Database Software are basically data storage solutions which allow computer applications and websites to store their data in an efficient, well-organized, integrated, and secured way.

There are multiple types of Database Software – Hierarchical, Network, Relational, and Object Oriented. Each of these types is used particularly for a specific set of applications.

  • Hierarchical being the oldest of the form is majorly used in Mainframe and Legacy systems with a tree-like structural architecture.
  • Network is very similar to Hierarchical except that the structural architecture is more like a cob web or meshed network.
  • Relational portrays relationships among different entities with one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-many mapping.
  • Object Oriented depicts the real life objects into a database system.

The above 4 types form distinct bases for Database Software. However, the evolution and advancement in Database Software has given birth to many other types which are characterized on multiple factors like storage platform, device, behavior, accessibility, etc.

  • Distributed Databases
  • Document Oriented Databases
  • Mobile Databases
  • Centralized Databases
  • Cloud Databases
  • Configuration Management Databases
  • Navigational Databases
  • Online Databases
  • Operational Databases
  • Parallel Databases
  • Probabilistic Databases
  • Semantic Databases
  • Real-Time Databases
  • Graphical Databases

Free Database Software in the Market

In today’s market, there are Database Software – also known as Database Management Software – available to cater to every type of database present. They may be free, open-sourced or commercial.

Let’s look at few of the Database Software available in today’s market which are free to use.

Above listed Database Software are definitely free to use and few of them are even open-sourced. Few are owned by companies and few are managed by communities of noble-minded individuals around the globe.

MySQL

MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS). It is the most widely used database system in today’s market. It was founded by Michael Widenius under the company MySQL AB, which was later sold to Oracle Corporation. It is an open-source database licensed under the GNU General Public License. MySQL mostly comes bundled with the LAMP, WAMP and XAMPP stack.

Few examples of prominent people and companies using MySQL are:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • phpBB
  • MyBB
  • Wikipedia
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • PayPal
  • McGraw-Hill Education
  • FeedBurner
  • LinkedIn
  • Quora
  • Tumblr
  • Vimeo

MySQL supports multiple data types such as CHAR, VARCHAR, TINYTEXT, TEXT, BLOB, MEDIUMTEXT, MEDIUMBLOB, LONGTEXT, LONGBLOB, ENUM, SET, TINYINT, SMALLINT, MEDIUMINT, INT, BIGINT, FLOAT, DOUBLE, DECIMAL, DATE, DATETIME, TIMESTAMP, TIME, and YEAR.

SQLite

SQLite is a RDBMS enclosed within a small C programming library. It is mostly preferred as an embedded database, tightly coupled with embedded applications like web browsers, mobile apps and operating systems. It is under the Public Domain and free to use. It was founded by D. Richard Hipp in 2000.

Few examples of well-known software products using SQLite are:

  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Google Chrome
  • Opera and Opera Internet Suite
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Skype
  • Dropbox
  • Android
  • Windows Phone 8
  • iOS
  • McAfee

Since SQLite is mostly used for compact databases, it has limited data types such as NULL, INTEGER, REAL, TEXT, and BLOB.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a fusion of the relational and object-oriented types, called Object-Relational Database Management System (ORDBMS). It is an open-source database software and free to use. It is maintained by PostgreSQL Global Development Group. It is mostly bundled along with many Linux distros and  Mac OS X (Lion and above).

Few examples of recognized software products and companies using PostgreSQL are:

  • Open Street Map
  • Sony Online
  • Reddit
  • Instagram
  • American Chemical Society
  • Etsy.com
  • Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
  • Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
  • National Physical Laboratory of India
  • IMDB.com
  • Telstra

PostgreSQL houses data types such as BIGINT, BIGSERIAL, BIT, BOOLEAN, BOX, BYTEA, CHARACTER, CIRCLE, DATE, DOUBLE, INTEGER, LINE, MACADDR, MONEY, NUMERIC, PATH, POINT, POLYGON, REAL, SMALLINT, SERIAL, TEXT, TIME, TIMESTAMP, TSQUERY, TSVECTOR, UUID, and XML.

