Which RDBMS is best suited to your needs?

We have seen the differences between the various types of DBMS available: relational , NoSQL and NewSQL / In-Memory . We will now address the available DBMS solutions. In this article, we will study the relationship- leading RDBMSs ( RDBMSs ) on the market.

The three big relational DBMS

Oracle, IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server have been masters of the relationship landscape for a long time. If you’re thinking of buying a new RDBMS, get started with these three leading products: You’ll easily find application developers and database administrators with a wealth of experience in these systems.

In addition, the technology is robust and proven, all these products being used in production for several decades.

Which RDBMS best fits your situation?

Several factors come into play. If you want to run your DBMS on the mainframe of a large enterprise, the logic is that you choose IBM DB2. While you can run other DBMSs on a Linux partition of the mainframe, IBM remains the number one.

In Unix and Linux installations, your choices will be Oracle and DB2. For these two platforms, Oracle leads even though IBM’s presence in this market is far from anecdotal.

These three choices are viable in Windows development but Microsoft, which has its own operating system, is the undisputed master.

These three leading DBMSs deliver excellent performance, application development, support, ease of use, and features. But they also have their differences.


The world leader is Oracle . Its DBMS, whose current version is Oracle Database 12c , is very widespread. Oracle’s DBMS supports a broad spectrum of operating systems, including multiple versions of Windows and Unix and its Linux variants.

Because of the size of its installed base and the number of supported platforms, you will easily find competent Oracle database technicians and database developers.

Similarly, there are many tools for database administration, application development, and data management / moving for Oracle. If you’re looking for the market leader or want to make sure the tools and skills are available, Oracle is a solid choice.

In terms of functionality, Oracle remains at the forefront and offers many advanced features, such as support for JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), time capabilities, and multitenant. In addition, Oracle Database In-Memory, a new option in the Oracle database , uses In-Memory ( In-Memory ) technology to enable organizations to easily and seamlessly accelerate the performance of their business analytics.

In general, customers value Oracle products for their performance and availability. In addition, the company publishes the results of its own performance evaluations. Admittedly, the actual performance sometimes differs considerably from the measurements made in the test environment. But vendor assessments are useful if they are reviewed against your own needs and evaluations.

Oracle widely advocates its database appliance, Exadata . Combining software and hardware, it provides a high availability and high performance platform for running Oracle Database. Its architecture is marked by a scale-out design with standard servers and intelligent storage, including flash technology and a high-speed InfiniBand internal structure.

With elastic configurations, the systems are adaptable to database workload: online transaction processing (OLTP), data warehousing, In-Memory analytics, and mixed workloads.

The main business case for a database appliance is its ease of deployment and the comprehensiveness of included components required to run the DBMS.

As for the costs, Oracle has a reputation for being expensive, whether licensing or support.

Finally, according to surveys conducted at Gartner’s IT Financial Procurement & Asset Management annual summits in North America and Europe, Oracle is ranked last in terms of business relationships.


DB2 is Oracle’s main competitor on Unix and Linux operating systems. In addition to these platforms, there are DB2 versions for Windows, z / OS mainframe , and iSeries midrange server.

The latest versions of DB2 are: DB2 Version 10.5 for Linux, Unix and Windows (LUW), DB2 11 for z / OS, and DB2 for i v7.2.

It’s harder to recruit DB2-capable developers and database administrators than for Oracle. That said, experienced DB2 specialists are not rare. The skills vary by platform, and you’ll need to consider this: DB2 for z / OS mainframe skills are different and a little harder to find than DB2 for LUW.

DB2 SQL is almost identical on both platforms, but has significant differences in administration.

You’ll also find many DB2 database development, data movement, and database management tools provided by IBM and third-party software vendors.

In terms of functionality, DB2 benefits from ongoing revisions and updates. Some of the advanced features recently added include JSON support, time features, ghost tables, and advanced compression. In addition, with the advent of DB2 SQL compatibility, Oracle applications are executable on DB2 for LUW without the need to change the business logic of client code, triggers, or stored procedures.

From the point of view of the proposed functions, it is impossible to overlook the next-generation database technology for DB2, the IBM BLU Acceleration . It combines In-Memory performance techniques, compression features, and basic column capabilities.

Like Oracle, IBM regularly publishes results of DB2 performance evaluations. In any case, we strongly advise you to conduct your own assessments, if possible with your own systems and workloads.

