File System vs DBMS

After reading this article you will gain good knowledge on the difference between file system vs DBMS.

Before going into the difference between them, let’s understand the topics file system and a DBMS.

What is File System?

A file system controls how data is stored and retrieved. Without a file system, data placed in a storage device would only be one large storage of data which is indistinguishable where a part of data ends and the next one begins. By separating the data into parts and giving each part a name, the data can be easily isolated and identified. Each part of data is called a “file”. The logic rules and structure used to manage these parts of data and their names is called a “file system“.

What is a DBMS?

A database management system is a software that is used to manage or manipulate a database. Defining a database involves specifying the structures, data types and constraints of the data to be stored in a database. Creating the database involves storing the data on some storage medium that will be controlled by DBMS software. Managing a database includes updating the database whenever required to evolve and reflect changes and also generate reports for each change.

Advantages of DBMS over File system

Advantages of DBMS over file system
  • Data concurrency : It allows concurrent access to data which means more than one user can access the same data at the same time. Anomaly occurs when changes made by an user are lost because of changes made by another user. File systems does not provide any solution to stop anomalies. A DBMS provides locking system to stop anomalies from occurring.
  • Data searching : For each and every search operation that is performed on a file system, a different application program has to be written. Whereas the DBMS provides built in searching operations. User itself has to write a small query to retrieve data from the database.
  • Data redundancy and inconsistency : Redundancy is the repetition of data i.e. each data may have more than one copy. A file system does not control redundancy of data as each user will define and maintain the required files for a specific application to run. There will be a possibility that two or more users are maintaining same files for different applications. Hence changes made by one user does not show up in files used by other users, which leads to the inconsistency of data. A DBMS controls redundancy of data by maintaining a single repository of data that is defined once and can be accessed by many users. As there is no redundancy or less redundancy of data, the data remains consistent.
  • Data integrity : There can be some cases that some constraints need to be applied on the data before inserting it in a database. A file system can’t provide any procedure to check these constraints automatically. Whereas a DBMS maintains data integrity by enforcing the user defined constraints on data by itself.
  • Data sharing : File system does not allow sharing of data or sharing is too complex. But a DBMS, allows sharing of data because of its centralized system.

Difference between File System and DBMS

File system vs DBMS in tabular form.

File SystemDBMS
File system provides the details of data representation and Storage of data.DBMS gives an abstract view of data that hides the details
Storing and retrieving of data cannot be done efficiently in a file system.DBMS is efficient to use as there are wide variety techniques to store and retrieve data.
Concurrent access to the data in the file system has many problemsDBMS takes care of Concurrent access using the form of locking.
File system doesn’t have crash recovery mechanism.DBMS provides crash recovery mechanism
Protecting a file in file system is very difficult.DBMS provides a good protection mechanism.
Redundancy of data is greater in file management system.Redundancy of data is low in database management system.
Data Inconsistency is higher in file system.Data Inconsistency is low in database management system.
File system provides less security.Database Management System provides high security.
File System stores the data as isolated data files/entities.Database Management System stores data as well defined constraints and interrelation.
Centralization is hard in File Management System.Centralization is easy to achieve in Database Management System.

Reference: Database Management Systems


What is File System?

A file system controls how data is stored and retrieved. Without a file system, data placed in a storage device would only be one large storage of data which is indistinguishable where a part of data ends and the next one begins

What is a DBMS?

In simple words DBMS is a software used to manage or manipulate a Database.

What are the Advantages of DBMS over File system?

Data Concurrency, Data searching, Data redundancy and inconsistency, Data sharing, Data integrity are the advantages of DBMS over a file system.

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