Before we learn about a database, let us understand.
What is Data?
In simple words, data can be facts related to any object in consideration. For example, your name, age, height, weight, etc. are some data related to you. A picture, image, file, pdf, etc. can also be considered data.
A database is a systematic collection of data. They support electronic storage and manipulation of data. Databases make data management easy.
Let us discuss a few examples: An online telephone directory uses a database to store data of people, phone numbers, other contact details. Your electricity service provider uses a database to manage billing, client-related issues, handle fault data, etc.
Let us also consider Facebook. It needs to store, manipulate, and present data related to members, their friends, member activities, messages, advertisements, and a lot more. We can provide a countless number of examples for the usage of databases.
SQL is the standard language for dealing with Relational Databases. SQL can be used to insert, search, update, and delete database records. SQL can do lots of other operations, including optimizing and maintenance of databases. SQL stands for Structured Query language, pronounced as "S-Q-L" or sometimes as "See-Quel"... Relational databases like MySQL Database, Oracle, MS SQL Server, Sybase, etc. use ANSI SQL.
How to use SQL?
SQL syntaxes used in different databases are almost similar though few RDBMS use a few different commands and even proprietary SQL syntaxes.
Database Management System (DBMS) is a collection of programs which enables its users to access database, manipulate data, reporting and representation of data. It also helps to control access to the database. Database Management Systems are not a new concept and as such, had been first implemented in the 1960s.
Charles Bachman's Integrated Data Store (IDS) is said to be the first DBMS in history. With time database technologies evolved a lot while usage and expected functionalities of databases have been increased immensely.
Let us see how the DBMS family got evolved with time. The following diagram shows the evolution of DBMS categories.
There are 4 major types of DBMS. Let us investigate them in detail.
NoSQL is an upcoming category of Database Management Systems. Its main characteristic is its non-adherence to Relational Database Concepts. NoSQL means "Not only SQL". The concept of NoSQL databases grew with internet giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. who deal with gigantic volumes of data.
When you use a relational database for massive volumes of data, the system starts getting slow in terms of response time. To overcome this, we could "scale up" our systems by upgrading our existing hardware. The alternative to the above problem would be to distribute our database load on multiple hosts as the load increases. This is known as "scaling out".
NoSQL database is non-relational databases that scale-out better than relational databases and are designed with web applications in mind. They do not use SQL to query the data and do not follow strict schemas like relational models. With NoSQL, ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) features are not guaranteed always.
With the advantages of NoSQL databases outlined which scale-out better than relational models, you might be thinking why one would still want to learn about the SQL database? Well, NoSQL databases are highly specialized systems and have their special usage and limitations. NoSQL suit more for those who handle huge volumes of data. The vast majority use relational databases and associated tools.
Relational databases have the following advantages over NoSQL databases.
The world has not deviated from the use of relational databases. There is a growing demand for professionals who can handle relational databases. Thus, learning databases and SQL still holds merit.
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