Best Database Management Systems: 15 Database Software Tools
Not as shiny as gold nor as slick as oil, data is one hot commodity. But data is only as good as the way you structure it in a database and how you use that system to tease out data’s hidden patterns and insights.
You need the best DBMS, or database management system, to help you make the most of your valuable data. Whether for personal reasons or running a business empire, data is fuel, fire, and currency.
We’re going to show you top ten database tools, with pros and cons and all. Feel it!
Best database software comparison chart (top 10 highest-rated database software list)
Here is a list of database software in table form. These are the leading ten database management system examples. As you can see, we categorized them by what they are best for, as well as pricing. There’s also a quick link to their sales or free download page. Afterwards, we’ll explain more about each of these DBMS examples.
Best database management system overall
Great software database management system
$57 per month for a dedicated server
Top database for business
$99 per month
Good open-source database application software
Best free database management tool
Good DBMS software for ease of use
Top database platform for in-memory data structure
Great SQL database program
Microsoft SQL Server
Best database for small business
$209 for Client access licenses
Most popular database software for personal use
$6 per user per month billed annually with Microsoft 365 Business Basic
What are the best database management systems? Here’s our top 15 list of database management tools:
In the following parts, we’ll give more details about the best software for database management system use. After discussing these database solutions, there will be some fascinating lessons on what database management is, database types, and different kinds of database software. But first, our ten best DB tools. All right!
1. Oracle Database (Best database management system overall)
The Oracle Corporation is an absolute giant in the business SaaS world, and this applies to database management systems as well. Oracle offers several database services, including Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure, Oracle Autonomous Database, and even some beta programs in the works. These cloud DBMS are available with Oracle Cloud.
Oracle’s database solution makes a great multi-model database management system that handles NoSQL databases and MySQL databases.
Oracle Autonomous Database app makes it really simple for users to work within relational database environments.
Great for dealing head-on with data redundancy or network latency issues. You can also employ JSON data models.
Oracle MySQL HeatWave is solid for managing transactions and analytics with sophisticated machine learning for real-time data processing and insights.
While big names like Oracle are very reliable for all things big data storage and handling complex data sets, one can expect this product not to be on the cheap side. What’s more, there’s likely a learning curve with Oracle cloud database tools.
Contact Oracle about Cloud pricing, including database management
2. MongoDB Atlas (Great software database management system)
MongoDB is a developer platform that is mainly source-available, which is like open-source databases but not exactly. MongoDB makes a variety of products, including Atlas, which includes its relational database management systems.
MongoDB Atlas is a cloud-based database management tool. It has cross-platform functionality and works with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Databases can be multi-region and multi-cloud-based at the same time.
MongoDB handles SQL and NoSQL databases equally well.
You get some pretty useful automation features with MongoDB, which are very beneficial for upward-scalable database management with reduced workloads.
A unified query API makes it super easy to access your data and apply it to a variety of use cases.
You can choose from full-text search queries using natural language to graphical visualization-based data optimization and analytics.
MongoDB might not have the most stellar reputation when it comes to offering the most popular database templates for any and all varieties of business needs.
The Shared server plan is free
The Serverless plan is $.010 per million reads
The Dedicates plan is $57 per month
3. IBM Db2 (Top database for businesses of all sizes)
International Business Machines is better known by its acronym IBM. This company makes a large amount of hardware and software. IBM Db2 is a database server and data management system.
IBM Db2 works on a few operating systems, like Linux and Windows. It does relational data as well as non-relational data types like JSON and XML.
For database administrators or DBAs, this is an excellent system for managing database architecture and for developers to run fast and accurate data queries.
Great real-time database analytics with IBM, including in-memory database processing.
As one of the best database management software, IBM Db2 includes tools for many subsets of DBMS, like data warehouse and data lake management solutions. You also get NoSQL equally as a standard SQL.
The IBM dashboards and user interfaces can appear to be a bit cluttered at first which is not ideal for end-user uptake, but they will get used to it. Additionally, this tool does not get great reviews for data sharding.
