When you are selecting databases for your latest use case (or replacing one that’s not meeting your current needs), the good news these days is that you have a lot of options to choose from. Of course, that’s also the bad news. You have a lot to sort through.
There are far more databases to consider and compare than ever before. In December 2012, the end of the first year DB-Engines.com first began ranking databases, they had a list of 73 systems (up significantly from the 18 they first started their list with). As of December 2022, they are just shy of 400 systems. This represents a Cambrian explosion of database technologies over the past decade. There is a vast sea of options to navigate: SQL, NoSQL, and a mix of “multi-model” databases that can be a mix of both SQL and NoSQL, or multiple data models of NoSQL (combining two or more options: document, key-value, wide column, graph and so on).
Further, users should not confuse outright popularity with fitness for their use case. While network effects definitely have advantages (“Can’t go wrong with X if everyone is using it”), it can also lead to groupthink, stifling innovation and competition.
In a recent webinar, my colleague Arthur Pesa and I took users through a consideration of five factors that users need to keep foremost when shortlisting and comparing databases.