What is the Difference Between SQL and NoSQL

Updated on: July 09, 2021

SQL vs NoSQL: SQL Databases was initially developed at IBM in 1970 to store Structured data in the Tabular relations, SQL is primarily referred as Relational Databases whereas NoSQL Databases are referred to as Non-Relational Databases that store and retrieve the data in Key-Value pair, Wide Columns, Graph and Document.

SQL Databases are relational DatabasesNoSQL databases are non-relational Databases
SQL Databases uses Structured Query Language and it has its Predefined Schema
NoSQL have Dynamic Schema
Data is stored in Tables
Data stored in Key-Value, Wide Columns, Graph and Documents
SQL Databases are Vertically ScalableNoSQL databases are Horizontally Scalable
SQL Databases follows ACID Properties (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation & Durability)NoSQL Databases follows Brewers CAP theorem (Consistency, Availability and Partition Tolerance)
SQL Databases are better for Multi-Row Transactions
NoSQL Databases are better for Unstructured Data like JSON or Documents
As it is widely used in most of the application since very long time, we get huge technical support from Community Users and from Experts and also great support available by all the SQL Database VendorsNoSQL Database have very limited Experts, we might face difficulties in setting up and deployment of large scale Databases
Consider SQL, when your data is highly structured and its structure will not change frequentlyConsider NoSQL, when your data is not structured or semi-structured.
Consider SQL, where you require high Integrity and SecurityConsider NoSQL, where we don't want level of Integrity and Security provided by SQL Databases.
SQL is best choice for Complex QueryNoSQL is not best choice for Complex Query
Examples of SQL Databases are: MS-SQL, MySQL, Oracle, SQLite, PostgreSQL, TeradataExamples of NoSQL Databases are: MongoDB, Azure Cosmos DB, Neo4j, Apache Cassandra, ScyllaDB

SQL Databases:

SQL can be effectively used to insert, update, delete and read the database records, it is also used to maintain the relationship between tables and perform Joins to get the data from multiple tables. Since we need to perform Joins to get the Normalized data, it may impact the query execution time and may lead to slowness of the application

NoSQL Databases: 

NoSQL avoids joins so application becomes faster and it is easy to scale, it is used for Big Data and real time Web Applications. With NoSQL workload can be automatically spread across multiple Servers. With NoSQL, we do not need to perform DBA related tasks such as Refactor SQL and create Materialized views so we can reduce DBA costs.

NoSQL database uses Key-Value pair, Wide Columns, Graph and Document for storing and retrieving the data. Following are the Databases based on their Classification:

Key-Value Pair: Aerospike, Amazon DynamoDB, Apache Ignite, Azure Cosmos DB, InfinityDB, Oracle NoSQL, Redis, Riak

Wide Columns: Apache Accumulo, Apache Cassandra, Azure Cosmos DB, HBase, ScyllaDB

Graph: ArangoDB, Datastax, InfiniteGraph, MarkLogic, Neo4j, OrientDB, RedisGraph, TigerGraph, VelocityGraph

Document: Azure Cosmos DB, MongoDB, IBM Domino, Apache CouchDB, MarkLogic, OrientDB, Cloudant, BaseX, Couchbase Server, eXist, IBM Informix,