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Difference between Open Source Database and Commercial Database

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  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 24 Mar, 2023
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1. Open Source Database: 

An open-source database is a database where anyone can easily view the source code and this is open and free to download. Also for the community version, some small additional and affordable costs are imposed. Open Source Database provides Limited technical support to end-users. Here Installation and updates are administered by the user. For example: MYSQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB etc. 

Advantages of Open Source Databases:

  • Cost: Open source databases are generally free, which means they can be used without any licensing fees.
  • Customization: Since the source code is available, developers can modify and customize the database to meet specific requirements.
  • Community Support: Open source databases have a large community of users who contribute to documentation, bug fixes, and improvements.
  • Security: With open source databases, security vulnerabilities can be detected and fixed quickly by the community.
  • Scalability: Open source databases are typically designed to be scalable, which means they can handle large amounts of data and traffic.

Disadvantages of Open Source Databases:

  • Limited Technical Support: While there is a large community of users who can help troubleshoot issues, there is no guarantee of professional technical support.
  • Complexity: Open source databases can be more difficult to set up and configure than commercial databases, especially for users who are not experienced in database administration.
  • Lack of Features: Open source databases may not have all the features that are available in commercial databases, such as advanced analytics and reporting tools.

2. Commercial Database : 

Commercial database are that which has been created for Commercial Purpose only. They are premium and are not free like Open Source Database. In Commercial Database it is guaranteed that technical support is provided. In this Installation and updates are Administrated by software Vendor. For examples: Oracle, IBM DB2 etc. 

Advantages of Commercial Databases:

  • Technical Support: Commercial databases usually come with professional technical support, which can be helpful for organizations that need assistance with setup, configuration, or troubleshooting.
  • Features: Commercial databases typically have more features than open source databases, including advanced analytics, reporting, and data visualization tools.
  • Security: Commercial databases often have built-in security features and can provide better protection against cyber threats.
  • Integration: Commercial databases are often designed to work seamlessly with other enterprise software, making integration with existing systems easier.

Disadvantages of Commercial Databases:

  • Cost: Commercial databases can be expensive, with licensing fees and maintenance costs that can add up over time.
  • Vendor Lock-In: Organizations that use commercial databases may become dependent on the vendor and find it difficult to switch to another database.
  • Limited Customization: Commercial databases may not be as customizable as open source databases, which can be a disadvantage for organizations with specific requirements.

Similarities between Open Source Database and Commercial Database:

  • Both can handle large amounts of data and support complex data structures.
  • Both can be used to store and retrieve data in a structured manner.
  • Both can be used to support mission-critical applications and services.
  • Both use SQL (Structured Query Language) to perform queries and manipulate data.
  • Both can be accessed and managed remotely using a variety of tools and interfaces.
  • Both can be optimized for performance, scalability, and security.

Difference between Open Source Database and Commercial Database:

Sr. No. Basis of Comparison Open Source Database Commercial Database
1. Focus In Open Source Database anyone can easily view the Source code of it. Commercial Database are that which has been created for Commercial purpose only.
2. Examples Examples: MYSQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB etc. Examples: Oracle, DB2, Splunk etc.
3. Cost They are free or have additional and affordable cost. They are premium and are not free like open source database.
4. Community The community can see, share, and modify the code of open-source DBMS software.  The community cannot see, exchange, or modify the code of commercial DBMS software.
5. Source Code Because the source code is open, there is a risk of coding malfunction. The code is not accessible to unauthorized users and has a high level of protection.
6. Technical support It provide limited technical support. It provide guaranteed technical support.
7. License In this software is available under free licensing. In this Software is available under high licensing cost.
8. Support In this User’s needs to rely on Community Support. In this user’s get dedicated support from Vendor’s from where one’s buy.
9. Installation and Updates In this Installation and Updates are  administrated by user. In this Installation and updates are administrated by Software Vendor.
10. Benefits
  • Bug fixes are simple to implement without having to go through the approval process at corporate.
  • For any premium solution, a free open source alternative with the same or more functionality is always accessible.
  • Because it is more visible by nature, it can be inspected for security concerns, which is a big benefit.
  • There is a single point of contact for any issues that arise. That implies, you pay for specific needs, and there is a party to blame if difficulties develop.
  • The licensing is usually obvious, and it comes with a guarantee. 
  • Developers typically have a thorough plan in place for the programme and release updates as needed. This allows businesses to save money on the costs of technical outages and failures.
11. Drawbacks
  • Volunteer Technical support
  • Because of Compatibility difficulties, it cannot be assured that it will work in each user’s environment due to compatibility difficulties.
  • Professionals are required to manage and even install the essential infrastructure because some of these difficulties vary from software to hardware. 
  • Open source also poses a significant security risk because some of it can easily contain security exploits.
  • Strict Licensing guidelines
  • Source code cannot be modified so extra cost is incurred for getting more functionality of premium features 

Which Database is Better : Commercial or Open Source Database : In conclusion, it is important to remember that both Commercial and Open Source database have their own Advantages and Disadvantages. If we considered which Database is better, then in most cases it makes sense to choose Open Source as compared to Commercial Database because :

  • Open Source database is Cost-effective.
  • Better quality source code.
  • More secure.
  • More preferred.


Decision between open-source and commercial databases depends on the needs of the organization. Open-source databases are a good choice for smaller organizations with limited budgets, while commercial databases are better suited for larger organizations that require enterprise-level features and support. Ultimately, both types of databases have their advantages and disadvantages, and organizations should carefully consider their options before making a decision.

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