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NoSQL vs SQL: Which Database Model Is Right for You?

When it comes to storing and managing data, the most popular database models are NoSQL and SQL. Choosing between them can be difficult for those unfamiliar with their differences, but understanding how each type of database works will help you make an informed decision. This article compares NoSQL vs. SQL databases so that you understand what sets them apart and decide which database is suitable for you.

 

Table of Contents

Importance of Database Management Systems

Database management systems (DBMS) are an essential part of data processing. They provide a means to store and manage large volumes of data, which can be retrieved and modified quickly and efficiently. Database models like NoSQL and SQL offer different approaches to storing and managing data. Lets explore the major difference between NoSQL and SQL in detail.

 

What are NoSQL Databases

NoSQL databases are non-relational databases that do not rely on the traditional table-based relational database structure. Instead, they use alternative data models such as key-value stores, document stores, or graph databases to store and manage data. This makes them a powerful tool for managing large quantities of highly dispersed data. 

 

NoSQL Databases Characteristics

  • NoSQL databases are non-relational databases that do not use the traditional table structure. 
  • They use alternative data models such as key-value stores, document stores, or graph databases to store and manage data.
  • They can handle large quantities of highly dispersed data and data with different formats.
  • These databases are well-suited for real-time analytics and distributed systems applications.
  • They offer greater flexibility than SQL databases, allowing developers to change the structure of a database without having to modify the underlying data.

 

What are SQL Databases

SQL databases are traditional relational databases with a tabular structure to store and manage data. They rely on Structured Query Language (SQL) to manipulate and query data, making them well-suited for applications requiring complex queries. 

 

SQL Databases Characteristics

  • SQL databases are relational databases that use a tabular structure to store data.
  • They use Structured Query Language (SQL) to manipulate and query data.
  • SQL databases provide an systematic way to store and retrieve precise information, making them ideal for applications such as online retail stores and banking services.
  • They offer greater data integrity, meaning that the data stored in an SQL database is more secure and reliable than in a NoSQL database.
  • They also offer better performance when it comes to searching large datasets.

Continue reading to learn about the major difference between NoSQL and SQL in detail.

 

Major Difference Between SQL and NoSQL

Let’s explore the major difference between SQL and NoSQL:

 

SQL NoSQL
Definition Relational database that uses a tabular structure to store and manage data Non-relational database that does not use the traditional table structure
Data Storage Model Table based Alternative data models include key-value stores, document stores, and graph databases
Primary Purpose Online retail stores and banking services applications Applications such as real-time analytics and distributed systems.
Scalability Vertical scalability Horizontal scalability
Data to Object Mapping Not supported Supported
Type Pre-defined schema Schema-less
Schema Fixed data structure  Flexible schema that allows data objects 
Open-source Yes, but commercial versions are available Yes
Consistency Strong consistency model to guarantee the accuracy of data Eventual consistency, meaning that changes may take time to propagate across all nodes in the network
Storage Type Disk-based storage is slower than other forms of storage, such as RAM or SSDs Can use different types of storage, including disk-based, SSDs, or RAM
Average salary INR 5-15 Lakh/Annum INR 3-8 Lakh/Annum
Joins Supports joins between tables Does not support joins
Structure Fixed structure must be followed for the database to work correctly Flexible structure that allows data objects to have different attributes and structures.
Support and communities Large number of support and community resources available Growing, but not as many as SQL databases
Language SQL (Structured Query Language) ) |NoSQL has query language like MongoDB uses Mongo Query Language (MQL).
Examples MySQL, MS-SQL Server, etc MongoDB, Cassandra, etc

Advantages of NoSQL vs. SQL

Below is the comparison of NoSQL vs. SQL in terms of their advantages:

 

NoSQL SQL 
Flexible Schema Structured Schema with Fixed Tables
Better Scalability and Performance ACID Compliance and Strong Data Consistency
High Availability and Fault Tolerance Well-Established and Mature Technology
Horizontal Scalability Complex Joins and Relationships
Handling Large Amounts of Data Well-Suited for Complex Transactions and Queries
Support for Unstructured and Semi-Structured Data Data Integrity and Referential Integrity
Distributed Architecture Mature Ecosystem and Wide Range of Tools and Libraries
Ease of Replication and Sharding Strong Community Support and Documentation
Optimized for Read-Intensive Workloads Data Security and Compliance
Agile Development and Schema Evolution Well-Defined Standards and Compliance with Regulations

Bottom of Form

 

NoSQL databases offer greater flexibility as they allow developers to change the structure of a database without having to modify the underlying data. 

