ESG's "Delta-V" awards recognize the top 20 companies that made an impact in big data and analytics in 2015. Here are the ones to applaud for their success in the category of Databases. Though there are way more than 20 databases on the market, we have only 20 spots for all of big data and analytics, so I've picked exactly two offerings that I think stood out this year.
MemSQL - You may not have heard of these folks yet, but you should get to know them, as they are innovating like mad while also being really swell people. What have they innovated you ask? How about a proper SQL database, that's in-memory, distributed, cloud-friendly, durable, extensible, and wicked fast? How's that grab you? Also data pipelines with Streamliner integrating Spark, and Spark SQL in the MemSQL house. Python support. Non-uniform memory access set up and optimization. A community edition, now also on AWS. Database speed testing for tuning. Kafka support. Geospatial analytics magic. I would say they added yet another great new CMO (Hi Gary!) except he started last December, so it doesn't count for 2015. This company is showing how a fresh angle in databases can make all the difference.
Microsoft SQL Server - I'm guessing you have already heard of SQL Server. Yet Microsoft is pushing the boundaries in some really good ways with SQL Server 2016 (still counts for the year 2015.) In-memory transaction processing is one, and in-memory analytics is two. Stretch database to seamlessly span from on-premises to the Azure cloud, in my mind this feature alone merits inclusion here. Row-level security, "Always Encrypted" data in motion and at rest, and masking (yay!) Load balancing in a round robin model. "Always On" for better syncing, failover, and recovery, including in cloud. Support for R-based analytics. Polybase with T-SQL for less structured big data environments. Native JSON. Deeper ties to other Microsoft tools, greatly expanding on the "better together" theme. A good thing keeps getting better.
Yes, again, there are many, many other worthy databases on the market and new ones born every week. Let me know what you think about these choices and elsewise which should be noted and recognized.