Tag Archives: rdbms

How To Think About Different Database Data Models: Relational vs Document Data Models

This week I was talking to a developer about how to think about data models supported by different databases. One thing that I have learnt in my 15 years of building web applications is that data models play an important role in the success of any software application.

Data model provides an abstract model to organise elements of data and how these elements relate to each other. They describe the structure, manipulation and integrity aspects of the data stored in data management systems such as relational databases. For example, when you are modelling your problem domain in a relational database then you think in terms of real-world entities and how those entities are related with each other. We usually use Entity Relation (ER) diagrams to model tables in relational databases. In this post, we will focus on two popular data models — Relational and Document. We will discuss when you will use one over the other.

Data model influence two main attributes:

  1. Easy of use: A data model can make some operations easy to achieve and others difficult or impossible
  2. Performance: A data model can be suitable for faster reads but slower writes or vice versa

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