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Best Database for Small Projects

Best Database for Small Projects

Data is now considered to be one of the most valuable assets of any organization. It makes transactions within a business easier and facilitates a smooth flow of operations. Data is also a key decision-making tool as organizations are relying on evidence-based decision-making more than ever before. As a result, every organization is looking for a way to store its data in the most efficient way possible.

Best Database for Small Projects

1) Best Databases for 2021: MySQL

MySQL was launched in 1995 by Michael Widenius, Allan Larsson, and David Axmark. It is an Open-Source Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) based on the Structured Query Language (SQL), which is available under the GNU General Public license but also comes with proprietary licenses. According to Stack Overflow survey 2020, MySQL is used by 55.6% of the respondents, making it the most widely used database in the world.

It enables innovative Database Administrators and Software Developers to build and deploy the next-gen Web, Embedded, Mobile, and Cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) / Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) / Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) applications on the latest development frameworks and hardware platforms.

MySQL is a highly scalable database system that possesses the ability to run on multiple platforms such as Linux, Windows, and Unix. Some of the key features of MySQL are as follows:

  • MySQL is extremely easy to deploy and manage.
  • It supports ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability), thereby making it the most reliable.
  • This Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) offers fast-loading utilities with different memory cache to maintain and administer Servers.
  • MySQL can be configured with any programming language but is used mainly with PHP.
  • It offers high-performance results without compromising essential functionalities.
  • It provides complete security for the data as it consists of solid Data Security layers. Only authorized users can access the database using encrypted passwords.

2) Best Databases for 2021: PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a free and Open-Source Object-Relational Database Management System (ORDBMS) that emphasizes extensibility and SQL compliance and was developed by Michael Ralph Stonebraker in 1996. It is compatible with several operating systems, including Windows, Linux, MacOSX, Unix, etc.

PostgreSQL houses numerous features such as Inheritance and Function Loading that make it one of the best databases available. These features are used to enhance the extensibility, reliability, and data integrity while handling data. It comes with various data types and robust feature sets that allow businesses to achieve their data handling objectives. The key features of PostgreSQL are as follows:

  • It houses numerous constraints that can ensure Data Integrity. These constraints include Primary Keys, Foreign Keys, Explicit Locks, Advisory Locks, Exclusion Constraints.
  • It supports various features of SQL such as Multi-Version Concurrency Control, SQL Sub-selects, complex SQL queries, Streaming Replication, etc.
  • It is compatible with multiple data types, including Structured, Primitives, Customizations, Geometry, and Document.
  • It is highly extensible in several phases like JSON/SQL path expressions and Stored procedures and functions.

3) Best Databases for 2021: Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server was developed by Microsoft Corporation in 1989. It is now considered to be an excellent Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) for both On-premise and Cloud environments. This enterprise-proven agile database has built-in intelligence that allows businesses to scale the performance, availability, and security seamlessly based on their requirements. It is available both on Windows and Linux platforms.

Microsoft SQL Server is identical to Sybase SQL Server 4.2. This is because their basic architecture process and Transact-SQL Procedural languages are similar. This database has several competitive features that secure it a unique place in the analytics industry. Some of these features are as follows:

  • Microsoft SQL Server and other Big Data tools can be used to build a superior shared Data Lake.
  • It allows users to gain insights by querying across their entire dataset without moving or replicating their data.
  • It comes with built-in features for Data Classification, Protection, and Monitoring as it identifies and provides alerts on suspicious activities, security gaps, and misconfigurations.
  • It supports Structured, Semi-structured, and Spatial data
  • It comes with custom-built graphical integration and allows users to create various designs, tables and view data without syntax.
  • It allows users to combine data from any source by harnessing an extensive connector library and new transformations in the Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) Tabular Model.

4) Best Databases for 2021: MongoDB

MongoDB is an Open-source Document-oriented Database that is used to store high-volume data and was founded in 2007 by Dwight Merriman, Eliot Horowitz, and Kevin Ryan. MongoDB is a scalable, flexible database platform that overcomes the relational database approach. It provides users an unparalleled level of flexibility by horizontal scaling and load balancing capacities.

