Database Management Basics

Database management is a system of managing information that a company needs to run its business operations. It involves storing data and distribution to users and application programs and then modifying it if necessary, monitoring changes in the data and preventing the data from becoming corrupted by unexpected failure. It is part of the overall infrastructure of a business which supports decision-making and corporate growth as well as compliance with laws such as the GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act.

In the 1960s, Charles Bachman and IBM among others came up with the first database systems. They evolved into information management systems (IMS), which allowed large amounts of data to be stored and retrieved for a variety of reasons. From calculating inventory to supporting complicated financial accounting functions, and human resource functions.

A database consists of tables that organize data according to a particular arrangement, like one-to-many relationships. It uses the primary key to identify records, and also allows cross-references between tables. Each table has a variety of fields, also known as attributes, that provide information about the entities that comprise the data. The most well-known type of database that is currently in use is a relational model, developed by E. F. “Ted” Codd at IBM in the 1970s. This design is based upon normalizing data to make it easier to use. It also makes it easier to update data without the need to update several databases.

Most DBMSs are able to support different types of databases by offering different internal and external levels of organization. The internal level addresses cost, scalability and other operational concerns 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 various external views (based on the various data models) and may include virtual tables that are constructed from generic data to improve performance.

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