This IDC Perspective reviews the capabilities and features of relational database technology and shows its importance in the overall data management environment. It also considers alternative technologies and how they are appropriate for certain workloads and problem spaces. It concludes with advice for the reader.
"A relational database is one in which all the data is organized according to mathematically based scheme that ensures that no data is stored redundantly and that all data is associated with data upon which it is definitionally dependent. By virtue of this form of organization, any query may be posed by a user with no knowledge of the structure of the database," says Carl Olofson, research vice president for Data Management Software research at IDC. "The relational model for data management is the only one that ensures that any query, involving any combination of related data, can be executed successfully and that however many different queries one issues, the results will always be consistent."