Database Management Basics

Database management is a system for managing the data that supports a business’s operations. It involves storing data, distributing it to users and applications, editing it as needed and monitoring changes to the data and preventing data corruption due to unexpected failure. It’s a component of an organization’s overall informational infrastructure that supports decision-making, corporate growth and compliance with laws like the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

In the 1960s, Charles Bachman and IBM along with others created the first database systems. They evolved into the information management systems (IMS) which allowed the storage and retrieve large amounts data for a variety of uses, from calculating inventory to supporting complex financial accounting and human resources functions.

A database is a set of tables that store data according to a certain scheme, such as one-to-many relationships. It uses primary keys to identify records and permit cross-references between tables. Each table is comprised of a set of attributes, or fields, which provide information about data entities. The most widely used type of database today is a relational model, developed by E. F. “Ted” Codd at IBM in the 1970s. This design is based on normalizing data to make it easier to use. It also makes it simpler to update data by avoiding the need to update many sections of the database.

Most DBMSs are able to support different types of databases by offering different internal and external levels of organization. The internal level deals with cost, scalability, and other operational issues, such as the physical layout of the database. The external level is the representation of the database in user interfaces and applications. It could comprise a mix of various external views based on different data models and may also include virtual tables that are calculated with generic data to enhance the performance.