Database Management Systems

Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped hundreds of businesses choose the right database management system to organize their in-house data and improve data integrity and security

Showing 1-20 of 102 products

Redis Enterprise FrontRunners 2021

Redis Enterprise is a cloud-based and on-premise database management software that helps businesses handle operations related to automatic failover management, data processing, caching, data persistence, and more on a centralized ... Read more

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Silk Cloud Data Platform

The Silk Platform is a cloud data and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution that helps businesses get their large, complex databases onto the cloud and running at speeds on-par or better than on-prem environments. The Silk... Read more


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Quickbase FrontRunners 2021

Quickvase is a low-code application development platform that enables organizations to unite information, people, and workflows within distribution in a single, cloud-based platform. Unlike traditional software solutions, Quickvas... Read more

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kintone FrontRunners 2021

Kintone is a cloud-based, customizable workflow management platform suitable for businesses of all sizes. The key features of the solution include compliance management, approval process control, forms management, event monitoring... Read more

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MariaDB FrontRunners 2021

MariaDB is the database for all, supporting any workload, in any cloud, at any scale. It has the versatility to support transactional, analytical & hybrid workloads as well as relational, JSON & hybrid data models. MariaDB scales ... Read more

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Airtable is a cloud-based project management solution targeting small to midsize businesses as well as departments within larger companies. This system focuses primarily on data organization and collaboration. The system uses... Read more

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Infanywhere is an app development solution, which enables businesses to create custom database applications to consolidate disparate information within a unified platform. Managers can import data from XLS or CSV files and configu... Read more


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Knack is cloud-based database management portal software that allows companies to build online databases that can be accessed remotely. Key features include an application builder, customization tools, reporting and analytics, an ... Read more

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DigitalOcean is a cloud management software designed to help businesses streamline application development and database management operations. It enables software developers to build and deploy applications in cloud environments, ... Read more

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Microsoft SQL ServerFrontRunners 2021

Microsoft SQL Server Business Intelligence (BI) Edition is a database management and BI software solution designed for companies of all sizes. The system offers relational database management, which allows users to access enterpri... Read more

MySQLFrontRunners 2021

MySQL is a cloud-based scalable database management system, which enables organizations to securely record, update and manage data in compliance with GDPR, PCI, HIPPA and various regulatory standards. Features include data masking... Read more

Google Cloud PlatformFrontRunners 2021

Featuring G-Suite and GCP, Google Cloud is a platform that provides a reliable and easy-to-use set of solutions that can be used to tackle the toughest challenges in any type of industry. It provides secure storage options, integr... Read more

MongoDBFrontRunners 2021

MongoDB is a cloud-based and on-premise distributed database management system designed to help small to large organizations store data in JSON format and perform read and write query operations to sort data based on multiple fiel... Read more

Oracle DatabaseFrontRunners 2021

Oracle Database Cloud is a database-as-a-service solution that helps businesses manage data through automated self-patch, backup, recovery, warehousing and more. It utilizes machine learning to automate recurring tasks and lets us... Read more

PostgreSQLFrontRunners 2021

PostgreSQL is an open-source database management solution that helps businesses streamline operations related to indexing, performance tracking, data replication and more on a centralized platform. It enables employees to configur... Read more


MyTaskHelper is a forms automation tool suitable for companies of all sizes in a range of industries. It allows users to create online databases and configurable forms, and also provides communication tools, notifications and data... Read more

Amazon RDSFrontRunners 2021

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) is a cloud-based software that helps businesses leverage existing database engines to automate administrative tasks such as hardware provisioning, data backup, patching, failure detection a... Read more

Claris FileMaker

FileMaker is an app development solution that lets users create and deploy apps. Users can make apps across mobile, cloud and on-premise environments, and no programming skills are required. FileMaker provides built-in templa... Read more

CaspioFrontRunners 2021

Caspio is a cloud-based, no-code, application development solution for organizations of all sizes. The platform is suitable for industries such as health care, media, government, education, nonprofits, consulting, churches and com... Read more

NinoxFrontRunners 2021

Ninox is a cloud-based data entry solution used by small and midsize organizations. The solution helps in building database applications using features such as built-in templates, custom actions, scripting and drag and drop formul... Read more

Buyers guide

Last Updated: September 30, 2021

In the digital age, data is king. The businesses that can successfully store, maintain and make sense of their data have a clear competitive advantage, while those that let the flow of information overwhelm them are destined to fall by the wayside.

With businesses sitting on more data than ever before, the demand for software to handle this vital task is at an all-time high. According to Gartner, the database management system market totaled over $34 billion in 2016 (report available to Gartner clients).

All that to say: If you're in the market for a new database management system, you're not alone. If you're confused on what to look for or where to start with this software, you're certainly not alone there either.

We're here to help. In the Buyer's Guide below, we'll go over definitions, functionality, pricing models and more to help first-time database management system buyers like yourself make sense of this complex software arena.

