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The Best in Open Source Database Software: Top 10

A database is the backend storage for an application, such as a web application. The database will reside on your server with other backend components such as your website's core files, any media assets, and server configuration files.

In a broad sense, the database is one of the site's endpoints. For instance:

  • The pages of your site will utilize HTML and PHP to communicate with the server.
  • The server will access the database on your behalf, fetch or push data, and deliver it to the frontend in a smooth manner.
  • Your site's content will be displayed or updated based on the database.

It is a key component of your website and server. Consequently, you'll need as much database flexibility and understanding as feasible.

For a world that has been controlled by database suites such as Oracle and SQL Server for so long, there appears to be an infinite avalanche of options now. A portion of the explanation is creativity powered by Open Sources - highly skilled coders who want to scratch an itch and create something they can take pleasure in.

In this article, we'll go over the definition of an open-source database, some of its most common uses, the distinction between closed and open-source databases, and a list of some of the best open-source databases.

What is an Open Source Database?

An open-source database is any database program whose codebase is freely accessible for viewing, downloading, modifying, distributing, and reusing. Open source licenses let developers create new applications utilizing current database technology.

An open-source database enables users to develop a system based on their specific needs and business requirements. It is free and can be distributed. The source code is modifiable to accommodate any user's preferences. Open-source databases hold crucial data in software that is within the organization's control.

Open-source databases answer the requirement to evaluate data from an increasing number of new applications for less money. The Internet of Things (IoT) and social media have ushered in an era of huge amounts of data that must be collected and processed. The data is only valuable if an organization can analyze it to discover meaningful trends or real-time insights. However, the data contains large quantities of information that may overwhelm a conventional database. Open-source database software's adaptability and affordability have transformed database management systems.

What are the Most Commonly Used Databases Types?

A company should use the type of database that meets its goals and needs, whether it is open-source or closed-source. There are several database structure types:

  1. Hierarchical Database: Data is structured in a hierarchical database according to a ranking order or parent-child relationship.
  2. Network Database: The network database is similar to the hierarchical database with several modifications. The network database enables the child record to link to several parent records, hence enabling bidirectional relationships.
  3. Object-Oriented Database: Information is kept similarly to objects in an object-oriented database.
  4. Relational Database: A relational database is table-oriented and each data item is linked to every other data item.
  5. Non-relational or NoSQL Databases: A NoSQL database employs a range of forms, such as documents, graphs, broad columns, etc., which provides a database architecture with significant flexibility and scalability.

Relational or Sequence Databases and Non-relational or Non-sequence databases or No SQL databases are the two most common types or classifications of databases. Depending on the nature of the data and the desired functionality, an organization may utilize them singly or in tandem.

Closed Source vs Open Source Databases

After discussing the various types of databases, let's examine the distinctions between closed and open source databases.

When analyzing a technology stack, the decision of whether to employ a commercial or open-source solution always arises as an extreme argument. In this essay, we will examine various common forms of open source.

The primary distinction between commercial and open-source products is how they are handled, produced, and maintained.

A firm designs and manufactures a commercial product. This business has a crew committed to overseeing the product, and it profits from doing so. It is never made available to the general public since keeping the source code secret protects any intellectual property or competitive advantages it may include. It is called " closed source".

A global network of volunteers collaborates to administer an open-source product. The phrase "open source" refers to source code that is freely accessible to all users, with the license dictating whether users may alter or redistribute the code.

Commercial database software (sometimes known as proprietary database software) and open-source database software are the two forms of database software from which business owners may select. Businesses utilizing both open-source and closed-source software tend to see yearly revenue growth. However, businesses are now moving towards open source solutions.

There are several advantages of open source to take into account. Common bug patches can be done without involving the corporate approval procedure. As previously said, the program is free and the license has fewer restrictions. There is always a free open source alternative with the same or more functionality for every expensive choice.

Furthermore, open-source databases may be inspected for security concerns, which is a big gain because open source is by nature more visible. If you have expertise in this area, you will also be able to fix security concerns and study the source code further. Unbeknownst to you, some firms provide rewards for people that positively contribute to the safety of their goods.

