The best relational databases are a traditional means of storing and managing data, employing a structured table format. Each piece of information in these tables is neatly set up in rows and columns. Each column is for a certain type of data or field, like first names, order numbers, or even links to product logos. The real magic happens in the rows, which are where the connections between the different data points are made.
Relational databases are used by businesses to keep their application data organized and easy to find. These databases hold important information about customers, products, social data, and financial records, such as information about purchases, order fulfillment, income, and costs. These systems come in different sizes, from simple desktop applications that create small databases on your local machine to large, enterprise-grade data repositories. Below we have mentioned the best relational databases.
What are the Benefits of Using a Relational Database?
Relational databases are often used to store and manage structured data because they have a lot of benefits. Here are a few of the most important reasons why you should use a relational database:
🔍 Data Integrity: Relational databases use constraints like primary keys, foreign keys, and unique constraints to make sure that data is correct. This makes sure that the data stays correct and consistent, preventing errors and data anomalies.
📊 Data Structure: Relational databases use structured tables with predefined schemas to make it easier to organize and understand the data. This structured approach works well for applications that have complicated relationships between data.
🔍 Flexibility of Queries: Relational databases have powerful querying languages like SQL (Structured Query Language) that let users get, change, and analyze data in a flexible and quick way. SQL gives you a standard way to talk to a database.
🔒 ACID Properties: Relational databases follow the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties, which make sure that database transactions are reliable and keep data integrity even if the system fails.
🚀 Scalability: Relational databases can handle both small and large applications. Traditional relational databases may have problems with horizontal scaling, but modern relational database management systems (RDBMS) often have horizontal scaling solutions.
Best Relational Databases Comparison Table
The table below compares the best relational databases and gives a quick look at their main features, performance, scalability, and prices. It’s a great resource for people looking for the best database solution for their needs, so they can make smart choices about how to manage and store their data.
|Feature/Aspect||Microsoft SQL Server||Amazon RDS||Azure SQL Database||IBM Db2||MySQL|
|Deployment Options||On-premises, Azure||AWS||Azure||On-premises, IBM Cloud||On-premises, Cloud|
|Managed Service||No (Azure Managed Instance available)||Yes||Yes||Yes||No (Some cloud providers offer managed MySQL)|
|Languages Supported||T-SQL||Various (depends on the engine)||T-SQL, Other Languages||SQL, PL/SQL||SQL|
Microsoft SQL Server
- Developed by Microsoft
- Supports T-SQL language
- Offers high availability and security features
- Integration with Microsoft ecosystem
SQL Server 2017 is the first time that SQL Server’s power is available on Windows, Linux, and Docker containers. This lets developers build smart apps in their preferred language and environment. Get the best performance in the industry, feel safe with new security features, change your business with built-in AI, and give users insights wherever they are with mobile BI. Overall, this is one of the best Relational Databases you can consider now.
- Strong integration with Windows environments.
- Robust security features.
- Excellent performance optimization tools.
- Good support for business intelligence and reporting.
- Licensing costs can be high.
- Limited cross-platform compatibility compared to some other databases.
- Not as open-source as some alternatives.
Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)
- Managed database service on AWS
- Supports multiple database engines (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL)
- Automatic backups and scaling
- High availability and reliability
Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, run, and grow a relational database in the cloud. It manages time-consuming database administration tasks like hardware provisioning, database setup, patching, and backups while giving you a lot of space at a low cost. Still, this is one of the best Relational Databases you can consider now.
It gives you more time to work on your apps so you can give them the better performance, availability, security, and compatibility they need. Amazon RDS works with MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, Oracle Database, and SQL Server engines, as well as Amazon Aurora. This means that you can use Amazon RDS with the code, apps, and tools you already use with your other databases.
- Fully managed service, reducing administrative overhead.
- Scalability and high availability options.
- Seamless integration with other AWS services.
- Supports multiple database engines.
- Limited control over server configuration.
- Costs can add up, especially for data transfer and storage.
- Performance may vary based on instance type and workload.
Azure SQL Database
- Microsoft’s cloud-based database service
- Fully managed and scalable
- Built-in AI and machine learning capabilities
- Integration with Azure services
Azure SQL Database is a Microsoft SQL Server-powered relational database-as-a-service. SQL Database is a high-performance, reliable, and secure database that you can use to build data-driven applications and websites in the programming language of your choice without having to manage infrastructure. Overall, this is one of the best Relational Databases you can consider now.
- Fully managed cloud service.
- High availability and scalability options.
- Integration with other Azure services.
- Automatic backups and updates.
- Limited to the Azure cloud environment.
- Costs can increase as resource usage grows.
- Limited compatibility with some SQL Server features.
- Developed by IBM
- Known for its reliability and scalability
- Supports SQL and NoSQL data models
- Strong enterprise features
Regarding IBM Db2 IBM thinks that your data should be used to its fullest potential, not limited. We have higher standards for our databases, which makes it easy to put your data wherever it’s needed, adapt to your changing needs, and work with many different platforms, languages, and workloads. IBM Db2 works on Linux, Unix, and Windows. Thus, this is one of the best Relational Databases you can consider now.
- Strong security features and compliance.
- Excellent performance optimization tools.
- Cross-platform compatibility.
- Support for various programming languages.
- Licensing costs can be high.
- Smaller user community compared to some other databases.
- Less extensive third-party tool support.
- Open-source relational database
- Widely used in web applications
- Supports various storage engines
- Good performance and community support
MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) that is owned by Oracle but is free for anyone to use. Before Oracle bought the product, users didn’t have to pay anything to use it. After the merger, the solution started to offer both a free version and a paid version with more features. MySQL is one of the most flexible and reliable products on the market because it works well with many different programming languages. This low-cost solution helps users make high-performance database applications that can be scaled up. Overall, this is one of the best Relational Databases you can consider now.
- Open-source and widely adopted.
- Large and active community for support.
- Good performance for web applications.
- Cost-effective for small to medium-sized projects.
- Limited advanced features in the open-source version.
- May require more manual administration compared to managed services.
- Limited support for complex transactions and scalability in some cases.
How to Choose the Right Relational Database for Your Needs?
Choosing the right relational database for your needs is important because it can have a big effect on the speed, scalability, and overall success of your application. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make an informed choice:
🔍 Figure Out What You Need: Start by understanding your application’s requirements. Consider factors such as data volume, complexity, read/write frequency, and data structure (structured, semi-structured, or unstructured).
🎯 Find Out What’s Important: Create a checklist of essential features from a relational database. This might include ACID compliance, replication, sharding, high availability, and compatibility with specific data types or query languages.
💡 Think about the performance: Evaluate the expected workload and tasks. Consider factors like read/write times, throughput, and the necessity for caching. Utilize benchmarks and testing to assess performance.
🚀 Needs for scalability: Determine if your application requires scalability through server expansion or resource upgrades. Some databases are more suited for horizontal scaling, while others favor vertical scaling.
🧩 Modeling data: Plan how your data will be structured and how relationships between different data elements will be represented. Ensure that your chosen data model aligns well with the chosen database system.
Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, MySQL, and IBM DB2 are all well-known examples of standard relational databases. Cloud-based relational databases, also called “database as a service,” are also widely used because they let companies outsource database maintenance, patching, and infrastructure support.
Even though newer benchmark tests show that other RDBMSs like PostgreSQL can match or come close to MySQL’s speed, MySQL is still known as a very fast database solution.