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What Is an Open Source Database?

What Is an open source database?

An open source database is any database application with a codebase that is free to view, download, modify, distribute, and reuse. Open source licenses give developers the freedom to build new applications using existing database technologies.

How do open source database management systems work?

Open source database management systems provide a layer of abstraction developers can use to store information for organizations and their applications. 

Databases are typically categorized into two groups:

  • Relational databases: The traditional data storage approach in which key-value pairs are used to store structured data into tables consisting of columns and rows.
  • NoSQL (non-relational) databases: Data stored using alternative data storage architectures, including document data store, column-oriented database, key-value store, and graph databases. Non-relational databases are the preferred choice for handling unstructured data.

Database management systems give you the software layer you need to control and manage your data for a multitude of purposes. For example, you can store business intelligence in a relational database for fast SQL queries or save unstructured image files in a graph database for an AI-powered analytics app.

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Closed source vs. open source databases

Closed source databases are proprietary software. The source code cannot be accessed, modified, distributed, or reused. You may have to pay a subscription or licensing fees to use the database within your applications. The company that wrote the code maintains the codebase. That means you’ll have to wait for the company to add new features or address any bugs in the database management system. 

In contrast, anyone can view and access the source code for open source databases. There are no licensing fees so the total cost of ownership (TCO) is lower for open source databases than for commercial databases. You can download and modify source code to power your apps free of charge and without vendor lock-in. On the flip side, though, you’re responsible for maintaining and securing your implementation of the open source database.

Examples of open source databases

Whether your goal is to store structured data for SQL queries or unstructured data via JSON objects, there are plenty of open source database solutions to choose from on the web.

Examples of commonly used open source relational databases include: 

  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • MariaDB

Examples of commonly used open source NoSQL databases include:

  • MongoDB
  • CouchDB
  • Cassandra

How to choose the right open source database for your needs

There are several ways to choose the right database for your needs. You can analyze documentation or contact the company if documentation isn’t available publicly yet. You can also use online forums and blogs as well as the source code to help you determine which open source database may be a good fit for you.

How can Pure help accelerate your open source database workloads?

Pure Storage® all-flash arrays combine the speed, performance, and reliability of NVMe storage with enterprise-grade storage management solutions to give you the infrastructure you need to deliver a Modern Data Experience™. 

Whether you store open source databases on-premises or in the cloud, Pure offers a suite of products and services that can help support your open-source database deployments, including:

  • FlashArray//X: Performance-optimized, all-flash, end-to-end NVMe and NVMe-oF storage designed to provide block storage for your Tier 0 and Tier 1 workloads
  • FlashArray//C: Capacity-optimized storage that leverages QLC flash to deliver NVMe performance at hybrid storage economics for Tier-2 applications 
  • Pure Cloud Block Store™: Consolidation of cloud and on-premises storage into one hybrid cloud 
  • FlashBlade®: Efficient scale-out unified fast file and object (UFFO) storage

By combining the speed and performance of all-flash storage arrays with powerful storage management software such as Purity and Pure1®, Pure Storage helps you keep storage simple, seamless, and sustainable.

Data Storage in an Open Source World
Open source databases have been on the scene for a number of years as rapidly-deployable databases at the peripheries of enterprises, serving as testing environments and website back-ends. Lately, however, they have been moving into mission-critical production environments in a big way. Today, an open source database is just as likely to be found behind a bank’s customer relationship management system as it is under the hood of the intensive research center of a university.
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