In this article you will find all you need to know about SQL and NoSQL and how your business can benefit from them in 2021.
Whether you are developing an application for internal use or you are a SaaS company and want to sell a platform to make millions, there are many decisions you must make to ensure you get it right.
Some of the most vital decisions you make will centre around how you will structure your databases. While you have many options, Structured Query Language (SQL) remains a popular choice and is a familiar language for many developers. At the same time, NoSQL databases are also growing in popularity.
What are the differences, and how can you choose the right option for you if your choice boils down to these?
Here is all you need to know about SQL and NoSQL to help you understand how to make the right choice for your business.
Large companies typically use SQL to help them manage their databases, but that does not mean it is not suitable for your startup! If your business works with big data in a structured manner, SQL can help you gather, manage, compare, and change data from multiple sources at the click of a button.
Depending on your business, SQL can therefore help drive automation in both a back and front-end context. This means your business processes become more efficient, both internally and for your customers. A better customer experience means your business grows, which means you are winning.
Yet, SQL might not always be the best option to meet your needs.
Tech experts and developers spent many years debating what NoSQL means. Some still are! The best way to frame this is to look singularly at SQL and NoSQL.
SQL databases support the SQL language. SQL databases are known as "relational databases," which rely on tightly structured data and fixed schemas. SQL databases are "vertically scalable," meaning you can improve your database's performance by adding processing power and memory to your systems.
Due to the structured nature of SQL databases, they are often best used in a transactional context, and as such the following types of business may benefit from using SQL:
What does “NoSQL" mean to you? Many people interpret this as indicating a database does not use SQL. However, today it is accepted as referring to a database that does not use "only SQL." In simple terms, it is a database that might use SQL, but that uses other languages, too.
NoSQL started to come to the fore around 15 years ago, primarily in reaction to the drawbacks widely associated with SQL databases, namely:
While you might be reading this and think the benefits and added possibilities of NoSQL sound fantastic, it is vital to appreciate you might not need them! If SQL does the job you need it to, choosing NoSQL could be adding complexity to your data management unnecessarily.
NoSQL can, however, allow you to work more dynamically with data, and is useful if:
To add further context to the differences between SQL and NoSQL, we have summarised the pros and cons below.
Highlighting the pros and cons of NoSQL databases is challenging because the pros and cons are unique to each use case depending on what languages you use alongside SQL. However, we summarise some of the potential benefits and disadvantages below.
It depends on the needs of your business and what you are looking to achieve.
As well as thinking about the specific recommended uses outlined earlier, consider the pros and cons of each, which are effectively trade-offs depending on your choice. In reality, if you need to work with NoSQL as a matter of necessity, you do not really have a choice, as SQL simply will not cut it. The primary considerations here are for those who would typically use SQL, and whether you need or would benefit from using NoSQL databases instead.
Choose the solution that is going to work best for you and your customers!