MongoDB is suitable for hierarchical data storage and is almost 100 times faster than Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). This platform centers around the CAP theorem (Consistency, Availability, and Partition tolerance.)

MongoDB offers developers several out-of-the-box capabilities, irrespective of where it is published (privately on-site or in the public cloud). Some features are as follows:

  • It is highly scalable. Numerous companies across industries leverage MongoDB to create Clusters with more than 100 nodes and millions of documents within the database.
  • It offers high availability with replica sets.
  • It is very flexible and adaptable as it stores the data in the documents.
  • In case of hardware failure, it can run over multiple Servers, balancing the load or duplicating data to keep the system running.
  • The data model available within this database platform enables users to represent hierarchical relationships, store arrays, and other complex structures seamlessly.

5) Best Databases for 2021: Oracle

Oracle Database is a widely used Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) across industries. It is one of the most popular databases since it is considered to be a cost-optimizing and high-performance solution. It is the only converged Enterprise Relational Database present in the industry. Oracle Database supports Structured Query Language (SQL) to interact with the database. 

This multi-model Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) was primarily designed for Enterprise Grid Computing. After the success of its 19C database, Oracle Database 21C was released earlier this year that brings wide-ranging capabilities like Multi-workload Improvement with AutoML.

Oracle Database is among the most widely used databases in the industry as they support all data types involving Relational, Graph, Structured, and Unstructured information and is hence considered to be one of the best databases available in the market. The key features of Oracle Database are as follows:

  • It houses numerous features such as Real Application Clustering and Portability, making this Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) much more scalable during business growth.
  • High data availability is required for running real-time applications. Oracle offers a high-performance computing environment that is powerful enough to provide all-time data availability. It also ensures data remains available during unplanned downtimes. In downtimes, any database needs to recover quickly to provide high-data availability. Oracle is laden with comprehensive recovery features to bring out data from failures. During such times, the unaffected part of data remains good to use simultaneously, with the affected part being repaired within minutes to ensure the availability of data in that part as well

open source database projects

PostgreSQL

If you’re from the PHP land (WordPress, Magento, Drupal, etc.), then PostgreSQL will sound foreign to you. However, this relational database software has been around since 1997 and is the top choice in communities like Ruby, Python, Go, etc.

In fact, many developers eventually “graduate” to PostgreSQL for the features it offers or simply for stability. It’s hard to convince someone in a short write-up like this but think of PostgreSQL as a thoughtfully engineered product that never lets you down.

There are many good SQL clients available to connect to the PostgreSQL database for administration and development.

Unique Features

PostgreSQL has several fascinating features as compared to other relational databases (specifically, MySQL), such as:

  • Built-in data types for Array, Range, UUID, Geolocation, etc.
  • Native support for document storage (JSON-style), XML, and key-value storage (Hstore)
  • Synchronous and asynchronous replication
  • Scriptable in PL, Perl, Python, and more
  • Full-text search

My personal favorites are the geolocation engine (which takes away the pain when working with location-based apps — try finding all nearby points manually, and you’ll know what I mean) and support for arrays (many MySQL projects are undone for want of arrays, opting instead for the infamous comma-separated strings).

When to use PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is always a better choice than any other relational database engine. That is, if you’re starting a new project and have been bitten by MySQL before, it’s a good time to consider PostgreSQL. I have friends who gave up battling MySQL’s mysterious transactional lock failures and moved on permanently. If you decide the same, you won’t be overreacting.

PostgreSQL also has a clear advantage if you need partial NoSQL facilities for a hybrid data model. Since document and key-value storage are natively supported, you don’t need to go hunting for, installing, learning, and maintaining another database solution.

