ReviewsBest Database Software & Management Systems

Best Database Software & Management Systems

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If you’re looking for a system to store your company’s data on-premises or in the cloud, chances are you’ll be considering at least one of these top enterprise database software solutions.

The list is comprised of database veterans such as Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, and IBM, as well as more recent additions to this competitive marketplace. The newer players take advantage of open source, cloud computing, and new computing languages to gain an edge. But the old guard has caught up, and largely offers their own solutions as deployable in the cloud, hybrid, or on-premises.

Best Database Software & Management Systems

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 on the top enterprise database systems on the market, so you can determine the solution that will work best for you.

Read more on Datamation: Database Trends


SAP logo

SAP is Recognized as a leader in the Forrester Wave: Multi-Model Data Platforms for Q3 2021. It offers multi-model processing within SAP HANA, which provides an immense amount of in-memory processing for high performance.

SAP HANA is a good candidate for large enterprises, but may be too much for smaller businesses.

Key Differentiators

  • Harness all types of data with one solution
  • Leverage a unified multi-model database that stores, processes, and analyzes geospatial, graph, and JSON documents
  • Gain situational awareness by analyzing data in context
  • Access real-time analytics on any type of data, at rest and in motion, while simultaneously processing transactions
  • Add intelligence to applications
  • Operationalize machine learning across data types
  • Deployable in cloud, on-premise, or hybrid environments


Knack logo

Knack offers simple tools as part of its online database to structure data with data types that make sense, like names and emails. It helps to connect data by interlinking related records and extends this with special options like formulas and equations.

Knack is a good candidate for small and midsize businesses that lack internal database expertise.

Key Differentiators

  • Requires no coding
  • Create database objects that represent your specific requirements
  • Select from dozens of templates to get started quickly
  • Add pre-built objects for contacts, companies, and orders
  • Copy entire objects or individual fields for easy maintenance
  • Migrate existing databases into Knack while maintaining relationships and keys
  • Import data directly from spreadsheets to update existing records
  • Export records at any time into CSV, text, or JSON files
  • Update multiple records at once in batches, and use queries to define which records are included
  • Database is backed up twice daily to multiple geographically dispersed data centers for maximum redundancy


TeamDesk logo

TeamDesk is another online database that aims to remove the complexity of running and maintaining one on-prem. Its templates make it easy to create a custom database despite a lack of technical knowledge.

TeamDesk looks like a good choice for small businesses, but may also work for midsize firms that don’t want to be concerned with database management.

Key Differentiators

  • Adapt TeamDesk tools to fit the processes used on a daily basis
  • Start with a predefined database template, or build your own database from scratch
  • TeamDesk runs in the cloud on the vendor’s secure servers
  • Has a 99.96% uptime record over the last six years
  • Runs on a PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android

Oracle Database 21c

oracle logo

The latest version of Oracle Database 21c includes an Always Free tier of Oracle Autonomous Database. Oracle Database 21c contains immutable blockchain tables, In-Database JavaScript, native JSON binary data type, AutoML for in-database machine learning, and persistent memory store — as well as enhancements for in-memory, graph processing performance, sharding, multitenant, and security.

As the most popular database platform in the world, Oracle Database 21c is a common choice for large and midsize enterprises. However, it’s overkill for most small businesses.

Key Differentiators

  • Support for multi-model, multi-workload, and multi-tenant requirements within a single, converged database engine
  • Oracle APEX Application Development is a low-code service for developing and deploying enterprise applications
  • Powers Oracle database services in the cloud and on-premises, including Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Exadata Database Service, Oracle Exadata Database Cloud@Customer, and Oracle Exadata Database Machine
  • Blockchain Tables bring the security benefits of blockchain technology to enterprise applications, providing insert-only tables whose rows are cryptographically chained together
  • SQL/JSON query and indexing support
  • Automatically builds and compares machine-learning models at scale and facilitates the use of machine learning by non-experts
  • The embedded Graal Multilingual Engine allows JavaScript data processing code to run inside the database
  • Stores database data and redo logs in local Persistent Memory
  • Allows modelling of data based on relationships and enables exploration of connections and patterns in social networks, IoT, and more
  • Supports both row and column formats in the same table to allow analytics and transactions to run simultaneously

Microsoft SQL Server

microsoft logo

SQL Server is a relational database management system developed by Microsoft that is widely used in Microsoft and Azure environments. There are various editions of SQL Server available including Enterprise, Standard, Web, Developer, and Express.

SQL Server is ideal for those invested in Microsoft, .Net, and Azure.

