Difference between relational and non-relational database

So what’s the difference between relational and non-relational database? It’s an important question to answer for businesses to remain competitive. Let’s go in depth to know the difference between relational and non-relational database.

What is a Database?

The database is a structured set of data held in a computer, especially one that is accessible in various ways. By various ways, i meant that it all depends on the type of information you need to extract or the type of query you are writing.

Databases are of two types:

  • Relational DBMS
  • Non-Relational DBMS

What is Relational DBMS

A relational database is an organized DBMS based on the relational model of data, as proposed by E.F. Codd in 1970.  This model organizes data into one or more tables (also known as “relations”) of rows and columns, with a unique key for each row. 

Generally, each entity type that is described in a database has its own table with the rows representing instances of that type of entity and the columns representing values attributed to that instance.  Since each row in a table has its own unique key, rows in a table can be linked to rows in other tables by storing the unique key of the row to which it should be linked (here that unique key is known as a “foreign key”).

 For large databases, especially ones used for web applications, the main concern is scalability.  As more and more applications are created in environments that have massive workloads (i.e. Amazon), their scalability requirements can change very quickly and grow very large. 

Relational databases scale well, but usually only when that scaling happens on a single server.  When the capacity of that single server is reached, you need to “scale-out” and distribute that load across multiple servers, moving into so-called distributed computing. 

This is when the complexity of relational databases starts to cause problems with their potential to scale. One of the reasons that make Relational DBMS a master also signifies its vulnerability.

Non-Relational DBMS

It provides a mechanism for storage and retrieval of data that is modeled by means other than the tabular relations used in relational databases.

Non- Relational Databases are increasingly used in big data and real-time web applications.  They became popular with the introduction of the web when databases went from a max of a few hundred users on an internal company application to thousands or millions of users on a web application.  NoSQL or Non-Relational DBMS systems are also called “Not only SQL” to emphasize that they may also support SQL-like query languages.

Difference between relational and non-relational database

Relational (SQL)Non-Relational (NoSQL)
Stuck. Data now includes rich data types – tweets, videos, podcasts, animated gifs – which are hard, if not impossible, to store in a relational database. Development slows to a crawl, and ops are caught playing whack-a-mole.Do the Impossible. NoSQL can incorporate literally any type of data while providing all the features needed to build content-rich apps.
Can’t Scale. Your audience is global, in many countries, speaking many languages, accessing content on many devices. Scaling a relational database is not trivial. And it isn’t cheap.Scale Big. Scaling is built into the database. It is automatic and transparent. You can scale as your audience grows, both within a data center and across regions.
$$$$. Large teams tied up for long periods of time make these applications expensive to build and maintain. Proprietary software and hardware, plus separate databases and file systems needed to manage your content, add to the cost.$. More productive teams, plus commodity hardware, make your projects cost 10% what they would with a relational database.
  • Relational DBMS represent data in a flat way, and non-relational DBMSs allow data to be represented in a hierarchical way.
  • A relational DBMS is a DBMS that will at least conceptually present data to its clients, users as well as applications, in a way that conforms to the relational model.
  • RDBMS’s suffer from no horizontal scaling for high transaction loads (millions of read-writes), while NoSQL databases solve high transaction loads but at the cost of data integrity and joins.

Source: jamesserra

Source: James Serra

So these were the difference between relational and non-relational database. Do share the knowledge.


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