What Is The Difference Between DBMS And RDBMS?


Data is a piece of information used for a particular purpose. Have you ever heard of the term storage house? It is referred to as a place where all the data is stored altogether. In a similar manner, a database is also a way of organizing data in such a way that searching a particular element becomes quite easy and effortless.

In a database, updating and managing all the data is done in a particular manner. An example of a database can be a store room containing books or a grocery room, etc.

In computer science, this database is managed by a database management system where data is organized in a particular manner such as a row and a column.

There are different types of management systems but here in this article, we will understand the difference between DBMS and RDBMS.

Table of Content

  • What is DBMS?
  • What is RDBMS?
  • What is the difference between an RDBMS and a DBMS?
  • Conclusion

What is DBMS?


A database management system is system software that is used to manage the data in a particular database.

Since the data is kept in the row and column format in a database, the software allows us the functionality to perform operational tasks such as inserting any element in the database, deleting any element, updating a particular set of data, or creating a new set of data.

The software also ensures that the data in the database is secure and is not lossy. Thus, it also maintains the consistency of our data.

The following attributes are provided by DBMS software,

  • Managed users: Multiple users can be managed and monitored about the operations performed on the database. We can impose write operation restrictions on the database and allow the read data functionality. In this way, the data is secured and failures can be prevented.
  • Data retrieval: Users can retrieve any amount of data from the database at any point in time whether it is a single record or multiple records at a time.
  • Data updation: A user can insert a single record or a bunch of records in one goes in database using a DBMS.
  • Data definition: Using this attribute users can standardize or set some prerequisites for a database for a particular organization. One such example is a default standard that can be set that an empty or incomplete row will not be inserted into the database.

Characteristics of DBMS

  • The data is maintained in a digital repository in a DBMS.
  • The data manipulation process is very clear.
  • Multiple back-ups and recovery options are provided by DBMS.
  • Data security is highly supported in DBMS.
  • The visual representation of the data makes the user experience very good.
  • The ACID property of the DBMS keeps the database atomic with no duplicates.

Here is one in-depth tutorial on DBMS.

What is RDBMS?


A relational database is the most commonly used database. In this type of database, the data is kept in the format of rows.

The software that maintains a relational database is called a relational database management system(RDBMS).

Examples of famous DBMS that support relational databases are MYSQL, MS-SQL, ORACLE, etc. The concept of RDBMS was introduced by E.F. Codd.

What are a row and a column?

  1. Row: A row can also be referred to as a record or a tuple which is a horizontal identity. A row gives complete information about an element in the table.
  2. Column: A Column is a vertical entity in the table that gives information about a particular field in the table.

Let us now understand what is relation/table.

What is a Relation/Table?

A relation/table in a database is a structure of rows and columns where the data is stored in reference to a real-world entity. Each table represents a real-world object such as a car, place, person, etc. Thus, this formatted data in an RDBMS forms a logical view of the database.

The properties of a relation are as follows:

  • Every table must have a unique name in the database.
  • No duplicate tuples are allowed in a relation.
  • The data in relation is atomic.

What is the difference between an RDBMS and a DBMS?

Below are the differences between a DBMS and RDBMS,

The format of the data stored is a file. The format of the data stored is tabular.
Every data element is accessed individually one by one. Multiple data entries are fetched at once.
All the data is unrelated. Every table in the database is linked to some other table contributing to an architecture.
We cannot normalize a DBMS. Normalisation is possible in RDBMS.
No support for distributed databases. A distributed database is supported in RDBMS.
The data stored can be either hierarchical or navigational. The rows and columns serve as headers in the database which makes it tabular.
Data quantity is less in DBMS. Data quantity is much more as compared to DBMS.
High chances of data redundancy. Zero redundancy in RDBMS.
The use case is applicable to smaller organizations. RDBMS is specially used for large organizations that process GBs of data.
Single user-supported. Multi-user support.
The turnaround time to fetch data is very slow. The fetching power of RDBMS is very quick.
The data is at high-security risk due to no data privacy. Data protection is managed by limiting access to required users.
Low-configuration software and hardware will work. Highly optimized software and big hardware are required to store a large amount of data.
Popularity - Less Popularity - More
Example: window registry, XML, etc Examples: Oracle, MySQL, MS-SQL, etc.



In this article, we have learned about the basics of data and databases. A database can be anything that is stored altogether conveying some information.

A DBMS is software that manages the data. Examples of DBMS are XML, window registry, etc.

An RDBMS is a relational database in which data is stored in a table in rows and columns. The data in an RDBMS is very standardized and organized.

Examples of RDBMS are Oracle, MYSQL, MS-SQL, etc. The RDBMS is used in top companies like Netflix, eBay, Intuit, Linkedin, etc.

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