As DBMS wars continue, PostgreSQL shows most momentum

As DBMS wars continue, PostgreSQL shows most momentum

Summary: When it comes to the most popular database management systems, the top three are no surprise; but relatively unheralded PostgreSQL is gaining. And, despite what you may have heard, relational databases still rule.


It's hard to tell which database management systems (DBMB)s are the most popular. DB-Engines gives it a try every month. And, by its count, Oracle is still the top DBMS, followed closed by Oracle's open-source DBMS MySQL, which is just noses ahead of Microsoft SQL Server.


After the power trio of databases, there's a huge drop-off to PostgreSQL in fourth place. MongoDB, the leading NoSQL DBMS, places fifth. While PostgreSQL is a distant fourth, it's shown the most upward momentum of any DBMS in the top ten. 

To work out what's hot, and what's not, DB-Engines uses the following factors:

  • Number of mentions of the system on websites, measured as number of results in search engines queries. At the moment, we use Google and Bing for this measurement. In order to count only relevant results, we are searching for "<system name> database", e.g. "Oracle database".
  • General interest in the system. For this measurement, we use the frequency of searches in Google Trends.
  • Frequency of technical discussions about the system. We use the number of related questions and the number of interested users on the well-known IT-related Q&A sites Stack Overflow and DBA Stack Exchange.
  • Number of job offers, in which the system is mentioned. We use the number of offers on the leading job search engines Indeed and Simply Hired.
  • Number of profiles in professional networks, in which the system is mentioned. We use the internationally most popular professional network LinkedIn.
  • Relevance in social networks. We count the number of Twitter tweets, in which the system is mentioned.

The company then calculates the popularity value of a system by standardizing and averaging of the individual parameters. These mathematical transformations are made so that the distance of the individual systems is preserved. That means, when system A has twice as large a value in the DB-Engines Ranking as system B, then it is twice as popular when averaged over the individual evaluation criteria.

Relational DBMSs still dominate the market.

DB-Engines analysis also reveals other interesting facts about today's DBMS business. First, for all the talk about NoSQL and other new style DBMS designs, when push comes to shove, relational DBMSs are still what people use. All  other systems combined don't even come close to relational DBMS's 83 percent market share.

Proprietary DBMSs still dominate, but open-source DBMSs continue to gain ground.

The company's numbers also show that proprietary DBMSs still dominate the marketplace. At the same time, open-source DBMSs — such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB — are gaining on their purely commercial rivals.

So, despite all the hype about big data and all the rest, when it comes right down to it, traditional DBMSs still rule.

Related Stories:

Topics: Big Data, Data Management, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Open Source, Oracle

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  • I tend to favour SQL Server and MySQL

    just because I know them well, but I have to say I am impressed all to heck lately by tiny little SQLite. I am surprised every time I toss a complex query at it, and it can do it!
    • Raising a Question

      As SQLite is an implementation detail for the Cocoa CoreData framework, iOS and OS X users give it a fair amount of patronage.

      So, if a DBMS is abstracted vis apis, well-documented and/or uses an ordinary SQL-92, would these surveyors pick it up?

      Not that who's number 1 or 5 really matters.

      Along that same vein, MariaDB was mentioned, but not visible on the chart. There was a lot of noise and posturing about evil Oracle and saving MySQL from Ellison's villainous clutches. Did it matter?

      I may be answering my recent question by pointing out that even if concepts such as NoSQL are embraced, converting a DB and rewriting all the interfaces doesn't 't sound attractive, so relational will rule the roost for a while.
      • It isn't just the interfaces

        In a lot of business applications, there is actual functional code in the database..... Stored procedures, views, and functions.

        So migrating can be even more complex than rewriting the other side of the interfaces.
  • PostgreSQL has a big advantage

    The big advantage for PostgreSQL is they mostly copy Oracle so a big pool of Oracle developers find it relatively easy to use. MySQL on the other hand can be quite odd in parts such as users and object permissions. I also remember you could define like check constraints, and it would error, but it would completely ignore them in operation.
    Buster Friendly
    • That should be

      That should be "wouldn't error."
      Buster Friendly