Database Management Basics

Database management is the system for managing information that supports the business operations of an organization. It involves storing data, distributing it to users and applications making changes as needed, monitoring changes in the data and preventing it from being corrupted by unexpected failures. It is a part of the informational infrastructure of a business that aids in decision-making as well as corporate growth and compliance with laws like the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

In the 1960s, Charles Bachman and IBM among others developed the first database systems. They developed into information management systems (IMS) that made it possible to store and retrieve massive amounts of information for a range of purposes, ranging from calculating inventory to supporting complicated human resources and financial accounting functions.

A database is a set of tables that organize data according to some schema, such as one-to many relationships. It makes use of primary keys to identify records and allow cross-references between tables. Each table is comprised of a variety of fields, referred to as attributes, that provide information about the entities that comprise the data. The most widely used kind of database is a relational model designed by E. F. “Ted” Codd at IBM in the 1970s. This model is based on normalizing data to make it more user-friendly. It is also simpler to update data since it doesn’t require the modification of several databases.

Most DBMSs support multiple types of databases, offering internal and external levels of organization. The internal level addresses cost, scalability and other operational issues, such as the layout of the physical storage. 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. It also could include virtual tables that are computed using generic data to improve the performance.

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