DBMS vs. RDBMS: Difference Between DBMS & RDBMS

DBMS or Database Management System and RDBMS or Relational Database Management system are based on the technology of storing data and using the database for data storage. A database in which both of them are tasked to manage is simply a collection of data. Data that gets stored in a database is of structured format.

This structuring layer to the data allows the database to prove useful in storing, managing, and retrieving the data when the need to do so arises. In the ancient times of computer technology, the information which was generated had to be stored and organized in a technology we rarely see these days, the technology of tapes. The one salient disadvantage of using the tape-based storage solution was the data’s inability to be reread from the need to resolve this issue, a database as born.

Database has since then proven to be an indispensable solution for all the data storage related needs. As the databases and the use of databases grew, the need for a robust way to manage databases also reared its head. Hence, the technology of both DBMS and RDBMS came into the picture.

Since both DBMS and RDBMS sounds very similar, finding the difference between DBMS and RDBMS could prove difficult for someone new into this domain. However, to fully appreciate the extent of differences between DBMS vs. RDBMS, we first need to take a closer look at both of these database management technologies.

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The DBMS or Database Management System is a software that was created with the sole purpose of storing and managing the data. Unveiled in the 1960’s it offers an entire suite of data manipulation tools like deletion, insertion, and updating of data into a database. DBMS is also responsible for creating, refining, defining, and control the database. DBMS technology has allowed businesses and individuals to work closely with databases and get precisely the information they require.


RDMBS adds the R of relational to the existing Database management technology. Created in the 1970s, RDBMS was designed to be a more sophisticated version of DBMS. RDBMS also adds a degree of finesse for the organization or the individuals accessing the data stored in the database.

One key feature of RDBMS is that it can only keep the tabular form of data. Data in RDBMS is stored and sorted in the form of rows, columns (also called tuples and attribute in the DBMS language). RDBMS definitely packs more power than the vanilla DMBS, which is why this has been accepted far and across the world.  


Now that we are aware the meaning of both RDBMS and DBMS, we can now discuss the difference between DBMS and RDBMS, so listed below are some differences which we see between DBMS vs. RDBMS right of the bat:

  1. In DBMS, the data is stored as a file, while in RDBMS, the information is stored in tables.
  2. DBMS can only be used by one single user, whereas multiple users can use RDMBS.
  3. Client-server side interaction and architecture are only supported in RDBMS, whereas DBMS does not support client-server side interaction.
  4. DBMS is actually lighter in its hardware and software requirements than RDMBS. To run RDMBS properly, you would need a more powerful machine.
  5. In DBMS, there can be redundancy of data. Meaning data can be repeated when we are using DBMS. Whereas, in RDBMS, due to the indexing present, we cannot have redundant data. 

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These were some critical differences between DMBS and RDMS. In the table below, you will find a more comprehensive comparison of the two:

The data storage in DBMS is done in the form of a file.  Tables are used to store data in RDBMS.
In DBMS, the data is stored in a navigational format or using a hierarchical arrangement. The tables which are used by RDBMS stores the data in the form of rows and columns. With the help of the column name and the row index, any information can be easily extracted.
Only one user can use DBMS. More than one user can use RDBMS.
Usually, the database may not use the ACID form of data storage, which could bring in some issues that can lead to more significant problems in the future. Because Relational Databases use the ACID model, the construction of them becomes problematic. However, this difficulty is easily countered by the benefits of using an ACID model.
This program was developed to manage the data which is stored in the computer (usually in the hard disk of a computer). This program is used to maintain the relationship of the various tables in a database.
There is not much need to have suitable hardware and software to run DMBS software properly. A good set of both hardware and software is needed to run the program of RDBMS properly.
The support of integrity constants is just not present in DBMS. RDBMS has the support for integrity constants.
The program of DMBS cannot be normalized. The program of RDBMS supports normalization.
There is no support for distributed databases in DBMS. RDBMS allows for distributed databases.
DBMS was not made to handle a huge amount of data.  Whereas RDBMS can actually handle a very high amount of data.
Getting the data which is stored in a DBMS is very. Because of the relational model, the data stored in RDBMS is straightforward to access.
There is absolutely no relationship established in the data when using a DBMS model. In Relational DBMS, the data is stored, and the relationship between the information is established with foreign keys’ help.
There is a lack of security in the DBMS model of storing data,  There are several log files created, which automatically increases the security of the data stored in the RDBMS model.  

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What Next?

If you are interested to learn more about DBMS and RDBMS, Full-stack management and need mentorship from industry experts, check out upGrad & IIIT Banglore’s PG Diploma in Full-Stack Software Development.

What are Databases?

A database is a rational, coherent, and well-organized compilation of data that can be gathered, controlled, and changed with ease. Databases, often known as electronic databases, are designed to allow for the production efficiency, insertion, and modification of data and are saved as a file or set of files on magnetic discs, tapes, and other secondary storage. Objects (tables) make up the majority of a database, while records and fields make up tables. Fields are the fundamental units of data storage, containing data about a specific element or attribute of the entity defined by the database. The data is extracted from the database using a database management system (DBMS).

What are Normalization and Denormalization?

What is the ACID model in Data storage?

ACID is an acronym for Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability, respectively. ACID is a set of rules and principles that guarantee database transactions are performed in a consistent and reliable manner. Any process conducted within a database, such as making a new entry or altering data within one, is referred to as a database transaction. To avoid corrupting the data in a database, changes must be conducted with caution. The best approach to ensure that a database's correctness and dependability are maintained is to apply the ACID characteristics to each alteration. Databases are maintained with the maximum data integrity and data security to guarantee that they continue to deliver value to the enterprise once all aspects of the ACID methodology have been effectively brought together.

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