Everyone loves a good face off.

One of my favorite shows is the Great British Baking Show (also called the Great British Bake Off on the other side of the pond), where contestants compete to win the title of best British baker. All are amateur bakers and all kinds of chaos ensues.

mongodb vs. mysql

It’s pretty intense. Never thought staring at an oven or making bread could be that anxiety-inducing.

And don’t even talk to me about bingate. I have strong feelings about baked Alaska now.

But my favorite part of the show has to be when all of the contestants line their finished products up on the judging table. As the camera pans across the table, viewers can see how each baker’s breads or pastries stack up against the competition. To me, they’re all scrumptious, as Mary Berry would say.

You could argue that database management software isn’t as sweet as sponge cake, but it can be just as delicious. Imagine finding a DBMS that fits and satisfies the size and needs of your IT team or company.

Now, there are always alternatives if you’re looking for something similar, but what about a face off between two stellar solutions that are neck and neck in popularity? Not a half-baked idea, I must say.

Below, I’ve gathered some information on both solutions from the direct comparison software tool at Capterra (you can find it right underneath each listing’s logo) as well as pros and cons to each solution. And since both happen to be free and open source database software, there’s no cost here, except for your reading time.






Known as “the database for giant ideas,” MongoDB was founded in 2007 by developers from DoubleClick, ShopWiki, and Gilt Groupe. Since its launch, MongoDB has been downloaded an astounding 15 million times and boasts than 1,000 partners. MongoDB, Inc. also hosts an online course catalog for those interested in understanding more about MongoDB’s software offerings. This solution’s logo, a green leaf, is meant to represent the company’s belief that coding and databases should be simple and natural. Popular investors include Fidelity Investments, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., and Intel Capital.


  • Document validation
  • Encrypted storage engine
  • Common use cases: mobile apps, product catalogs, content management
  • Real-time apps with in-memory storage engine (beta)
  • Reduced time between primary failure and recovery


  • Doesn’t fit applications needing complex transactions
  • Not a drop-in replacement for legacy applications
  • Young solution: software changes and evolves quickly



The self-proclaimed “world’s most popular open source database,” MySQL has been around since 1995 and is now owned by software corporation Oracle. MySQL can be used for web, cloud, mobile, and embedded applications, and is written in both C and C++. While open source, there are also several paid editions available that offer additional features. Notable users of MySQL include YouTube, PayPal, Google, and Facebook.


  • Compatible with most operating systems
  • Server as separate program for client/server networked environment
    • Can be used even when no network available
  • Privilege and password system
    • Host-based verification and encryption of all password traffic
  • Multi-language error messages


  • Stability concerns
  • Difficulties running large databases (scalability)
  • Bought by Oracle: users feel software is no longer free and OS
    • Isn’t community driven

Which Would You Choose?

MongoDB is alluring in its simple and natural philosophy, and seems to work well for those searching for a collaborative free and open source community. This solution’s emphasis on community, from events and webinars to online courses and user groups, stands in stark contrast to Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL. Investors like the Goldman Sachs Group and Fidelity Investments do point to a promising future. MongoDB, however, is definitely younger and therefore not as quite as widely used as MySQL, but has the scalability and speed that many find lacking in MySQL. Still, this solution lacks support for transactions.

MySQL, on the other hand, has been around for decades (since 1995), regardless of comparison to MongoDB. But because Oracle acquired MySQL in 2010, developers find that this free and open source solution has drifted from its community control, leading to the development of MariaDB by some of MySQL originators. (Even popular users of MySQL, such as the Wikimedia Foundation, moved on to using MariaDB.) Consequently, Oracle no longer accepts patches created by the MySQL community and no longer offers a development roadmap, both of which have led to a sort of development purgatory since collaboration came to a standstill. Because of its dependency on Oracle for developments, it lags a bit and speed and doesn’t handle large databases well. It’s best for those with smaller database who want a more general solution and can manage to wait for updates.


Who do you think wins this database management software face off? Any pros or cons you think should be added to the list? Make your case in the comments below.

Looking for IT Management software? Check out Capterra’s list of the best IT Management software solutions.

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