In the mid-seventies, Dr. Zdonik worked on the Prophet data management system for pharmacologists at Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. After becoming a professor at Brown University during the early 1980s, Zdonik became a leading researcher in object-oriented databases. He has over one hundred peer-reviewed papers in the database field and was named an ACM Fellow in 2006. More recently, he has been involved in the development of several notable database projects with other well-known researchers, such as Michael Stonebraker and Sam Madden. These projects include the Aurora and Borealisstream processing engines, the C-Storecolumn store database, and the H-Store parallel, main memory OLTP system. He has also served as a member of the VLDB Board of Trustees  and has been the general chair for several major database conferences.
Outside of academia, Zdonik is a co-founder for both the StreamBase and Vertica companies, as well as being a technical advisor for Attivio.