Can Unstructured Data Be Stored in a Database?

Unstructured data does not conform to relational databases. Therefore, tools like NoSQL databases, data lakes, and data warehouses are needed to store it.

Marcel Deer - Writer for Unleash
By Marcel Deer
Kelly Hendrickse - Editor for Unleash
Edited by Kelly Hendrickse

Published June 14, 2023.

Our world today is driven by data. But between structured data, which can be easily stored in a relational database, and unstructured data, which doesn't conform to a predetermined format, organizing can be tricky. Especially since IDC notes that 80-90% of data is unstructured.

But is there a way to store unstructured data, even though it's notoriously difficult to organize and search? A NoSQL database—a non-tabular database—is the top way to store unstructured data.

Here's all you need to know about storing unstructured data.

How to Store Unstructured Data

Unstructured data comes in numerous forms, like photos, videos, emails, and other media. And data analysts and engineers use the following methods to store this data:

NoSQL Databases

These databases are flexible and scalable. Unlike relational databases, NoSQL databases use different data models, like graph-based structures or document-orientated ones to store data that's easy to search through.

However, a NoSQL database requires more server space due to its qualitative method of storing and organizing data.

Data Lakes

Imagine various streams of structured and unstructured data flowing into a single reservoir. That’s what a data lake is. They are convenient and flexible storage solutions for large and ever-growing bodies of raw data.

However, the raw data requires consistent organization to be usable.

Data Warehouses

Unlike the raw data in a data lake, a data warehouse stores processed data. This data is structured and ready to be examined or analyzed. It provides a ready resource for those looking to glean insights from existing databases.

✶ Learn more about data silos and data lakes

Manage Unstructured Data Without Hassle

To help companies deal with large amounts of unstructured data, Unleash offers a powerful enterprise search tool that delivers results from across data sources. This tool is easy to use and integrates with your company portal, third-party apps, and browsers. This way, you can streamline data search queries to boost your organization’s productivity.

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