Difference between DBMS and RDBMS

A DBMS (Database Management System) is a software that is used to manage a database. It is used to create, update, delete and maintain a database and it provides controlled access to data.

An RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) is a type of DBMS that is based on the relational model of data. It can be regarded as an enhanced version of DBMS.

Read this tutorial to find out more about DBMS and RDBMS and how they are different from each other.

What is a DBMS?

DBMS stands for Database Management System. A DBMS stores data in the form of files; it uses the file system to store data. In DBMS, data is usually stored either in a navigational form or a hierarchical form.

In a DBMS, there is no relationship between tables containing data. Thus, DBMS does not support distributed databases. In order to access the stored data, it has to provide some uniform method.

DBMS are often used in small organizations to deal with a small amount of data handled by a single user. File systems, XML, etc. are the popular examples DBMS.

What is an RDBMS?

RDBMS stands for Relational Database Management System. An RDBMS stores data in the form of a table, and a relationship is also established between tables of the database. One of the major advantages of using an RDBMS is that it defines integrity constraint in the database. Since a relationship can be created among the database tables, it can support distributed database.

RDBMS are primarily designed to handle large amount of related data that can be handled by multiple users. Some common examples of RDBMS include MySQL, Oracle, MS-Access, etc.

Difference between DBMS and RDBMS

The following are the important differences between DBMS and RDBMS-





DBMS stands for Database Management System.

RDBMS stands for Relational Database Management System.

Data Storage

Data is stored as file.

Data is stored as tables.

Data Access

In DBMS, each data elements are to be accessed individually.

In RDBMS, multiple data elements can be accessed at same time.


There is no relationship between data in DBMS.

Data is present in multiple tables which can be related to each other.


Normalization cannot be achieved.

Normalization can be achieved.

Distributed database

DBMS has no support for distributed databases.

RDBMS supports distributed databases.

Data Quantity

DBMS deals with small quantity of data.

RDBMS deals with large quantity of data.

Data Redundancy

Data Redundancy is common in DBMS.

Data Redundancy can be reduced using key and indexes in RDBMS.


DBMS supports single user at a time.

RDBMS supports multiple users at a time.


DBMS provides low security during data manipulation.

RDBMS has multilayer security during data manipulation.


File systems, XML, etc.

Oracle, SQL Server.


From the above discussion, it is clear that DBMS and RDBMS are quite different from each other. An RDBMS represents data in the form of tables, with rows and columns, and allows users to create relationships between these tables using keys. In contrast, a DBMS may use a variety of data models, such as the hierarchical model or the network model, to represent data. In summary, all RDBMSs are DBMSs, but not all DBMSs are RDBMSs.