How to choose the right database for your application?


Is “choosing the right database engine for your application” daunting? With so many database engines, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But fret not; this blog post aims to guide you through the process by providing insights into different types of database engines, evaluating your organization’s needs, and presenting popular database engines and their use cases. By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision that best suits your organization’s requirements.

Short Summary

  • Selecting the right database engine requires an evaluation of features, data structure complexity, scalability, and performance needs.
  • When choosing a suitable database engine, integration with existing systems, cost, and maintenance should also be considered.
  • Popular options include MySQL (relational), PostgreSQL (open-source relational), MongoDB (NoSQL), Singlestore & Snowflake (cloud-based), MS-SQL, and more.

Understanding Database Engines

How to choose the right database for your application?
DB Engines play a critical role in managing and storing data.

With so many database engines on the market, it is difficult to choose the right database.
Database engines play a crucial role in managing and storing data for organizations, and choosing the proper database engine is essential for efficient data storage and retrieval. There are primarily two types of databases: relational databases and NoSQL databases. Relational databases offer structured data storage suitable for web applications, ERP, CRM, and banking systems. In contrast, NoSQL databases provide flexibility and scalability for unstructured data, big data, and real-time analytics.

Ultimately, the right database management system for your organization depends on various factors such as data structure, scalability, performance, security, and what you will use your database for. Exploring different database management systems and evaluating their features and capabilities is essential to make an informed decision. For example, is Mysql suited for analytics?

Relational Databases

A relational DB is a type wherein data is organized in tables, with each table related to the other and each row representing a record identified by its primary key. Relational databases, such as Oracle and MySQL, offer organized data storage and maintain ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties, making them well-suited for web applications, ERP, CRM, and banking systems. Data arranged in a row-column order is most conducive to a relational database and are often called SQL databases. In contrast, key-value databases, a type of NoSQL database, are more suitable for simple data models and high-performance applications.

IBM Db2 is another example of a relational database that supports relational, object-relational, and object-oriented features for transactional data workloads. Its flexibility, efficiency, scalability, reliability, and security make it a popular choice among database administrators in database technology.

In contrast, NoSQL databases like MongoDB provide adaptability and scalability for unstructured data, making them ideal for handling data that doesn’t fit neatly into tables.

NoSQL Databases

A NoSQL database, such as MongoDB, Redis, and Elasticsearch, is another type of database management system that offers flexibility and scalability and is suitable for managing unstructured data, big data, and real-time analytics. They differ from relational databases because they do not employ the tabular relation methodology of relational database models and are often called “document databases”. Rapid implementation for agile software development is another advantage of NoSQL databases.

There are three main types of NoSQL databases: document databases, key-value stores, and graph databases. Document databases, such as MongoDB, store data in formats like JSON, making them a popular choice for modern applications requiring flexibility and scalability. Key-value stores like Redis are suitable for simple data models and high-performance applications. At the same time, graph databases like Neo4j are perfect for handling large data volumes and complex relationships between entities.

NewSQL Databases

NewSQL databases, such as Singlestore, combine the benefits of relational and NoSQL databases, offering scalability and ACID properties for modern applications. They are particularly beneficial for the finance and banking, e-commerce, and enterprise management sectors that require ACID properties in data transactions. Additionally, SQL databases, like columnar databases, can be a part of the NewSQL solutions, providing efficient data storage and retrieval.

By providing a balance of scalability and performance, this new database management system caters to the growing demands of contemporary applications that need both the structure of relational databases and the flexibility of a NoSQL database.

In memory databases

As the price of memory decreased and memory capacity increased, in-memory databases have become popular to power specific applications. Redis, Aerospike, Apache Ignite, Vitess, and many more are often used to cache and scale critical applications. Some of them are used as key-value databases, search engines, full-text search, etc… These database systems have very low latency, allowing fast access to data. Vertical and horizontal scaling can be easily accomplished by upgrading the server size (and its memory) or adding additional resources to the pool.

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In memory database low latency can power critical applications

Have you ever wondered if there’s a better way to manage and access your data? Schedule a free consultation and discover how the proper database could transform your application!

Evaluating Your Organization’s Needs

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of database engines, it’s vital to evaluate your organization’s needs, including data structure and complexity, scalability and performance, and security and compliance. Assessing these aspects ensures that the chosen database engine aligns with your organization’s requirements and can efficiently manage all your data.

