12 Best Database Software and Systems For Your Business

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In this age of information, it’s important for businesses to store their data for use in their strategies and decision-making processes. Whether leads, transactions, or employee information, the data has to be secure, and should be managed and retrieved easily. With streamlined data, businesses can ensure processes run efficiently. And when processes run efficiently, the business is more productive and profitable.

This is why database software and systems are so important. They enable businesses to create, edit, store and manage records in a structured format, while ensuring data security. There are many options in the market, but businesses need to choose the one that meets their needs and is cost-efficient at the same time.

We’ve shortlisted 12 of what we think is the best. You’ll find the results below:

SoftwareStarting FromBest Thing About ItBiggest Problem
Microsoft SQL Server$899 per month.PowerfulCan be “buggy”
MySQL$2000 per month.ReliableCan’t handle big data sets.
Knack$39 per month.Flexible payment plansTech support based only on US hours
ImprovadoCustom pricingCan pull data from different sources Database sometimes doesn’t include latest data in analysis
SQL DeveloperFreeNo need to install anythingInaccurate sometimes
AltibaseFreeEnterprise-grade, high- performance databaseNo own GUI management tool
TeradataNot disclosedGreat for big data setsVery expensive
EMS SQL Manager$110Cost-effectiveNo interface into table partitions
IBM InformixCustom quoteNo need for too much supervisionFew flexible plans
Oracle Custom quoteFlexibleExpensive for individuals, small businesses
Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) Feature-basedCloud-basedLimited auto-scale capacity
RedisNot disclosedIn-memory No real security model

Let’s look at each of them one by one:

Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL server is a relational database software that primarily stores and retrieves data requested by other applications, which can run either on the same computer or on other computers. It also offers tools that help to build, change, and manage the data. If you have multiple databases, Microsoft SQL server can also manage them.

As the term implies, the server uses SQL, or Structured Query Language, that is mostly used in relational database management systems. But it also leverages adaptive query processing features to enhance its query performance. The long query execution, however, more often than not takes longer than expected.

Microsoft SQL server by and large can cater to higher levels of application support, and it can be used by organizations ranging from small businesses to corporations. It also has a suite of tools that can be used for report writing and for data analysis. Some users, however, report it can be “buggy” with the predictive text.

Microsoft SQL Server’s paid plans start at $899 up to $13,748 (one-time). The express and developer versions are free.

MySQL

MySQL allows the storage and quick management of data. Since it is a reliable open-source relational database, it is frequently the first choice for student projects that require data storage, and business projects that require user data management. Since it is an open-source tool, it’s easy to customize the data with it.

MySQL has great security features, too. It has better data recovery capability. You don’t have to worry about cyber-attacks either . If you need some assistance, MySQL has a robust technical support.

The downside is the database solution does not work as well with large sets of data. Since it has not reached a high level of maturity, it is not recommended for core or critical-mission applications. It also suffers from relatively poor performance scaling.

MySQL offers three paid plans, each one with different features, depending on the users’ preferences. The standard version, which comes with a 24/7 support, is $2000. The enterprise edition is $5000, and the cluster carrier grade edition for big corporations costs $10,000.

Knack

If this is your first time to look for a database software, and you’re not willing to gamble that much money yet, Knack is your best bet.

Knack offers flexible payment options for users so you don’t have to shell out too much money for the first time. Its starter pack costs $39 a month for 20,000 records. If you’re not satisfied after the 20,000 records, you can just switch to another database solution without feeling guilty about having shelled out too much money. The pro pack costs $79 a month for 50,000 records, and the corporate plan $179 a month for 125,000 records.

For the money you shell out, Knack is actually great. It’s very easy to use, and even comes with 39 pre-created database templates you can use. Knack can also easily integrate with popular tools such as Zapier.

If there’s any downside to Knack, it’s probably the customer support that is based on US hours. So if you’re based in Asia or in Europe, for instance, you’d have to wait a while before you get an answer.