When not using PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL doesn’t make sense when your data model isn’t relational and/or when you have very specific architectural requirements. For instance, consider Analytics, where new reports are constantly being created from existing data. Such systems are read-heavy and suffer when a strict schema is imposed on them. Sure, PostgreSQL has a document storage engine, but things start to fall apart when you’re dealing with large datasets.

In other words, always use PostgreSQL unless you know 100% what you’re doing!

MariaDB

MariaDB was created as a replacement for MySQL by the same person who developed MySQL.

Confused?

Well, actually, after MySQL was taken over by Oracle in 2010 (by acquiring Sun Microsystems, which, incidentally, is also how Oracle came to control Java), the creator of MySQL started a new open source project called MariaDB.

Why does all this boring detail matter, you ask? It’s because MariaDB was created from the same code base as that of MySQL (in the open-source world, this is known as “forking” an existing project). As a result, MariaDB is presented as a “drop-in” replacement for MySQL.

That is, if you’re using MySQL and want to migrate to MariaDB, the process is so easy that you just won’t believe it.

Unfortunately, such a migration is a one-way street. Going back from MariaDB to MySQL is not possible, and should you try to use force, permanent database corruption is ensured!

Unique features

While MariaDB is essentially a clone of MySQL, it’s not strictly true. Ever since the introduction of the database, the differences between the two have been growing. As of writing, adopting MariaDB needs to be a well-thought-through decision on your part. That said, there are plenty of new things going on in MariaDB that may help you make this transition:

  • Truly free and open: Since there’s no single corporate entity controlling MariaDB, you can be free of sudden predatory licensing and other worries.
  • Several more options of storage engines for specialized needs: for instance, the Spider engine for distributed transactions; ColumnStore for massive data warehousing; the ColumnStore engine for parallel, distributed storage; and many, many more.
  • Speed improvements over MySQL, especially due to the Aria storage engine for complex queries.
  • Dynamic columns for different rows in a table.
  • Better replication capabilities (for example, multi-source replication)
  • Several JSON functions
  • Virtual columns

. . . And many, many more. It’s exhausting to keep up with all the MariaDB features. 🙂

When to use MariaDB

If you want a true replacement of MySQL, you should use MariaDB as they want to stay on the innovation curve and don’t plan on returning to MySQL again. One excellent use case is the use of new storage engines in MariaDB to compliment your project’s existing relational data model.

When not to use MariaDB

Compatibility with MySQL is the only concern here. That said, it’s becoming less of a problem as projects like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, etc., have started supporting MariaDB. My advice would be not to use MariaDB to trick a CMS that doesn’t support it, as many database-specific tricks will crash the system easily.

CockroachDB

The team behind CockroachDB seems to be composed of masochists. With a product name like that, surely they want to turn all odds against them and still win?

Well, not quite.

The idea behind “cockroach” is that it’s an insect built for survival. No matter what happens — predators, floods, eternal darkness, rotting food, bombing, the cockroach finds a way to survive and multiply.

The idea is that the team behind CockroachDB (composed of former Google engineers) was frustrated with the limitations of traditional SQL solutions when it comes to large scale. That’s because, historically, SQL solutions were supposed to be hosted on a single machine (data wasn’t that big). For a long time, there was no way to build a cluster of databases running SQL, which is why MongoDB captured so much attention.

Even when replication and clustering came out in MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB, it was painful at best. CoackroachDB wants to change that, bringing effortless sharding, clustering, and high availability to the world of SQL.

When to use CockroachDB

CockroachDB is the system architect’s dream come true. If you swear by SQL and have been simmering at the scaling capabilities of MongoDB, you’ll love CockroachDB. Now you can quickly set up a cluster, throw queries at it, and sleep peacefully at night.

When not to use CockroachDB

Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. By that, I mean, if your existing RDBMS is working well for you and you think you can manage the scaling pains it brings, stick with it. CockroachDB is a new product for all the genius involved, and you don’t want to be struggling against it later on. Another major reason is SQL compatibility — if you’re doing exotic SQL stuff and rely on it for critical things, CockroachDB will present too many edge cases for your liking.