Key Differentiators

  • Can analyze any type of data
  • Querying across relational, non-relational, structured, and unstructured data
  • Apache Spark is built in
  • Flexibility of language and platform
  • Run SQL Server on Linux containers with Kubernetes support or on Windows
  • High availability for mission-critical applications, data warehouses, and data lakes
  • Rated as the least vulnerable database over the last nine years
  • Enterprise reporting with SQL Server Reporting Services
  • Power BI Report Server, which gives your users access to Power BI reports on any device
  • Azure SQL family of SQL cloud databases provides options for app migration, modernization, and development​
  • Big Data Clusters provide elements of a data lake Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), Apache Spark, and analytics tools


ibm logo

IBM Db2 on Cloud is a fully managed SQL cloud database that offers a dedicated operations team, and point-in-time recovery, as well as high-availability disaster recovery technology with multizone region support and independent scaling to protect enterprise applications.

A long-term competitor with SAP and Oracle in the large enterprise space, IBM is another solution that may overwhelm smaller businesses.

Key Differentiators

  • Self-service managed backups with point-in-time recovery
  • Pay-as-you-go model for scalable storage and compute
  • In-database machine learning to support AI applications
  • Store and retrieve web-application data from a database on the cloud
  • Offsite disaster recovery node to help ensure availability
  • Dedicated team, available 24×7, managing OS updates and security patches
  • Three HA-node configuration with multizone region support
  • Independent scaling of compute and storage based on need
  • Extend regional availability by adding an on-demand disaster recovery node
  • Queries across PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQL server and Db2 instances on cloud or on premises
  • Built-in auditing, row/column access controls, and IBM Key Protect

MySQL HeatWave

MySQL logo

MySQL Database Service with HeatWave is a cloud database service that provides MySQL customers with integrated transaction processing and analytics, avoiding the need for a separate analytics database and manual ETL processes to move data from one database to the other. HeatWave is a massively parallel, high performance, in-memory query accelerator.

MySQL is a strong candidate for those that want the benefits of Oracle or SQL databases without the hassle of managing them.

Key Differentiators

  • MySQL Autopilot is the in-memory query acceleration engine for MySQL Database Service in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI)
  • MySQL Autopilot automates provisioning, data loading, query execution and failure handling
  • Auto parallel load can optimize the load time and memory usage by predicting the optimal degree of parallelism for each table being loaded into HeatWave
  • Auto data placement predicts the column on which tables should be partitioned in-memory to help achieve the best performance for queries
  • Auto encoding can determine the optimal representation of columns being loaded into HeatWave
  • Auto query plan improvement learns various statistics from the execution of queries, and can improve the execution plan of future queries
  • Auto change propagation determines the optimal time when changes in MySQL Database should be propagated to the HeatWave Scale-out Data Management layer
  • Auto scheduling can determine which queries in the queue are short running and prioritize them over long running queries
  • Auto error recovery provisions new nodes and reloads necessary data if one or more HeatWave nodes is unresponsive due to software or hardware failure


MongoDB logo

MongoDB is a document database that is scalable and includes querying and indexing. MongoDB’s document data model supports JSON and its query language is simple for developers to learn and use. Functionality includes automatic failover, horizontal scaling, and the ability to assign data to a location.

MongoDB is a favorite of those in the open-source community, but may not be basic enough for organizations lacking skilled internal resources.

Key Differentiators

  • Drivers for 10+ languages, and the open-source community around this platform has built dozens more
  • Several versions are available
  • Sandbox version is free and is ideal for learning, developing, and prototyping
  • Shared version has up to 5 GB of storage and shared RAM
  • Dedicated version has consistent performance, advanced security, and unlimited scaling
  • While the Community version is feature rich and developer ready, the paid Enterprise version has advanced features and the highest performance
  • MongoDB Atlas is a cloud-hosted MongoDB service designed by the same team that incorporates best practices learned from deployments ranging from startups to Fortune 100

What Is Database Software?

Databases are structured systems that gather data in rows, columns, and fields — think customer lists, product catalogs, and the like. Some are huge. The data has to be entered in a particular way according to the way in which the database software is organized.

Database management systems (DBMS) are software packages that help organizations to define, manipulate, retrieve, and manage the data contained within a database. DBMSs contain rules about how data is to be manipulated, how it is to be formatted, what the various field names are, how records and files are structured, and so on.

Multi-model databases are one of the trends in database software and management right now. Multi-model databases offer a single, integrated data platform that can store, access, and process different types of data to carry out multiple tasks. With a multi-model database, you can unify various data types and models into a single solution, without having individual technologies for each specific purpose.

This is more beneficial than having individual technologies for each specific purpose. The resulting patchwork solutions can lead to silos that hamper business agility and innovation. A unified multi-model data platform can help overcome these challenges.

Read more: What Is a Database Server & What Is It Used For?

What Are the Benefits of Database Software?

Organizational databases are sometimes considered the heart and soul of the enterprise. Their benefits include:

  • Ability to rapidly search the database for customer data, information, products
  • Ease of backup
  • High availability
  • One central repository for key company data
  • Ability to secure the database against attack, as it is centrally located
  • Ease of analyzing the data contained within

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