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Best Database Management Systems Shortlist

Here are my favorite database management systems:

  1. Apache Cassandra - Best open-source option
  2. AWS Neptune - Best availability
  3. DataGrip - Best SQL IDE
  4. IBM Db2 - Best security features
  5. Snowflake - Best multi-cloud management functionality
  6. Studio 3T - Best for MongoDB
  7. SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer - Best diagnostic features
  8. TIBCO Spotfire - Best data visualization features
  9. Redis - Best caching functionality
  10. ClickHouse - Best online analytical processing features
  11. Syniti - Best data replication features
  12. OneTrust - Best for companies in highly regulated industries

Data is one of the most important resources to keep track of when you’re running a business or digital product. This is something I’ve had to navigate several times over the years, and I decided to make this list of the best database management solutions to help anyone who doesn’t know where to start.

What Is a Database Management System?

Database management system (DBMS) tools like the ones in this article are used to create and manage databases with functions such as storage, retrieval, and querying. These are the basics, but some might have additional features such as protection, access control, and analytics. I’ve found that the best DBMS tools are capable of handling data on a large scale from different types of databases to support companies as they grow in scope, with features like automation and third-party integrations.

Overviews of the 12 Best Database Management Systems

Below are my favorite database management systems, including details on why I chose them, pricing information, and a later section on what I assessed when making my list:

1. Apache Cassandra - Best open-source option

Apache Cassandra screenshot
Editing data centers with Apache Cassandra. (Source)

Apache Cassandra is an open-source distributed database management tool for NoSQL from the Apache Software Foundation.

Why I picked Apache Cassandra: As an open-source option, Cassandra is highly configurable, making it ideal for teams that want to build their own solutions. I tested it within a NoSQL database that I had hosted on-premise, and it performed better than most other options I ran in that setting.

Apache Cassandra Standout Features and Integrations:

Features I liked in Cassandra include the fact that it’s scalable and available, with the developers having tested it on clusters with as many as 1,000 nodes. Throughput for read and write speeds also went up as I added machines without any downtime.

It also provided me with the choice between synchronous and asynchronous replication so I could choose how I wanted to create copies of my data depending on factors such as the size of the database and the resources I could spare across my on-premise environments.

Integrations are pre-built for Ansible, Kubernetes, Docker, Zeppelin, Kafka, Dovecot, Amazon CloudSpaces, Drill, DataStax Desktop, and AxonOps.

Pricing: Free

Trial: Free plan available


  • Fast performance
  • Open-source
  • Highly configurable


  • Requires extensive technical database management knowledge
  • Requires significant configuration out of the box

2. AWS Neptune - Best availability

Monitoring cluster health with AWS Neptune
Monitoring clusters with Neptune. (Source)

Neptune is a fully managed graph database from Amazon that can store billions of relationships for building and running graph applications in the cloud.

Why I picked AWS Neptune: Neptune caught my attention with its comprehensive approach to ensuring availability, which reflects what I’ve come to expect from AWS. Most notably, it splits databases into chunks of 10GB each and replicates them across three availability zones six ways.

AWS Neptune Standout Features and Integrations:

Features I liked in Neptune include the fault-tolerant storage that was capable of managing the loss of up to two and three copies of data without affecting the database’s read and write availability, respectively. It also increases system availability with self-healing functions where it automatically scans disks and data blocks for errors and finds replacements from healthy copies.

Integrations are native for other AWS products and services, including S3, Lambda, SageMaker, Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Key Management Service (KMS), CloudFormation, and Kinesis.

Pricing: Pricing upon request

Trial: Free plan available


  • High availability
  • Native AWS integrations
  • Databases are durable


  • Complex pricing structure
  • Limited to AWS

3. DataGrip - Best SQL IDE

SQL database management with DataGrip
Working with databases in DataGrip. (Source)

DataGrip is a SQL database management integrated development environment (IDE) from JetBrains.

Why I picked DataGrip: During my evaluation, I found DataGrip excelled as much as any IDE could, and I’d recommend it to anyone that regularly works with SQL code. It provides advanced code editing features such as completion, error highlighting, inspections, and refactoring.

DataGrip Standout Features and Integrations:

Features I liked while editing SQL code in DataGrip include the ability to compare database schema and see all their differences so I could generate more effective migration scripts whenever I needed them.

I also got a lot of use out of the run and debug configurations which allowed me to set various permanent and temporary parameters for executing scripts. This way, I could create ideal environments without having to set them up every time I wanted to run a script.

Integrations are pre-built for Snowflake, Azure Databricks, GitHub, GitLab, Docker, and ClickHouse.

