If your gut tells you that Oracle's stranglehold on the database world is starting to slip, you may be right.
The folks at DB-Engines.com (run by a NoSQL consulting firm, Solid IT) have created a tracking system to determine the most popular database systems out there. Sure enough, Oracle currently takes the top slot, along with MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server, by a wide margin compared to many others. But Oracle's ranking is down year-over-year from 2012, along with SQL Server's.
Rankings in the DB-Engines charts are determined not by numbers of downloads, installations, or other direct metrics. Instead, rankings are put together by analyzing a slew of trend-related data: mentions on websites, technical discussions, job postings, and so on. The resulting stats are updated month-to-month. It isn't forensically precise, nor is it meant to be; it's intended to give a sense of trends over time.
If Oracle and SQL Server are slipping, who's on the rise? MySQL, not surprisingly, which is the only open source database solution in the top three and is -- irony of ironies -- an Oracle project. The other commonly cited open source database, Postgres, is currently No. 4 and trending upward, although its ranking is far lower than SQL Server (230.96 to SQL Server's 1,205.87).
What about MariaDB, the community fork of MySQL designed to move it that much further from Oracle's clutches? It's way down at No. 32, but rising fast. And the most surprising entry in the top 10 is Microsoft Access, which while trending downward overall has most likely maintained a foothold in the top 10 by way of the sheer amount of legacy solutions written in it.
The only two entries in the top 10 that aren't relational databases are MongoDB and Cassandra. The former has a heftily valued company behind it and a plethora of useful things that can be done with it; the latter is fast catching on as a major NoSQL solution. Both are enjoying booming interest, which speaks well of their respective futures.
While on the whole it's the open source solutions that are trending upward, that doesn't mean the proprietary products in the rankings are likely to disappear overnight. The persistence of Access, for instance, is a sign that most any product that has a sizable installed base can remain alive for a long time.
This story, "Oracle's still the No. 1 database, but MySQL is on the rise," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.