How leading Operational DBMSs rank popularity wise?

How leading Operational DBMSs rank popularity wise?

By Michael Waclawiczek

It’s an interesting exercise actually to map out how the leading Operational DBMSs as identified in the Gartner MQ[1] (published in Oct 2015) rank on DB-Engines (published monthly). As you might know, DB-Engines lists over 250 database products according to their popularity. What we should expect is that there is some relationship between the popularity of a database product and how Gartner analysts rank them in their MQ. But how far does this correlation go?

Let’s take a look first on who is on Gartner’s MQ for the Operational DBMS. There are 32 vendors listed, with prominent players like Oracle and Microsoft being positioned in the leadership quadrant. The complete list is shown in the table below, with each vendor being categorized by their position in one of the four Magic Quadrants: Leader, Challenger, Visionary, Niche.

Gartner MQ vendor Gartner MQ position (Oct 2015) Highest DB-Engine ranking (Jan 2016) Product(s) with highest DB-Engines ranking in bold
Oracle Leader 1 Oracle Database, TimesTen, Berkeley DB, MySQL, …
Microsoft Leader 3 SQL Server
Amazon Web Services Leader 26 Amazon DynamoDB, Aurora, …
IBM Leader 6 DB2, Cloudant, Informix
MongoDB Leader 4 MongoDB
SAP Leader 11 SAP Adaptive Server, HANA, SQL Anywhere
DataStax Leader 8 Casandra
EnterpriseDB Leader 5 PostgreSQL
InterSystems Leader 42 Interbase
MarkLogic Leader 34 MarkLogic
Redis Labs Leader 10 Redis
MariaDB Challenger 23 MariaDB
Percona Challenger 92 Percona Server
NuoDB Visionary 111 NuoDB
MemSQL Visionary 80 MemSQL
Couchbase Visionary 24 Couchbase
Fujitsu Visionary Fujitsu Open Data Platform
Basho Technologies Niche 31 Riak
TmaxSoft Niche 124 Tibero
VoltDB Niche 85 VoltDB
MapR Niche 173 MapR
FairCom Niche FairCom
Cloudera Niche Cloudera
Neo Technology Niche 21 Neo4j
Altibase Niche 122 Altibase
Clustrix Niche 130 Clustrix
Actian Niche 32 Ingres
Aerospike Niche 61 Aerospike
Orient Technologies Niche 41 OrientDB
Hortonworks Niche Apache Hadoop
McObject Niche 178 exTremeDB


DB-Engines ranks database products by popularity based on some measures including website mentions, Google Trends data, the number of job offers listing a vendor’s product, and so on. You find the full criteria on this page.

So, as we now match a Gartner MQ vendor with their popularity leading DBMS product, we see in the table above that the leaders of the MQ have highly popular products, as one would expect. But for vendors in all other quadrants, you find niche vendor products like Neo4j that has a higher popularity ranking than any other niche, challenger, and visionary product.

So, popularity is one way of measuring how successful a product is. Looking at the MQ gives you the Gartner analyst’s view of how (and why) they rank vendors and their systems. Neither analysis gives you the full story, but popularity rankings shouldn’t be underestimated — particularly if you follow them over time — as they give you more inside on the interest the user community has in a particular product.


[1] You can download this MQ report for free from a number of vendor web sites.

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