Databases 101: SQL vs. NoSQL: Which Fits Your Data Better?

Databases 101: SQL vs. NoSQL: Which Fits Your Data Better?

Data is the backbone of all subfields of data science. No matter the size or application of the building you’re building, you will need to obtain and analyze data. Most often, this data you need is stored in a DBMS (database management system).

Data is the backbone of all subfields of data science. No matter the size or application of the building you’re building, you will need to obtain and analyze data. Most often, this data you need is stored in a DBMS (database management system).

To interact and communicate with the DBMS, you need to use its language or a language that it understands. The language used to interact with DBMSs is SQL (Structured Query Language).

In recent years, another term surfaced in the field of databases, which is NoSQL databases. If you’re just starting with data science, you might have heard of both SQL and NoSQL databases.

But, what is the difference and when to use each of them?

Let’s start for the absolute beginning. Why do we have two approaches to interact with databases?

Simple, SQL, and NoSQL interact with different types of databases. SQL is the approach used to interact with relational databases, while NoSQL is used to interact with non-rational databases.

Relational Databases

The data is stored in different tables in relational databases, each containing multiple records (rows). These tables are connected to each other using one or more relations.

Keys define the relation between the tables. A key _is the table *field *(column) that contains unique values for each record. If a field is defined as a _primary key of a table, this field can be included in multiple tables and can be used to access different tables simultaneously. Once a primary key is used two connect its table to another, it will be known in the other table as a foreign key.

For example, the image below shows a part of an airline's database. We have two tables, pilots table, and flights table. These two tables are connected used as the primary key in the pilots' table “PilotId.” I can use the pilots' Id to access the information about the pilot for the pilots' table and the flights this pilot is handling from the pilots' table.

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