all code released under GPL, LGPL or BSD. MariaDB originated in 2009 as a community-driven fork of the MySQL RDBMS and is led by the original developers of MySQL, who created the fork following concerns over MySQL's acquisition by Oracle.
MariaDB has seen its popularity explode recently at the expense of MySQL, particularly in its support by popular Linux distributions. In 2013 alone, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) ditched MySQL for MariaDB, Fedora opted for MariaDB over MySQL in its Fedora 19 release, and both openSUSE and Slackware Linux made similar switches to MariaDB over MySQL. Wikipedia also adopted MariaDB over MySQL as its backend database in 2013.
Another key factor in moving MariaDB ahead of MySQL is its enhanced query optimizer and other performance-related improvements, which give the database system a noticeable edge in overall performance compared to MySQL.
The most recent release of MariaDB Enterprise Server is version 10.1, also known as the MariaDB Enterprise Spring 2016 release. The 10.1 release adds better protection for data against application and network-level attacks and also enables fast delivery of new, high-performance applications.
MySQL began as a niche database system for developers but grew into a major contender in the enterprise database market. Sold to Sun Microsystems in 2008, MySQL has since become part of the Oracle empire in 2009 following Sun's acquisition by Oracle. More than just a niche database now, MySQL powers commercial websites by the hundreds of thousands, and it also serves as the backend for a huge number of internal enterprise applications.
Today MySQL remains a very popular option for use in Web applications, and it continues to serve as a central component of the LAMP open-source Web application software stack, along with Linux, Apache and PHP (or Python or Perl). At the same time, MySQL has seen support from users and developers erode over the last few years following the acquisition by Oracle.
MySQL's decline has helped fuel the adoption of other open-source database options and forks of MySQL like the fully-open source MariaDB, which doesn't feature closed-source modules like some of those found in newer versions of MySQL Enterprise Edition, as well as Percona and the cloud-optimized Drizzle database system.
MySQL Community Server 5.7.x is the most current release of the MySQL database system, with v5.7.15 having made its debut in early August 2016.
Have you ever heard of Teradata? If you've built a large data warehouse in your enterprise, you probably have. As early as the late 1970s, Teradata laid the groundwork for the first data warehouse — before the term even existed. Teradata created the first terabyte database for Wal-Mart in 1992. Since that time, data warehousing experts almost always say Teradata in the same sentence as enterprise data warehouse.
As a Very Large Database (VLDB) system, Teradata's capabilities have made it a great fit for handling emerging enterprise trends like Big Data analytics, business intelligence (BI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Teradata released version 15.10 of its RDBMS in early 2015.
Another IBM product in the list, IBM offers a range of Informix database options, starting with entry-level Workgroup and Express Editions and scaling up to an Enterprise Edition, an Enterprise Hypervisor Edition and finally Advanced Workgroup and Enterprise Editions with the Informix Warehouse Accelerator (IWA).
Informix touts its database solutions as being "intelligent databases" for managing Internet of Things (IoT) data, with the ability to seamlessly integrate SQL, NoSQL/JSON, timeseries and spatial data.
Often associated with universities and colleges, Informix made the leap to the corporate world to take a No. 1 spot in customer satisfaction. Informix customers often speak highly of its low cost, low maintenance and high reliability.
Ingres is the parent open source project of PostgreSQL and other database systems, and it is still around to brag about it. Ingres is all about choice, and in this case choosing might mean lowering your total cost of ownership for an enterprise database system. Other than an attractive pricing structure, Ingres prides itself on its ability to ease your transition from costlier database systems. Ingres also incorporates security features required for HIPAA and Sarbanes Oxley compliance.
The latest Enterprise release of Ingres is v10.2, which debuted in 2015 with Geospatial enhancements, DBMS Level Authentication, remote GCA support, and UTF-8 Transliteration, among other new features.
An initial Ingress 11 Technical Preview was released for testing in June 2016.
Amazon's SimpleDBBonus: Databases and Amazon might at first seem worlds apart, but they aren't, especially in our increasingly cloud-centric world. Amazon's SimpleDB (Simple Database Service) offers enterprises a simple, flexible and inexpensive alternative to traditional database systems.
SimpleDB enables users to store and query data items via web services requests, and it boasts scalability, speed, minimal maintenance and Amazon services integration. As part of Amazon's EC2 offering, you can get started with SimpleDB for free.
How far back does your knowledge of databases go — late-1980s, mid-1990s, five years ago? If so, you might not recognize some of the old timers in this list. You'll also do a double take if you didn't know many of them have their roots in the mid-to-late 1970s. It would be hard to argue that the database market is not mature.
It's also highly competitive, and enterprise database systems come packed with features from hot backups to high-availability to extensive cloud services. These database systems range in price from free to tens of thousands of dollars.
There's no single correct answer for every data problem. Nor is there a perfect database system; each has its own set of features and shortcomings. Here's a primer of the top enterprise database systems on the market in 2016 to help you determine which solution will likely work best for you.