The relational database is one of the most commonly used data storage systems. It has a number of benefits and limitations that hinder its use, but it is still an effective system for storing information about relationships between different entities.
Relational databases have been around since the late 1970s and are one of those technologies people seem to take for granted these days. These were originally created in order to help businesses store their financial records more efficiently on mainframe computers.
What is Relational Database?
Relational databases are also referred to as SQL databases, relational database management systems (RDBMS), and business intelligence platforms. Relational databases are built to work with large amounts of data and are commonly used by companies in the following scenarios:
- Large corporate institutions:
- Companies with multiple departments and divisions. They have multiple data stores for information used by different teams within the department.
Relational databases are also called Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) or SQL databases. They are the most common type of database used in business. The most popular of these have been Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, MySQL, and IBM DB2. These relational databases are used mostly in large enterprise scenarios. These are vital for businesses because they enable companies to store, access, update and manage information and have a clear path to the various departments that need this data.
In relational databases, tables related to one another are linked and queries on the database can produce relations between these tables. Non-relational databases separate these relations into different sets of documents, which are then stored together in a flexible data format. This means that non-relational databases can be used for OLTP just as well as relational databases can.
Relational Database Users
Following users are benefitted from relational database systems
Database Administrators: They perform the duty of monitoring the performance and keeping the maintenance of the system. They are also responsible for database integrity and security and other related issues of the system.
Software Developers/Programmers: They create and design the database. The programmers interact with the database through programming languages.
End-User: They perform the task of fetching data/information from the system through commands and are also able to insert, update and delete the data.
Relational Database Benefits
Relational databases work with structured data. They support ACID transactional consistency and provide a flexible way to structure data that is not possible with other database technologies. Key features of relational databases include the ability to make two tables look like one, join multiple tables together on key fields, create complex indexes that perform well and are easy to manage, and maintain data integrity for maximum data accuracy.
The relational database is a system of storing and retrieving data in which the content of the data is stored in tables, rows, columns, or fields. When you have multiple pieces of information that need to be related to one another then it is important to store them in this type of format; otherwise, you would just end up with a bunch of unrelated facts and figures without any ties between them.
There are many benefits associated with using a relational database for managing your data needs. For instance, if you want to view all the contacts in your phone book (or other types) then all you would need to do is enter one query into the search bar and instantly see every contact listed there. This saves time from having to manually go through.
The relational database benefits are discussed briefly.
1 – Simplicity of Model
In contrast to other types of database models, the relational database model is much simpler. It does not require any complex queries because it has no query processing or structuring so simple SQL queries are enough to handle the data.
2 – Ease of Use
Users can easily access/retrieve their required information within seconds without indulging in the complexity of the database. Structured Query Language (SQL) is used to execute complex queries.
3 – Accuracy
A key feature of relational databases is that they’re strictly defined and well-organized, so data doesn’t get duplicated. Relational databases have accuracy because of their structure with no data duplication.
4 – Data Integrity
RDBMS databases are also widely used for data integrity as they provide consistency across all tables. The data integrity ensures the features like accuracy and ease of use.
5 – Normalization
As data becomes more and more complex, the need for efficient ways of storing it increases. Normalization is a method that breaks down information into manageable chunks to reduce storage size. Data can be broken up into different levels with any level requiring preparation before moving onto another level of normalizing your data.
Database normalization also ensures that a relational database has no variety or variance in its structure and can be manipulated accurately. This ensures that integrity is maintained when using data from this database for your business decisions.
6 – Collaboration
Multiple users can access the database to retrieve information at the same time and even if data is being updated.
7 – Security
Data is secure as Relational Database Management System allows only authorized users to directly access the data. No unauthorized user can access the information.
Relational Database Limitations
Although there are more benefits of using relational databases, it has some limitations also. Let’s see the limitations or disadvantages of using the relational database.
1 – Maintenance Problem
The maintenance of the relational database becomes difficult over time due to the increase in the data. Developers and programmers have to spend a lot of time maintaining the database.
2 – Cost
The relational database system is costly to set up and maintain. The initial cost of the software alone can be quite pricey for smaller businesses, but it gets worse when you factor in hiring a professional technician who must also have expertise with that specific kind of program.
3 – Physical Storage
A relational database is comprised of rows and columns, which requires a lot of physical memory because each operation performed depends on separate storage. The requirements of physical memory may increase along with the increase of data.
4 – Lack of Scalability
While using the relational database over multiple servers, its structure changes and becomes difficult to handle, especially when the quantity of the data is large. Due to this, the data is not scalable on different physical storage servers. Ultimately, its performance is affected i.e. lack of availability of data and load time etc. As the database becomes larger or more distributed with a greater number of servers, this will have negative effects like latency and availability issues affecting overall performance.
5 – Complexity in Structure
Relational databases can only store data in tabular form which makes it difficult to represent complex relationships between objects. This is an issue because many applications require more than one table to store all the necessary data required by their application logic.
6 – Decrease in performance over time
The relational database can become slower, not just because of its reliance on multiple tables. When there is a large number of tables and data in the system, it causes an increase in complexity. It can lead to slow response times over queries or even complete failure for them depending on how many people are logged into the server at a given time.
Relational databases are traditionally used to manage data in an organization. The main benefits of using relational databases are that they can be easily queried, allow for the use of stored procedures to manipulate data, and provide a consistent database design. They also have limitations when it comes to high volume transactions or large amounts of data storage, the issue of speed can arise.
Either these are benefits that attract you or the limitations that keep you at a distance. You can easily decide whether the relational database is for you or otherwise.
- Important Aspects of Relational Databases
- 9 Types of Databases
- Distributed Database
- Personal Database
- Centralized Database