Database management

Best Database Management Systems – Reviews and Prices 2022

In the digital age, data is king. Companies that successfully store, maintain and make sense of their data have a clear competitive advantage, while those that get overwhelmed by the flow of information are doomed.

With businesses sitting on more data than ever before, the demand for software to manage this vital task is at an all time high. According to Gartner, the database management systems market totals more than $34 billion in 2016 (report available for Gartner customers).

All this to say: if you’re looking for a new database management system, you’re not alone. If you don’t know what to look for or where to start with this software, you are certainly not alone either.

We are here to help you. In the buyer’s guide below, we’ll go over definitions, features, pricing models, and more to help new database management system buyers like you understand this complex software area.

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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 DBMS, are software that act as a connection 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.

Although 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 for managing and organizing 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 the data capabilities and needs of businesses have grown over the past 40 years, the database management system has taken on many different forms.

Here are the two most common DBMS types you should be aware of:

1) Relational Database Management Systems (rDBMS)

Relational database management systems connect disparate data using tables with columns (“fields”) and rows (“records”). The main advantage of rDBMS is the possibility of distributing a single database over several tables, which offers advantages in terms of storage capacities and data access. Most rDMBS use what’s called “Structural Query Language” (SQL): a series of commands that allow users or applications to retrieve or update data.

Visual Database Design in MySQL Workbench

According to Gartner, DBMSs represent 89 percent of the total DBMS market, making it 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

Unlike rigid DBMS tables, 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 because they allow applications to communicate with each other easily and without loss of information. .

Service Status in Cloudera Manager
Service Status in Cloudera Manager

Semi-structured DBMSs are on the rise. While they represent only 5% of the total DBMS market, their growth rate (78%) has been 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 “pre-relational-era DBMS” – an antiquated category that no longer has any relevance for first-time buyers.

Benefits of Database Management Systems

DBMSs provide a number of benefits to internal users and external parties such as customers or customers. If you’re struggling to convince your organization’s stakeholders that new software is a worthwhile investment, let them know that a DBMS can provide:

  • Improved access to data. A DBMS can allow 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’re still in that blue shirt, or a member of your marketing team wanting to know last month’s ad spend, a DBMS can deliver the right data in real time.
  • Enduring Data Integrity. Data organized using different methods across multiple databases can lead to a ton of errors when applications need to communicate with each other. A DBMS can provide data normalization and structure to ensure that these costly errors do not occur.
  • Increased data security. Small and large companies are concerned about data loss and hackers. A DBMS can allay these fears with features like two-factor authentication and data encryption to ensure that only authorized people can access and manipulate different sets of data.

Database Management System Pricing

A big headache when researching DBMS vendors is the lack of concrete pricing information. Many companies don’t want to reveal the cost of their system for a number of reasons. The final price may vary from business case to business case or the vendor may simply want to reach you by phone to sell their system.

Generally though, DMBS will have one of two pricing models, which we explain in the table below:





Subscription pricing per user This type of pricing is more common with cloud-based systems. You pay monthly or annual fees depending on the number of users who will have access to the DBMS. air table is a good example of this approach.
Perpetual Pricing This type of pricing is more common with on-premises systems. With this model, you pay a significant amount up-front to own the software in perpetuity. Oracle database is a good example of this model.

Database Management System Trends

As I mentioned earlier, the DBMS market is constantly evolving. Here are some trends to watch out for when researching different systems:

  • Database platform as a service (dbPaaS). Increasingly, companies are ditching their large and expensive in-house servers to host their DBMSs in the cloud. Scalable and flexible, dbPaaS are increasingly popular options for managing back-end data needs for e-commerce and mobile applications.
  • Open Source Database Management System (OSDBMS). The OSDBMS market is growing in both system options and feature sophistication. If you have the computing bandwidth, consider an open source DBMS for your business. Capterra breaks down some of the most popular offers here.