Best Database Software for Your Business
What Is Database Software?
A database is essentially a repository for an organization’s data. Everything ranging from transactions to customer information can be stored in a database for later retrieval.
Database software provides a graphical interface that allows users to view, create and manage their data in one place.
Databases are stored on either hardware servers, cloud-based servers or hybrids. Each option comes with specific benefits.
Software that provides comprehensive data management between one or more database software options is called a database management system (DBMS).
What Kind of Data Is Stored in a Database?
Databases store information in different formats, including text, images and various multimedia files. They can also store files for articles and published content from websites.
Every type of data contains certain attributes and can be interacted with in different ways using query languages such as SQL:
- Textual data – Words, symbols and numbers
- Numeric data – Integers, decimals and floating-point values
- Date and time – 08/17/2020, 30/12/2023, 17:30
- Character strings – aso(&H, &$fdgg, 239DD
- Binary data – Microsoft Word documents and other computer programs
Who Needs Databases?
Databases are beneficial for a range of people, from individual web developers to enterprise-level organizations.
Examples of database usage include:
- Business applications
- Financial transactions
- Accounting information
What Are the Benefits of Database Software?
Database software dramatically decreases the time required to store and retrieve data, automating every process from data collection to data reports.
Database software also provides essential data security. You can authorize and block user access to particular functions by using administrator and end-user permissions.
Other benefits include:
- Regular backups and recovery
- Analytics for stock, sales, customer activity and more
- Reduction of data redundancies
- Multi-user access
What Are the Key Features of Database Software?
The fundamental features of database software are the storage, access to and management of data through a graphical user interface.
Aside from the database software’s ability to collect and view data, benefits also stem from the database management system.
A DBMS allows users to manipulate the data, field names and file structures of the database and to interact uniquely with different data types.
Key features of a database management system include:
Data dictionary management – The DBMS stores the description and elements of the data, so it can be easily accessed without the need for complex query programming. Changes made to the database are recorded automatically in the data dictionary.
Data storage management – Using a DBMS, you can provide storage for data, data entry forms, report definitions, data validation rules and structures supporting multimedia formats
Data transformation and presentation – This feature converts data into the relevant format. For instance, US dates may convert to British dates, while Chinese yuan could convert to Australian dollars.
Security management – As mentioned before, you can use database software to give special permissions to specific users. Higher ranked employees will perform data operations such as modifying, adding or deleting data, whereas other employees will have read-only access.
Backup and recovery management – Database software will provide routine backup procedures to protect companies from the complete loss of data in the case of a data breach.
Database access languages and application programming interfaces – This feature provides users with access to the database via query languages, allowing them to specify what they want done without needing to specify how.
Database communication interfaces – The DBMS allows database software to network with different database environments accessible through web browsers and third-party applications.
What to Know About Database Software
There are various types of database software that provide different ways to interact with and manage database information.
- Analytical database software – Gathers and compares data
- Data warehouse software – Acts as a large repository and evaluator for data and databases
- Distributed database software – Accesses and manages information from multiple databases
- End-user database system software – Stores information retrievable by a single user
- External database software – Central location that multiple users can access for information
- Operational database software – Allows users to manage and modify data in real-time
Programs that help to manage the different software are considered ‘database management systems’.
This is the key difference between database software and DBMS. However, since most DBMS include the database software mentioned above, the terms are often used interchangeably.
What Is the Difference Between SQL and NoSQL Software?
Structured Query Language (SQL) manages, views and retrieves data from databases without manually navigating through the entire database.
It was created to interact with relational database management systems (RDBMS) and remains the most commonly used query language for database management systems.
However, since it scales vertically, changes to the data structure can cause significant issues.
‘Not only SQL’ (NoSQL) databases are non-relational, requiring query languages other than (but not excluding) SQL.
Since NoSQL databases scale horizontally, changes to data structure will cause fewer issues.
NoSQL databases are more efficient with unstructured data, while SQL databases excel in multi-row transactions.
Best Database Software for Your Business in 2021
MySQL is the most popular open-source relational database management system and uses SQL as its primary querying language.
It is a popular database for web developers since web-hosting providers often bundle MySQL into their packages.
- Standard – £727.20
- Enterprise – £3,636
- Cluster Carrier Grade (CGE) – £7,272
- Offers superior database scalability
- Offers reliable backup and recovery options
- Integrates easily with other software, web applications and database environments
- Offers comprehensive security features
- Can be overly reliant on third-party plugins
- Its robust features and complexity make it inaccessible to small businesses
- Performance starts to decline when handling massive data
Knack is SaaS database software that provides remote access to its users.
It offers complete cloud-based services and features intuitive database management tools.
- Starter – £28.36 per month
- Pro – £57.45 per month
- Corporate – £130.17 per month
- (Enterprise) Plus 1 – £217.43 per month
- (Enterprise) Plus 2 – £362.87 per month
- (Enterprise) Plus 3 – £726.47 per month
- Features a variety of database templates
- Provides a robust set of features while maintaining ease of use
- Requires little-to-no code programming
- Includes a 14-day free trial
- Unable to convert HTML files to PDF
- The user interface is somewhat bland and unappealing
Amazon RDS is a cloud-based SaaS and one of many web platforms from Amazon Web Services (AWS).