 

On the other hand, SQL databases provide an efficient way to store and retrieve precise information, making them well-suited for applications requiring complex queries. They also offer greater data integrity than NoSQL databases and are better suited for applications where data accuracy is paramount. 

 

By SQL Operators, data can be selected easily and quickly, eliminating manual coding. 

 

Disadvantages of NoSQL vs. SQL

NoSQL databases have several disadvantages when compared to SQL databases. They typically do not support across tables, making it difficult to query large datasets. They also provide eventual consistency, meaning that changes may take time to propagate across all nodes in the network. 

 

SQL databases also have some downsides. They generally require a fixed data structure for the database to work correctly. This can make them less flexible than NoSQL databases and require more upfront planning when designing the data structure. They typically only offer vertical scalability, meaning hardware must be upgraded to increase capacity or performance.

 

Below is a detailed difference between NoSQL vs SQL in terms of their disadvantages.

 

NoSQL SQL (Relational Databases)
Lack of Standardization Complex and Rigid Schema
Limited Querying Capabilities Joins and Complex Queries can be Challenging
Data Redundancy and Data Integrity Challenges Overhead of Data Normalization
Limited Transactions and ACID Compliance Vertical Scalability can be Costly
Limited Community Support and Documentation High Maintenance Overhead
Lack of Mature Ecosystem and Tooling Need for Experienced DBAs and Skilled Database Management
Steeper Learning Curve for Development Lack of Flexibility in Schema Modifications
Lack of Data Consistency in Distributed Environments Relational Algebra may not be Suitable for all Data Structures

 

nosql vs sql

Continue reading to learn about the major difference between NoSQL and SQL basis on other areas.

Use Cases of NoSQL vs. SQL

Now you have understood the fundamentals difference between SQL and NoSQL databases that can help you decide which technology best suits your data storage needs. Let’s explore the use cases of them.

 

NoSQL databases are well-suited for real-time analytics and distributed systems applications, which require flexibility and scalability. They are also a good choice for applications that store large amounts of unstructured data. 

 

SQL databases are ideal for applications requiring complex queries or where data accuracy is paramount. These include online retail stores and banking services, which must store and retrieve precise information. 

 

Also, SQL Interview Questions become relatively easy to crack once you understand the basics of SQL.

 

Future Trends of NoSQL vs. SQL

Once you have understood the difference between NoSQL and SQL it will be easier to map the future trends of them. As the amount of data businesses generate grows, SQL and NoSQL databases will likely remain popular. However, NoSQL databases are gaining more traction due to their flexibility and scalability. 

 

It is also likely that hybrid databases will become increasingly popular in the coming years. Hybrid databases leverage both relational and non-relational technologies and offer a compromise between the two.

 

You can also apply for SQL self join interview questions to gain insights into the future of SQL and the industries it is used in.

NoSQL vs. SQL: When to use SQL vs NoSQL

Choosing between an SQL and NoSQL database depends on the specific needs of your application. If accuracy and complex query requirements are paramount, then an SQL database will likely be the best choice. However, a NoSQL database may be a better option if flexibility and scalability are vital considerations. 

 

Conclusion

The key difference between NoSQL and SQL lies in their data models and approaches. SQL databases use structured schemas, enforce relationships, and support complex queries, while NoSQL databases offer flexibility, scalability, and handle unstructured data. SQL emphasizes data integrity, while NoSQL prioritizes scalability and handling large volumes of data. 

 

They can both be used to store data, but the type of database that is best suited for an application depends on its specific requirements. Both types of databases will continue to remain popular in the coming years, though hybrid databases are likely to gain more traction. Ultimately, the decision on which database model is right for you should be based on an assessment of your application’s specific requirements.

 

With a Full Stack Development Course, you can quickly learn how to work with SQL and NoSQL databases efficiently.

 

 

FAQ's

Popular NoSQL databases include MongoDB, Apache Cassandra, and Redis.
If you have an application requiring complex queries or where data accuracy is paramount, then an SQL database will likely be the best choice.
NoSQL databases typically do not require a predefined schema and allow more flexible data modeling. On the other hand, SQL databases generally need a fixed data structure to be followed for the database to work correctly.
Yes. Hybrid databases offer an excellent solution that allows developers to take advantage of the scalability offered by NoSQL databases while still being able to store structured data in an SQL database.
NoSQL databases can handle structured data, although they are better suited for unstructured data. For applications requiring complex queries or where the accuracy of data is paramount, SQL databases are likely to be the best choice.

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