Database Management Basics

Database management is a system of managing information that a company needs to run its business operations. It involves storing data, distributing it to users and applications, editing it as needed as well as monitoring changes in data and protecting against data corruption due to unexpected failure. It is a part of a company’s total informational infrastructure, which supports decision-making and growth for the business as well as compliance with laws such as the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

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

A database is a collection of tables which organize data according to an established pattern, such as one-to-many relationships. It makes use of primary keys to identify records and allows cross-references among tables. Each table has a collection of fields called attributes that provide information about data entities. The most popular 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 simpler to use. It is also easier to update data because it doesn’t require changing certain sections of the database.

The majority of DBMSs are able to support various types of databases, by providing different levels of external and internal organization. The internal level is concerned with cost, scalability, as well as other operational issues, such as the physical layout of the database. The external level is the representation of the database on user interfaces and applications It may include a mix of different external views that are based on different data models and can include virtual tables that are calculated using generic data to improve the performance.