Thanks to many technological marvels of our era, we’ve moved from writing important documents using pen and paper to storing them digitally.
Database systems emerged as the amount and complexity of information we need to keep have increased significantly in the last decades. They represent virtual warehouses for storing documents. Database management systems (DBMS) and relational database management systems (RDBMS) were born out of a burning need to easily control, organize, and edit databases.
Both DBMS and RDBMS represent programs for managing databases. But besides the one letter in the acronym, the two terms differ in several important aspects.
Here, we’ll outline the difference between DBMS and RDBMS, help you learn the ins and outs of both, and choose the most appropriate one.
Definition of DBMS (Database Management Systems)
While working for General Electric during the 1960s, Charles W. Bachman recognized the importance of proper document management and found that the solutions available at the time weren’t good enough. He did his research and came up with a database management system, a program that made storing, editing, and retrieving files a breeze. Unknowingly, Bachman revolutionized the industry and offered the world a convenient database management solution with amazing properties.
Over the years, DBMSs have become powerful beasts that allow you to enhance performance and efficiency, save time, and handle huge amounts of data with ease.
One of the key features of DBMSs is that they store information as files in one of two forms: hierarchical or navigational. When managing data, users can use one of several manipulation functions the systems offer:
- Inserting data
- Deleting data
- Updating data
DBMSs are simple structures ideal for smaller companies that don’t deal with huge amounts of data. Only a single user can handle information, which can be a deal-breaker for larger entities.
Although fairly simple, DBMSs bring a lot to the table. They allow you to access, edit, and share data in the blink of an eye. Moreover, DBMSs let you unify your team and have accurate and reliable information on the record, ensuring nobody is left out. They also help you stay compliant with different security and privacy regulations and lower the risk of violations. Finally, having an efficient database management system leads to wiser decision-making that can ultimately save you a lot of time and money.
Examples of Popular DBMS Software
When DBMSs were just becoming a thing, you had software like Clipper and FoxPro. Today, the most popular (and simplest) examples of DBMS software are XML, Windows Registry, and file systems.
Definition of RDBMS (Relational Database Management Systems)
Not long after DBMS came into being, people recognized the need to keep data in the form of tables. They figured storing info in rows (tuples) and columns (attributes) allows a clearer view and easier navigation and information retrieval. This idea led to the birth of relational database management systems (RDBMS) in the 1970s.
As mentioned, the only way RDBMSs store information is in the form of tables. Many love this feature because it makes organizing and classifying data according to different criteria a piece of cake. Many companies that use RDBMSs utilize multiple tables to store their data, and sometimes, the information in them can overlap. Fortunately, RDBMSs allow relating data from various tables to one another (hence the name). Thanks to this, you’ll have no trouble adding the necessary info in the right tables and moving it around as necessary.
Since you can relate different pieces of information from your tables to each other, you can achieve normalization. However, normalization isn’t the process of making your table normal. It’s a way of organizing information to remove redundancy and enhance data integrity.
In this technological day and age, we see data growing exponentially. If you’re working with RDBMSs, there’s no need to be concerned. The systems can handle vast amounts of information and offer exceptional speed and total control. Best of all, multiple users can access RDBMSs at a time and enhance your team’s efficiency, productivity, and collaboration.
Simply put, an RDBMS is a more advanced, powerful, and versatile version of DBMS. It offers speed, plenty of convenient features, and ease of use.
Examples of Popular RDBMS Software
As more and more companies recognize the advantages of using RDBMS, the availability of software grows by the day. Those who have tried several options agree that Oracle and MySQL are among the best choices.
Key Differences Between DBMS and RDBMS
Now that you’ve learned more about DBMS and RDBMS, you probably have an idea of the most significant differences between them. Here, we’ll summarize the key DBMS vs. RDBMS differences.
Data Storage and Organization
The first DBMS and RDBMS difference we’ll analyze is the way in which the systems store and organize information. With DBMS, data is stored and organized as files. This system uses either a hierarchical or navigational form to arrange the information. With DBMS, you can access only one element at a time, which can lead to slower processing.
On the other hand, RDBMS uses tables to store and display information. The data featured in several tables can be related to each other for ease of use and better organization. If you want to access multiple elements at the same time, you can; there are no constraints regarding this, as opposed to DBMS.
