Want to jump straight to the answer? The best database software for most people is Knack or Oracle Database.
Database software delivers a simple means for sharing, analyzing, and accessing data for multiple use cases.
With the right database software, a business can customize the database to meet its needs. Database tools can store all of the company’s data and give employees access to it, eliminating the need for multiple copies that lead to inconsistencies and errors.
The Top 6 Best Database Software Tools
- Knack – Easiest Database Software to Use
- Oracle Database – Best Database Software for Variable Use Cases
- Microsoft Azure SQL – Best Pay-As-You-Go Database Software
- IBM Informix – Best Database Software for Scalability
- TeamDesk – Best Customizable Database Software for Beginners
- TablePlus – Best Built-in Security for Database Software
Knack – Easiest Database Software to Use
- No programming skills needed
- Easy to customize
- Dozens of templates available
- Fully cloud-based software
Those businesses that want an easy-to-use database software tool will appreciate the features found in Knack. You or your database administrator does not have to write any code to make use of Knack. Instead, Knack offers a database-building tool that guides you through the process step by step.
With Knack, you can choose to make use of templates to further simplify the database building process. This works especially well for databases that have complex storage requirements. These templates simplify creating databases for processes like managing customer information, tracking purchase orders, and updating the company website.
Knack has a dashboard that includes multiple charts and graphs to help users visualize the data or to speed up searches.
Even with its simple design, Knack users don’t have to sacrifice security. Administrators easily can create user permissions, which will play a big role in guarding the safety of the data.
Count on receiving multiple integration options with Knack, as it can share data with commonly used apps. It even offers integrations with payment providers, allowing your business to take orders while incorporating the ordering information in the database.
Knack is available in multiple pricing tiers, so almost any size of business can find a tier that fits the budget. The Corporate tier starts at $179 per month for 125,000 records. Custom and enterprise tiers are available for larger database needs too. Knack has a 14-day free trial period available.
Oracle Database – Best Database Software for Variable Use Cases
- Powerful database software
- Offers multiple versions
- Widely trusted brand name
- Fully automated package available
For a business that is unsure exactly what it needs in database software or that plans to grow significantly in the near future, Oracle Database fits a wide range of use cases. Oracle Database has a high level of versatility, which explains its popularity among all sizes of businesses in multiple industries.
Among database software providers, Oracle is the biggest brand worldwide. Its original database product dates back more than four decades.
Oracle has more than a dozen different database software offerings. It has solutions for:
- On-premises installations
- Cloud deployment
- Multiple data types
- Transaction processing
- Data warehousing
Oracle Database offers full manual control over the coding and building of your database. On the other end of the spectrum, Oracle also offers a fully automated database software package that handles data backups, software patches, and all upgrades.
Businesses that have enterprise-level needs for their database software will appreciate the high-end features in Oracle Database. It delivers excellent security measures along with the ability to run complex data queries. Depending on the selected tier, Oracle can be a little tougher to learn to use than some other options.
Oracle Database is available for a free trial period, and it has a free version among its multiple pricing tiers. You can contact Oracle for specific pricing quotes.
Microsoft Azure SQL – Best Pay-As-You-Go Database Software
- Multiple pricing options
- Easy-to-use interface
- Strong backward compatibility
- Handles complex queries easily
Some businesses hesitate to purchase new software because they feel like they never seem to use the subscription to the fullest. One of the best reasons to select Microsoft Azure SQL is the ability to only pay for the features you actually use.
When you sign up to use Azure SQL, you will receive credits toward the database software. Then you can use those credits to access different features in the software, ensuring you pay only what you need to pay.
Microsoft Azure SQL has an interface similar to other Microsoft products, which should help customers become familiar with using it relatively quickly.
Microsoft included a machine learning component with its database software, which automates many aspects of managing the software. This is a cloud-based software package, which further simplifies installation and maintenance for businesses.
Even with options made for simplicity of operation, it still offers plenty of versatility for businesses that need a powerful database software option. It can handle a wide range of complex database queries.
Those who own older databases built on SQL should be able to import them into Microsoft Azure SQL, as this software has backward compatibility built into it.
You can try Azure SQL for free. For those with extremely basic needs in their database software packages, they may be able to use Azure SQL for free forever. The pay-as-you-go pricing model can be a little difficult to understand, but you can contact Microsoft for more information.
IBM Informix – Best Database Software for Scalability
- Scales for all data types
- Handles transaction processing
- Specific features made for IoT
- Delivers high-end features
Businesses that may be unsure how their databases will expand over time need a scalable option. IBM Informix will give you the database processing power you need now and well into the future.
Thanks to the scalability of Informix, businesses like yours can successfully manage almost any kind of data. As you scale, Informix is powerful enough to continue offering real-time analysis of data, so your business doesn’t lose any functionality. You’ll continue receiving the insight they need for making informed decisions in a timely manner.
With Informix, you will be able to harness its online transactional processing (OLTP) feature. OLTP from IBM allows execution of large numbers of financial transactions in the database in real time.
In addition to giving business customers the processing power they need, Informix works equally well for educational institutions.
Because of its scalability, Informix will serve smaller organizations that expect to grow in the future. However, it’s easier for larger businesses to be able to take advantage of the power of this database software. Setting up and using Informix to its fullest will require some programming know-how and expertise with database software.
Informix includes features made especially for businesses involved in managing, analyzing, and storing data from the Internet of things (IoT).