Pricing: From $22.90/user/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Supports pre-execution configurations for scripts
  • Advanced SQL editing features
  • Supports major database systems


  • Requires extensive knowledge of SQL
  • Resource intensive

4. IBM Db2 - Best security features

Database management software IBM Db2's dashboard displaying responsiveness and resource usage
Here’s the Db2 Warehouse on IBM Cloud. (Source)

IBM Db2 is a cloud-native solution for real-time analytics and low latency with a focus on availability, security, and resiliency.

Why I picked IBM Db2: Db2’s auditing features made it easy for me to stay on top of data access to protect my databases from unknown threats. I was able to declare events I wanted flagged and have Db2 create audit trails, then provide me with detailed logs that I could review to pinpoint suspicious activity.

IBM Db2 Standout Features and Integrations:

Features that made me recommend Db2 for security-conscious environments include the db2cluster command, which gave me access to my clusters as a manager and shared file system. I used it to implement role-based access control (RBAC) across my databases with administrators at the top. I also liked row and column access control (RCAC), which I used to manage user access by individual rows and columns depending on what they needed.

Integrations are available with Red Hat OpenShift, AWS, Kubernetes, and Azure.

Pricing: From $99/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Robust security features
  • Supports advanced querying
  • High availability


  • Limited public cloud support
  • Slow performance at times

5. Snowflake - Best multi-cloud management functionality

Database management with Snowflake's database query analysis
Analyzing queries with Snowflake. (Source)

Snowflake is a cloud-based data platform built on a proprietary SQL query engine for data storage, analytics, and processing.

Why I picked Snowflake: Snowflake allowed me to go the self-managed route on any public cloud platform with very little hassle. Aside from optional connectors, drivers, and command line clients, everything I needed was available and fully functional on all the public clouds I tested (Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS).

Snowflake Standout Features and Integrations:

Features that I liked for multi-cloud management with Snowflake include the ability to isolate data with built-in access controls on Google Cloud, Azure, and AWS whenever I wanted to do any loading or unloading, keeping interruptions at a minimum.

I could also manage authentication using a variety of methods, including Snowflake OAuth, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and federation. This way, I didn’t need separate credentials for every environment I operated.

Integrations are pre-built for Hex, IBM DataStage, SAP, Datadog, Databricks, Agile Data Engine, Hashicorp Vault, Keboola, Informatica, and Kafka.

Pricing: From $2/credit

Trial: 30-day free trial


  • Robust multi-cloud management features
  • Generous authentication options
  • True self-managed system


  • Can get expensive
  • UI is not the most user friendly

6. Studio 3T - Best for MongoDB

Database management system Studio 3T's interface for MongoDB
Studio 3T’s IDE and interface for MongoDB. (Source)

Studio 3T is a collection of tools for working with MongoDB that provides an IDE, GUI, and client both on and off Atlas.

Why I picked Studio 3T: I really liked the Visual Query Builder in Studio 3T, which allowed me to construct MongoDB queries with a drag-and-drop interface alongside tree and table views. Because I didn’t have to write out the code myself, I was able to move faster, and I believe this is also a key feature for people that are still new to MongoDB.

Studio 3T Standout Features and Integrations:

Features that made working with MongoDB easy in Studio 3T include IntelliShell, which provides Mongo-specific code editing features such as completion and error highlighting. I could also import SQL databases and tables from various sources, including MySQL, Oracle, IBM Db2, and Microsoft SQL Server, into one MongoDB collection, complete with relationship mapping.

Integrations are pre-built for Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, IBM Db2, and Oracle.

Pricing: From $19/user/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Robst MongoDB management and editing features
  • SQL to MongoDB and vice versa
  • Visual query and aggregation builder


  • Costs more than similar alternatives
  • Relatively underpowered free version

7. SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer - Best diagnostic features

SQL database management with SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer
SQL database activity statistics with SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer. (Source)

SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) is a DBMS tool for monitoring and optimization on both cloud and on-premise environments.

Why I picked SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer: SolarWinds DPA’s database optimization features made it easy to identify and resolve issues that impacted system performance. It could sniff out existing bottlenecks along with their causes and potential fixes, as well as applications displaying signs of regression so I could address them before they had a significant negative impact on the rest of the system.

SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer Standout Features and Integrations:

Features I liked for managing issues with DPA include the anomaly detection tool that monitors your systems and alerts you of any unusual activity. You can also increase or decrease the sensitivity levels of the detector depending on perceived threat levels.

I could also tie resource provisioning to performance, ensuring I got the most out of my current hardware setup and avoided unnecessary upgrades.

Integrations are pre-built for IBM Db2, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Amazon Aurora, SAP ASE, MariaDB, and Azure SQL Database.

Pricing: From $1,275/year

Trial: 14-day free trial


  • Anomaly detector
  • Robust diagnostic tools
  • Decent resource management features


  • Costly licensing model
  • Limited free trial

8. TIBCO Spotfire - Best data visualization features

Database management visualization of Wikipedia edits with TIBCO Spotfire
A visualization of edits to Wikipedia pages in real time with TIBCO Spotfire. (Source)

Spotfire is a scalable and fully governed BI and data analytics platform from TIBCO, a company that provides solutions for cloud integration as well as data management, virtualization, and analytics.

