Relational vs NoSQL Database: Difference and Comparison

A database is a collection of data that has been organized in a systematic manner. They help with data storage and manipulation. Databases make it simple to manage large amounts of data.

When picking a database, the most significant consideration is whether to utilize a relational (SQL) or non-relational (NoSQL) data structure.

Despite the fact that both databases are acceptable solutions, there are some significant distinctions between the two that users should be aware of when making a decision.

Key Takeaways

  1. Relational databases employ a table-based structure with strict schemas; NoSQL databases utilize various data models with flexible schemas.
  2. Relational databases focus on data consistency and integrity; NoSQL databases prioritize scalability and performance.
  3. SQL is used to query relational databases; NoSQL databases employ different querying languages and techniques.

Relational vs NoSQL Database

The difference between Relational and NoSQL Databases is that the Relational Database has a fixed or static schema whereas NoSQL has a dynamic schema. A relational database is structured, which means that the data is stored in tables. A non-relational database is document-oriented, which means that all data is organized in a native list format.

Relational vs NoSQL Database
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In relational databases data is stored in tables, making them an efficient and versatile way to store and access structured data. It utilizes a structure that enables us to locate and retrieve data in the context of other data in the database.

Querying allows you to access, modify, and manage data from a relational database.

NoSQL Database is a database implementation technique for stacking, managing, and retrieving data from relational databases that are structured differently than the traditional tabular formatted relationship model.

The primary use of a NoSQL database is for distributed data stores with large data storage requirements. NoSQL databases are increasingly being used in big data applications and a variety of other web-based applications.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRelational DatabaseNoSQL Database
DefinitionDatabase that uses the relational model for data storage and retrieval.Database that uses the non-relational model for data storage and retrieval.
StructureModels are table-based, which means they use rows and columns to hold data in a structured manner.Models have an underlying structure that is used to store the data.
Scalability Vertically scalableHorizontally scalable
Data StorageMedium to large sizeSuited for large amounts of data
ReliabilityLowHigh

What is a Relational Database?

A relational database is a collection of data elements that are linked together by pre-defined relationships. These elements are laid down in a table format with columns and rows.

Tables store data about the things that will be represented in the database. A field keeps the actual value of an attribute, while each column in a table holds a specific type of data. The table’s rows indicate a group of linked values for a single item or entity.

 A primary key is a unique identifier assigned to each row in a table, and foreign keys are used to link rows from different tables. Without restructuring the database tables, this data can be accessed in a variety of ways.

With a single query, you may create a whole new table from data in one or more existing tables.

It also enables you and your company to better understand the relationships between all accessible data and gain unique insight for making better decisions or witnessing new possibilities.

Data redundancy is eliminated with relational databases. A single customer’s information is contained in a single entry in the customer table. Relational databases are transactional in nature, which means that they ensure that the state of the entire system is consistent at all times.

What is NoSQL Database?

NoSQL databases are designed specifically for specific data models, and their schemas are flexible enough to allow for the development of modern applications. NoSQL databases are well known for their ease of development, functionality, and scalability.

NoSQL databases are becoming increasingly popular. This page contains resources to assist you in better understanding NoSQL databases and getting started with them. 

When compared to relational databases, NoSQL databases store information in JSON documents rather than the columns and rows used by relational databases.

While NoSQL databases have been around for a long time, they have only recently gained popularity as a result of the cloud, big data, and high-volume web and mobile applications that are becoming more prevalent.

They are preferred today because of their characteristics relating to scale, performance, and ease of use. The key-value, document, column, and graph databases are the most common types of NoSQL databases to be found.

Most NoSQL databases support eventual consistency, which means that database updates are propagated to all nodes over time. As a result, queries for data may not return updated data right away or may result in reading data that is inaccurate, a problem known as stale reads.

Some NoSQL systems may also experience lost writes and other data loss. To avoid data loss, certain NoSQL systems offer features like write-ahead logging. Data consistency is even more difficult to achieve when doing distributed transaction processing across many databases.

Main Differences Between Relational and NoSQL Database

  1. The relational database uses the relational model, whereas the NoSQL database uses the non-relational model for data storage and retrieval.
  2. The relational database uses rows and columns for data, i.e., they use tables, in NoSQL, there is an underlying structure.
  3. The relational database is vertically scalable, which means that you can raise the load on a single server by adding more components, whereas a NoSQL database is horizontally scalable, which means that they are capable of handling increased traffic simply by increasing the number of servers in the database system.
  4. The relational database stores a medium amount of data, in contrast, NoSQL stores a huge amount of data.
  5. The relational database is less reliable than the NoSQL Database. The NoSQL Database is much more reliable than the relational database.
Difference Between Relational and NoSQL Database
References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6106531/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7024609/

Last Updated : 19 July, 2023

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