From now on, we’ll consider non-SQL (or NoSQL, as it’s called) database solutions for highly specialized needs.

ClickHouse

Searching for a fast, open-source OLAP database system?

It uses every hardware to its maximum potential to approach each query faster. The peak performance of processing a query usually remains more than two terabytes each second. To avoid increased latency, reads are balanced automatically among the healthy replicas. 

It supports multi-master async replication, and you can deploy it across different data centers. As nodes are maintained equal, you can avoid even single failure points. The downtime of either a single node or the complete data center will never affect system availability in terms of writes and reads.

ClickHouse is very easy to use and simple. It streamlines data processing, puts all your data into a system in an organized manner, and is available instantly to build reports. Moreover, SQL dialect helps to express the result without using any non-standard API, which you can get in alternative systems. 

You can rely on this database management system to configure it as a distributed system that is located on separate nodes without failure points. Additionally, its security features are robust, including enterprise-grade security and fail-safe mechanisms in case of human errors.

ClickHouse can process queries faster compared to row-oriented systems having the same CPU capacity and I/O throughput. Its columnar data storage format helps keep more data inside RAM, resulting in shorter response times.

The total ownership cost can be reduced by commodity hardware having rotary disk drives rather than using NVMe/SSD without sacrificing latency for the queries. It strives for CPU efficiency, optimizes access to the disk drive, and minimizes data transfers. 

Furthermore, due to its feature-laced SQL database, you can efficiently process your query in no time, join co-located and distributed data, manage denormalized information efficiently, and more. ClickHouse scales horizontally and vertically and adapts easily to perform on a single server or clusters with thousands of nodes.

Use ClickHouse for web and application analytics, telecommunications, ad network, online games, IoT, business intelligence, finance, eCommerce, monitoring, and more. 

It integrates with Hadoop, Postgres, and MySQL.

If you are not ready to install and set up a server, you can try Kamatera which offers ClickHouse with one click.

Neo4j

One of the most significant developments in the recent decade is connected data. The world around us is not partitioned into tables and rows and boxes — it’s one giant mess with everything connected to almost everything else.

Social networks are a prime example, and building a similar data model using SQL or even document-based databases is a nightmare.

That’s because the ideal data structure for these solutions is the graph, which is an entirely different beast. And for that, you need a graph database like Neo4j.

The example above was taken directly from the Neo4j website and shows how university students are connected to their departments and courses. Such a data model is plain impossible with SQL, as it’ll be tough to avoid infinite loops and memory overruns.

Unique features

Graph databases are unique in themselves, and Neo4j is pretty much the only option for working with graphs. As a result, whatever features it has are unique.

  • Support for transactional applications and graph analytics.
  • Data transformation abilities for digesting large-scale tabular data into graphs.
  • Specialized query language (Cypher) for querying the graph database
  • Visualization and discovery features

It’s a moot point to discuss when to use Neo4j and when not. If you need graph-based relationships between your data, you need Neo4j.

free simple database software

1. ClickUp

ClickUp is one of the highest-rated project management software in the world, loved by super-productive teams from startups to large corporations. 

Wait… why is a project management tool on the list?

Remember, any tool that lets you store and manage data can be called database software. 

Project management tools, like ClickUp, help you manage all the data related to your projects and tasks with ease. 

And when it comes to project data management, ClickUp isn’t your average Joe.

It offers the highest number of unique features in the industry, releasing awesome stuff every week!  