Why I picked TIBCO Spotfire: I enjoyed analytics with Spotfire because it uses TIBCO’s hyperconverged analytics feature to provide more detailed visualizations for both prescriptive and predictive analysis. The visualizations were fully responsive across both real-time and historical data, allowing me to derive more insights from them.

TIBCO Spotfire Standout Features and Integrations:

Features that made me recommend Spotfire for data visualization and analytics include the ability to create custom apps using the Spotfire Mods tool, complete with an API, workflow management, and visualization library.

The platform also provides in-depth geoanalytics functionality that allows you to analyze multi-layered maps with contextualized location data. Spotfire actually recognized GPS data in my test dataset and accurately overlaid it onto an interactive map.

Integrations are pre-built for Docker, Google Cloud, Azure, AWS, Maven, Spring Cloud Config, SAP, OpenShift, Cloud Foundry, and Salesforce.

Pricing: From $125/month

Trial: 30-day free trial


  • Allows you to build custom apps
  • Interactive data visualization for analytics
  • Location-based analytics


  • Smaller data visualization library compared to dedicated analytics tools
  • Spotty documentation

9. Redis - Best caching functionality

Redis database management in Redis' Redisinsight
Here’s the database management dashboard in Redis’ RedisInsight. (Source)

Redis is an open-source in-memory database broker that also works for messages, cache, and streaming engines.

Why I picked Redis: I took note of Redis’ read performance and found out through my tests that it was largely due to how it implemented caching. It uses a cache-aside approach, which made it very fast as far as fetching data I accessed frequently.

Redis Standout Features and Integrations

Features that Redis provides for caching include the write-behind approach, which makes write-heavy workloads easy to sustain over long periods of time without any significant dips in performance.

I also took note of its cache prefetching, which kept my read and write-heavy workloads in sync by replicating the data in real time so it was in the cache before I needed to access it.

Integrations are pre-built for TIBCO Cloud, New Relic, Datadog, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, Informatica, Grafana, Workato, and LaunchDarkly.

Pricing: From $0.881/hour

Trial: Free plan available


  • Robust caching functionality
  • Fast performance
  • Built-in message broker


  • Supports only one module per instance
  • Costs can get high

10. ClickHouse - Best online analytical processing features

Database management system ClickHouse's online analytical processing (OLAP) platform in Grafana
Using ClickHouse for data analytics in Grafana. (Source)

ClickHouse is an open-source online analytical processing (OLAP) platform with a focus on speed and scalability.

Why I picked ClickHouse: ClickHouse delivered more speed in my OLAP tests than I expected, so I went digging around and found that it was built from the ground up for exactly this. It stores data in columnar databases rather than row-oriented ones, improving read speeds considerably.

ClickHouse Standout Features and Integrations:

Features that made ClickHouse stand out to me as far as its OLAP capabilities include the data compression that grouped similar collections of data to improve access. It also supports specialized codecs that you can use to compress data more efficiently.

Moreover, rather than applying generalized data structures and algorithms, ClickHouse factors in low-level details, such as fill factors, memory layouts, and suitable hash functions, to help you get the most out of your data.

Integrations are pre-built for Kafka, Jaeger, Tableau, Grafana, DataGrip, Supabase, JupySQL, Amazon S3, Apache Cassandra, and DbVisualizer.

Pricing: From $50/month

Trial: 30-day free trial


  • Smooth performance
  • Open-source
  • Scalable


  • Limited integrations
  • Restrictive data modification functions

11. Syniti - Best data replication features

Syniti's dashboard provides simple database asset management
Database asset management with Syniti. (Source)

Syniti is a data management platform aimed at enterprise environments that provides functions such as migration, replication, and matching.

Why I picked Syniti: During my time with Syniti, the feature that stood out the most was the options I had for creating duplicates of my data. I could make snapshots of the data as it existed, mirror to reflect new changes, or sync both ways with conflict resolution.

Syniti Standout Features and Integrations:

Features that made me recommend Syniti for data replication include the Verifier, which I used in my audits to compare two instances of data to pinpoint and resolve discrepancies.

If I needed to take over the process, Syniti allowed me to do so using scripts I wrote in Visual Basic and C#. For lighter tasks, however, I managed just fine with graphical wizards.

Integrations are pre-built for SAP HANA, Actian Vectorwise, IBM PureData System, and Vertica.

Pricing: Pricing upon request

Trial: 10-day free trial


  • Robust data replication functionality
  • High availability
  • Low latency


  • Limited integrations
  • Restrictive free trial

12. OneTrust - Best for companies in highly regulated industries

OneTrust screenshot
Managing GRC compliance with OneTrust. (Source)

OneTrust is a risk management solutions platform that provides automation services for areas such as data privacy, discovery, and ethics.