IBM Db2 On Cloud Lite is free
Standard plan is $99 per month
Enterprise plan is $969 per month
There is also an on-premise version
Visit IMB Db2
4. MySQL (Good open-source database application software)
If you want some of the best high-performance relational SQL database software, then maybe MySQL is your number one choice. This one is an open-source system that specializes in structured query language or SQL.
Open-source apps are always beneficial to those who know how to read code and develop their own tools, often with the use of a robust API or application program interface.
As a product of the Oracle corporation, MySQL works on a variety of operating systems like Mac OS, Windows, Solaris, and Linux. There is also competent full-text index searching.
Being open source, there is a free version. Although there are also enterprise editions for more freedom of choice.
There is more than one MySQL product, and learning about the differences between these products to find the right one for your database business needs could take some time. Also, as this is a cloud-based app, there is no on-premise option.
For pricing, contact MySQL or visit the Oracle store
5. MariaDB (Best free database management tool)
MariaDB is an offshoot of MySQL, otherwise known as a commercially supported fork. It is 100% open-source and community-run and is committed to remaining a free RDBMS.
MariaDB is pretty convenient to store data, as it works with the OS types of Linux, Mac OS, and Windows, and it was written in the programming code of C++, Perl, and Bash.
There are many constant updates to MariaDB, which means they are very prompt at fixing bugs and adding new functionality that is useful for database design and handling large amounts of data.
Once more, the commitment to remaining free and open-source is always an advantage.
The look and feel of MariaDB can leave one a bit cold, especially when compared to slick dashboards and user interfaces from more expensive RDBMS.
MariaDB is free
6. PostgreSQL (Good DBMS software for ease of use)
Our next amazing DBMS is another open-source system called PostgreSQL. This one has been in the game for over 35 years now. It is a good object-relational database system and is also one of the best DBMS for being user-friendly.
On the backend, there is SQL-standard information schema, outputs for XML, JSON, and YAML, and good server statistics.
Works on the major OS types like Linux, Mac, Windows, BSD, and Solaris. It also runs on Linux/Mac/Windows + Apache + PHP + PostgreSQL stacks.
PostgreSQL has many features for replication, like streaming replication, synchronous replication, and replication slots.
As for data security, PostgreSQL does SCRAM authentication, column permissions, default permissions, client encryption, and server-side encryption.
Once again, this one looks a bit more difficult to use than it actually is, as it is known for its ease of use. However, that initial impression may be a bit of a turn off.
PostgreSQL is free and open source but you can make a donation
7. Redis (Top database platform for in-memory data structure)
Redis stands for remote dictionary server. It is a key-value database manager, as well as a cache broker and messaging broker. It is, like many other alternatives here, open source.
Redis operates with a Unix-like structure, so for those who are into that, this is a clear winner.
What makes Redis stand out from the crowd is that it can be based on database management or as a store and a cache, which means data stored at one time is speedily available for future requests.
Many great data types with Redis, like data lists, data strings, data sets, hash tables, hyperlogs, as well as geospatial data.
With Redis Modules API, you can support other data types like JSON, Graph, Time Series, and more.
Redis users master-replica replication. If you want really good scalable read-only data, Redis is pretty good, but not for writing data. You can also apply Redis replication to data redundancy.
There might be too many uses for Redis outside of the standard DBMS toolkit, and for this reason, the entire platform seems too overwhelming and unwieldy. However, this should encourage only a few people willing to put in the work.
Redis is open source and free, but you can donate to the platform
8. SQLite (Great SQL database program)
In the wide world of database engine software, SQLite stands out for being straightforward, lightweight, and speedy to use. It was created with the C programming language.
You can’t really think of SQLite as its own application. Instead, it is embedded in other apps, like mobile phone apps, web browsers, and operating systems.
Because of its lightweight code, SQLite can reduce latency in database operations.
The people at SQLite run regular tests on the system to ensure that it works as best as possible and quickly root out any bugs or issues.
