Cloud or Self-Hosted Database Management Systems?

By Austin
Database Management Systems
Jan 5, 2024 Reading time : 7 min

In the modern world, data is everything and can provide endless benefits if harnessed properly. Data management deals with the problems of gathering and organizing data the right way. But the question facing people who work with data is whether a cloud or self-hosted management system is better. Here, we’ll try to unravel this debate, and hopefully answer some of the questions, that you may have, along the way. 

What is a Database Management System?

A database management system (DBMS) is any software that enables multiple users to maintain, monitor, and store data in an accurate way. The primary purpose of using a database management system is to access and retrieve useful data with just a few clicks. When the data is organized properly, it cuts the time it takes users to find relevant information. 

Popular DBMS software for home or small organization use is Microsoft Access and FileMaker Pro. For large organizations, where there are huge amounts of data with complex functions, software like Oracle, IBM DB2, SQL Server, and MySQL are used. 

Closed Source vs. Open-Source DBMS

A closed source database management system is based on source codes that a user cannot access, modify, distribute or reuse. It is a proprietary software package. You have to pay the cost of a subscription or licensing fee to be able to use it. The company reserves the rights to the code base, thus, you have to depend on the company updates, new features, or bug fixes. 

On the other hand, you can view and access the source code on an open-source database, and, if the nature of your work demands it, download and change the source code for more control. You don’t have to pay licensing or subscription fees, which makes this an economically attractive alternative as well. 

What are the Benefits of Using a Database Management System? 

DBMSs are convenient options for businesses and organizations. They have the following benefits:

  • Data integrity
  • Recovery
  • Security and Privacy
  • Minimizing redundancies
  • Consistency
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    Data Integrity

    DBMS can store data from multiple databases into a single database management system, thus, ensuring that data is readily accessible and highly accurate. This enables users to make real-time decisions based on the data’s integrity. 


    A database management system can let you recover and backup lost data easily, which should put you at ease if you mistakenly clicked a few too many times. Another area where this feature comes in handy is when you have to access data in emergencies or when the system is out of reach. 

    Security and Privacy

    Database management systems ensure privacy for data usage and storage. Only authorized users can log in and access the DBMS. The authentication process also enhances the security of the management system. Security is the main concern for businesses with huge amounts of data stored on servers. 

    Minimizing Redundancy

    Redundancy means repetition in data on files stored in the database management system that create unnecessary duplication of data, or when the old data, which is no longer accurate, remains on the system, taking up valuable space. Managing different databases within a single system decreases redundancy as users manage the data from a single location. 


    DBMS is a great tool to ensure the consistency of data across all the databases and also to integrate them within a single system. The uniformity of data accessed throughout the organization makes it invaluable to large and small organizations alike. 

    Types of Database Management Systems

    DBMS has four types of models:

    • Hierarchical model
    • Network model
    • Object-oriented model
    • Relational model

    Hierarchical Model

    The hierarchical model is the most common DBMS that resembles a tree-like structure. It is similar to a folder architecture in your computer system where data is structured in a parent-child hierarchical fashion. Parent account has multiple dependent accounts (child accounts), but the child account can only have a relationship with one parent account. However, due to inherent limitations, these databases have limited usage. 

    Network Model

    The network model is also like a hierarchical model except for the difference that the child account has relations with multiple parent accounts. This type of model establishes a network-like structure and is more complex in nature where several accounts have connections with many other accounts. 

    Object-Oriented Model

    The object-oriented model is based on an object-oriented programming language and stores and represents data in the form of objects on the database management system. Such types of databases can be used in improving reliability, flexibility, and reducing the amount of data maintenance required. 

    Relational Model

    Relational models are widely used owing to their easier-to-use functionality. They store and edit data in the form of multiple tables of data by using the programming language called Structured Query Language (SQL). Each row and column in the table is related to every other row and column through special key fields. These types of DBMSs are more flexible and allow users to read, create, update and delete data. 

    Cloud or self-hosted DBMS. Which is Best for You? 

    Cloud DBMS is a system built and accessed on the cloud, whereas a self-hosted database is accessed through a server that can be hosted and controlled. The selection of a suitable DBMS that can handle all your data needs and provide you with full functionality depends on the nature of your business. 

    But, to help you out a bit, here is a list of features of both the cloud and self-hosted database systems. 


    Self-hosted database management systems rely less on the Internet as compared to cloud databases. A stable internet connection is the only way to use a cloud-based database management system. If your Internet connection gets slow, or if the Internet is down, you cannot access the cloud DBMS. Moreover, if more and more users log on to the cloud DBMS at any given time, it can cause it to crash. 


    Self-hosted databases are more secure as they face fewer hacks and data breaches than cloud-based databases. According to statistics, 86% of organizations report data breaches to be their biggest fear when using cloud databases, as hackers can gain access to the database without authorization. Also, viruses and malware attacks are common on cloud databases.


    Cloud-computing databases might be more accessible, but due to vendor-lock-ins – a scenario where you have to pay the provider substantial fees in fines if you want to move away from their platform – organizations steer clear of these database management systems. Moreover, in case of technical issues, you cannot manage the database on your own and have to contact their customer support for resolving even minor issues. 


    Cloud database management systems are more expensive than self-hosted databases. With every upgrade and add-on feature, the cost of keeping a cloud database management system can get too high for most small businesses. 

    Final Thoughts

    Self-hosted database management systems are a better and more convenient choice than cloud-based systems. It would give you more freedom to control and manage your data, based on your needs, while also ensuring that data breaches are nonexistent. Self-hosted database systems are also light on the pocket, which is an ideal prerequisite for businesses that don’t want to spend all their revenue on keeping a database management software.  

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