SQL vs NoSQL Databases: What’s the Difference?

Documents, images, audio, and video files are stored in blobs. Interested in going more in-depth with individual databases? While NoSQL has quickly been adopted, it has smaller user communities and, therefore, less support. NoSQL users do benefit from open-source systems, as opposed to the many SQL languages that are proprietary. What additional questions do you have about selecting a database?

  • This helps to optimize storage and ensure data integrity, but it also makes SQL databases more rigid.
  • This blog will discuss the key differences between these two technologies and explore their strengths and weaknesses.
  • For those who like to jump right in and learn by doing, one of the easiest ways to get started with NoSQL databases is to use MongoDB Atlas.
  • Traditional RDBMS use SQL syntax to store and retrieve only structured data.
  • Each type of database has its strengths and weaknesses, and the choice depends on the application’s specific needs.
  • Depending on the NoSQL database type you select, you may not be able to achieve all of your use cases in a single database.

SQL and NoSQL databases scale differently, so you’ll have to think about how your data set will grow in the future. Querying NoSQL databases typically requires developers or data scientists, which will be more costly and less efficient. Because your data is nicely structured and organized, it is very efficient to query your data with a SQL database. But there actually are some NoSQL databases that are ACID compliant.

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In contrast, NoSQL databases were designed for unstructured data. As explained previously, these can be column-oriented databases, graph databases, document stores, or key-value stores. When you have to deal with big data that is not so well structured you may also choose to use a NoSQL database. This will allow you to easily scale horizontally, in contrast to relational databases where this is not as easy. SQL and NoSQL databases come in various types and are used for different purposes. MySQL is one of the most popular open-source relational databases used by organizations worldwide.

when to use nosql vs sql examples

Soft stateThe state of the database can be changing over time. Durability – Once a transaction has been committed to the database, it is considered permanent, even in the event of a system failure. And within this decision, you’ll need to determine what kind of database you’ll primarily use to store your data. In choosing between SQL vs. NoSQL, you’ll need to think about what your data looks like, how you’ll query it, and your scalability needs. Experience the benefits of using MongoDB, the premier NoSQL database, on the cloud.


For example, in banking applications, we use a database transaction to do money transfers. Technically speaking, money transfers involve more than one database operation. Money has to be deducted from the sender and credited to the receiver. But with transactions, we think about the money transfer as if it’s just a single operation. If you define a unique constraint for a particular column in a table, the database will make sure that there aren’t two rows with the same value for that column. Making sure data integrity rules are being followed comes at a price.

when to use nosql vs sql examples

SQL databases are valuable in handling structured data, or data that has relationships between its variables and entities. SQL is a mature technology and there are many experienced developers who understand when to use NoSQL vs SQL it. Also, great support is available for all SQL databases from their vendors. There are even a lot of independent consultants who can help with the SQL database for very large scale deployments.

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A SQL join combines data from multiple tables for the purpose of understanding the relationship between pieces of data. A join of the customer table and the orders table will establish the relationship between one customer and all their orders. The market share of databases is shifting because of NoSQL database vs SQL database competition. As of 2016 SQL still represented 89 percent of the paid database market, according to Gartner.

SQL databases store data in related tables of rows and columns. On the other hand, NoSQL databases store unstructured or semi-structured data such as documents and images. Now again imagine a database world where multiple languages like are spoken. While this world would be a little chaotic, speaking Y language would be fine because you would be sure to find a fellow idiot!

Key Features

This problem becomes amplified when you have large volumes of data. For those who think that this sounds like a clear win for NoSQL databases, don’t be fooled. Defining how your database stores data is one of the most important decisions in application development. SQL databases https://globalcloudteam.com/ are more rigid, but it also means that you have to carefully think about the schema before writing your first line of code. Given so many data types, uses cases, choices, application considerations, and cloud/on-prem constraints, it can be time-consuming to analyze all options.

when to use nosql vs sql examples

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