ClickUp key features

Here’s a quick look into how ClickUp helps you become a data ninja:

  • Hierarchy: break down your project and organize it into Workspace, Spaces, Folders, and more for effortless management
  • Lists: list out your tasks with different tags, statuses, and Custom Fields to enhance clarity
  • Docs: create all sorts of documents and store them alongside your projects for easy accessibility 
  • Table view: use simple rows and columns to arrange, navigate, and export data in a flash
  • Form view: collect customer feedback, client requirements, or any data you need with beautiful forms 
  • Relationships: link similar tasks and ideas, or even create an advanced database 
  • Dashboards: see what’s happening in your projects with a quick glance
  • Resource management: use Workload view, Pulse, Profiles, and more to manage your resources efficiently
  • Embed view: embed apps, websites, videos, or any content you need alongside your tasks 
  • Gantt chart: track your project progress using intuitive Gantt charts
  • Views: Board, Box, Calendar, Timeline… open your eyes to unique work perspectives with ClickUp
  • Custom Item Types: store, visualize, and present information any way you prefer, and add a layer of structure to relational databases

ClickUp pros

  • Intuitive and sleek user interface
  • Free Forever Plan that offers a wide variety of powerful features
  • Access tasks even when your internet’s down with the Offline Mode
  • Automate 50+ processes to save time and effort 
  • Sort, filter, and search through your tasks in a snap
  • Use the Multitask Toolbar to manage tons of tasks with one click
  • Streamline data flow across Slack, Salesforce CRM, and all your favorite apps with powerful integrations
  • Uses 256-bit SSL and AES-256 encryption standards for top-notch data security
  • SOC 2, Privacy Shield, GDPR, and HIPAA compliant
  • Manage all your project data using the feature-rich iOS and Android Mobile Apps 
  • Supports Linux, Windows, and macOS operating systems

ClickUp limitations

  • No Table view on the mobile app (yet)

Check out ClickUp’s roadmap to see how we’re fixing such minor issues, and explore all the amazing features that this free database software has in store for you.

ClickUp pricing

ClickUp offers three pricing plans to suit various user needs:

  • Free Forever Plan:
    • Unlimited users
    • Unlimited tasks
    • 100MB storage
    • 24/7 support
    • And more
  • Unlimited Plan ($5/month per user)
    • All Free Plan features
    • Unlimited views
    • Unlimited file storage
    • Custom fields 
    • Portfolios 
    • And more
  • Business Plan ($9/month per user)
    • All Unlimited Plan features
    • Sprint Automations
    • Goal Folders
    • Unlimited Mind Maps
    • Form branding and customization
    • And more

ClickUp user ratings

  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (2130+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.7/5 (2670+ reviews)

2. MySQL

MySQL is an open source relational database management system from Oracle. Users can use the Structured Query Language to access and manage data in MySQL. 

Wait, what’s a relational database?

A relational database management system stores similar data in tables, using rows and columns. It’s like an advanced evolution of your spreadsheets (minus all the stress.) 

Fortunately, you don’t need an oracle to see if the MySQL database is truly yours.

MySQL key features 

  • Data dictionary keeps a uniform record about database objects like tables  
  • Roles let you easily set privileges, like read-only access, to multiple user accounts 
  • Group attributes help a database administrator control the hardware consumption 
  • MySQL Workbench allows people like a database administrator, database architect, and developer work together  

MySQL pros

  • Suitable for open source ecosystems
  • Flexible and secure password system  
  • Supports the Windows operating system, macOS, and Linux platforms

MySQL limitations

  • Can perform poorly with larger datasets
  • Server crashes can corrupt the system
  • Outdated UI

MySQL pricing

Here’s a quick look at some of the pricing plans of this open source database tool:

  • Community Edition (free):
    • MySQL Workbench
    • Transactional Data Dictionary 
    • Performance Schema 
    • And more
  • MySQL Standard Edition ($2000)
    • All Community Edition features
    • MySQL Database Server
    • Knowledge Base
    • Oracle Product Certifications
    • And more

MySQL user ratings

  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (1400+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.4/5 (1480+ reviews)

3. Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is a popular relational database tool that helps you store and retrieve data using SQL queries. 

It also has its own version of the SQL language called T-SQL (Transact-SQL) that provides additional functionality like error handling. 

Sounds cool, but can this server juggle all your needs efficiently?

