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Difference Between DBMS and RDBMS

The volume and complexity of data have dramatically increased over the years. It created the need for database management systems for storing, managing, updating, retrieving, and protecting data in real-time. That’s when DBMS (Database Management Systems) and RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) came to the rescue.


A DBMS is a software program for creating, managing, storing, and controlling data. An RDBMS can be considered an upgraded version of a DBMS. Dive into this article to understand the difference between RDBMS and DBMS. Before delving deep into the difference between RDBMS and DBMS, let’s understand them individually.


Table of Content:


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What is DBMS?

A DBMS can be defined as a computerized system for data-keeping. It can help with manipulating data in a database system or managing the database structure itself. A DBMS will store data in files in a navigational or hierarchical form.


A DBMS is often used by small organizations to deal with small volumes of data. A key difference between RDBMS and DBMS is that no relationship exists between the tables containing data in a DBMS. If you compare DBMS vs RDBMS, the first one won’t support distributed databases. 


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What is RDBMS?

RDBMS stands for Relational Database Management System. It is a software system that manages relational databases, which are organized using tables consisting of rows and columns. RDBMS provides a structured approach to store, manage, and retrieve data efficiently. It uses the relational model to establish relationships between tables based on common attributes, enabling data integrity, data consistency, and data manipulation through SQL (Structured Query Language) queries.


RDBMS offers features like data normalization, transaction management, concurrency control, and data security, making it widely used in various applications and industries for managing structured data. Examples of popular RDBMSs include MySQL, Oracle Database, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL.A key difference between RDBMS and DBMS is that an RDMS contains data in a tabular format. If you compare DBMS vs RDBMS, you will realize that a relationship exists between the tables in an RDBMS. 


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Key Differences between DBMS and RDBMS

Let’s look at some major differences in RDBMS and DBMS in detail.


Data storage A prevalent DBMS and RDBMS difference is that DBMS stores data in files. The files are arranged in a hierarchical or navigational form.  A prominent DBMS and RDBMS difference is that RDBMS stores data in a tabular form. RDBMS follows a relational model instead of a hierarchical one. While the columns are used as headers, corresponding values are found in the rows. 
Function DBMS is useful for creating, managing, storing, retrieving, and updating data from databases.   RDBMS is useful for creating and managing databases in a tabular format for easy storage, updating, and retrieval of data. 
Data redundancy DBMS increases data redundancy or repetition.  RDBMS can remove data redundancy to save time and resources. 
Number of users A major difference between RDBMS and DBMS is that DBMS supports only one user.  While comparing DBMS vs RDBMS, you will realize that RDBMS supports multiple users. 
Data Type DBMS is for smaller amounts of data.  RDBMS is more suitable for larger datasets. 
Data Fetching DBMS fetches data slowly when there is a huge amount of data.  RDBMS has a faster data fetching rate because of a relational approach. 
Hardware and Software Requirement DBMS  has low hardware and software requirements. RDBMS has more hardware and software requirements. 
Data integrity DBMS does not support any data integration methods or constraints.  RDBMS supports various data integrity constraints. 
Data normalization Normalization is absent in the DBMS Normalization is present in the RDBMS
Data security A major DBMS and RDBMS difference is limited security in DBMS.  A major DBMS RDBMS difference is that RDMS has more security measures. 
ACID properties for data consistency DBMS does not have any ACID properties.  RDBMS supports ACID properties to eliminate data inconsistencies. 


While comparing DBMS vs RDBMS, you will understand that some key features of DBMS include:

  • It can maintain data uniformity.
  • It can operate with minimum hardware and software.
  • It is extremely versatile. 
  • It can help manage data faster. 

Key features of RDBMS:

  • Supports multiple users
  • Can store huge volumes of data
  • Reduces data redundancy
  • Enables data integration
  • Useful for structuring and organizing data

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There is a various difference between DBMS and RDBMS if we look at the examples of both. Microsoft Access and XML are common examples of DBMS. Oracle and SQL Server are common examples of RDBMS. 


Here’s a table highlighting examples of RDBMS (Relational Database Management Systems) and DBMS (Database Management Systems):


MySQL Microsoft Access
Oracle Database FileMaker
SQL Server dBASE
PostgreSQL MongoDB (NoSQL database)
IBM Db2 SQLite
SAP HANA Apache Cassandra (NoSQL database)
MariaDB Berkeley DB (NoSQL database)
Teradata Amazon SimpleDB (NoSQL database)
Microsoft Azure SQL Database Redis (in-memory database)


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There are differences between DBMS and RDBMS in their trend. Some top trends associated with DBMS and RDBMS are as follows:

  • SQL remains the cornerstone for database management systems.
  • Modern database management systems need minimal database latency for improved performance.
  • Stronger database security layers are being added to protect database management systems. 

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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of DBMS and RDBMS

Let’s explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of DBMS and RDBMS along with their differences.


  • Low hardware and software requirements
  • Useful for small volumes of data
  • Data is stored in files in hierarchical or navigational format
  • Uniform data administration procedures
  • Stronger data exchange
  • Improved data protection
  • Data integrity is supported
  • Data is backed up
  • Can’t be used by multiple users
  • Less secure
  • Lack of data integrity
  • Higher hardware and software expenses
  • Scalability issues
  • Frequent updates required


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In this article we have understood the basis difference between RDBMS and DBMS. You can say that all RDMSs can be considered DBMSs. But not every DBMS is an RDBMS. You can now easily determine which one is the best for your organization.


The difference between DBMS and RDBMS can be found in terms of data storage, type, normalization, and more. For instance, an RDBMS stores data in a table and a DBMS stores data in a file.
If you compare DBMS vs RDBMS, you will understand that a DBMS does not support data integrity methods or constraints. But an RDBMS comes with various data integrity constraints.
You should compare DBMS vs RDBMS to determine which one is more appropriate for the dataset you are dealing with. While comparing DBMS vs RDBMS, you will realize that an RDBMS is more efficient at handling large volumes of data.
One of the major challenges while migrating from DBMS to RDBMS is scalability. If you compare DBMS vs RDBMS, you will understand that an RDBMS is often useful for only one server. Therefore, companies find it difficult to scale them according to the rising volume and complexity of datasets.
Although, here are various difference between SQL and MSQL, there are several similarities between SQL and MySQL. Both SQL and MySQL support numeric, string, date/time, and Boolean data types. Also, both support basic data manipulation operations like SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE. SQL and MySQL use similar syntax and share common keywords like SELECT, FROM, WHERE, and ORDER BY.

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