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DBMS vs. RDBMS: The Major Differences

DBMS vs. RDBMS: The Major Differences

Before exploring DBMS vs RDBMS with examples, it will be more helpful to first give an overview of both these database management technologies.

In general, DBMS is a more applicable option for smaller organizations. Large corporations cannot do without RDBMS because it offers several advantages over DBMS.

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Overview of DBMS and RDBMS

These Databases are tasked to store and manage a collection of data. The data gets stored in the database in a structured format. This helps the database store, manage, and retrieve data very easily whenever the need arises.

Databases have proved to be indispensable solutions for all data storage requirements over the years and have since evolved to present a more robust way of data management. This is where DBMS and RDBMS came into the picture.

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Database Management System (DBMS)

DBMS stands for database management systems, and it is specifically designed to store, manage, define, and retrieve data in a database. It primarily acts as an interface between the database and the end-user. At the same time, the software is able to manage the data, the database engine, and the database schema, making it easy to organize and manipulate the data stored in the database.

A typical DBMS feature will include:

  • A DBMS library management system
  • A user-accessible catalog with metadata
  • Data abstraction and data independence
  • Data recovery support
  • Logging and auditing of activity
  • Data security
  • Authorization access support
  • Transaction and concurrency support
  • Remote access support
  • Implementation of constraints

The DBMS features can vary greatly. DBMS makes use of system commands to carry out these functions. It first receives instructions from a database administrator, and then the instructions are sent to the system to retrieve, modify, or load data.

To increase clarity in data organization, a data schema design technique called normalization is implemented. This allows an existing schema to be modified to reduce redundancy and dependency in data as much as possible. It is achieved by splitting a table into smaller ones and establishing the relationship between them.

Popular examples of DBMS include cloud-based ones, NoSQL, columnar database management systems (CDBMS), and in-memory database management systems (IMDBMS).

Check out the difference between NoSQL and SQL in our blog on SQL vs NoSQL.

Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)

RDBMS stands for relational database management systems. It is a subset of DBMS that is specifically designed to be more sophisticated and has a degree of finesse. A relational database stores data in a structured format in the form of rows and columns. It has a tabular form that makes it convenient to locate and access specific data within the database.

The ‘relational’ in RDBMS comes from the fact that the values in a table are all related to each other. The tables may further be related to other ones. This structure enables it to run queries across multiple tables at the same time. RDBMS executes queries on data to perform operations such as adding, searching, and updating values, as well as provide visualization of data in a spreadsheet-like format.

Some popular examples of RDBMS include MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, and IBM DB2.

Go through these DB2 Interview Questions And Answers to excel in your Interview.

Key Differences Between DBMS and RDBMS

For you to fully appreciate the extent of differences between DBMS and RDBMS, we have listed some of the key differences:

  • In DBMS, data is stored as a file, while in RDBMS, data is stored in the form of tables.
  • DBMS supports single users, whereas RDBMS supports multiple users.
  • DBMS does not support client-server architecture but RDBMS does.
  • DBMS has lower software and hardware requirements than RDBMS.
  • Data redundancy is common in DBMS, whereas in RDBMS, the keys and indexes do not allow data redundancy.

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DBMS vs. RDBMS: Differences on Distinct Parameters

StorageStores data in the form of a fileStores data in the form of tables
Database StructureHierarchical arrangement of dataStores data in the form of rows and columns within tables
Number of UsersAllows one user at a timeAllows more than one user at a time
ACIDDoes not use the ACID form of data storageUses the ACID model
Type of ProgramManages the data in a computerMaintains the relationships of tables in a database
Hardware and Software NeedsNot many hardware and software requirementsNeeds a good set of hardware and software requirements
Integrity ConstraintsDoes not support integrity constraintsSupports integrity constraints
NormalizationCannot be normalizedSupports normalization
Distributed DatabasesNo support for distributed databasesAllows distributed databases
Data Handling CapacityCannot handle large amounts of dataAble to handle high amounts of data
Data AccessIndividual data accessEasy and straightforward data access
Data RelationshipNo relationships defined for the dataDefines relationships using foreign keys
Data SecurityLack of data securityGood data security due to several log files

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After the brief discussion, this blog has tried to explore the difference between DBMS and RDBMS. Although both are used to store data in physical databases, there are some critical differences between them. However, there are several software products available today, which are compatible with both types.

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About the Author

Data Engineer

As a skilled Data Engineer, Sahil excels in SQL, Business Intelligence, and database management. He has contributed to projects at companies like Bajaj and Tata. With a background in software engineering, he crafted efficient solutions for data pipelines, analytics, and software integration, driving insights and innovation.