IBM Informix has multiple pricing tiers available, including a free tier. You can contact IBM to receive a custom pricing quote.
TeamDesk – Best Customizable Database Software for Beginners
- No programming skills needed
- Easy to customize
- Dozens of templates available
- Fully cloud-based software
Businesses that need to customize their databases, but that don’t want the added expense of hiring new programmers, will appreciate the features in TeamDesk. Additionally, smaller organizations that don’t have the budget to maintain an IT department can save money with TeamDesk.
This database software is easier to use than many of the others on our list, especially when it comes to building a custom database. You will not need to know coding to take advantage of this feature in TeamDesk.
It includes multiple templates in the software, which saves time when building databases. You can access a template to develop a specific type of database devoted to invoicing or supply chain management, for example. Customizing any of these templates is an easy process, allowing your business to be up and running in very little time.
For businesses where employees need to access the database software on mobile devices, TeamDesk’s interface works perfectly for smartphones and tablets. It will run on almost any computing or mobile operating system.
With TeamDesk, you can select among three pricing tiers, each of which includes a 14-day free trial period. The Enterprise Edition tier starts at $249 per month for up to 10 users and an unlimited number of databases included. You can pay more to add extra users to this tier.
This is a cloud-based database software tool only, so you don’t need to invest in extra hardware to operate it, further saving money.
TablePlus – Best Built-in Security for Database Software
- Excellent security features
- Setup process is easy
- Relational database compatibility
- Simple graphical interface
Database software often contains some of the business’ most valuable data. For businesses with extremely sensitive data in their databases, having highly effective security features built into the software provides an important extra layer of protection.
With TablePlus, you will be able to make use of multiple built-in security features, including TLS encryption, native libssh, and multi-step authentication.
Even with a significant number of security features built into TablePlus, you will be up and running with this database software in very little time.
It is easy to safely and securely manage the data stored in the database, thanks to TablePlus’ graphical interface. Those familiar with using spreadsheets will especially appreciate this interface.
If your business needs its database software to manage multiple types of relational databases, TablePlus supports numerous models, including:
- Amazon Redshift
- Microsoft SQL Server
- SQL Server
For businesses looking for database software that runs on-premises on Macintosh computers primarily, TablePlus has one of the best interfaces for the Mac.
TablePlus offers a free trial period for new customers. Multiple pricing options are available, although those businesses that need three or more seat licenses will need to select the Custom pricing tier. After purchase, TablePlus even offers a seven-day no-questions-asked cancellation policy.
How to Find the Best Database Software for You
Database software can deliver a number of benefits for the business. It helps users analyze data records while making it easier to find the exact records they need.
Database software is available in a variety of configurations. Some businesses may need a simple solution that runs after a quick installation. Others need highly customizable software to deliver certain results in an effective manner. We’ve broken down the key criteria to consider when comparing the best database software packages.
Type of Database Software
Businesses typically can select among three types of database software.
- Local or Desktop: A very small business might be able to install database software on a single laptop or desktop computer. This software has a low cost, but it’s not practical for businesses with large collections of data.
- Network Server or On-Premises: Installing the database software on an on-prem network server is a traditional option for businesses where multiple users will be accessing the records. The expense can be significant with this type of installation, and maintenance can be a challenge without a large IT department.
- Cloud: Cloud-based database software allows users to access records from anywhere on almost any device. Through subscriptions, businesses receive automatic updates to the software and an easily calculated cost per month. However, some businesses don’t like the idea of having data records moved offsite to the cloud.
Considerations for Using the Database
Businesses that have highly complex needs for their database records may need to opt for network database software. Software installed on the network will deliver the highest level of power and customization.
Those seeking the ability to access database records from a wide range of devices and locations will prefer a cloud option.
If you want to use the database software as part of a customer relationship management (CRM) system, cloud-based software often is a better choice. It simplifies the use of the two software systems together.
Businesses that want to use the data in the database with other tools, such as social media platforms, will want software that can make use of integrations. These integrations simplify sharing data among different software packages.
Security measures built into the database software will help to protect this important data. Any business should already be making use of systems and processes that protect all kinds of data. But having built-in security options through the database software will yield another layer of protection.
Some database software tools may automatically encrypt the data for the business, providing a high level of security. Some may even constantly monitor the performance of the database, looking for vulnerabilities and signs of a potential data breach.
As another aspect of security, some database software tools include setting up permissions for data access through access control features. These allow administrators to assign data access permissions to different classes of employees. This simplifies the process of preventing unwanted access to data.
Maintaining the database software can be a significant challenge for businesses that install the software on-premises. Administrators must know how to install patches and understand how to build relationships for queries.
Some database software requires the administrators to program the software to allow for customization. It can be challenging to put in the time to keep the on-prem software maintained and running without dedicated personnel on hand.
Cloud-based software automatically downloads patches and updates. Some cloud-based database software packages do require users to understand programming, but not all of them.
Businesses will want to have multiple options for analyzing the data stored in the database software. Some software tools will have data analytics built into them, while others will rely on third-party add-on software to analyze data.
The Top Database Software in Summary
With businesses generating more data than ever before from every touchpoint with customers and clients, they need the ability to analyze that data efficiently. Database software provides this capability, as it yields results that can help any business have a better chance at success.
Knack and Oracle Database are our top two recommendations for database software. But any of the tools reviewed in this guide are viable options to consider.