Let’s delve deeper into these factors.

Data Structure and Complexity

The data structure and complexity of an organization’s data can significantly influence the performance and effectiveness of a database engine. When evaluating your organization’s data structure, consider the complexity of the data and determine whether a fixed schema or a flexible data model is better suited for your organization. Fixed schema data models, such as relational databases and key-value stores, have a predefined structure and do not allow changes. On the other hand, flexible data models, such as document databases and graph databases, permit modifications to the data’s structure, allowing for greater adaptability as your organization’s data science needs evolve.

The choice of data structure can significantly impact the efficiency of the algorithms used to process the data. For example, a relational database may be more productive for processing structured data, while a graph database may be more productive for processing unstructured data. Understanding the intricacies of your data and choosing the appropriate data model is crucial for optimizing database performance.

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It’s critical to evalute your company’s need ; data structure and complexity, scalability and performance

Scalability and Performance

Scalability and performance are critical components to consider when selecting a database engine, as they determine the capability of the database to manage rising volumes of data and user activity. When evaluating your organization’s scalability and performance needs, it is essential to consider the capacity of distributed systems to handle large volumes of data and multiple users simultaneously.

Different database engines offer varying scalability and performance capabilities. Generally, relational databases are more scalable than NoSQL databases, while NoSQL databases usually provide higher performance. NewSQL databases balance scalability and performance, catering to the diverse needs of modern applications.

It is crucial to align the database engine’s scalability and performance capabilities with your organization’s requirements to ensure optimal results.

Security and Compliance

Security and compliance are paramount when selecting a database engine, as they help safeguard sensitive data from cyberattacks, insider threats, and unauthorized access. Additionally, they assist organizations in fulfilling legal and regulatory requirements.

When assessing your organization’s data security and compliance requirements, confirm that the selected database engine fulfills the necessary standards. Ensuring that the database engine meets your organization’s security and compliance needs is vital for protecting your data and maintaining regulatory compliance.

Key Factors to Consider To Choose The Right Database Engine

Choose The Right Database Engine
Key factors to Consider when choosing a database engine

Now that we understand different database engines better and the importance of evaluating your organization’s needs, let’s examine the key factors to consider when choosing a database engine. These factors include integration with existing systems, cost, and availability of support and community resources.

By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision that best aligns with your organization’s requirements.

Integration with Existing Systems

Ensuring compatibility with your organization’s existing systems and technologies is crucial when selecting a database engine. A seamless integration between systems can facilitate efficient data transfer, reduce costs, and streamline operations. It is also important to note that different technologies have varying connectors for other technologies.

Let’s say you’re considering moving from a monolithic database to a nonrelational one, and you have a SQL interface in place for the frontend system to connect to the backend. In this scenario, it would only be advantageous if the nonrelational database offers a SQL-like interface that can easily transition from your application’s front end. The database engine must integrate smoothly with your current systems to ensure efficiency and prevent future problems.

Cost and Maintenance

The cost and maintenance of a database engine are essential components to consider when selecting, as they can affect the total cost of ownership (TCO) and system performance. Appropriate maintenance can enhance database performance and reduce operational costs while considering the cost of the solution can assist in assessing the TCO of a database solution.

Potential costs may include licensing fees, hardware expenses, and maintenance costs. Smaller systems are relatively cost-effective but come with the limitation of limited functionality and often only permit single-use access. In contrast, more robust methods are costly but can be improved and scaled to meet business growth and requirements.

Balancing cost and maintenance considerations with your organization’s needs is key to selecting the most suitable database engine.

Support and Community Resources

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Support & Community resources are essential in helping choose the right database engine for your organization

Support and community resources are essential when selecting a database engine, as they can provide assistance and guidance when facing difficulties or queries to retrieve data, furnish a wealth of expertise and best practices for utilizing the database efficiently, guarantee data consistency and integrity, and economize time and money.

When assessing the cost and support resources available for a database engine, it is vital to consider the availability of support and community resources, such as documentation, forums, and professional services. Ensuring that the chosen database engine has ample support and resources can significantly contribute to the success and efficiency of your organization’s data management.

