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The main reason NoSQL dbms have become so common is the need of storing unstructured data where a Relational database instead would require carefully designing a database schema and fitting data into it.

What I don't understand is whether they are generally more performant than traditional relational databases and why. This of course under loads of data which both RDBMS and NoSQL can manage (like say a simple row with id,value,date).

To be more specific several threads on StackOverflow answering to questions like "What database can handle Millions rows" like SO question and SO question 2 always end up suggesting NoSQL databases. But apart from the specific structure of data I can't see why a NoSQL should be more performant than a traditional RDBMS.

Suggesting a RDBMS which can deal with millions of rows of structured data would also help.

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    Any modern RDBMS can handle "millions of rows". Many of the NoSQL DBMS are faster because they sacrifice some of the ACID principles that the relationals ones implement or other features that are common in the "relational world. e.g. they are "eventually consistent" or they don't support transactions, or they don't support fine grained locking, ... – a_horse_with_no_name Dec 11 '13 at 10:25

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