This is the third installment in the Who Will Win the Database Wars series which analyzes the most significant areas of database vendor competition. In addition to this comparison, the series also includes the following competitive assessments:

The market landscape no longer consists of a handful of traditional, on-premises, relational database offerings. The database market arena has exploded with dozens of new database architectures and products from organizations that range the spectrum in price points, architectures, storage models and feature sets. Gartner’s 2016 Magic quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems includes 21 different vendors. Database professionals now have more product choices available to them than ever before. The traditional market leading database vendors Microsoft, Oracle and IBM are facing numerous threats from an ever-increasing number of competitors that, when combined, create a formidable challenge to their continued market dominance.

Who Wins the Database Wars, The Old Guard or Their Upstart Competitors?

WINNER – The Database Consumer 

An increasingly competitive marketplace forces all software vendors to maximize their product’s inherent feature set. Constant innovation and integration of new features that differentiate their products from other vendors is an absolute requirement for their continued competitive survival. All DBMS vendors – dominant and startups, traditional and niche alternatives are offering conversion utilities and advisory services to facilitate conversions from competing products. The exploding market arena and the resulting increase in competition is now providing the database consumer with more choices than I have seen in my 30-year history of working with database management systems. Competition drives product costs down and also accelerates the release of new features and functionalities. In the past, we were forced to use overpriced, relational storage engines for all database-driven applications as there were no other viable alternatives. If the data didn’t fit neatly into the relational model’s rows and columns, we forced it in there anyway using a variety of kludges and workarounds.

NoSQL architectures allowing us to more easily store non and semi structured data, cloud databases from industry leaders and open source alternatives are providing the database consumer with the ability to custom tailor an architecture to their shop’s budgets as well as the application’s unique storage and processing requirements. Fierce competition in the database space will level the playing field, and the winner will not be the big three database vendors or their upstart competitors - it will be the database consumer. As a consumer, I think this is a very good thing.