This software is primarily desirable to app developers, database administrators and DevOps engineers.
The software provides brilliant scalability for relational, cloud-based databases.
Amazon RDS offers a pay-as-you-go model that allows users to only pay for the services they use.
Amazon offers an AWS pricing calculator to keep track of how much you spend per month.
Using the AWS pricing calculator, you’ll find that the total sum of your payments amounts to roughly the same as monthly subscriptions for other database software.
- Automates administrative database management tasks like setups, backups and patching
- Processes heavy workloads on a single database system
- Offers reliable and responsive customer support
- Offers an online support center and knowledge center
- No auto-scale options
- Amazon’s cloud-based servers prevent users from checking server logs
- Requires downtime for scaling processes and patches
Microsoft SQL Server’s powerful DBMS allows it to handle multiple data queries simultaneously, making it one of today’s most popular database software solutions.
It provides effective data management, business intelligence, analytics and more applications for every software version.
- Developer/Express – Free
- Standard CAL – £151.61
- Standard Server – £652.13
- Standard Per Core – £2,501.28
- Enterprise – £9,972.80
- SQL Server Standard – £1,028.62
- SQL Server Enterprise – £3,941.82
- Provides a template explorer to identify names in the database
- Offers more features than Microsoft Access
- Integrates easily with other programs
- Allows users to create tables and view data with no syntax
- The price for the advanced versions of the software is steeper than the average database software prices
- Since it is designed to run only on Windows-based servers, compatibility is limited
- It can be difficult to scale as the more integrations, the more the price rises steeply
Improvado is database software primarily used for aggregating marketing data. Although it is effective for organizations of all sizes, it is most effective for small to mid-sized businesses.
The software can be hosted as an on-premise or cloud-based system and can connect multiple data sources to one virtual database.
Improvado does not disclose its pricing and instead offers a personalized quote for organizations that make contact.
An organization does not have to be an enterprise to receive a quote, as Improvado provides customized prices to smaller organizations.
It also offers a 14-day free trial.
- Automates most reporting processes
- Provides integration options for most third-party applications
- Contains a clean, appealing user interface
- Provides efficient data analytics
- The latest entries may be excluded during analytical comparison
- Creating custom tabs is limited compared to other software
TeamDesk is web-based database software that provides a low-code solution to data management for businesses of any size.
The software provides simplified data sharing and a greater ability to organize workflow.
It also serves as an accessible option for centralized environments for data storage.
- Starter Edition – £35.42
- Team Edition – £71.57
- Enterprise Edition – £180
The software includes a 14-day free trial.
- Provides unlimited data storage
- Provides unlimited data transfer
- Provides reliable, unlimited customer support
- One of the most affordable database software options
- The user interface can be somewhat confusing and cluttered
- Limited options for application integrations
MongoDB is a NoSQL database program, so it does not use SQL as its primary querying language.
Instead, MongoDB uses JSON-like documents, so the data structure can be altered at any time. Fields can also vary according to documents.
MongoDB has intuitive query language support that is used by Sega, Google, Adobe and more.
MongoDB provides separate price options for three separate solutions:
- Cloud-based database as a service
- On-premise/private cloud service
- Realm (app development solution)
MongoDB Atlas (database as a service) provides three different pricing options:
- Shared – Free to use but billed monthly using extra features
- Serverless – £0.22 for each document read
- Dedicated – £41 per month
The price for MongoDB Enterprise Advanced (On-premise/cloud service) is not disclosed on the company website.
To receive a quote for the software, you are required to contact the company.
MongoDB Realm provides free access to the software for all Atlas users. However, access is limited to evaluation and light usage.
For extended use, MongoDB Realm provides rates for computing, syncing, requests and transfers:
- Computing – £7 per 500 hours of runtime
- Syncing – £0.05 per million minutes of syncing
- Requests – £1.40 per million application requests
- Transfer – £0.09 GB of transfers
- Allows for quicker performance when executing queries
- Provides a simpler query syntax as an alternative to SQL
- Performs faster than any other relational database
- Offers reliable support for every service
- Has a high chance of duplicating data
- Limits documents to 16 MB
- Requires a large amount of storage space
Oracle Database (also known as Oracle) is a DBMS available as an on-premise, cloud-based or hybrid service.
As well as offering numerous features, Oracle is cross-platform and can run on multiple devices.
The software is generally used for data warehousing, online transaction processing and mixed database workloads.
- Personal Edition – Free
- Standard Edition – £12,573
- Enterprise Edition – £34,127
- Mobile Server – £16,525
- NoSQL Database Enterprise Plan – £7,185
- Provides complete support for data migration
- Works on various operating systems (Unix, Windows Server and others)
- Provides seamless integration with other platforms
- Handles massive data remarkably well
- Perhaps the most expensive option for database management systems
- Its complexity requires considerable tech literacy to operate
- Add-ons require paid licenses
If you’re looking to build and grow a company or web platform, finding the right database software or DBMS is crucial to your success.
Consider what kind of data you will accumulate and the number of resources you are willing to expend to manage your data.
It can be tricky to decide which platform is best for your business, so we encourage you to speak to an IT specialist for further consultation.