With its PureData System database appliance , IBM offers a ready-to-use solution that includes DB2 preinstalled and configured. In a few hours, the system can start loading the data. It also offers open integration with third-party software. PureData includes an integrated management console for the entire system, a single support channel, and integrated system upgrades and maintenance.

PureData System is available in many forms. All have been designed, integrated and optimized for analytics, operational analytics and transaction processing .

Microsoft SQL Server

The last but certainly not least of the big three relational DBMS is Microsoft SQL Server , whose current version is SQL Server 2014 . Microsoft SQL Server runs exclusively on Windows but the supported versions are numerous.

SQL Server database developers and database administrators are legion. You will also find many development, data movement, and database administration tools for SQL Server designed by Microsoft or third-party software vendors.

SQL Server users can reduce their tool budgets because SQL Server licenses come with multiple services: Analysis Services, Integration Services, and Reporting Services provide features that are often offered as additional components by the other DBMS editors discussed here.

From a technological and functional point of view, Microsoft follows the evolution of the sector. The latest release has added new features, including In-Memory capabilities for OLTP, an improved In-Memory column bank, a document store feature, and hybrid scenarios that are compatible with Azure.

Of the three DBMS vendors discussed, Microsoft is the one that demonstrates the most advanced integration of the cloud for SQL Server with Azure. Flagship features include simplified backup to Azure and the ability to configure an Azure VM as a secondary replica always available.

Microsoft scores highly on SQL Server 2014 performance assessments, including TPC-E assessments that measure modern OLTP workloads.

Microsoft does not offer a database appliance that is comparable to Oracle’s Exadata or IBM’s PureData System. If you are looking for a plug and play database appliance, Microsoft’s choice is unrealistic. However, some third-party appliances include SQL Server, and Microsoft also offers the Microsoft Analytics Platform System, an analytics appliance that integrates SQL Server with Hadoop data.

Other relational DBMS in the market

Of course there are other enterprise DBMSs besides the top three. Among the most common, Teradata , SAP Sybase and Informix offer all enterprise features but are mostly confined to certain niches.

Teradata is primarily known for its analytics and data warehousing capabilities . For companies that run analytic processes, the Teradata database and the Active Enterprise Data Warehouse data warehouse provide a bridge to business insights.

This solution is based on advanced internal database analytics, intelligent In-Memory processing, running parallel scripting languages ​​within the database, native JSON support, and more. on the transparent processing of a single query in multiple systems.

Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE), now part of SAP, was a pioneer in the relational DBMS industry. Once seen as a serious competitor to the “big three”, ASE has lost market share over the years. SAP ASE is primarily present in the financial sector where its performance and scalability are highly valued.

Informix, another precursor of relational DBMS, now belongs to IBM, which markets it. It is appreciated for its ability to provide fault-tolerant and unsupported SQL processing. IBM is focusing Informix development on its ability to seamlessly embed and integrate SQL, NoSQL / JSON, time series, and spatial data.

These DBMS products certainly deserve attention for specific use cases, but the specialists and the tools that support them are rarer.

If you are currently using them to your satisfaction, there is no reason to change them. Otherwise, one of the three main systems presented above should better meet your needs.

Open source relational DBMS

Several open source relational DBMSs are worth considering. As with any open source software , the main advantage of an RDBMS of this type is that users are free to execute, copy, distribute, study, modify and improve the software. However, open source does not mean completely free, at least in case of professional use.

MySQL and PostgreSQL are two of the most common systems. MySQL belongs to Oracle , while PostgreSQL was born from a project from Berkeley University (UC Berkeley University), one of the very first relational database systems.

The software download is free. However, using an open source DBMS in an enterprise application involves costly technical support. Oracle offers support packages for MySQL; and EnterpriseDB, a supported version of PostgreSQL.

Before embarking on the open source path, be aware that some essential relational features may be missing, such as CHECK constraints or join options (JOIN) .

In addition, you may need to use various database engines as plug-ins to configure support for specific workloads by the DBMS.

In summary

Overall, the three major RDBMS vendors continue to offer rich features, mixed workloads, and robust performance and availability, with the advantage of having many tools and a large pool of skilled technicians.

But all this has a price.

Other relational systems exist, both commercial and source, to meet the needs of specific use cases or for small budgets.

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