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Snowflake is the DBMS of the Year 2021

von Paul Andlinger, Matthias Gelbmann, 3. Januar 2022
Tags: DBMS of the year, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Snowflake

Snowflake is the database management system that gained more popularity in our DB-Engines Ranking within the last year than any of the other 383 monitored systems.
We thus declare Snowflake as the DBMS of the Year 2021.

For determining the DBMS of the year, we subtracted the popularity scores of January 2021 from the latest scores of January 2022. We use the difference of these numbers, rather than a percentage, because that would favor systems with a tiny popularity at the beginning of the year. The result is a list of DBMSs sorted by how much they managed to increase their popularity in 2021, or in other words, how many additional people started to communicate about it in one of the ways we measure in our methodology, for example job offers, professional profile entries and citations on the web.

DBMS of the Year: Snowflake

The Snowflake platform is a fully managed cloud-service, which integrates data warehouses, data marts, and data lakes and allows to run analytics accross those.

Snowflake was publicly launched in 2014 and took data-warehousing to a new level. Backed by several rounds of raising venture capital, it continuosly extended the platform and services offered. In September 2020, Snowflake became a public company with the largest software IPO so far.

DB-Engines tracks the popularity of Snowflake since July 2016 when it started with an initial popularity score of 0.35 points and increased to 2.59 points in August 2020. Its current score is 76.82 points, showing a rise of impressive 61.29 points during the year 2021. In the overall DB-Engines ranking Snowflake started the year 2021 on rank 37 and has climbed 20 positions to rank 17 in the last 12 months, and this trend does not seem to find an end yet.

Snowflake is not only the first software-as-a-service that has won the 'DB-Engines DBMS of the Year' award, it is also the first data- warehouse - centric product that makes it into the top three of this award.

Runner-up: PostgreSQL

The three-time winner PostgreSQL is a close second this year.

PostgreSQL is a very active open source product, adding features and improvements at a high pace. PostgreSQL 14 (released in September 2021) contained major enhancements (e.g. for stored procedures, SQL-standard SEARCH and CYCLE options, subscripting of additional datatypes, types with non-contiguos data ranges) and numerous performance improvements.

While its gap to the top three systems in the DB-Engines popularity ranking, namely Oracle, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server, is still significant, it is constantly getting smaller. E.g., in the previous 12 months the scoring points difference between Oracle and PostgreSQL dwindled by about 14% from 771 points to 660 points.

Third place: MongoDB

MongoDB further expands its position as the most popular NoSQL system by a long shot. It has more scoring points in the specific ranking of Document Stores than all other systems combined.

The times, however, when MongoDB was merely a high-performance Document Store are long gone. It has broadened its scope all the time, for example by including support for time series, or by providing automatic resharding in its latest release.

Furthermore, in addition to its Community Edition, the company offers a more advanced Enterprise Edition and with MongoDB Atlas a managed hosted service to take care of all types of user requirements.


We congratulate Snowflake, PostgreSQL and MongoDB on their success in 2021.


Previous winners of the DB-Engines DBMS of the Year Award:

Snowflake 2021
PostgreSQL 2020
MySQL 2019
PostgreSQL 2018
PostgreSQL 2017
Microsoft SQL Server 2016
Oracle 2015
MongoDB 2014
MongoDB 2013

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