Some open-source databases can readily function on a multitude of other platforms when necessary. The vast majority of open-source software (OSS) project code is often created by knowledgeable individuals within the business environment.

Utilizing a commercial database offers a variety of advantages. The primary benefit is that there is a single point of contact for all difficulties. While it may appear straightforward, the reality is that you pay for certain needs, and there is a responsible party in the event of issues.

A commercial (Closed Source) database is typically accompanied by a transparent license and a warranty. Typically, developers have a comprehensive strategy for the program and provide updates when they see fit. This helps businesses reduce the expenses associated with technological breakdowns and downtime.

Best Top 10 Open Source Databases

Historically, databases have been maintained by Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and other smaller organizations using their proprietary tools. Recently, though, and especially for new enterprises, open-source databases have gained tremendous popularity.

Let's examine a variety of open source database tools and assemble a few "flavors".

Database NameType
PostgreSQLObject-Relational Database Management System
Mongo DBA Document-Oriented Database
SQLiteA Relational Database Management System
ClickHouseColumn-oriented DBMS (columnar database management system)
Neo4jGraph Database Management System
MariaDBA Relational Database Management System
RethinkDBDistributed Document-oriented Database Management
CockroachDBA Relational Database Management System
RedisNoSQL Database Management System
CassandraNoSQL Database Management System


PostgreSQL, usually known as Postgres, is a free object-relational database system that has been actively developed for more than three decades.

Being open-source, its initial ownership costs are significantly cheaper than those of Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. It is renowned for its superior performance, dependability, and robust features. It is easily compatible with SQL and has been developed to accommodate a wide range of workloads.


Figure 1. PostgreSQL

In addition to being easily compatible with many different programming languages and having a wealth of resources, PostgreSQL is also compatible with a wide range of proprietary and third-party tools.

This contributes to a substantial improvement in its production. Regarding support for JSON types and "full vacuum schema," however, there is still a need for development. Additionally, the installation procedure varies across all supported operating systems.


C++-based MongoDB is a popular open-source NoSQL database. MongoDB is a Document-Oriented Database with a Dynamic Schema that stores data in JSON-like documents. It implies that you do not have to worry about the data structure, the number of fields, or the types of fields used to hold values while saving your data. MongoDB documents are comparable to JSON objects.


Figure 2. MongoDB

Changing the structure of a record is as easy as adding or removing fields (referred to as Documents by MongoDB). This feature of MongoDB facilitates the representation of hierarchical relationships, store arrays, and other sophisticated data structures. Numerous industry titans, like Facebook, eBay, Adobe, and Google, now utilize MongoDB to store enormous volumes of data.

MongoDB offers various unique properties that make it a preferable alternative to conventional databases. Several of these attributes are addressed in further detail below:

  • Schema-Less Database: A Schema-Less Database supports the storing of several types of Documents in a single Collection (the equivalent of a table). In other words, many Documents with distinct Fields, Content, and Size can be kept in a single collection in the MongoDB database. This feature of MongoDB provides users with a great deal of flexibility.
  • Indexed Document: Each field in a MongoDB Database Document is indexed using Primary and Secondary Indices, which makes retrieving data from the pool easier.
  • Scalability: Sharding enables horizontal scalability in MongoDB. Sharding is the technique of data sharing over numerous servers. Using the Shard Key, a huge quantity of data is partitioned into data pieces and uniformly dispersed among Shards that span several physical servers.
  • Replication: MongoDB guarantees high data availability by replicating and spreading data over numerous servers, so that even if one server fails, the data may be accessed from another.


SQLite is an in-process library that enables a serverless, transactional SQL database engine with zero setups.

In other words, it is a database management system that does not require the installation of a separate server program or configuration by a system administrator.

This makes SQLite a fantastic option for developers that need to deal with databases on mobile devices or in applications deployed across mobile devices, Web servers, and desktop PCs.

The library can be accessed by embedded programming or one of the numerous client libraries for various programming languages.


Figure 3. SQLite

It was made to accommodate both single-file and disk-based database files. Multiple virtual machines are supported by generating extra database files with unique names that share the same storage space inside a single directory tree.

