File System vs DBMS: What are the Differences?

File System vs DBMS: What are the Differences?

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Updated on Oct 30, 2023 18:22 IST

Curious about how your computer organizes files or how websites handle mountains of data? The answer lies in two powerful tools: File Systems and DBMS. File Systems are like digital filing cabinets, neatly storing your documents in folders. In contrast, DBMS operates like a savvy librarian, arranging vast amounts of information in a sophisticated yet efficient manner. Which one is the better fit for your needs? Let’s explore!


We first must define the term to understand the differences between a file system and a database management system. A database management system (DBMS) is an application that manages databases. A file system is an application that manages filesystems. Both are logical solutions to storing information- so it’s important to understand their differences. In this article we will cover topic File system vs DBMS

Table of Contents

Must read: What is the Full form of DBMS?

What is the Difference Between File System and DBMS?

File System DBMS
Data Organization Hierarchical, stored in files Structured, stored in tables
Data Integrity Limited, prone to data redundancy High, with mechanisms to avoid redundancy
Data Security Basic, relies on system security Advanced, with built-in security features
Data Accessibility Direct access, less flexible Flexible, with complex query capabilities
Data Recovery Limited, manual backup required Comprehensive, with automated backup options
Scalability Limited, not ideal for large datasets High, designed to handle large datasets
Complexity Simple, easy to set up Complex requires initial setup and management
Concurrency Limited risk of data corruption  High, supports multiple users simultaneously

File Systems

A file system is the hardware and software components that enable devices to access and manage files. Files are stored on a file system, and you can create, modify, delete and organize files on a file system. A file system is essential to a computer’s functioning and storing and managing information.

Different devices have different file systems. For example, the hard drive’s file system contains the data stored on the device. On a computer, the file system includes virtual space for storing information. In addition to storing files, the file system also defines how files are organized on the device. e.g. FAT, NTFS, ext2, ext3.

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Also read:Bl Dbms Online Courses & Certifications

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Advantages of File Systems 

  • Enforcement of development and maintenance standards. Helps reduce redundancy
  • Avoid file management inconsistencies and maintain data isolation integrity. A solid theoretical foundation (for relational models). 
  • More efficient and less costly than a DBMS in certain situations. 
  • File handling design is simpler than database design. 
  • Uniform data management procedure
  • Application programmers are not exposed to the details of data representation and storage. A DBMS uses various powerful features to store and retrieve data efficiently. Provides data integrity and security.

Disadvantages of File System

  • Each application has its own data file, so you may need to record and save the same data multiple times. 
  • It can keep records for large companies with a large number of items. A lot of work was required.
  • It can keep records for large companies with a large number of items. 
  • Data dependencies in file handling systems are data dependent, but the problem is incompatibility with file formats. Time-consuming. 
  • Limited Data Sharing. 
  • Security issue.

Database Management Systems (DBMS)

DBMS stands for Database Management System. It is also the software to save and restores user data while maintaining the necessary security measures. It contains a set of programs that help in working with databases. A DBMS helps users and third-party software save and restore data in large systems. e.g., MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server)

Advantages of DBMS

  • Provides data integrity and security
  • Uniform data management procedure
  • Application programmers are not exposed to the details of data representation and storage.
  • DBMSs have different techniques for storing and retrieving data.
  • A DBMS uses various powerful features to store and retrieve data efficiently.
  • DBMS implies integrity constraints to maintain a high level of protection against unauthorized access to data.
  • Reduce application development time 
  •  Reduced redundancy.
  • Provides data independence.

Disadvantages of DBMS

  • Most database management systems are complex and require user training to use the DBMS. 
  • Some data may be lost when many users use the same program simultaneously. 
  • DBMS hardware and software costs are very high and add to an organization’s budget. 
  • DBMS cannot perform advanced calculations
  • Datasets are larger as they provide more predictable query response times. 
  • A fast processor for data processing was required.
  • Power failures can cause databases to fail and even bring down the entire system.

Key Difference Between File Systems and DBMS

  • A file system is a collection of data, and you must write procedures to manage it, whereas a DBMS is a collection of data, and you do not have to write procedures for working with databases. Use the provided table to see the differences between file systems and DBMSs.
  • A file system is a software that manages and organizes files on storage media, and a DBMS is a software application used to access, create, and manage databases. 
  • A file system does not have a crash recovery mechanism, but a DBMS does. 
  • File systems do not support complex transactions, but DBMS systems can quickly implement complex transactions using SQL. A DBMS provides concurrency, but a file system does not.
  • Data inconsistency is high in file systems. In contrast, data inconsistencies in database management systems are rare. 


Files are more limited in nature than databases. Database systems are more flexible and powerful as they can store and retrieve information in different formats. For example, if you need to change the format of a database, you only have to reformat the file system; you don’t have to redesign the entire database management system. Using a file system over a database management system is an advantage.

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