A relational database refers to a database that stores data in a structured format, using rows and columns. This makes it easy to locate and access specific values within the database. It is "relational" because the values within each table are related to each other. Tables may also be related to other tables. The relational structure makes it possible to run queries across multiple tables at once.
While a relational database describes the type of database an RDMBS manages, the RDBMS refers to the database program itself. It is the software that executes queries on the data, including adding, updating, and searching for values. An RDBMS may also provide a visual representation of the data. For example, it may display data in a tables like a spreadsheet, allowing you to view and even edit individual values in the table. Some RDMBS programs allow you to create forms that can streamline entering, editing, and deleting data.
Most well known DBMS applications fall into the RDBMS category. Examples include Oracle Database, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2. Some of these programs support non-relational databases, but they are primarily used for relational database management.
Examples of non-relational databases include Apache HBase, IBM Domino, and Oracle NoSQL Database. These type of databases are managed by other DMBS programs that support NoSQL, which do not fall into the RDBMS category.
Updated: December 16, 2017