Emergence of Cloud Databases

Cloud databases have emerged as a significant technological advancement in recent years, revolutionizing how businesses store, access, and manage data. Their emergence is a product of the digital revolution, in tandem with the widespread adoption of cloud computing. With the advent of cloud-based solutions, businesses now enjoy streamlined data management, scalable storage, and greater accessibility.

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Popular Database engine since 2013. Source

With a solid understanding of various database engines and critical factors, let’s explore some popular ones and their use cases. These examples can provide valuable insights into which database engine best suits your organization’s needs.

By examining the strengths and weaknesses of these popular database engines, you can choose the most efficient database that aligns with your organization’s requirements.


MySQL is a widely-used relational database engine known for its speed, stability, and high-performance capabilities. It is suggested that systems not require extensive scalability. Many high-traffic, database-driven websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress, frequently employ MySQL.

As a purely relational Database Management System (DBMS), MySQL can be acquired in open-source or proprietary form. Its popularity among database-driven web giants is a testament to its effectiveness and reliability as a relational database engine.

When considering MySQL for your organization, evaluating its suitability is essential based on your specific data management needs and scalability requirements.


PostgreSQL is a powerful, open-source relational database engine that supports advanced features such as JSON querying and high fault tolerance. It has been actively developed for over 35 years and is renowned for its dependability, versatility, and open-source support. PostgreSQL offers both SQL (relational) and JSON (nonrelational) querying capabilities and is an excellent option for businesses that require storing and retrieving large volumes of data, including web applications, e-commerce sites, and data warehouses.

In addition to its advanced data types like JSON, XML, and arrays, PostgreSQL provides high fault tolerance and support for stored procedures, triggers, and views. Its dependability, versatility, and open-source nature make it a cost-effective option for many businesses. In contrast, its scalability and security features make it ideal for organizations with large volumes of data.

Microsoft SQL

Another commercially promoted relational database developed by Microsoft to support data storage and data read needs for software applications linked thereto. Various versions have many functions to cater to different customer needs. In this context, large storage volumes for the enterprise can be used as an inexpensive web host and scalable cloud storage platform for a business.


MongoDB is a popular NoSQL database engine that stores unstructured data in JSON format and offers advanced querying capabilities. MongoDB is a document-oriented database or document database with high scalability and flexibility, making it a popular choice for modern web applications. This nonrelational database is designed to store and query data as JSON-like documents. MongoDB is regularly employed for web applications, content management systems, mobile applications, document database, and real-time analytics.

While MongoDB provides scalability, flexibility, and enhanced querying abilities, it can be challenging to maintain and requires considerable resources. Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of MongoDB in the context of your organization’s specific data management needs is crucial for determining if it is the right database engine for you.


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Singlestore is a fast, distributed, and highly-scalable SQL database for modern applications

Singlestore is a fast, distributed, and highly-scalable SQL database for modern applications in the data-intensive era. It is engineered to provide maximum performance for transactional (OLTP) and analytical (OLAP) workloads in a unified engine, optimizing application performance.

Singlestore provides high performance and scalability for various applications, such as real-time analytics, data warehousing, and machine learning, by offering a combination of the advantages of relational and NoSQL databases.


Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehouse solution that complies with ANSI SQL standards and is offered as a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). Its architecture is designed for cloud computing and features a modern SQL query engine.

Snowflake provides a scalable, secure, and economical data storage and analysis solution. Snowflake offers organizations a flexible and cost-effective option for storing and analyzing data by providing a cloud-based platform.


In conclusion, choosing the right database engine for your organization is a critical decision that can significantly impact your data management capabilities. By understanding the differences between relational, NoSQL, and NewSQL databases, evaluating your organization’s needs, and considering key factors such as integration, cost, and support resources, you can make an informed decision that best suits your organization’s requirements. Remember, the right database engine enhances your data management capabilities and contributes to your organization’s overall success and efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose a database engine?

When choosing a database engine, consider factors like size, concurrent users, throughput, latency, and the types of computation performed on the data. Do your research to find the best fit for your requirements.

It is essential to consider the database engine’s scalability and the cost of ownership. Additionally, look into the features and capabilities of the engine, such as support for transactions, replication, and security. Finally, consider the following.

How do relational and NoSQL databases differ?

Relational databases offer structured data storage and ACID properties, while NoSQL databases provide flexibility and scalability for unstructured data.

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