No-SQL versus relational databases





Offered by

ICT Engineering




*** NOTE: this is preliminary information. The course is under development ***

Database systems (DBS1)
Preferably also Database Internals and Tuning (DBS2)

Main purpose

The course will provide students with knowledge of  strengths and weaknesses of two fundamentally different approaches to database management systems (DBMS). The purpose of this is support matching of systems requirements and DBMS technologies, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.


The course will contrast different aspects of the two DBMS' architectures, data models, functionalities and suitability for different scenarios and requirements. The course thus focuses more on the application of DBMS technology than on writing code for any specific system. This will apply to both relational and no-SQL DBMSs.


The course will focus on understanding of DBMS technology and the skills for technology selection. Some basic skills in implementing and manipulating data on different types of data- and storage models will be acquired.



Types of systems and their requirements for data storage, data models and data retrieval: transactional, big data, others.
Types of DBMSs in overview: hierarchical, networked, relational, object-oriented and object-relational, no-SQL
Comparison of a selected relational and non-relational DBMS on topics such as:
  • evaluation criteria for DBMS technology selection
  • data models: modelling and implementing structured, semi-structured and unstructured data
  • software architecture
  • models for distribution replication and parallelism
  • types of storage: tabular/relational (and lesser known variants thereof), object-relational, object-oriented, key-valued, document, graphs etc.  
  • consistency and transactional support: ACID vs. eventual consistency models
  • data retrieval and data manipulation languages, interfaces to programing languages and other platforms
  • development model and practices


Teaching methods and study activities

Activities will consist of a mix of theory, implementation and experimentation on two selected DBMSs, and evaluation and discussion of the results of experimentation. Activities will primarily be planned in a workshop format, and active participation in reading & preparation, workshops and discussion is expected.
One or more mandatory written works will be required during the course. 


Provisionally, the Oracle DBMS is a candidate to represent the relational and object-relational paradigms. Candidates for a non-relational DBMS are MongoDB, Oracle No-SQL and Berkeley.


Internal examination.


‚ÄčThe examination is held as a 20 minutes examination all inclusive. The student will be examined in a randomly picked topic from the course curriculum as well as being examined in one or more course assignments.

Grading criteria

The course is evaluated on the Danish 7-point grading scale.
A single grade is awarded, based on required course work and the oral exam. Course work and exam performance each accounts for approximately 50 % of the final grade.

Additional information

*** NOTE: this is preliminary information. The course is under development ***


Ole I. Hougaard

Valid from

2/1/2020 12:00:00 AM

Course type

6. semester
Elective for the specialization Data Engineering
7. semester