Reasons to use a NoSQL database

  • Last updated on: 2018-05-08
  • Authored by: Satyakam Mishra

NoSQL databases have capabilities that traditional relational databases do not. They are especially useful for handling big data.


For an introduction to relational databases and NoSQL databases, see Types of databases.

Understanding when a NoSQL database might be preferable

You might choose a NoSQL database for the following reasons:

  • To store large volumes of data that might have little to no structure.

    NoSQL databases do not limit the types of data that you can store together. NoSQL databases also enable you to add new data types as your needs change. With document-oriented databases, you can store data in one place without having to define the data type in advance.

  • To make the most of cloud computing and storage.

    In order for a cloud solution to be scalable, the data must be easy to share across multiple servers.

  • To speed development.

    When you are developing in rapid iterations or making frequent updates to the data structure, a relational database slows you down. However, because NoSQL data doesn’t need to be prepped ahead of time, you can make frequent updates to the data structure with minimal downtime.

  • To boost horizontal scalability.

    The CAP (consistency, availability, and partition tolerance) theorem states that in any distributed system, only two of the three CAP properties can be used simultaneously. Adjusting these properties in favor of strong partition tolerance enables NoSQL users to boost horizontal scalability.

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Examples of RDBMS and NoSQL databases

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