Microsoft SQL Server key features

  • Built-in data classification, data protection, and monitoring features
  • Enable customized data access based on user roles
  • Power BI (Business Intelligence) Report Server to manage reports and KPIs 
  • Connector library helps you combine data from any data source 

Microsoft SQL Server pros

  • Can query across other databases like PostgreSQL without replicating or moving any data 
  • Supports fast database recovery
  • Available for Linux and Windows operating systems 

Microsoft SQL Server limitations

  • Limited data partitioning capabilities 
  • Complicated licensing process that you’ll have to go through each time your license expires 
  • Can be expensive for small companies that want to scale up quickly

Microsoft SQL Server pricing

Here’s a quick look at some pricing plans of this database solution:

  • Developer (free)
    • For use in a non-production environment
  • Express (free)
    • For development and production for desktop, web, and small server applications
  • Standard – Client Access License ($209)
    • Lets a user access the database server from any device when the SQL server is deployed in the Client/Server mode

Microsoft SQL Server ratings

  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (1450+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.5/5 (20+ reviews)

4. Airtable

Airtable is a hybrid spreadsheet and database software that lets you manage data across tables. You can track customer data or even create a makeshift CRM solution with Airtable. 

Airtable key features

  • Bases act as relational databases that can store all your project information 
  • Tables help store a list of similar items 
  • Flexible views, like kanban and calendar views, to visualize data from different angles
  • Dashboards with custom reporting options

Airtable pros

  • Automations help you save time and effort
  • Integrates with Slack, Zendesk, and Google Calendar
  • Works with the Windows operating system, macOS, iOS, and Android platforms

Airtable limitations

  • Free plan only supports 1200 records/base (a record is like a spreadsheet row)
  • Has a steep learning curve
  • Lacks advanced formulas to let users work on the data 

Airtable pricing

This online database software offers three pricing options:

  • Free plan
    • Unlimited bases
    • 1200 records/base
    • 2GB of attachments/base
    • Multiple views
  • Plus plan ($12/month per user)
    • 5000 records/base
    • 5GB of attachments/base
    • Automatic table syncing
    • And more
  • Pro plan ($24/month per user)  
    • 50,000 records/base
    • 20GB of attachments/base
    • Personal & locked views
    • And more

Airtable user ratings

  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (1100+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.6/5 (950+ reviews)

5. MongoDB

MongoDB is a NoSQL database management software that stores data in the form of documents.  

We’ve mentioned SQL, so what’s NoSQL?

A NoSQL database stores data in non-tabular forms, such as a document database, graph database, etc. This makes it a suitable platform for managing unstructured data. 

And while the ‘mongo’ in MongoDB refers to humongous data storage, their free plan only supports 512MB storage space. 

MongoDB key features

  • Real-time triggers for creating an event-driven data app
  • Rich and expressive query language 
  • Integrated full-text search functionality
  • MongoDB charts for data visualization and real-time business intelligence

MongoDB pros

  • Allows for flexible database schema design (database schema is a logical representation of a database’s structure) 
  • Advanced data privacy protection with client-side encryption
  • Patches and minor version updates are applied automatically 

MongoDB limitations

  • User reviews report that data duplication occurs as data scales
  • Can have a steep learning curve 
  • Can be difficult to merge documents

MongoDB pricing

This document database management tool’s cloud model offers a free plan with 512MB storage space for developing small applications. 

For more functionality, you’ll have to contact support for paid plans.  

MongoDB user ratings

  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (300+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.5/5 (380+ reviews)

Conclusion

As organizations become more data-driven, incorporating the best databases has become crucial to differentiate in the competitive market. With several types of databases available in the market, it becomes strenuous for companies to assess and implement the one that can streamline the data flow. What makes it even more challenging for organizations is the rapid improvements and changes in databases with every new update. This article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the kind of databases along with the best databases available in the market, allowing you to make a decision based on your business and data requirements.

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