Top 3 Popular Databases and Critical Differences: MySQL, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL

Oct 05, 2022

Today there are over 340 databases used worldwide by different projects.

They have different advantages and disadvantages and are great for different goals. In 2022, the top 3 popular databases are MySQL, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL. At MaybeWorks, developers have experience with SQL and NoSQL databases. MaybeWorks` vast expertise in augmenting database development teams allows us to show you the difference between 3 top popular databases.

How do database models differ?

Relational databases are based on mathematics (e.g., set theory). Data is pre-described within tables, and external keys and JOINs link tables together. You end up with a clear data schema (that's how MySQL works).

Nonrelational databases can be based on graphs, documents, objects, and key-value pairs and store data without explicit linking mechanisms. The database schema is dynamic (this approach is used in MongoDB).

Performance and security of different databases

When testing performance, you need to consider the database design and load. Benchmarking is not always correct since MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and MySQL have different approaches to storing and handling data. Some operations are slower or unavailable on different DBMSs. For example, MongoDB does not support JOIN operations, and MySQL is slower when deleting data without an index.

The three DBMSs also take different approaches when it comes to administration security. MySQL works with a privilege-based security model (a user is assigned rights in the database - a list of operations he can perform is defined). MongoDB uses a system of roles (each is assigned a list of privileges).

When choosing a database, consider the data's static and security requirements. SQL databases are necessary if security and integrity are important, and NoSQL is better for performance (provided that your data is not structured and easy to process). As our experience shows, you can combine both types of databases for different services within the same project.

MySQL: pros and cons

MySQL is considered the default solution for tasks requiring a relational database. It is available on all platforms, and many services (such as hosting) support it "out of the box." In addition, MySQL is free and open source, and its structure provides easy operation. Different relational database management systems (RDBMS) have almost the same syntax.

Strict data organization makes it difficult to change the structure of the database: the more tables, relationships, and the data itself, the harder it is. If you need to improve the database performance in your project, you will have to choose vertical scaling. With horizontal scaling, your project can use database replicas for reading. But the more there are, the harder it is to reconcile the data between them.

If the data is structured, relational databases are an excellent choice. RDBMSs provide data integrity and support ACID transactions, which is very important in high-load transactional systems.

MongoDB: pros and cons

MongoDB is a document-oriented DBMS that stores data as JSON, collections instead of tables, and uses MQL (MongoDB Query Language) as its language. The fact that the data is not normalized allows developers to change the repository's design. For example, developers can add new fields without affecting existing data, so they don't have to rewrite the finished business logic.

From a security point of view, a plus of a NoSQL DBMS is the impossibility of SQL injections. But there are disadvantages. For example, MongoDB supports regular expressions to match string patterns, which can be injected.

Another problem with NoSQL is that it does not support stored procedures (developers must write database logic at the application level). Consequently, MongoDB is unsuitable for analytics, reporting, and data processing.

NoSQL solutions can be ACID compliable. They can provide similar transaction security to RDBMS but with some conditions. For example, MongoDB can support RDBMS-like transaction security only from version 4.2. But the main advantage of non-relational databases is the ability to scale horizontally. Your project increases database performance with it but doesn't decrease fault tolerance.

PostgreSQL: pros and cons

PostgreSQL is an open-source object-relational database management system that is easily scalable and ANSI/ISO compliant. In PostgreSQL, all tables are represented as objects that can be inherited, and all operations on them are performed using object-oriented functions. At the same time, the structure of stored files (and even records in them) may be very different.

As a service for managing PostgreSQL relational databases, developers can use RDS for PostgreSQL. It supports many plugins and data types for quick data processing, high reliability, and a complex monitoring system.

PostgreSQL is one of the most feature-rich relational DBMSs focusing primarily on ANSI/ISO compliance and extensibility. The main difference between PostgreSQL and other DBMS is its object-oriented features, including support of the ACID concept (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability). PostgreSQL is capable of handling multiple tasks simultaneously and supports a large number of data types and auxiliary tools for work.

MaybeWorks expertise in MySQL, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL

MaybeWorks developers handling SQL and NoSQL databases cover all possible data storage and management challenges. They are skillful enough to protect data integrity and build fault-tolerant environments within web products. And our last project proves that.

MaybeWorks was working on a monitoring system of real estate and its owners in the Netherlands. The project's primary purpose was to collect information about the real estate owners in the Netherlands and select potential clients who are ready to cooperate based on this information.

For collecting data, this project needed to have:

  • PDF parser for documents with information about property owners
  • Ability to manually enter information about property owners
  • Calculating system of potential clients based on configurations, which contain a set of rules determining the priority of property owners (age, number of properties in their possession, etc.)
  • System of transactions with clients, including information about managers and representatives of property owners, contact information, the ability to set dates for meetings or calls, display the location of properties on a map, access to a list of documents relating to the property or the property owner, etc.

One of our main tasks was to migrate data from MongoDB to PostgreSQL. Regarding this migration, we had to rewrite the backend part, create database architecture and move a tremendous amount of information from MongoDB to PostgreSQL. Thanks to the team`s augmentation with MaybeWorks developers, the project was delivered on time.

Feel free to contact us to discuss our assistance in database development.

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