Why I picked OneTrust: OneTrust provides dedicated compliance management tools for various regulatory standards from all over the world. During my evaluations, I tested and was satisfied with the management tools for HIPAA, GDPR, SOC 2, SOX, and PCI DSS. For companies in industries that are heavily regulated, like finance and healthcare, this feature makes it easy to comply and avoid penalties when you get audited.

OneTrust Standout Features and Integrations:

Features that made regulatory compliance with the OneTrust Platform more manageable, in my opinion, include the Privacy and Data Management Cloud. It provides built-in tools for data discovery and governance, consent and preference management, and privacy management to help you create a more secure and confidence-inspiring user experience.

I also tested the ESG and Sustainability Cloud, where I found you can track the metrics that usually go into transparency and sustainability reports in one place. From here, you can also generate reports and carry out analytical functions with full automation capabilities.

Integrations are pre-built for Kafka, Amazon S3, Apache Cassandra, Box, Mailchimp, HubSpot, ServiceNow, Snowflake, Jira, and Bitbucket.

Pricing: Pricing upon request

Trial: 14-day free trial


  • Robust compliance management features
  • Strong privacy and data protection features
  • Large integration library


  • Extensive initial setup
  • Relatively steep learning curve

Other Database Management System Options

Below are some DBMS tools that I evaluated and still liked, even though they didn’t make the main list:

  1. MySQL - Best local transaction support
  2. Valentina - Best for MariaDB
  3. PostgreSQL - Best relational database management system
  4. RazorSQL - Best database browser
  5. Dbvisualizer - Best database testing features
  6. Oracle Enterprise Manager - Best for Oracle Database
  7. ManageEngine - Best database metrics for monitoring
  8. Sadas Engine - Best for columnar databases
  9. PopSQL - Best for data analysis collaboration
  10. Microsoft SQL Server - Best for Azure-hosted databases
  11. Database Labs - Best for Postgres management

Selection Criteria For Database Management Systems

Here’s a short summary of the main selection and evaluation criteria I used to develop my list of the best database management systems for this article:

Core Functionality

A tool had more chances of making the main list if it provided the following core functions:

  • Allow sysadmin teams to govern data with granular control over everything they’ve stored
  • Make it easy to comply with various industry standards, preferably with automation to speed things up and alerts for when you’ve fallen behind
  • Control user access to the database with an additional layer of security that involves authentication and/or authorization

Key Features

A few of the key features I kept an eye out for include:

  • Scalability: This allows databases to grow comfortably and in step with overall operations.
  • Data security: The DBMS should provide ways to safeguard data, with encryption and access control as the bare minimum.
  • Data consistency: The DBMS should provide checks to ensure that data stays the same even if it’s stored in two or more locations, something that’s important for processes such as disaster recovery and A/B testing.
  • Backup and recovery: This makes it easier for companies to get back on their feet in the event of cyber attacks or natural disasters.
  • Querying and reporting: Data science teams need to be able to access anything from a database and run analytics for business insights, otherwise they’re not getting full use of the database.


Data management can be complex if you don’t have a solid command of technical skills such as SQL, so I was looking for tools that simplified the process as much as possible. For example, I recommend no-code solutions for smaller operations that were less likely to have a dedicated database administrator and relied on general sysadmins.

Value for Money

For tools whose primary goal was just allowing you to work with database-specific language, I assumed that you wanted to keep costs low because you were already paying for specialized labor. In this category, the price tag of about $20 per user per month was justifiable as long as I saw some advanced code editing features.

A lot of no or low-code tools cost easily over $1,000 a year and, at this price point, I was looking for features such as data visualization for analytics and advanced security to make up for lack of specialized labor on small teams.

People Also Ask

Still feel like you need more information to make a decision? Here are the answers to some questions you might have:

What Next?

After you’ve chosen the ideal database management solution for your needs, you’ll need to know how to get the most out of it. Aside from the integrations I mentioned in this article, you can get more from the tool by using it in conjunction with other types of technical software and implementing proven best practices across all your workflows.

Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to get more insights into how you can do exactly this.

By Paulo Gardini Miguel

Paulo is the Director of Technology at the rapidly growing media tech company BWZ. Prior to that, he worked as a Software Engineering Manager and then Head Of Technology at Navegg, Latin America’s largest data marketplace, and as Full Stack Engineer at MapLink, which provides geolocation APIs as a service. Paulo draws insight from years of experience serving as an infrastructure architect, team leader, and product developer in rapidly scaling web environments. He’s driven to share his expertise with other technology leaders to help them build great teams, improve performance, optimize resources, and create foundations for scalability.