SQLite is open source, but this does not mean it is open to all forms of contributions, which helps maintain the quality of its features. Those who go through the hoops of submitting an affidavit can get access to contribute patches to the source code.
Because SQLite is very light, some might argue that it does not have enough of a solid data-integrity mechanism in comparison with some of the bigger names in DBMS.
SQLite is free of charge because it is open source
9. Microsoft SQL Server (Best database for small business)
Everyone knows Microsoft as the maker of many things, chief among the Windows operating systems for PCs. Microsoft has the original basic database tool with Excel, but for more advanced database management, there are two products to look at - Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Access.
Microsoft SQL server is one of the best DBMS for small and medium-sizes businesses and even large companies and enterprises.
This is a solid system for data storage and data retrieval, especially when used by other software application requests for data management.
Microsoft applies a lot of its machine learning and artificial intelligence or AI functionality to SQL Server for superior database management performance.
You can also get a good data replication tool for merging transactions and snapshot replication.
Finally, Microsoft SQL Server is amazing for data mining and data analytics, being able to let you index and search your data for instant insights.
If you love Microsoft, then no problem, but what about the people who do not especially like this brand? Well then, there are plenty of other non-Microsoft options available, so don’t let this bother you.
Standard CAL pricing starts at $209
Standard Server pricing starts at $899
Standard Per Core pricing starts at $3,586
Standard Enterprise pricing starts at $13,748
Visit Microsoft SQL Server
10. Microsoft Access (Most popular database software for personal use)
By all metrics, you might say that Microsoft Access is the Microsoft DBMS for home and personal use, while SQL Server is more for small-to-medium sized business. However, by other metrics, Microsoft Access is perfect for individual entrepreneurs, startups, and even small businesses.
You get a stellar GUI, or graphical user interface, making this dashboard very intuitive and easy to follow.
Access combines relational database management with other apps in the Microsoft 365 suite. You also do not need to know too much technical coding to create databases with Access and use them to their max potential.
Has a bit of an Excel look and feel, which means it will be familiar to many people. You can create new databases from scratch or use one of the many database templates available.
Easy to update and customize your apps with Access, which can then be applied to automation for easier workloads.
You can integrate your data sources with Microsoft Azure and MS SQL Server.
Microsoft Access is PC only, which means it only works with the Windows operating system, and of course, many might find this limiting if they use Mac OS, Linux, or mobile phone database tools.
365 Personal is $69.99 per year
365 Family is $99.99 per year
365 Business Basic is $6 per user per month billed annually
365 Apps for Business is $8.25 per user per month billed annually
365 Business Standard is $12.50 per user per month billed annually
365 Business Premium is $22 per user per month billed annually
Visit Microsoft Access
11. Raima (Good tools for database for critical applications)
Raima is a product for creating and managing embedded databases for critical applications. It offers a database manager as well as database professional services. The company boasts over 5 million deployments of its tool.
Raima claims that their tool works up to five times faster than most of their competitors. This is one light piece of software requiring only 350k of RAM to run.
Near-zero latency makes moving data around an instantaneous process for when your work decisions are at a critical limit.
There is SQL optimization support, no administrative requirements, and an overall positive customer support system with Raima.
There are no price listings on the site, but you can request a free trial. It is likely considering Raima’s high-end product that this one is a bit expensive.
Contact Raima for a trial and pricing
12. Interbase (Top enterprise database tools)
Interbase is a popular database tool for large businesses and enterprises. They also offer database solutions for developers, desktops and servers.
This is a pretty lightweight app, and there is also a fast installation process and minimal learning curve.
Live backups, resilient data dumps, write-ahead logging, and point-in-time recovery make for a very robust database.
Interbase is nice and flexible, with multi language support, cross platform functionality, storage for server data and local data, and a single on-disk format option.
For compliance there are event alerts and generators, ANSI/ISO SQL compliance, and it uses an open-standards based connectivity.
One of the main drawbacks is the aesthetics of the interfaces and dashboards, which shouldn’t be a big deal to many users, but in comparison to other tools, it's a bit of a let down.
