What Are the Benefits of the Relational Database?

By Travis Larson

A relational database is one of the most popular ways to store large amounts of data. The method in which the data is organized in a relational database makes it much easier for users to understand that data. It allows information to be easily grouped or compared by type, such as year or name.

Functions

Relational databases offer a wide array of functions that create advanced data manipulation techniques. They support relational algebra as well as set operations. This includes operations to select, join and divide. Many of these operations are possible only with relational databases. This data manipulation is possible with the use of queries, generally in Structured Query Language (SQL), to manage the data and give users the information they are looking for.

Efficiency

Efficiency is one of the benefits to a relational database. Because of the ways in which data can be compared and combined, each piece of data needs to be saved in only one place. This is related to the process of normalizing the database, which eliminates the need for duplicate data. Since each piece of data is saved in only one location, it is much easier and quicker to update. The language used to create the database, SQL, can also validate date entry.

Views

Because relational databases are highly customizable, users can present data in any way they wish. One of the most important concepts of the database is known as a view. Although the data is stored in tables, which may never change attributes, users can customize or delete a view easily without affecting the data. Views manipulate the data to present the important pieces that users would like to see, while removing the unnecessary data that is not used. This is similar to copying and pasting the important parts of documents into one file.

User-Friendly

Relational databases store data in tables, which are linked together with key values that give a clear relationship between the tables. The linking of tables by key values makes it easy to diagram those tables so that users can see all relationships. The support for SQL, which is similar to writing statements in English, also makes relational databases user-friendly. As stated in the article "Introduction to SQL" from Devarticles, "SQL statements look like simple English sentences, making SQL easy to learn and understand. This is in part because SQL statements describe the data to be retrieved, rather than specifying how to find the data."