Database Management Basics

Database management is a method of coordinating the information that is used to support a company’s business operations. It includes data storage and distribution to users and applications making changes as needed and monitoring changes to the data and preventing the data from becoming damaged by unexpected failure. It is a component of the informational infrastructure of a company that aids in decision-making in corporate growth, as well as compliance with laws like the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

The first database systems were invented in the 1960s by Charles Bachman, IBM and others. They evolved into information management systems (IMS) which allowed massive amounts of data to be stored and retrieved for a range of reasons. From calculating inventory to aiding complex financial accounting functions as well as human resource functions.

A database is a collection of tables that store data in accordance with a specific pattern, such as one-to many relationships. It utilizes primary keys to identify records and permit cross-references between tables. Each table has a set of attributes or fields that represent facts about data entities. The most widely used type of database today is a relational model, created by E. F. “Ted” Codd at IBM in the 1970s. The concept is based on normalizing data to make it easier to use. It also makes it simpler to update data, avoiding the necessity of changing many sections of the database.

Most DBMSs can accommodate multiple types of databases through different levels of external and internal organization. The internal level is concerned with costs, scalability and other operational issues, like the physical layout of the database. The external level focuses on how the database is presented in user interfaces and other applications. It could include a mix of various external views (based on the various data models) and may include virtual tables that are created from generic data in order to improve performance.