DBMS and RDBMS – Similarities And Differences

In this article, we will first understand what a Database Management System (DBMS) really is and how it is helpful in dealing with databases. Then, we will look at what a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) and the differences between DBMS and RDBMS.

Database Management System (DBMS)

A Database Management System (DBMS) plays the role of providing a user with the capability to interact with the data as needed, by acting as an intermediary interface. When it comes to interacting with a database, there are essentially four core basic ways of interacting with the data, best represented with the acronym CRUD where:

  • C stands for Create
  • R stands for Read
  • U stands for Update
  • D stands for Delete

So in other words, a DBMS provides ways for software developers and system users to easily Create, Read, Update and Delete data from a database. This helps ensure that the data is easily accessible.and is organized consistently in a database.

Technical elements of a DBMS:

In the earlier paragraph, we have seen how a DBMS helps a user. Now, let us take a quick look at how it achieves this technically.  A DBMS is responsible for managing three vital elements. They are the:

  • Database engine
  • Database schema
  • Data

The Database engine helps in accessing data, modifying data and locking up the data while modification to ensure data integrity.

Database schema provides the logical structure of the database.

Data is the actual data that is being stored in the database.

Apart from the main tasks as mentioned above, as data can be accessed by multiple users from multiple locations at the same time, a DBMS streamlines the data view in systematic and organized manner while maintaining the integrity of the data.

DMBS can also help in performing other administrative tasks such as database backup and recovery, performance tuning and monitoring, data rollbacks in an event existing data is compromised, activity logging and much more.

A DBMS also helps make the data available only to specific authorized users and hides it from unauthorized users. It does this by providing us with Application Programming Interface (API) for the database.  This makes it practically feasible for software developers to focus on developing the software rather than worrying about how the data is stored and managed internally.

Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)

Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) were introduced because navigational databases could not be “searched” for data. It included the integration of the navigational model, along with a tabular and hierarchical model. It takes much experience and time to build an RDBMS because of their structure, but they are also more secure. They also impose certain restrictions that may not allow you to manipulate data in a way that compromises the system integrity. It achieves this target by implementing an API called SQL. SQL is a standard programming language for defining, protecting and accessing data in an RDBMS.

Differences between DBMS and RDBMS

Data is stored in files.Data is stored in a tabular format.
Data is stored in either a hierarchical form or a navigational form.Data is stored in table rows. The tables have an identifier called primary key and the data values are stored in rows against the specific columns.
 Data cannot be normalized. Data can be normalized.
 Does not apply any security with regards to data integrity. Applies security restrictions by means of defining the integrity constraint.
DBMS generally does not have tables. Even if they do, the tables do not have any relation between them.Data is stored in tables and the tables can have a single or multiple relations between them.
Examples: XML, File system, etc.Examples: PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, etc.


From our discussion above, we have just seen what Database Management System (DBMS) and Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) are at their core and the differences between them. Moving forward, we will be exploring more on the basis of using MySQL as a RDBMS solution.

Share your thoughts, comment below now!