Before we dive headfirst into the world of DBMS, we first need to learn about what a database is and how it works. Well, it is a collection of data that represents elements of the real world.
A database contains information for a particular type of task. For example, an employee database includes information on every employee working inside a company or a university database containing information about students, grades, and courses inside a university environment.
What is a DBMS?
On the other hand, a DBMS is the accompanying software that allows users to retrieve or store data sets inside a database while considering security and usability. It contains a group of programs that enable them to manipulate the database according to their requirements. A DBMS accepts a command from users through a computer application and instructs the OS to provide them with the required data. A DBMS is an interface that connects a user with the information stored on a database in layman's terms.
Users can perform various tasks such as; Data definition, Data management, Data recovery, User management, Data Backup, Currency control, and much more. In its essence, a DBMS allows users to have a highly centralized view of data present inside a database. For example, businesses might use a DBMS to store employee information and perform accounting-related tasks simultaneously.
Examples of a DBMS
We will be looking at some of the different types of database technologies later on in this article. However, it will be great to know a few famous DBMS examples. Some of these popular DBMSs contains applications such as;
- IBM DB2
While this list doesn't contain all the DBMSs in existence, these are ones that companies usually deploy at their premises.
Importance of a DBMS
As mentioned earlier, a DBMS has numerous functions. These systems are incredibly complex and usually divided into two categories: The Special Purpose DBMS and the General Purpose DBMS. Both these types of DBMS serve different purposes. However, DBMSs are generally crucial for organizations and businesses because they provide them with an efficient way to manage various data types.
Without a DBMS, completing tasks such as data entry and retrieval take more time because employees have to do everything manually. For example, an online database used with a DBMS can allow employees to enter data into the system and access it routinely without any problems. They will only need a login ID, a password, and a good internet connection. Multiple users can access this database simultaneously in various ways. Furthermore, every user will have a different password and login ID to access their part of the database.
For example, a company's HR department utilizes a DBMS to manage employee information, create hiring reports, distribute legal information to the staff, and many more. Another example is a big-box store. They can use a DBMS to keep track of inventory, production, distribution, and much more. In both these situations, a DBMS creates a more organized and smoother workflow.
A DBMS can also work remotely. It can help businesses, small to medium-sized ones, looking to outsource data administration tasks to a third party. As they don't have the resources to install a database with a DBMS in-house, it will be wise for them to outsource all data handling-related tasks.
Types of Database Technologies
There are a few different types of database technologies, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. Listed below are some of these database technologies;
A single-file database contains a simple database structure because it includes unified information. Users can access this information in a predefined way. However, being the simplest type of database technology out there, storing large data sets can be an issue. For example, a single-file database cannot interact with any other database- even another single-file-based one. Such a limitation means that you will have to update data on every database one by one as it won't happen automatically.
A multi-file database allows linkage between different formats and types of data in a more flexible and organized manner. Plus, it also can split data across various locations, unlike a single-file database. It provides users the advantage of speedy access to information.
Databases were usually centralized in the past, meaning stored, maintained, and located at one particular location. It was down to the technological limitation of computer systems. With such an approach, users could access data from wherever they wanted to. However, the data itself was present inside a single database. A centralized database has the advantage of minimized data redundancy and increased data integrity. Securing information stored at a single, centralized location is a lot easier, not to mention the low data maintenance costs.
However, this type of database relies heavily on network connectivity. If there are any network or connectivity issues, it could result in the loss of access to the database.
While to counter some of the issues of a centralized database, companies are now using distributed databases. It is just like a multi-file database where data exists at multiple locations. This type of database consists of a multi-file centralized DBMS.
The primary advantage of such a system is that it provides improved data security in case of a system fault. The retrieval of lost data is typically more effortless and faster with a distributed database than a centralized database.
A row-oriented database stores and categorizes data in terms of rows. Such an approach limits the efforts a user has to put into retrieving or receiving data regarding a particular task. For example, an eCommerce store uses a row-oriented database to retrieve information regarding products. While such a database has its pros, it is inefficient when fetching numerous data sheets at once. For instance, if you were trying to retrieve information about a specific employee's salary, doing so will take much time. You have to go through every row to find the information.
On the other hand, a column-based database stores information in terms of columns. These columns consist of datasets and values, and there can be hundreds of columns within such a type of database. Data warehouses, CRMs, and medical institutes typically use Column-based databases. The approach here is beneficial as this type of database helps store information efficiently.
In the end, the type of database technology and DBMS you decide to go for should provide you with development, support, and ease of use. It is especially the case for organizations and businesses, as their needs will evolve with time. They wouldn't want a DBMS to restrict their ability to upgrade it when required. Not to mention the problems it will cause to business operations when running an outdated DBMS with no software support.