Database management system

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Database management system (also known by its acronym, DBMS; hereinafter, DBMS) is a software system that enables users to define, create, maintain and control access to the database.

The DBMS acronym is sometime extended to indicated the underlying database model, with RDBMS for relational, OODBMS or ORDBMS for the object (orientated) model and ORDBMS for Object-Relational. Other extensions can indicate some other characteristic, such as DDBMS for a distributed database management systems.

The functionality provided by a DBMS can vary enormously. The core functionality is the storage, retrieval and update of data. Codd proposed the following functions and services a fully-fledged general purpose DBMS should provide:Template:Sfn

  • Data storage, retrieval and update
  • User accessible catalog or data dictionary describing the metadata
  • Support for transactions and concurrency
  • Facilities for recovering the database should it become damaged
  • Support for authorization of access and update of data
  • Access support from remote locations
  • Enforcing constraints to ensure data in the database abides by certain rules

It is also generally to be expected the DBMS will provide a set of utilities for such purposes as may be necessary to administer the database effectively, including import, export, monitoring, defragmentation and analysis utilities.Template:Sfn The core part of the DBMS interacting between the database and the application interface sometimes referred to as the database engine.

Often DBMSs will have configuration parameters that can be statically and dynamically tuned, for example the maximum amount of main memory on a server the database can use. The trend is to minimise the amount of manual configuration, and for cases such as embedded databases the need to target zero-administration is paramount.

The large major enterprise DBMSs have tended to increase in size and functionality and can have involved thousands of human years of development effort through their lifetime.Template:Efn

Early multi-user DBMS typically only allowed for the application to reside on the same computer with access via terminals or terminal emulation software. The client–server architecture was a development where the application resided on a client desktop and the database on a server allowing the processing to be distributed. This evolved into a multitier architecture incorporating application servers and web servers with the end user interface via a web browser with the database only directly connected to the adjacent tier.Template:Sfn

A general-purpose DBMS will provide public application programming interfaces (API) and optionally a processor for database languages such as SQL to allow applications to be written to interact with the database. A special purpose DBMS may use a private API and be specifically customised and linked to a single application. For example an email system performing many of the functions of a general-purpose DBMS such as message insertion, message deletion, attachment handling, blocklist lookup, associating messages an email address and so forth however these functions are limited to what is required to handle email.

The word “database” instantly creates a picture of a table having rows and columns. Typically, any system architecture has a relational database management system (RDBMS) to store data. Data in an RDBMS is stored in tables containing rows and columns, and tables are connected to each other via relational models.

Examples of traditional RDBMSs include Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, DB2, etc. These databases have been in the market for a substantial amount of time, as they are highly efficient and deliver great performance.

However, an alternative to the conventional RDBMS that is trending in the market is NoSQL. NoSQL, which means “Not Only SQL”, is a database that stores data in non-tabular forms like document stores, graph DB, BigTable, etc. One of the leading examples of NoSQL is MongoDB.


See also

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