Some of the features of SQLite Database are as follows:

  • SQLite programming helps with cross-stage document design.
  • It requires less programming. The total size of the library is under 500 kilobytes.
  • It has a static composing group that is compatible with the majority of SQL database engines.
  • SQLite employs variable-length records.
  • SQL explanations are turned into code for the virtual machine.


ClickHouse is the first open-source SQL data warehouse with the same performance, maturity, and scalability as Sybase IQ, Vertica, and Snowflake. Among the modern characteristics are listed below:

  • Storage for columns that can accommodate tables with trillions of rows and thousands of columns
  • Compression and codecs to drastically decrease I/O
  • Scaling linearly using vectorized queries and sharding
  • Built-in replication affords fault tolerance and read scalability
  • Rapid data intake, with data immediately queryable after INSERT Superb aggregation using materialized views
  • Real-world problem-solving capabilities, such as funnel analytics and last point inquiries


Figure 4. ClickHouse

The growth of ClickHouse is driven by a community of hundreds of contributors who are focused on solving actual issues rather than executing corporate strategies.

ClickHouse excels at business challenges requiring low-latency, consistent responses across petabyte-scale tables. It can handle millions of rows per second of incoming data. Achievable reaction times include:

  • Ad-Hoc searches on source data: 1 second or less
  • Ten milliseconds or less for aggregate queries
  • Ingestion to query response in 500 milliseconds

Online analytics, real-time network management, service log analysis, real-time ad bidding, asset value in financial markets, and security threat identification are just a few of the use cases where ClickHouse is good at.


Neo4j is one of the most popular Java-based, highly scalable, native graph databases built to utilize data relationships.

Neo4j's Graph Platform is specialized for storing, mapping, analyzing, and traversing networks of interconnected data in order to reveal hidden contexts and relationships.


Figure 5. Neo4j

Neo4j enables intelligent, real-time applications, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things, real-time recommendations, master data management, fraud detection, and identity and access control, by intuitively mapping data points and their relationships.

Neo4j is available in two editions: community and enterprise. Community Edition is appropriate for learning Neo4j and small projects that do not require extensive scalability or expert support. Enterprise Edition possesses the same capabilities as Community Edition, in addition to enterprise-grade availability, administration, and scale-up and scale-out capabilities.

Key characteristics and advantages of Neo4j's Community Edition:

  • Model of a labeled property graph
  • Local graph processing and storage
  • Cypher graph query language Fast writes using local label indexes
  • Fast readings with composite indexes
  • Transactions that comply with the ACID Protocol
  • High-performance, native API drivers for Java, Python, C# & JavaScript, PHP, NodeJS, etc.
  • Extremely fast.


MariaDB is a completely open-source MySQL distribution (released under the GNU GPLv2). It was formed following Oracle's acquisition of MySQL when several of MySQL's key developers feared Oracle would erode MySQL's open-source ethos.


Figure 6. MariaDB

MariaDB was designed to be as compatible as feasible with MySQL while replacing numerous essential components. Aria, its storage engine, performs both transactional and non-transactional operations. Before MariaDB split, some believed Aria would become the default engine for MySQL in future versions.

Some features of MariDB are as follows:

  • Through its thread pool and query result caching, it gives excellent speed.
  • It offers Replication, Clustering, and Automatic failover for achieving high availability.
  • It offers protection via an Encrypted connection, Encrypted files/logs, Encrypted buffers, and Dynamic data masking.
  • It can restrict query results for security purposes.

MariaDB supports backup, non-blocking backup, SQLyog, and IDERA SQL Diagnostic, among other features. The enterprise subscription to the MariaDB platform will deliver business-grade functionality. The MariaDB platform is a dependable solution that will assist you in deploying mission-critical applications.

When to Use MariaDB:

  • ACID transaction assurance is a critical criterion, and data is structured (SQL).
  • Where millions of transactions must be managed in a globally distributed database, "distributed SQL" is necessary.
  • Multi-Master clustering and Multi-Node data storage are necessary (OLAP).
  • A multi-model database is required, i.e., one database to manage structured, semi-structured, graph, and columnar data.
  • A converged database, consisting of a single database for OLTP, OLAP, and Graph workload, is required.


