A quick look over the technology news space quickly reveals a tense debate between those supporting the newer non-relational databases and those holding out that the relational database is still the best option for businesses. While much of the debate has focused on the extreme views of the death of the relational database, or traditional database providers rejecting newer options such as NoSQL as worthless, the reality lies away from both of those extremes. Depending on the needs of a particular company, there are reasons to stick with a relational database and reasons to switch to a NoSQL option. Let’s examine those reasons.

Relational Database

Without getting into the distinction between the various relational databases—Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server—there are several reasons a relational database would still be a good idea.

1. Stable, Structured Data Sets

The most obvious reason to stick with a relational database is if your data volume is growing at a steady rate, and if the data you collect is structured. Internal databases, such as HR servers, would be one good example. In addition, flash array storage has made it possible for these databases to be faster and less expensive, which resolves two major complaints against them. When it comes to businesses that already have a relational database in place, considering whether your relational database can continue to meet your needs is an important step before investing in something new.

2. Established Applications

Aside from data growth, businesses should also consider that relational databases have been used for more than four decades. This means that not only are they well-known and trusted by their IT personnel, but also that many of the businesses’ applications have been written for SQL. Replacing all of those apps would be a hefty endeavor, and if they are working for you, why make a difficult and expensive investment?

3. Real-Time Analysis

One of the major complaints about big data solutions is that they aren’t built for real-time analysis and are too slow to handle transactional data. Thus, many businesses stick with their relational database to complete those time sensitive queries, even if they are also using Hadoop and NoSQL.


There’s a reason NoSQL databases were created, and that is because they fulfill a need that relational databases weren’t meeting. Let’s take a look at what NoSQL can do.

1. Scalability

NoSQL databases, or Hive as a Service, offers the scalability to handle large surges of data volume, such as handling a surge in use of a mobile app. Increasing capacity in a relational database would be a painstaking process, but with NoSQl it’s easy to add space and keep up with demand.

2. Performance

The weaker consistency of data in NoSQl transforms into heightened performance because resources can be divided to handle different tasks simultaneously without new data inputs having to be updated throughout the entire system.

3. No Downtime

Finally, the distributed nature of NoSQl databases allow them to always be on—a huge advantage for businesses that can’t afford down time. No downtime also applies to software updates and upgrades to hardware, which is not a possibility in a relational database.

With such great advantages, it’s easy to see why NoSQL has created so much buzz, and that excitement is legitimate if those advantages are something that you need. On the other hand, there are also many reasons to stick with a relational database if that solution is working for you. Which storage solution is your company going with and why?