Visit Interbase’s website to view their various pricing packages or request more information
13. Aqua Data Studio (Great visual database programs)
Aqua Data Studio is made by Aquafold, a subsidiary of Idera Inc. It is a universal database and visual analytics platform, connecting with other database tools for more visual reporting options.
You get a solid SQL editor, SQL checker, and visual query builder, as well as a very nice ER diagram modeler.
The dashboards for analytics and reporting are intuitive and great for real-time visualizations of the patterns in your data.
Aqua Data Studio runs on Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Apple MacOS. And you can build visuals by connecting to databases like MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM Db2, Oracle Database, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, SQLite and Cassandra.
Has an IDE, of integrated development environment, which is quite powerful
By connecting data from other databases to Aqua Data Studio's visualization system, you can really get a lot of extra value from your data. However, this example of a database management system is not the easiest one to master.
Aqua Data Studio Standard is $499 per user
Aqua Data Studio Ultimate is $699 per user
Visit Aqua Data Studio
14. Vertabelo (Good example of DBMS for data modeling)
Vertabelo is another one of our database applications that does data modeling. That means it works with supported databases to take their data and offer advanced modeling functions, like visualizations.
Great data modeling collaboration features with Vertabelo. You can set roles by owner, editor or viewer access.
You can perform reverse engineering on imported databases with a simple tool. It’s a command-in-line Java application.
Write SQL scripts that can work on all elements in your database, remove elements, or can selectively create and remove specific elements.
Other platform database useful tools are an instant save tool to never lose your work, a live validation feature to get regular hints from Vertabelo about how to improve your models and avoid errors, and an SQL preview tool that can work on many or just selected elements.
For now you still have to manually lay out the diagram in Vertabelo when you import with the reverse engineering tool. Apparently they are working on improving in this area.
Vertabelo individual costs $24 per month
Vertabelo Team costs $104 per month for up top 5 users
Contact Vertabelo for enterprise pricing
15. DBeaver (Great free program database software example)
Our final entry for all these database names is DBeaver. This is a free and open-source data management system for using as a universal database tool.
Works with all the common databases like Apache Hive, MySQL, IBM DB2, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, MS Access, Teradata, Firebird, Phoenix, Presto.
There is a data editor that lets you easily export, fetch data with size controls, use a lasso tool to select elements, and more.
The SQL editor supports large file sizes, and there is a table autocompletion tool for tips.
DBeaver offers a Pro version that includes NoSQL and big data database support, a visual query builder, an analytical chart function and a query history, among other tools.
There is a bit of a gap in functions between the free DBeaver and the pro enterprise edition of these DBMS softwares, and this might miff some open-source fanatics off a bit.
DBeaver is free
DBeaver Lite edition starts at $10 per month
DBeaver Enterprise education starts at $23 per month
What is database software & what does it do?
Database software is an application that helps you manage your data sets. This means it stores data and keeps it regularly backed up and encrypted which is key for data security. In addition, database software makes it easy to search through your data using a variety of metrics and filters and keywords.
There are many different types of databases management systems as well, including everything from personal end-user examples of database management systems, to operational enterprise warehousing database software examples.
Which is the best database tool for me? Our final key points
Ultimately, selecting a database management application comes down to functionality versus price versus ease of use.
Again, Microsoft Access is likely the most popular DBMS for personal use or small businesses like startups. Oracle’s database products are top choices among larger businesses or enterprises needing high-performance database management. So is IBM Db2. When it comes to open source options, MySQL and SQLite are well worth checking out, but so are all of the other database software examples we have discussed here.
Now, just so you know, some of the best project management software probably includes some database management tools. So if you just need a bit of database functionality as part of a larger business SaaS solution, think about PM programs alongside DBMS applications.
That brings us all to the very end of this amazing article about data, databases, database software, and the 10 best DBMS examples. We are pretty sure you've now read all you will ever need to read again on the topic, and for that, we are humbled and grateful to be of service.