Is the Big Data going to replace RDBMS in future ?

One of the questions that I often receive on my blog and social media, “Is the Big Data going to replace RDBMS in future?” That’s an interesting question. In this article, I am going to give my opinion on this subject.

When we started our IT career, we signed off for a job that’s very much dynamic in nature, every other day there is something new, reinvented and evolved. I always consider “Technology” like our age, it is exciting and challenging when it was born and gets older day by day and eventually replaced by some other new and efficient technology. This is the fact and we need to accept it. To sustain in this era, we must push ourselves to study, learn and evolve with each bit of change that is happening right now.

Let’s make you little relaxed, there are few technologies that never gets older like “Superman” and very hard to be replaced. One of them is our traditional RDBMS.

“Data” is the “New Water”

There is a survey says that the volume of data available today is equal to the volume of water presence on this earth.

“Big Data” is “Ocean”

The volume of water in the Ocean is not measurable, the ingredients in the water are unknown, the depth is not predictable and the surface is diversified by nature. So, to make the salty ocean water consumable we need advanced technology and complex processing. Same is the case for “Big Data”, we need sufficient storage, super computing power and advanced technology to process the “Ocean” volume of data to get some meaning out of it.

“RDBMS” is “River”

The water streaming in the river is simple, well structured, disciplined, clean, and importantly fresh hence it is drinkable without or with less process. A home near the river is always more safer than a home near the sea because you can never trust an ocean’s tide. So, when it comes to building a mission critical OLTP system then RDBMS would be the first and last choice without a second thought.

RDBMS is not going anywhere for a transactional systems.

It was only when the increased volume, velocity, and variety of data became apparent that the need and the response of “Big Data” systems came into the picture. RDBMS is still good on the volume front, but its fundamental nature makes it ill-suited for velocity and variety.

“Big Data” is not RDBMS’s enemy but a good friend.

Relational databases and Big Data technologies have to coexist indefinitely and work together. Neither one is capable of eclipsing the other. For example, if our data is structured and we need to get the data to deliver precise answers, then we’ve got to use a relational database like SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, IBM DB2 etc. If our data is unstructured and we need an approximate answer in a big hurry, then concept like Big Data/NoSQL is the solution.


Data is neutral like water. It can’t do something for us unless we know how to make the connections. If you’re a DBA or SQL developer take the opportunity to learn data mining, statistics using R or Python and explore cloud. Data Analytics and cloud are the present and going to be the future for next infinite years down the line. SQL Server vNext is already packed with R server inbuilt and Python runtime, so download and start your homework from today without worrying about getting familiar with other IDEs.

Prasad Sahoo

Prasad Sahoo, is an enthusiast of Microsoft technologies in general and a passionate database professional, mainly focusing on SQL Server performance tuning and business intelligence. He has contributed a long time of his career working on SQL Server and other RDBMS. If he is not busy with SQL stuff then he must be watching some Hollywood movies.

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