Everyone has heard about databases (DBs), and it’s reasonable to have a high-level understanding of databases as some computing facility that holds data. For the uninitiated, this could be an opaque terminology, so in this article, our database expert offers a review of this technology so that non-technical legal professionals can have a sense of what these are. 


What Types of Databases are There? 

Non-Relational Databases 

A non-relational database stores data in a non-tabular form which can be useful for projects with specific requirements determined by the data type to be stored in the database. The first databases (i.e., data storage facilities) were non-relational, as a relational database was an innovation in data storage. However, relational databases can have performance issues when using the ‘relational’ features, so newer databases were developed that dispense with the relational features in exchange for higher performance. 

Non-relational databases are like collections of documents that may contain different information, but all of this information can be stored together in the same document. This feature gives non-relational databases more flexibility than relational DBs. (They are also called NoSQL databases because relational databases are accessed using the Structured Query Language (SQL), and non-relational databases are not – hence NoSQL.) 

NoSQL Database Types: column-oriented, document data store, key-value store, and graph databases.  

NoSQL Database Use Cases: Ecommerce inventory and catalog management, fraud detection, identity authentication, internet of things (IoT) and sensor data, fintech, digital and media management 

Relational Databases (RDB) 

A relational database, or SQL database, is a collection of data items that are structured into tables, with rows, that have pre-defined relationships, or attributes, between them. A relational database is created, updated, and managed by a relational database management system (RDBMS) such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle Database. 

In a relational database, the term “relation” refers to a set of records. Records are both ordered and immutable (unchangeable), making the collection of objects in the RDB sequences, similar to lists. The difference between a record and a list is that list objects are changeable. While a collection of objects in a record are unchangeable. 


How Do Relational Databases Work? 

RBDs contain keys where a key is a unique value in a table known as the “primary key.” If a key is added to another record in another table, it’s known as a “foreign key.” The primary and the foreign keys create the relationships between the records in both tables.  

By joining the tables together, it’s possible to analyze an RDB to gain a deeper understanding and insights. Structured Querying Language (SQL) language is used to query the data in an RDB. 

RDB Use Cases: Relational databases are ideal for projects involving transactions, data mining, and complex reporting.  


The ACID vs BASE approach would probably be the most important aspect for distinguishing DBMSs today. These fundamental design differences give rise to the pros and cons of the databases below. 


Top Popular Databases in 2022 

Some organizational trends have emerged among the top databases in 2022. A DB-Engine survey found that these are the most popular databases in use in 2022: 


5. MongoDB

MongoDB is an open-source document-oriented database that allows for horizontal scalability – multiple databases can be used as one large database. Ideal for rapid iterative development, MongoDB can be scaled to high levels of read and write traffic with the ability to retrieve documents in JSON format. Pros: free, supports Windows, Linux, and MacOS, horizontal scalability, can store/manage/search data. 


4. PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is the most advanced open-source object-relational database management system (ORDBMS). It includes many features to help to build apps, manage data, and protect data integrity. Pros: Highly programmable with access to stored functions and procedures, PL/PGSQL, Perl, Python SQL/JSON path expressions, and many indexing options. 


3. SQL Server

SQL Server is an RDBMS that was developed by Microsoft. It can be used in on-premise and cloud environments. It includes a Database Engine component that includes the relational and storage engine. SQL Server includes the Transact-SQL (T-SQL) extension from Microsoft to enable interaction with relational databases. Pros: Scalability, tools and applications, free edition available with express SQL server.  


2. MySQL

MySQL is another open-source RDBMS. It is free to use but if the code needs to be accessed for integration in a commercial application a license is required. It’s used by social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Wikipedia. Pros: Open-source, cross-platform, secure, easy-to-use. 


1. Oracle

Oracle is a widely used RDBMS across many industries, it has the largest market share at 30.2% in the RDBMS market. Oracle supports SQL and is considered one of the databases because of its ability to support all data types including relational, graph, unstructured, and structured data types. Pros: Scalable, high availability, exceptional privacy and security.  


Organizations Seek Database Experts, Forecast High Demand in 2023 

Our machine learning experts are in high demand as business leaders respond to the challenges of changing growth goals into 2023. At Sidespin Group, we provide a wide range of business experience and technical expertise in database technology. We help organizations choose the right databases for better cost reduction and risk management. For more on Sidespin Group’s experience, review our outcomes in the areas of litigation consulting, expert witness consulting, technology strategy consulting, and management consulting.