May 11, 2022

Imply Named “Cool Database Vendor” by CRN

There can’t be one database good at everything. When it comes to real-time analytics, you need a database built for it.

We are pleased to be included in the 10th annual edition of the CRN Big Data 100, listed as one of the top 20 database systems. We should all be thankful to CRN for narrowing the list down to 20. According to, there are over 350 databases in the world, and growing.

With that many choices, it is natural to wonder: does the world really need another database?

What we learn from the CRN Big Data 100 is there’s no “one database to rule them all.” With 6 categories in the list, there can’t be a “best” database overall either. If there could, the industry would have settled on the legacy players of Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft decades ago and that would be it. Instead, we are seeing a surge of innovation in the data industry fueled by an ever increasing variety of data applications.

The question, then, isn’t “what is the best database?” but “what is the best database for what I’m trying to do?” As much as everyone would like to standardize on one database, the reality is that your organization will deploy many, each with their own strengths.

Let’s look at a few of the major categories in the CRN list to see how this innovation is growing in the industry to solve decades-old challenges and bring new capabilities.

Distributed OLTP. Back in the old days, transactional databases were expensive, fragile monoliths hidden away in a secure data center. The NoSQL movement brought scale-out economics but lacked the design discipline and compliance of traditional systems. Today you can get the best of both with companies like CockroachDB, Couchbase, and Yugabyte distributing giant transactional systems across the cloud in a way that makes them incredibly resilient.

Key-value databases. These have been around for decades. The old Windows Registry was among the first, as they are excellent choices for storing live configuration and status. Now they’ve found a new home online with applications that are collaborative and have lots of changing states, such as online gaming. DataStax and Redis show up on the CRN list as some of the key leaders in this space.

Graph databases. The idea of “relational” has been a foundation of the data industry forever. But relational databases are not very good at relationships, ironically, requiring them to be defined in advance and essentially unchanging. Enter graph databases, which can drive this relational insight without a predefined model, making it valuable especially for social and payment networks. There are many graph databases in the CRN list, including Neo4j and TigerGraph.

Real-time OLAP. Imply is the only vendor in our category listed in this top 20. Polaris, our database-as-a-service built with Apache Druid, is named specifically. Getting query results quickly from a data warehouse or data lake is fairly straightforward. It is much more difficult to get real-time queries from live streaming data coming in at millions of events per second. Rather than wait for events to make their way to the data warehouse, real-time systems provide insight as they happen, and can also combine real-time with massive amounts of historical, batch-loaded data for a complete picture. This is a game changer for observability, monitoring, digital operations, and user behavior applications. This is why developers from Netflix, Twitter, Confluent, Salesforce, and many others choose a database built for real-time analytics: Apache Druid.

We are pleased to be listed alongside such innovative companies, and we encourage you to investigate the incredible innovation happening in the data market today. For more information on real-time analytics and why you need a database built for it, check out the resources below.