Improvado

Improvado allows you to aggregate all your marketing data into one platform in real-time. Because Improvado’s dashboard is so intuitive, you can easily extract this data and send it to visualization tools such as Google Sheets even if you’re a first-timer. The database solution can also help you visualize data side-by-side so you can make quicker business decisions.

Improvado also integrates well with data sources such as Facebook ads, MailChimp, Shopify, and Google Analytics. This helps reduce the time you spend in manual inputting. It’s also easy to customize the way you want to view the data. If you encounter some problems, the tech support is friendly and very efficient.

Improvado’s website doesn’t disclose the prices of its plans so you have to call them to get exact prices. The business plan, however, costs $1000 a month. Small businesses with lower budgets can get customized pricing instead with the enterprise plan. You can also schedule a demo.

SQL Developer

SQL Developer is a Java-powered database software for Windows, OS X, and Linus. To use it, you don’t need to install anything. Just click on the link, and you’re good to go!

For something that’s completely free, SQL Developer is pretty great. You can easily view tables in your relational database, run queries, import data to new and existing tables, manage users, and run your SQL scripts. To top it all off, you don’t need to have as much technical know-how to use the tool. It’s actually very user-friendly. Even first-timers will be able to use it.

There are, however, cons, too. The automated operating systems, for instance, frequently change the database query. Also, you can’t run multiple queries on a given database. You can only run one query. There are also instances the analytical models created from complex data are not accurate.

By and large, though, SQL Developer is great if you’re only looking for the basics in a database system.

Altibase

Altibase is a hybrid database that combines in-memory database with on-disk database well. Because it is a hybrid, you get deployment flexibility with its three modes: in-memory, on-disk and hybrid.

Altibase also runs queries quickly because it uses database sharding to improve performance and compatibility. Database sharding is the splitting of a huge database into smaller components called shards. When the database is split into these, it is more manageable.

Altibase has no mobile access support yet, nor does it have its own GUI management tool. But for a solution that’s free, it’s actually feature-rich, and is an enterprise-grade and high-performance relational database.

Teradata

Teradata is a highly scalable relational database management system that bundles database software and hardware together. It is typically used by large organizations.

Because Teradata relies on Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) architecture, you can achieve results in the quickest possible time. This is because with this type of architecture, Teradata can distribute the work evenly across the system so that no resource stays idle and the process is more efficient.

If you need to troubleshoot for errors, Teradata provides great diagnostic information, which means you don’t need to spend as much time manually looking at the logs. The platform can connect to almost all the major systems—Mainframes or IBM DB2, to name a few. The user interface, however, is quite outdated, it doesn’t do justice to the very advanced features the database solution has.

By and large, though, Teradata is great for massive data warehousing and analysis. If your data set is not as big, however, Teradata may not be the best option for you since it is quite expensive compared to other alternatives in the market. Prices vary depending on the type of storage you choose. These are not disclosed on the website, but just to give you an idea, in 2015, Teradata published a “starting at $34K / TB” price on its website.

EMS SQL Manager

SQL Manager is a database software developed by EMS, a company based in Chelyabinsk, Russia. To get it, you have several options: Download it from the SQLManager.net website, or purchase the CD.

SQL Manager’s list of features is quite long: It allows you to create and edit SQL Server database objects, and modify, create and execute SQL queries. Its ability to quickly generate reports based on a huge database is impressive. You can even create reports on all pertinent schemas. Once you’re done, you can publish the HTML pages on a Web server or a file system, whichever you prefer.

This database software’s Export Data Wizard is also worth-mentioning. If you want to dump the contents of a table into another product or format, EMS SQL Manager can do that for you. You can export into other databases– for example, an EMP table can be imported into MS Access. One downside though is that the interface into table partitions doesn’t exist.

For the money you shell out, SQL Manager is a great tool. Its non-commercial version that comes with a one-year maintenance costs $110, for a two-year maintenance it’s $154, and for a three-year maintenance $187.

Its business version that comes with a one-year maintenance costs $180, for a two-year maintenance $252, and for a three-year maintenance $306.

