Database Management Basics

Database management is a method of managing the information that supports a business’s operations. It includes data storage and distribution to users and application programs, modifying it as necessary as well as monitoring changes to the data and preventing it from becoming damaged due to unexpected failures. It is a component of the informational infrastructure of a business which supports decision-making, corporate growth, and compliance with laws like the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

The first database systems were developed in the 1960s by Charles Bachman, IBM and others. They evolved into the information management systems (IMS) which allowed the storage and retrieve huge amounts of information for a range of uses, from calculating inventory to supporting complicated financial accounting and human resources functions.

A database is a set of tables which organize data in accordance with a specific pattern, such as one-to many relationships. It uses primary keys to identify records and permit cross-references between tables. Each table has a set of fields, called attributes, which provide information about the entities that comprise the data. Relational models, created by E. F. “Ted” Codd in the 1970s at IBM, are the most widely used type of database currently. The concept is based on normalizing data to make it simpler to use. It is also simpler to update data because it does not require the changing of certain sections of the database.

Most DBMSs support multiple types of databases by offering different internal and external levels of organization. The internal level deals with costs, scalability and other operational issues, including the physical layout of the database. The external level is how the database appears in user interfaces and other applications. It could include a mix of various external views (based on the various data models) and could also include virtual tables that are created from data that is generic to enhance performance.

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