RethinkDB is a decent option if you're seeking an open-source alternative to MongoDB. It is a fantastic method for serving JSON data to a real-time application. It also has a powerful query language that makes it simple to link tables and sort data.


Figure 7. RethinkDB

RethinkDB grows well across several computers. This eliminates the possibility of outages, which may occur with a central server. A Docker file may be used to operate the database on Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud.

However, RethinkDB is quite bare-bones. One limitation is that you cannot perform queries via the command-line interface. Additionally, there are no user accounts, so you must create your own users and authentication using a third-party resource such as Auth0.


The term "cockroach" refers to an insect designed for survival. No matter what occurs -predation, flooding, everlasting darkness, decaying food, or bombardment- the cockroach will find a way to survive and procreate.


Figure 8. CockroachDB

The team behind CockroachDB (formed of former Google engineers) was reportedly dissatisfied with the large-scale constraints of typical SQL solutions. Historically speaking, SQL solutions were meant to be housed on a single system (data wasn't that large). Long before MongoDB, there was no method to create a cluster of SQL databases, which is why it attracted so much interest.

CockroachDB was created to achieve the following objectives:

  • Make the lives of mankind simpler. This implies being highly automated and low-touch for operators and easy to reason about for engineers.
  • Offer industry-leading consistency, even for deployments of large scale. This involves allowing distributed transactions and eliminating inevitable consistency problems like stale readings.
  • Create a database that is constantly accessible and that allows reads and writes on all nodes without producing conflicts.
  • Permit flexible deployment in any environment, unrestricted by any platform or vendor.
  • Support common tools for managing relational data (i.e., SQL).

We believe that CockroachDB's combination of these characteristics will assist you in developing global, scalable, and resilient deployments and applications.


Redis, which was launched in 2011, is an open-source database and cache utilized by millions of people.

Redis is quick, scalable, simple to install, has a superb object-oriented data format, and is open source, to name a few of its many positive characteristics.


Figure 9. Redis

It was developed in reaction to Memcached's restrictions (both Redis and Memcached: -Store data in memory for fast retrieval) but has subsequently overtaken it in popularity for a number of reasons.

The most significant advantage over Memcachedis the reduced administrative burden because everything can be done over REST. This makes it easy to get started with Redis, and its versatility means it can be used in nearly any circumstance where Memcached would be appropriate.

This database is a basic key-value store that stores strings with an expiration date and can be learned in 10 minutes (literally) (which can be set to infinity, of course). Redis makes up for its lack of features with its usability and speed. Since it resides entirely in RAM, reading and writing are incredibly quick (a few hundred thousand operations per second is not out of the ordinary).

This "database" is twice as tempting because of Redis' advanced pub-sub mechanism.

If your project might benefit from caching or contains distributed components, Redis should be your first pick.


Cassandra is a no-single-point-of-failure, distributed, wide column store, NoSQL database management system that is free and open-source. It is meant to manage massive volumes of data across a large number of commodity computers while maintaining high availability. Apache Software Foundation supports Cassandra, which is also known as Apache Cassandra.


Figure 10. Cassandra

Cassandra is a Java-based database management system that excels in handling huge databases with write-heavy demands without risking downtime. Many major corporations, like Twitter, Netflix, and Reddit, embraced it.

Cassandra, unlike many other database administrators, abstracts data in columns as opposed to rows. This enables it to store relevant data in close physical proximity on the disk in order to maximize performance and reduce search times.

Advantages of using Cassandra are listed below:

  • Massive databases are made possible by linear scalability and exceptional performance.
  • Even if several clusters are lost, a database with a high partition tolerance will maintain its integrity.

Features of Cassandra are as follows:

  • Data is replicated on several nodes to create a fault-tolerant system.
  • There are no network bottlenecks since each cluster node is independent.
  • The application supports third-party contracts and services.
  • It lets you select between synchronous and asynchronous update replication.