Click a link below to jump to that section:

What Are Database Management Systems?
Two Types of Database Management Systems
Benefits of Database Management Systems
Database Management System Pricing
Database Management System Trends

What Are Database Management Systems?

Database management systems, also known as DBMSs, are software programs that act as a connecting point between databases and the various users and applications that need to access them. The purpose of a DBMS is to provide businesses with an access point to create, retrieve, modify and organize their vast amounts of data.

Though the terms have become somewhat synonymous over time, a database and a DBMS are not the same thing. A database is simply a collection of related data. A DBMS, on the other hand, is a tool to manage and organize multiple databases. In other words, the database stores the data, while the DBMS accesses and manipulates it.

Two Types of Database Management Systems

The database management system market is rarely static. As businesses' data capabilities and needs have grown over the past 40 years, the database management system has taken on many different forms.

Here are the two most common types of DBMSs you should know about:

1) Relational database management systems (rDBMSs)

Relational database management systems connect disparate data using tables with columns (“fields") and rows (“records"). The main advantage that rDBMSs bring is the ability to spread a single database across several tables, which provides benefits in terms of data storage and access capabilities. Most rDMBSs use what's called “structural querying language" (SQL): a series of commands that allow users or applications to retrieve or update data.

Visual database design in MySQL Workbench
Visual database design in MySQL Workbench

According to Gartner, rDBMSs account for 89 percent of the total DBMS market, making them the bread and butter of the industry. Popular systems here include Oracle Database, Microsoft's SQL Server, MySQL and IBM's DB2.

2) Semi-structured database management systems

In contrast to the rigid tables of rDBMSs, semi-structured database management systems offer more flexibility. Data can be structured as much or as little as possible depending on the purpose, usually with tags or other markers to define attributes and categories. In the age of the internet where data takes many forms, semi-structured database management systems have become increasingly important, as they enable applications to communicate with one another with ease and without loss of information.

Service status in Cloudera Manager
Service status in Cloudera Manager

Semi-structured DBMSs are on the rise. While they only represent five percent of the total DBMS market, their growth rate (78 percent) was the highest of any type of DBMS in 2016 according to Gartner. Big players here include Amazon, Cloudera and MapR.

The other major type of DBMS is called a “Prerelational-era DBMS"—an antiquated category that no longer has any relevance to first-time buyers.

Benefits of Database Management Systems

DBMSs provide a number of benefits to both internal users and external parties like customers or clients. If you're having trouble convincing stakeholders in your organization that new software is a worthwhile investment, let them know that a DBMS can provide:

  • Improved data access. A DBMS can make it possible for all your internal and external business applications to quickly retrieve information from a single source using ad hoc queries. Whether it's an online customer wondering if you still have that shirt in blue or someone on your marketing team wanting to know last month's ad spend, a DBMS can supply the right data in real-time.
  • Sustained data integrity. Data organized using different methods across multiple databases can result in a ton of errors when applications need to communicate with one another. A DBMS can provide data standardization and structure to ensure these costly errors don't occur.
  • Increased data security. Businesses big and small are concerned about data loss and hackers. A DBMS can ease these fears with features like dual authentication and data encryption to ensure that only those with authorization can access and manipulate different data sets.

Database Management System Pricing

A big headache when researching DBMS vendors is the lack of concrete pricing information. A lot of companies don't want to reveal how much their system costs for a number of reasons. The final price might vary from business case to business case or the vendor might simply want to get you on the phone to sell their system.

In general though, DMBSs will have one of two pricing models, which we explain in the table below:

Per-user subscription pricing This type of pricing is more common with cloud-based systems. You pay a monthly or annual fee based on how many users will have access to the DBMS. Airtable is a good example of this approach.
Perpetual pricing This type of pricing is more common with on-premise systems. With this model, you pay one large fee upfront to own the software in perpetuity. Oracle Database is a good example of this model.

Database Management System Trends

As I mentioned before, the DBMS market is always changing. Here are some trends to keep an eye on as you research different systems:

  • Database platform-as-a-service (dbPaaS). More and more, businesses are dropping their bulky, expensive, in-house servers to host their DBMSs in the cloud. Scalable and flexible, dbPaaSs are increasingly popular options to handle back-end data needs for e-commerce and mobile applications.
  • Open-source database management system (OSDBMS). The OSDBMS market is increasing in both system options and sophistication of features. If you have the IT bandwidth, consider an open-source DBMS for your business. Capterra breaks down some of the most popular offerings here.



Your Guide to Top Database Management Software, June 2021

Software Advice uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated Database Management Systems products in North America.

Learn how products are chosen

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“Usability” includes user ratings for Functionality and Ease of Use.“Customer Satisfaction” includes user ratings for Customer Support, Likelihood to Recommend and Value for Money.Reviews analysis period: The reviews analysis period spans two years and ends on the 15th of the month prior to publication.