Difference between DBMS and RDBMS


Before we start the difference between RDBMS and DBMS let us understand the basics and differences between these two. It would be vital to understand what is database management at all!

A database management system is a system that manages the data in a database.

The database management system is used to manipulate the data that is stored in a database. Now let’s deep explore DBMS and RDBMS.

DBMS and RDBMS Meaning and Differences

DBMS (Database Management System):

Database Management System, or DBMS for short, is an application programming language to control how databases are created and updated. It is also a way to manage, organize and query data stored in a database.

DBMS is more than just a database system; it is one of the tools that support the creation and maintenance of databases. It provides tools for data storage, management, retrieval, backup, recovery, integrity, security and so on.

DBMS stores all the data in a file format. These are basically stored in navigational or hierarchical form. These are not as secured as RDBMS, in terms of manipulation of Data.

Normalization is not used in DBMS. Hence, if this constraint is not required in the project, then one can go with DBMS. It also uses a file system to store the data. This destroys the relation between tables.

Not only this, one has to provide a proper uniform method to access the stored information. The distributed database feature lacks in DBMS. And is generally meant for small organizations with a single user or less data.


RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)

The RDBMS was a first generation database management system and first generation of relational database was first developed in the 1970. This is a data model based on a collection of independent relations that was used to store and manage data.

Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) is an interface to store, retrieve, modify and delete data in a database. The data in RDBMS are organized in a relational model. It is a collection of tables and stored procedures to manage them. It uses a simple structure to organize data. The tables are like a data dictionary which stores data in rows and columns.

The RDBMS uses two types of data structures. The first one is a relation. It is a collection of records where each record is a record in the database. Every record consists of a number of fields, each of which holds some piece of information about that record. A relation is defined as a collection of records. A table is a simple representation of the relations of a database. A relation can be defined by the table definition and it can be accessed using a query.

The RDBMS is also the software component that controls the access of data within the database. The database can be viewed as a file system which can be accessed via the RDBMS. RDBMS does not contain logic to perform any computation. The logic is stored in stored procedures and functions in the database.

Security is tight in RDBMS, as it strictly follows ACID property (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability). It also follows Normalization. All the data are stored in a tabular format.

Each table can have a unique primary key and data present with attributes in the column. RDBMS supports tabular data structure, and thus maintains a relationship between stored values. It also supports the Distributed Database feature.

RDBMS is generally used in big corporates, where a large amount of data is handled and multiple and complex relationships are required.


In conclusion, one can say, RDBMS is an extension of DBMS. There are many software products that use both, but all of these depend upon the usage and requirement. Examples of DBMS are file system, XML, JSON, etc. Examples of RDBMS is, SQL, Postgres, MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, etc.

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