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NoSQL vs SQL: Examining the Differences and Deciding Which to Choose

The exact manner of supporting various NoSQL schemas is up to the various individual software developers. Implementations of NoSQL databases can be widely divergent and incompatible. For instance, even if two systems are both key-value databases, their APIs, data models, and storage methods may be highly divergent and mutually incompatible. Relational databases use a rigid structure of tables with columns and rows.

  • Therefore, queries can be run by less technical staff like business analysts and marketers.
  • Here atFive, for example, we use MySQL as the underlying database for all applications built with our low-code IDE.
  • There are pros and cons when comparing relational databases and NoSQL databases.
  • So, in the pilots’ table, PilotId is the primary key, while it is a foreign key in the flights table.

Storage is currently so cheap that most consider this a minor drawback, and some NoSQL databases also support compression to reduce the storage footprint. Most SQL databases require you to scale-up vertically when you exceed the capacity requirements of your current server. Conversely, most NoSQL databases allow you to scale-out horizontally, meaning you can add cheaper commodity servers whenever you need to.

Disadvantages of NoSQL databases

Key-value stores, which use an associative array as their data model. This model represents data as a collection of key-value pairs. You could still run your accounting system on a RDBMS system. That is unlikely in the short term, as huge numbers of programmers across the globe use Java and Oracle, which project managers and users understand. With the others, look at them individually to see if they will fit in with your resources, skills, tolerance for suffering lost transactions, etc. SQL and NoSQL databases are very different but popular approaches to managing data.

A benefit of using a document-oriented database is that your documents don’t all need to have the same structure. This means the developer has the freedom to sort different data types within the same database. In Python, MongoDB is an example of document-oriented databases. As the name suggests, in a column-oriented database, the data is stored and organized as columns.

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Interested in going more in-depth with individual databases? In the end, the choice of SQL vs NoSQL for business will come down to the individual needs of the companies concerned. Only through extensive research comparing their abilities to your needs will you find the one that is the best fit. One implementation detail is that you can use Node.js to run these operations in MongoDB and DynamoDB.

When to Use NoSQL vs SQL

For example, companies that deal with large amounts of structured data may find that SQL databases are a better fit. On the other hand, companies that need to scale quickly and handle large amounts of unstructured data may find that NoSQL databases are a better choice. This means that data is stored in a collection of documents.


While CQL and SQL share many similarities, a key difference between SQL and CQL is that CQL cannot perform joins against tables like SQL can. CQL is also massively scalable, designed when to use NoSQL vs SQL to query across a horizontally-distributed cluster of servers. In the late 2000s, NoSQL databases emerged to handle large amounts of unstructured data and high user loads.

When to Use NoSQL vs SQL

Let’s imagine that in the database world, everyone speaks X Language. So it would be quite confusing if you started speaking Y language in the middle of that. The SQL databases manipulate the data based on SQL which is one of the most versatile and widely-used language options available. While this makes it a safe choice especially for complex queries, it can also be restrictive.

Summary: SQL vs. NoSQL

MongoDB is a document-oriented database that is easy to scale. It uses JSON-like documents with dynamic schemas, making it easier to store and query data. It is also suitable for unstructured data, such as log files and social media data.

When to Use NoSQL vs SQL