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Database Management Basics

Database management is a system of managing information that supports a company’s business operations. It includes data storage and distribution to applications and users, modifying it as necessary and monitoring changes to the data and preventing it from being corrupted due to unexpected failures. It is a part of a company’s informational infrastructure, which supports decision-making, 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 evolved into information management systems (IMS) which allowed large amounts data to be stored and retrieved for a range of reasons. From calculating inventory to aiding complicated financial accounting functions, and human resource functions.

A database is a collection of tables that arrange data in accordance with a specific pattern, such as one-to many relationships. It uses the primary key to identify records, and also allows cross-references among tables. Each table contains a number of fields, also known as attributes, that contain information about the data entities. The most widely used type of database currently is a relational model developed by E. F. “Ted” Codd at IBM in the 1970s. This model is based upon normalizing the data, making it more easy to use. It is also easier to update data because it doesn’t require changing many sections of the databases.

Most DBMSs support different types of databases by offering different levels of external and internal organization. The internal level addresses cost, scalability and other operational issues including the layout of the physical storage. The external level focuses on how the database is represented in user interfaces and other applications. It may include a mix of various external views (based on the different data models) and may include virtual tables that are constructed from generic data to improve performance.