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Tips for evaluating top database management systems and choosing a small DBMS

There are three major players in the DBMS market: Oracle, DB2 and SQL Server. Learn how to evaluate these top database management systems and choose a DBMS for a small business in this tip from Mark Whitehorn.

My small business is beginning to research DBMSes and we need to come up with a shortlist. Can you give me an overview of the market and any vendors/products we should be sure to consider?
It really depends how small your business is and what your requirements are, of course. If it is a very small business, say under 10 people, you might want to look at products like Microsoft Access. This is a fine product for small non-mission-critical databases; however, it is inappropriate for larger systems.

If you need something larger the good news is that there are only three major players left in the DBMS market: Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.

Oracle's product is called, not unreasonably, Oracle. IBM has DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server.

If you talk to an advocate of any of these systems you will rapidly learn that that, rather luckily, the advocate uses the one-true-database-engine and the other two are so badly flawed that no one in their right minds would use them. A fractionally more balanced view is that all three of them are extremely robust, highly scalable and perfectly competent.

I would counsel you to look at the applications you want to run, find out which engines they sit on and make your choice on that basis.

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