What are the Pros and Cons of NoSQL

The top advantages of NoSQL include its scalability, simplicity, less code, and easy maintenance. Disadvantages of NoSQL; less mature, less flexible queries.

Digital Analytics
7 min
Digital Analytics
What are the Pros and Cons of NoSQL

For many years, the rational database has been the most popular database management approach.

However, non-rational NoSQL or cloud databases are becoming more popular as the superior database management solution model.

NoSQL databases are purpose-built for specific data models and offer flexible schema structures that may be used to create cutting-edge applications.

They are known for their simplicity of use, functionality, and scalability at scale.

While there are some apparent advantages to NoSQL databases, there are also some things you may want to consider before committing to the NoSQL approach.

SQL and NoSQL databases

SQL stands for Structured Query Language and is used to communicate with a database.

An SQL database is the most common database management approach.

SQL databases store information in a relational model designed to search and retrieve information across varied data types, structures, or fields.

For many years, the rational DBMS has been the only popular solution to business data storage needs.

However, non-rational NoSQL or cloud databases are becoming more popular as the superior database management approach.

Instead of rows and columns used in traditional relational databases, NoSQL databases use JSON documents.

NoSQL is a term that stands for "not just SQL." This implies that a NoSQL JSON database may store and retrieve data without using any SQL at all.

However, a common misconception is that NoSQL cannot use relational data. This is incorrect.

NoSQL can still use relational data and charts. It just has greater flexibility and can combine JSON and SQL for the best of both worlds.

Top advantages of NoSQL databases

While SQL databases have been around a lot longer than NoSQL databases, NoSQL has many advantages depending on what you are looking for.

Here are the pros of using a NoSQL database.

Flexible scalability

NoSQL databases are highly scalable and can be modified to meet the unique scaling needs of your business.

They can be scaled horizontally as opposed to vertically, which provides a clear advantage over SQL databases.

The lack of structure in the data is what allows NoSQL databases to scale horizontally.

Because NoSQL databases require less structuring than SQL, every item is self-contained and independent. As a result, each object is kept on separate servers and need not be linked.

Flexible data types

NoSQL databases allow you to store and retrieve data with only limited or no requirements for the predefined schema.

This means that your application can quickly adapt as new types of information are added without adjusting table structures, modifying indexes, and so forth.

Large amounts of data storage

Many NoSQL databases can handle extensive datasets, making them ideal for big data applications, IoT (Internet of Things), and other real-time analytics.

For example, BigTable is a distributed storage system built to store structured data in the cloud at a scale that allows easy addition and deletion with no downtime or interruption.

By storing this type of information on BigTable, it's possible to quickly retrieve it while providing access control support across all levels down to individual fields within your documents without requiring additional security layers.

Additionally, you don't have any single points of failure, which means there is no limit to how much data it can hold.

Simplicity and less code

Many NoSQL database management systems require only a few lines of code, which is ideal for developers who want to get started quickly.

For example, MongoDB is a NoSQL database management system that allows developers to store data in flexible structures and retrieve it with code written in the language of their choice.

Less ongoing database maintenance

NoSQL databases don't require the same level of ongoing database administration as traditional relational databases because they can automatically partition and replicate information across nodes.

his means you won't need additional IT infrastructure, software licenses, or expensive hardware like standard SQL-relational databases, which can be a significant financial burden for your business.

Disadvantages of NoSQL databases

While there are some obvious advantages to NoSQL, they do come at a cost.

Here are some of the main disadvantages of NoSQL.

Queries are less flexible.

NoSQL databases are more flexible when storing a wide variety of data structures, but they lack the complex query functionality found in SQL.

This means that you won't use many types of standard queries with this type of database management system.

For example, NoSQL databases can't typically enforce or guarantee uniqueness for keys within documents like traditional relational systems do.

This makes them less ideal if your application requires strict enforcement and unique key values across all records without having to write custom code or configurations each time an end-user creates a new record.

Less mature

Since SQL has been around a lot longer, it is generally universal and more mature.

One of the most significant disadvantages is that SQL has endless online support, documentation, and tutorials.

With NoSQL, it may be more challenging to find solutions to problems.

NoSQL isn't designed to scale by itself.

While there are ways to scale out your application using some NoSQL database management systems like BigTable or MongoDB replica sets, their design limits the amount of traffic they can accommodate by themselves.

Instead, you'll need additional infrastructure components (like load balancers), which will increase both hardware costs as well as operational overhead.


Choosing a database management system that is right for your business can be challenging.

While NoSQL handles large and small amounts of data, it's essential to consider what you want from the system and how much effort you will put into managing it.

If you need flexibility in information storage without code changes or additional IT infrastructure, NoSQL may work for you.

However, if queries and security features are critical components of your solution, traditional SQL systems will likely provide better performance with more mature toolsets available. It is crucial to understand what you need from your database before deciding between NoSQL and SQL.

If you are looking for support on which option is best for you, or you would like to work with a team of experts in NoSQL or SQL contact Adservio today.

Published on
March 15, 2021

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