Author: Francis NdunguLast Updated: Mon, Feb 28, 2022
Over the years, the open-source community has come up with many database applications. The huge list of databases is sometimes overwhelming and making a choice for your next data-driven application can be confusing.
A while ago, compatibility was the main key when choosing the right database solution for a project. For instance, WordPress would always work with a MariaDB or a MySQL server. However, in the modern-day, innovations from talented developers have added many factors to the equation.
Today, you would consider security, reliability, scalability, reporting, support, ease of integration, hosting costs, suitability, and maintainability before committing yourself to a database system. This tutorial walks you through the top open-source database management systems that you can use in your next project together with their functionalities and use cases.
Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) is the main popular category of database solutions. In this model, your application stores data in row-based table structures which can be queried using the Structured Query Language (SQL). RDBMS applications come with different functionalities that address the consistency, integrity, and accuracy of your data.
Here are the main SQL-based databases that you can use in your project.
MySQL is one of the best databases when it comes to deploying cloud-native applications and is the most preferred for Content Management Systems (CMSs). It integrates very well with other open-source applications like WordPress, OpenCart, Drupal, Magento, Joomla, and more.
MySQL ships with a wide variety of security features including TLS, data encryption, password policies, and role-based permissions. When it comes to scalability, you can use MySQL group replication feature across a pool of servers to implement horizontal scaling.
MySQL also supports transactions and is a good choice for mission-critical applications that require database consistency. For example, electronic payment solutions. Most popular companies that use MySQL in some of their tech stacks include Uber, Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest, and more.
Follow the guide below to install MySQL on your Linux server.
MariaDB is a fork of MySQL and was coded by the original MySQL developers to offer high-performance, stability, and openness. MariaDB features tight security measures including Pluggable Authentication Module (PAM), Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), internal security/password checks, and more. Some CMSs that support MySQL like WordPress might also work pretty well with a MariaDB installation.
In addition, the MariaDB server supports modern and better storage engines like Cassandra. The latter allows you to run both SQL and NoSQL functions in a single database server. Some of the most remarkable customers of MariaDB include Samsung, Auto Europe, CCV, and Nokia.
Install MariaDB on your server by following the link below.
PostgreSQL is one of the most advanced database solutions and is a top choice for developers when it comes to Ruby, Python, and Golang projects. PostgreSQL supports advanced data types including arrays, JSON, hstore, and special types such as geometric data and network addresses. PostgreSQL is highly-scalable and you can use it to set up a master/replica cluster for mission-critical applications.
Other notable PostgreSQL features include role-based permissions, sophisticated locking mechanisms, foreign keys, multi-column indexing, transactions, stored procedures, and more. Major customers of the PostgreSQL database server include Apple, IMDB, Instagram, Reddit, Skype, and Spotify.
Follow the guide below to install the PostgreSQL database on your Linux server.
NoSQL is an acronym for not only SQL. It is a database architecture that uses non-tabular data structures to store information. Most NoSQL applications implement key-value stores, documents, wide columns, or graphs to store data. The emergence of NoSQL databases has provided developers with flexible schemas that can handle a large amount of data without scalability issues.
Here are the most common NoSQL databases that you can use in your next project.
Redis is an in-memory database that implements the key-value model to store data. It is fast, reliable, and secure. Since Redis stores data in your computer's RAM, it outperforms all SQL-based databases when it comes to special functionalities like caching. Its flexible data structures, simple command protocol, and replication capabilities make it an ideal choice for modern applications. Well-known companies that use Redis include Twitter, Flickr, GitHub, Craigslist, and more.
Click the link below to install Redis on your server.
Install the MongoDB application by following the link below.
InfluxDB is a time-series database application for developing apps in the IoT industry. It comes with an inbuilt HTTP API allowing you to store and query data from the database with less code. Since it uses a simple indexing model, InfluxDB can handle huge database writes making it the best choice for time-series applications. Some of the companies that use InfluxDB include Capital One, Texas Instruments, Adobe, MediaLink, and more.
Follow the guide below to install InfluxDB on your server.
This guide has taken you through the different open-source database management systems that you can use in your next big project. The tutorial has focused on both the SQL and NoSQL databases to give you a better insight on the best database that you can use depending on your special use case. For complex applications, you may use a combination of two database systems to form a hybrid system. For instance, in an e-commerce platform, you can use Redis for authentication and MySQL to store products and customers' data.