Data Integrity and Consistency
When discussing data integrity and consistency, it’s necessary to explain the concept of constraints in DBMS and RDBMS. Constraints are sets of “criteria” applied to data and/or operations within a system. When constraints are in place, only specific types of information can be displayed, and only specific operations can be completed. Sounds restricting, doesn’t it? The entire idea behind constraints is to enhance the integrity, consistency, and correctness of data displayed within a database.
DBMS lacks constraints. Hence, there’s no guarantee the data within this system is consistent or correct. Since there are no constraints, the risk of errors is higher.
RDBMS have constraints, resulting in the reliability and integrity of the data. Plus, normalization (removing redundancies) is another option that contributes to data integrity in RDBMS. Unfortunately, normalization can’t be achieved in DBMS.
Query Language and Data Manipulation
DBMS uses multiple query languages to manipulate data. However, none of these languages offer the speed and convenience present in RDBMS.
RDBMS manipulates data with structured query language (SQL). This language lets you retrieve, create, insert, or drop data within your relational database without difficulty.
Scalability and Performance
If you have a small company and/or don’t need to deal with vast amounts of data, a DBMS can be the way to go. But keep in mind that a DBMS can only be accessed by one person at a time. Plus, there’s no option to access more than one element at once.
With RDBMSs, scalability and performance are moved to a new level. An RDBMS can handle large amounts of information in a jiff. It also supports multiple users and allows you to access several elements simultaneously, thus enhancing your efficiency. This makes RDBMSs excellent for larger companies that work with large quantities of data.
Security and Access Control
Last but not least, an important difference between DBMS and RDBMS lies in security and access control. DBMSs have basic security features. Therefore, there’s a higher chance of breaches and data theft.
RDBMSs have various security measures in place that keep your data safe at all times.
Choosing the Right Database Management System
The first criterion that will help you make the right call is your project’s size and complexity. Small projects with relatively simple data are ideal for DBMSs. But if you’re tackling a lot of complex data, RDBMSs are the logical option.
Next, consider your budget and resources. Since they’re simpler, DBMSs are more affordable, in both aspects. RDBMSs are more complex, so naturally, the price of software is higher.
Finally, the factor that affects what option is the best for you is the desired functionality. What do you want from the program? Is it robust features or a simple environment with a few basic options? Your answer will guide you in the right direction.
Pros and Cons of DBMS and RDBMS
- Doesn’t involve complex query processing
- Cost-effective solution
- Ideal for processing small data
- Easy data handling via basic SQL queries
- Doesn’t allow accessing multiple elements at once
- No way to relate data
- Doesn’t inherently support normalization
- Higher risk of security breaches
- Single-user system
- Advanced, robust, and well-organized
- Ideal for large quantities of information
- Data from multiple tables can be related
- Multi-user system
- Supports normalization
- More expensive
- Complex for some people
Examples of Use Cases
DBMS is used in many sectors where more basic storing and management of data is required, be it sales and marketing, education, banking, or online shopping. For instance, universities use DBMS to store student-related data, such as registration details, fees paid, attendance, exam results, etc. Libraries use it to manage the records of thousands of books.
RDBMS is used in many industries today, especially those continuously requiring processing and storing large volumes of data. For instance, Airline companies utilize RDBMS for passenger and flight-related information and schedules. Human Resource departments use RDBMS to store and manage information related to employees and their payroll statistics. Manufacturers around the globe use RDBMS for operational data, inventory management and supply chain information.
Choose the Best Solution
An RDBM is a more advanced and powerful younger sibling of a DBMS. While the former offers more features, convenience, and the freedom to manipulate data as you please, it isn’t always the right solution. When deciding which road to take, prioritize your needs.
Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.
🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)
Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.
🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)
Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.
💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!
We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:
- Advanced AI
- Digital Business
- Metaverse & Gaming
- Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).
🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)
With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.
🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch
We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.
The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.
In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.
Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).
Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?
Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.
Reason 1 – A Practical Approach
OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.
“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.
OPIT takes a different approach.
It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.
An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.
Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support
Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.
You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.
Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.
Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.
In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.
You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.
Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly
The field of computer science is constantly evolving.
In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.
Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.
“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.
That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.
When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.
This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.
Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education
Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.
“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.
OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.
It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.
Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.
Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.
Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.
Reason 5 – The Learning Experience
Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.
After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.
Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.
OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.
Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education
At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.
There’s also more to come.
Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.