Oracle. SQL Server. DB2. MySQL. PostgreSQL. Despite the fact that these are the five most popular enterprise databases, they’ve become a bit dull over the past three years. Since the NoSQL movement began in 2010, new data stores have offered such a diverse array of use cases, it would seem that almost any traditional database could now be replaced by some specialized data store.

But despite the NoSQL revolution being the cause of this new springtime for databases, not all the green shoots are NoSQL. There are new databases cropping up, or just now maturing, in all manner of technical areas. There are new graph databases, new time-series databases, highly expandable key-value stores, and even new takes on the relational model.

Like most tools in any type of job, using the right database in the right place can make the difference between success and failure. That’s why choosing a database has gone from being one of the easiest decisions your team has to make to one of the hardest.

So, then, we set out on a trip through this verdant and growing meadow of data stores. Which one is right for you? That depends entirely on your use case.

Springtime for databasesSQL revolution
NoSQL can mean two things: No SQL, or Not Only SQL. It is the latter that many NoSQL companies tout when offering their data stores as a supplement to existing relational databases. But just because you need fast response times and highly scalable transactions doesn’t mean you have to throw SQL out entirely.

Still, the challenges, for both new and old relational database players alike, are to focus on the strengths of your data store, and to make sure developers understand what the best use case for your software is.

About Alex Handy