MariaDB

MariaDB is a branched out version of MySQL. The branching happened because of the insecurity of MySQL under Oracle’s ownership. MariaDB is maintained by a community of generous developers under the leadership of MySQL founder, Michael Widenius. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Few software products that support MariaDB are:

  • WordPress
  • Drupal
  • MediaWiki
  • phpMyAdmin
  • Zend Framework

Since MariaDB is a branched version of the free database software – MySQL, it has similar data types as those of MySQL.

SQL Server Express

Microsoft’s SQL Server Express is another free relational database. It’s basically a free-to-use and distributable version of Microsoft’s SQL Server. It is particularly designed for embedded and undersized applications.

SQL Server Express faces few limitations which makes it unsuitable for larger and bigger applications. It is highly not recommended for database scalability.

SQL Server Express envelops a wide range of data types such as BIGINT, BIT, DECIMAL, INT, MONEY, NUMERIC, SMALLINT, SMALLMONEY, TINYINT, FLOAT, REAL, DATE, DATETIME, DATETIMEOFFSET, SMALLDATETIME, TIME, CHAR, TEXT, VARCHAR, NCHAR, NTEXT, NVARCHAR, BINARY, IMAGE, VARBINARY, CURSOR, UNIQUEIDENTIFIER, XML, SQL_VARIANT, and TABLE.

Firebird

Firebird is an open-source and free-to-use database software. It is a relational database (RDBMS). It is compatible with Windows and different distros of Linux/Unix. The origin of Firebird is from forking of InterBase somewhere in 2000. It is licensed under the Initial Developer’s Public License (IDPL).

It encloses most of the traditional database features like ACID compliance, referential integrity, graphical administration, drivers support, cursor, procedures, triggers, etc.

Firebird shelters data types such as INT64, CHAR, TIMESTAMP, DECIMAL, FLOAT, BLOB, INTEGER, NUMERIC, VARCHAR, DOUBLE, and SMALLINT.

MaxDB

MaxDB is another closed-sourced relational database particularity targeting big SAP applications and software. It is currently managed and maintained by SAP AG. The key advantage of MaxDB is its adaptability to enterprise-level applications, with the power to work upon Terabytes of data. It is licensed under SAP Freeware License Agreement.

MaxDB is a cross platform database software. It is compatible with many others platforms, APIs and languages. It goes through the SAP AG’s quality assurance process before it is released.

Berkeley DB

Berkley DB, by the Oracle Corporation, is a key-value type of database software. It is widely used for embedded systems and applications. It is written in C with API connectivity with almost all other programming languages.

Berkley DB is specially known for its high performance capability. It is capable of handling hundreds of terabytes of data. It also supports Unix, Windows and other real-time operating systems. It is licensed under the Sleepycat Public License.

There are three different editions of Berkeley DB:

  1. Berkeley DB
  2. Berkeley DB Java Edition
  3. Berkeley DB XML

Few software that makes use Berkeley DB are:

  • Bitcoin
  • Citadel
  • Cyrus IMAP Server
  • OpenDS
  • OpenLDAP
  • Sun Grid Engine

Berkley DB supports the same data types as those of SQLite.

FleetDB

FleetDB is a document-oriented database software. It doesn’t adhere to any schema-based architecture. It works on JSON-based protocol and is programmed in Clojure. It was founded by Mark McGranaghan. It is open-source and licensed under the MIT License.

FleetDB implements data types as data structures because it is a schema-less free database software. It has data structures such as Nil, Numbers, Strings, Characters, Keywords, Symbols, Collections, Lists, Vectors, Maps, StructMaps, ArrayMaps, and Sets.

Do you know of any other database software that’s available in the market and free to use? Please comment below.