IBM Informix

This data software powered by IBM is ideal for both individual application development and enterprise data storage. With IBM Informix, you don’t need to do much supervision–no need to reboot weekly, monthly or even annually. If for some reason the server crashes (which it hardly does), and you lose control files, recovery is possible in a few seconds.

The data software has the ability to integrate SQL, NoSQL/JSON, and time series and spatial data. It is also very easy to set up and operate. It is suited for embedded data management solutions since it has a relatively small footprint that requires only 100 MB of memory.

With IBM Informix, you can automate your data management easily with its deployment features such as “smart triggers” that allow for event-driven processing. Even with upgrades, you can expect no outages because of its flexible grid feature.

IBM Informix has a developer edition you can download for free. The website doesn’t disclose prices. You have to contact the company to get a custom quote.

Oracle RDBMS

Oracle RDBMS is great for heavy data sets. It supports PL/SQL which allows users to write complex queries in procedures and functions. If you have several databases, you can connect all of these to produce your desired output. For example, this data can consider the values in an inventory management system and in a billing management system to produce the the final cost of a product.

Oracle is also flexible, which means it operates with the same efficiency when run on a personal computer or on a supercomputer. The thing is, though, its price makes it accessible to big businesses only.

New users won’t have a difficult time learning how to use Oracle because its syntax and coding are easily understandable. If there are questions, though, Oracle has a technical support that is extremely helpful. In cases of data loss or corruption, recovery is possible.

Oracle doesn’t disclose the prices of its products on its website. The cost of Oracle DBMS depends on your business and other variables so you’d have to contact them to get a custom quote.

Amazon Relational Database Service

Amazon’s database solution is a relational Database-as-a-Service that lives up to the Amazon name. Because it is cloud-based, you don’t need to install anything and take up space in your hard drive. There’s also no need for infrastructure provisioning. The downside, though, is you can’t check server logs because of the absence of physical servers.

Security-wise, it is one of the best in the market: It lets you run your database instances in Amazon’s virtual private cloud. With Amazon’s industry-standard encrypted IPsec VPN, it’s still easy to control access to your database.

Scaling your storage resource without downtime is possible with Amazon RDS, but its auto-scale capability is limited. Amazon RDS, however, allows back-up and recovery. You need to turn these on manually, and specify the retention period so Amazon RDS will automatically take a snapshot of your transactions.

Overall, Amazon RDS is a great tool that also offers flexible plans. You pay only for what you use, and there’s no minimum fee. You can estimate your monthly bill using the Amazon Web Service calculator. Payment can be done using On-Demand or Reserved Instances.

Redis

Redis is a powerful in-memory data store that is very easy to install. Because it is unlike other solutions that store data on disk or SSDs, you can access your data in milliseconds. The tool is extremely fast, too, with average operations taking less than a millisecond.

Redis has a variety of data structures that differentiates it from other data stores. Redis data types include bitmaps, hashes, lists, strings, sorted sets, so it basically covers the needs of many applications. So if your application has a data hashmap, all you need to do is use the Redis hash data structure to store the data. With other data stores with no hash data structure, you’d need to convert many lines of code before you can do that.

Redis, however, has simple search capabilities. There’s also no real security model. It only requires a simple authentication via password.

Redis does not disclose its price list on the website.

Final Thoughts

It’s difficult to pick the best from the list because the answer will depend on your needs. If you’re a big business that requires heavy security, then Redis might not be the ideal for you. If you’re looking for a database software just for student projects, then the rather expensive Teradata might not be the best.

The key is to list down your needs and cross-check them with what each database software and system on the list has to offer. What’s clear is this: Database software and systems are no longer a luxury. Whether you’re a small business or a big corporation, or even a student, you need one to help you make informed decisions.

About the author

Nico

I'm a SaaS consultant with a passion for travel. I help companies scale their link building so they can dominate the SERPs for their chosen keywords. I work primarily with scale-ups and enterprise businesses.

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