Open source databases and their popularity

Open source database

Open source databases and their popularity


In today’s world, organizations have a variety of options for databases. In earlier days, most of the database management systems (DBMS) were closed sources. So the options were limited. But now, with the introduction of open source databases, industry experts are analyzing thoroughly before selecting one. Open source as an industry is gaining momentum and databases are also following the same path. With the use of open source databases, you are free to implement it as per your requirement, even share it, develop it to best suit your business needs. In this article, I will talk about the popularity of open source DBMS.

Nowadays, a large variety of database management systems have appeared in the market, so the organisations have a large choice of selection between them. They come from different reliable vendors like Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and IBM. Some newcomers in the field include notable vendors like Google, Amazon and Rackspace, who are also gaining much popularity by doing a brilliant job with their databases.

Emerging trends

The emerging concept of Open Source Software or OSS in short is impacting various fields of software, including that of DBMS (Database Management Systems). Many open source Database Management Systems are appearing, like the MySQL platform. The main focus of such platforms is to cut the various costs added for licensing and enhance the organisation’s performance through extra efficiency of open-source platforms. However, till a few years ago, these kinds of database management systems were not preferred much, as they still lacked many features necessary for better management. But now, with the advent of MySQL, the world of Open Source DBMS seems to be undergoing a change.

History of open source database

Open-source DBMS is a relatively newer concept. The earliest version of an open-source database management system called MySQL which was one of the first open-source database management systems to be launched in 1995. Since then, a lot of changes have been made to the workings of it.

In 2008, Sun Microsystems bought the MySQL AB, which was the creator of MySQL. Now, many newer solutions in the field of open-source database management systems are arriving in the market, while older players like MySQL are being developed further.

Earlier databases and constraints

The debate of open-source vs. closed-source database management systems is a hot topic, and there is a constant competition between the two types of systems. Though many prefer the older closed source data management systems, there are many vulnerabilities that are present in them. One of the biggest constraints in such database management systems is their closed source code. Due to this, their source code cannot be seen and they cannot be checked for bugs and security issues by people outside the developing company. Also, it takes a lot of time for the development team to make a patch or an update available. Another major hurdle is that such software has expensive licenses, which expires over time. They cannot be re-coded according to one’s needs and cannot be distributed freely either.

Why open source DBMS is gaining popularity?

Open-source database management systems are slowly gaining popularity since its advent in the market of database management systems. This popularity is due to the numerous features of OSS DBMS (Open Source Database Management System). These are powerful enough to be used easily with medium efficiency. The best part is that they are also completely free. Also, this kind of software can be modified by the user by changing its source code according to his or her preferences and with a little knowledge of programming. Thus, open-source data management systems are quite tangible too and they can be used by any user from nearly any field.

These features are now actually being more preferred by a majority of the application developers. The low expenses, compatibility with other open-source software and its tangibility are making them favourite for many companies who are now considering abandoning their closed-source DBMS for an open-source one. Also, many big data companies estimate that the need for such a database management system solution will continue to grow if the community keeps updating it regularly.

Can open source DBMS replace closed source DBMS?

There is a lot of potential in open-source database management systems. The industry of open-source database management systems is growing very quickly. According to the research data from Evans Data Usage, the use of MySQL system is growing exponentially, about 30% since the past year. It has also been revealed that the usage of closed-source database management systems like Microsoft SQL and Access increased only by 6%. However, closed-source DBMS solutions are still dominating the market.

But this situation is soon going to change. Open-source software like open-source DBMS is gaining popularity. This is because of its three major features. The first one is that it can really cut the costs needed for managing the database. They are an economical solution, considering they are practically free. They are perfect for newer companies who want to save some costs while getting the job done too. Another advantage is that it can integrate very easily which other open-source software, regardless of any difference in vendors. Also, the developer can change these, according to their priorities too.

However, when thinking about the replacement of closed-source DBMS solutions by open-source ones, we must properly assess their strengths and weaknesses, their performance and their accessibility. Hence, there is a lot to assess and examine before the adoption of such database systems.

So, is it true that open-source DBMS can really replace closed-source DBMS? Well, yes and no. Open-source DBMS may be more cost effective, modifiable and compatible,  but closed-source still have many features to beat them in the race. Well, for a start, closed-source DBMS are more secure than an open-source one. This is because of the fact that the source code of open-source DBMS is always visible, so malicious users can modify it and distribute it, causing leaks in confidential data. However, the community always keeps updating the code and checks for bugs too. Maybe in some point of the future, it’ll be developed enough to rule the market. But until then, closed-source will continue to dominate the market.

Impact in the industry

The impact of open-source DBMS on the industry has been tremendous. Gartner has reported that the rise in the use of open-source DBMS and the revenue collected by it grew by about 42.4% last year. This growth was very unusual and it is certainly much higher than the earlier rates. Though open-source DBMS is a very small part of the overall DBMS society, with such a growth rate, the revenue generated by open-source DBMS solution is expected to reach more than $2 billion in the next year.

Also, it is being adopted at an even faster rate. About 73% of users using some kind of open-source software also use open-source DBMS due to its better performance and compatibility. Another factor is that the free distributions of database management software by vendors like IBM and Microsoft called “Express Editions” could not do much to stop the adoption of open-source DBMS.


Just like the advent of open-source software has revolutionized the software industry, open-source DBMS have revolutionized the database management system industry. Since its arrival, open-source DBMS has become increasingly popular, mainly due to its flexibility and cost-effectiveness. It has a lot of potential and can change the way the industry looks at DBMS systems.


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