Non-Relational Database

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What Does Non-Relational Database Mean?

A non-relational database is a database that does not incorporate the table/key model that relational database management systems (RDBMS) promote. These kinds of databases require data manipulation techniques and processes designed to provide solutions to big data problems that big companies face. The most popular emerging non-relational database is called NoSQL (Not Only SQL).

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Techopedia Explains Non-Relational Database

Most non-relational databases are incorporated into websites such as Google, Yahoo!, Amazon and Facebook. These websites introduce a slew of new applications every single day with millions and millions of users, so they would not be able to handle large traffic spikes with existing RDBMS solutions. Since RDBMS cannot handle the problem, they’ve switched to a new kind of DBMS that is capable of handling Web scale data in a non-relational way.

An interesting aspect of a non-relational database such as NoSQL is scalability. NoSQL uses the BASE system (basically available, soft-state, eventually consistent). Non-relational databases forgo the table form of rows and columns relational databases use in favor of specialized frameworks to store data, which can be accessed by special query APIs. Persistence is an important element in these databases. To enable fast throughput of vast amounts of data the best option for performance is "in memory," rather than reading and writing from disks.

Relational databases use the ACID system, which ensures consistency of data in all situations of data management but obviously takes longer to process because of all those relations and its branching nature. However, the BASE system loosened up the requirements on consistency to achieve better availability and partitioning for better scalability.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.