File system Vs DBMS: What's The Difference?

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DBMS Course - Master the Fundamentals and Advanced Concepts
DBMS Course - Master the Fundamentals and Advanced Concepts
Srikanth Varma
Enrolled: 1000
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A file system is a software that organizes and manages files on a storage media, whereas a database management system (DBMS) is a software that allows you to access, create, and administer databases. A DBMS is actually better than FPS for the most of it. Whether it be data consistency and accessibility, security and recovery of data, etc.


You must have used a conventional file processing system a lot of times. Yeah, it makes our lives easier by organizing our files. But, do you ever wonder, what if we could add a ton of extra features to it, making it much more efficient in terms of accessibility and a more systematic way of performing operations on your data? That's exactly what Database Management System or a DBMS does! Let’s understand this whole concept through file system vs DBMS.

File Processing System or File System

A File Processing System is a method or a tool which facilitates storing, accessing and modifying data from numerous files in a computer system.

All data is stored in the form of files. All files are categorized and sorted accordingly. The file names are closely related to one another and are organised in such a way that they are easily accessible.

Files like.txt, .jpg, and .docx, as well as structured datatypes like .xml and .json, may be used by a file processing system. For organizing or more complex administration needs, files can be placed in different system directories.

Examples of file systems include storage media like hard disks, pendrives, etc, that may contain data such as music files, videos, documents and what not.

Hard Disk Pen Drive

Database Management System

A Database Management System or simply DBMS, is a collection of programs that enables users to create and maintain a database. It is a general purpose software system that facilitates the process of defining, constructing and manipulating databases for various applications. It ensures the database's safety and security. It also ensures data consistency when there are multiple users.

If you'd like to read in detail about DBMS, here is the link to our DBMS article!

Examples of popular DBMS softwares are Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL Server, DB2, Microsoft Access, etc.

MySQL and Microsoft Access DBMS Software So, now that you're all set, let's dive into the key differences!

Key Difference Between File System Vs DBMS

The main difference between file system and DBMS (Database Management System) lies in their data handling approaches. FPS often results in data redundancy and storage inefficiencies due to various formats and duplications, whereas DBMS eliminates redundancy, maintains consistency, and saves storage space. Accessing data is more efficient in DBMS through queries, contrasting with FPS’s manual or application-based methods. DBMS enforces data integrity, ensures atomicity for transactional integrity, manages concurrency to prevent inconsistencies, offers robust security, backup, and recovery features, and provides data independence. While DBMS demands a higher initial investment, it excels in complex, multi-user applications, making it a superior choice over FPS in modern scenarios.

Difference Between File System and DBMS

Basis of differentiationFile Processing SystemDBMS
Data redundancy & inconsistencyThe problem of duplication and inconsistency in data exists in FPS.There is no redundancy and inconsistency in data due to centralization of the database.
Ease of data accessAccessing data in file system isn’t as easy as DBMS.Accessing data is easier in DBMS as compared to a file system.
Data independenceThere is no data independence in file system.Data independence exists in DBMS.
AtomicityAtomicity is not present in file system.DBMS provides atomicity of transactions.
Concurrency controlIt doesn’t have concurrency control.DBMS has concurrency control.
RecoveryFile system doesn’t provide the facility of recovery, in case of data loss.DBMS provides the facility of data backup and recovery.
SecurityData security is less in file processing system.DBMS offers high data security.
CostFile system is relatively cheaper as compared to DBMS.DBMS is costlier as compared to a file system.
ScalabilityLimited scalability in file systems; can become unwieldy for large datasets.DBMS can handle large datasets and is scalable to accommodate growing data needs.
Query LanguageFile systems lack a standardized query language, making complex queries challenging.DBMS offers SQL (Structured Query Language) for efficient and complex data queries.
Multi-User SupportFile systems often lack built-in support for multiple users accessing data simultaneously.DBMS provides robust support for concurrent access by multiple users.


So, finally we are done discussing on the topic “file system vs DBMS”.
This article outlines the differences between File Processing Systems (FPS) and Database Management Systems (DBMS) with the following key points:

  • Data Organization: FPS uses various file formats, potentially leading to data redundancy and inconsistency, whereas DBMS centralizes data, reducing redundancy and ensuring consistency.
  • Data Access: FPS often relies on manual or application-based methods for data access, while DBMS offers efficient data retrieval through queries.
  • Data Independence: FPS lacks data independence, making it challenging to modify data structures. DBMS provides data independence, facilitating changes to data structures.
  • Atomicity: FPS does not guarantee the atomicity of transactions, while DBMS ensures transactional atomicity.
  • Security and Recovery: FPS typically offers lower data security and lacks data recovery features, whereas DBMS provides robust data security and backup/recovery options.

In summary, FPS is cost-effective but less suitable for complex data management, while DBMS offers advanced features, making it ideal for secure and reliable management of complex data. The choice depends on specific data management needs and budget constraints.

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