Open Source Database Deployment Types

Enterprises must consider not just which databases best suit their purposes, but also the optimal location for database deployment. Because a given database may only run in one area, or because the platform on which it works in one location is considerably better than the platform accessible in another location, these options are interconnected. Checking if the intended database can run in the desired location(s), such as the public cloud, a private data center, a cloud within the data center, or an edge environment, is a simple approach to integrating these.

  • Public Cloud: The public cloud is a paradigm of cloud computing in which IT services are distributed through the internet. The public cloud is often acquired through a subscription use model, is relatively simple to set up, has no substantial up-front cost, and can be extended fast as application requirements change.
  • On-Premise: On-premise, or private cloud are cloud systems that are exclusive to a particular enterprise and run in its own data center (or with a third-party vendor off-site). There are greater chances for customization with an on-premises infrastructure, but it demands a substantial initial investment in hardware and software processing resources, as well as ongoing maintenance obligations. These deployment methods are optimal for firms with sophisticated security requirements, regulated sectors, or large enterprises.
  • Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud combines both public and private cloud technologies under a single infrastructure architecture. This allows enterprises to exchange resources between public and private clouds, enhancing their efficiency, security, and performance. These are ideal for installations that require both the superior security of an on-premises system and the scalability of a public cloud.

How to Choose the Right Open Source Database for Your Needs?

Over the past many years, industry usage of open source technologies has gradually expanded. As a result of its popularity, the market for open-source software has become congested with vendors claiming their products can solve any problem and accommodate any workload. Be skeptical of these claims. Choosing the appropriate open source technology, particularly a database, is a crucial and tough decision that should not be taken lightly. There are several significant considerations; perhaps, this post may shed light on a few.

  • Have a Goal: Have a defined objective in mind to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the countless permutations of open source database software on the market. Perhaps your objective is to give your internal developers a controlled, standard, open-source database backend. Perhaps your objective is to completely replace the legacy application and database backend with fresh open source technologies. After defining a goal, you may concentrate your efforts. This will result in improved internal and external communications with open-source database software providers and advocates.
  • Consider Your Workload: An increasing trend in open source databases is the inclusion of checkboxes indicating the availability of particular functionality. One of the worst errors is not employing the proper instrument for the job. Perhaps an overzealous developer or a boss with tunnel vision steers the organization down the wrong road. Unfortunately, as it may be, the wrong tool may function adequately for lower numbers of transactions and data, but subsequent bottlenecks will require a different tool to resolve. An open-source relational database is most likely not the best option for a data analytics warehouse. If you want a transaction-processing application with strict data consistency and integrity, NoSQL solutions may not be suitable.
  • Avoid Reinventing the Wheel: Over the past few decades, open-source database systems have quickly evolved, extended, and matured. New, questionably production-ready databases have given way to proven, enterprise-grade database backends. It is no longer necessary to be an early adopter of cutting-edge technology to select open-source database technologies. Around these communities, organizations have emerged to provide production support and tools in the open-source database area for an increasing number of startups, medium enterprises, and Fortune 500 corporations. If you are a bleeding-edge early adopter, that doesn't imply you can't start exploring. If you have a unique problem or task that appears to be suitable for the new open-source database technology, you should implement it. Remember that there are inherent dangers (and benefits!) associated with being an early adopter.
  • Start Small: "Achieving high availability" is frequently a vague objective for many businesses. Obviously, the most frequent response is "it's mission-critical, and we cannot afford downtime." The more complex your database system, the more challenging and expensive it is to administer. Theoretically, it is possible to get a better uptime, but this will come at the expense of manageability and performance. If in doubt, start with the basics. There are always opportunities for expanding operations if the necessity arises.
  • When Unsure, Consult an Expert: If you're uncertain as to whether a database would be a suitable fit, initiate a dialogue on forums, websites, or with suppliers. Researching which database technologies fulfill your expectations and which do not may be intriguing. Frequently, there are viable options that you have overlooked. The open-source community is focused on knowledge exchange. When contacting sellers of open source software and services, there is a crucial consideration to keep in mind. Numerous organizations have open-core business models that stimulate the use of their database software. Take their counsel or direction with a grain of salt and rely on your own research, proof-of-concept creation, and alternative exploration skills.