DBMS vs RDBMS: Difference and Comparison

Everyone using the phone or computer is connected to one or more databases. A collection of organized data that is effortlessly accessed, updated, or managed, is called a database.

Database management allows any user to procure, store or control data easily. There are two database management systems, DBMS and RDBMS.

Key Takeaways

  1. DBMS stands for Database Management System and is a software system for managing data. In contrast, RDBMS stands for Relational Database Management System and is a type of DBMS that uses a relational model for organizing data.
  2. DBMS is suitable for smaller databases with simple data structures, whereas RDBMS is suitable for larger databases with complex data structures.
  3. DBMS does not enforce referential integrity, whereas RDBMS enforces referential integrity.


DBMS is a software system for managing databases. It provides functions for creating, storing, updating, and retrieving data in a database. RDBMS is a type of DBMS that is based on the relational model of data. it stores data in tables using specific set of rules to manage the data.


The DBMS is the acronym for the database management system. It is software used to create, recognise and handle a database, providing the administered access to the data, more like a computerized data-keeping system.

Different types of databases are used to exploit z/OS mainframes, such as inverted lists, relational, hierarchic, etc.

A relational database management system or RDBMS is based on a relational model of data. It stores data in the form of rows and columns, with a unique key to recognise each column.

For query and maintenance, many RDBMS use the option of SQL (Structured Query Language).

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonDBMS RDBMS 
Storing formatStore data in file format.Store data in table or rows and column format.
Identification of DataNormally data is saved in hierarchical or navigational form.Each table has a primary key and data value for recognition.
NormalizationIs not available. Is available.
Security of DataNo security constraints regarding data manipulation.It defines the integrity lines for ACID properties ( atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability ).
Distributed DatabaseDo not support.Support the distributed database.
SIze of DataDeal with small amounts of data by a single user.Handle large amounts of data by multiple users.
ExampleFile systems like xml.File systems like MySQL, Postgres, Oracle, etc.

What is DBMS?

DBMS is a computerized database management system or data-keeping system. Using these facilities, users can carry out operations such as data manipulation or data structure management by themselves. This system saves the given information in file format.

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DBMS can be categorized based on the data structure and format. These categories include inverted list, RDBMS, network, hierarchic formats of data structure used to exploit mainframe data.

A hierarchical model is normally used by mainframe databases when the data structure required for application is relatively static.

Static data means a data structure for application rarely changes, and new elements of data are rarely recognised. Such data is called static data.

A hierarchical database is navigational. Because in hierarchical databases, the programmer should know the structure of the database. Also, the programme needs to contain logic to provide uniform means to access stored information. 

It has automatic backup and recovery procedures. It reduces the complex relationship between data and supports the manipulation and processing of data.

It stores all data in one single database in file format. Due to this, data can be easily maintained and reduce the time for development and maintenance.

DBMS is used for the storage of small data collected from a single user. The requirement of a huge memory size and high-speed data processor makes DBMS a not so cost efficient option for data management.

Also, this database creates additional security complexity problems.

What is RDBMS?

Relational data models store data in the form of tables, also called RDBMS or relational database management systems. The term relational database was coined by E.F. Codd in 1970 at IBM.

For query and maintenance, many RDBMS use the option of SQL ( Structured Query Language ).

The system describes two broad classes of database systems, which present data as relations ( in the form of rows and columns ) and provide a tabular format of data to be manipulated by operators.

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A unique key is tagged with each row of the table for identification. To link a row of one table to the row of another table, an additional unique key column of the linked row is added. Such columns are called foreign keys. 

RDBMS processing involves regular modification and manipulation of data one and only row in the table. Hence implementation has a unique primary key for each row. When a new row is added, a new unique identification key is generated.

Stored procedures are natively used in most of the programming within RDBMS. For security, the design only allows access to the stored procedures and not data stored in tables.

These stored procedures have logic to navigate and update data. It is used to store huge amounts of data collected from multiple users.

Main Differences Between DBMS and RDBMS

  1. DBMS is a database management system that uses file format to store the provided data, while RDBMS is the relational database management system using the tabular form to store the data given to it.
  2. DBMS identifies its data by storing it in hierarchical or navigational form, while in RDBMS, the table is recognized with a unique key and data value.
  3. DBMS does not allow data normalization, while RDBMS allows it.
  4. In a sense, to protect data from data manipulation, DBMS do not have such provisions, while due to ACID property, RDBMS inhibit data manipulation.
  5. DBMS are developed to deal with small data from a single user, while RDBMS can manage multiple users with large amounts of data.
  1. https://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO200428317667530.page 
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yaser-Hasan-Salem-Al-Mamary-d-yasr-hsn-almmry/publication/355482571_MIS_Lectures_Part_2_Dr_Yaser_Hasan_Al_Mamary/links/6174025ceef53e51e1d2da7b/MIS-Lectures-Part-2-Dr-Yaser-Hasan-Al-Mamary 

Last Updated : 16 July, 2023

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