What is a Database Management System? Definition and Types

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What is a Database Management System? Definition and Types

Businesses, and overall, individuals, produce a massive amount of data on a daily basis. There has been an accelerating growth in generated data with over 2.5 quintillion bytes each day with today's technology. Consequently, it's necessary to establish a system to manage and manipulate this data. And that's precisely the role of a database management system.

Database management systems (DMBS) are a solution to the influx of data generated every day. These can help businesses process large amounts of data efficiently, creating an organized work environment. 

What is a Database Management System?

Database management systems are software systems used for managing and manipulating data. DBMS allows end-users, which are usually  database architects, to create, protect, read, update, and delete data in a database.

These systems were introduced back in 1960 with the main functions of storing and extracting data sets. Over time, as data became more complex and specialized, so did the database management systems.

In short, database management systems manage data. The database enables data to be accessed, locked, and modified. And the database schema defines the database’s logical structure. These elements provide concurrency, security, data integrity, and uniform data admin procedures. 

Characteristics of a Database Management System

These are some of the most critical characteristics of DBMS:

1. Real-world entity:

The DMBS are designed to adapt to the needs of business organizations in storing extensive data with efficient operations on them. These entities in the database look like real-world entities. 

2. Atomicy of operations (transactions): 

Database management systems perform atomic operations (this means any operation is either 100% complete or not complete at all).

3. Stores any kind of structured data: 

DBMS practically stores any type of data that exists in the world.Integrity: The data that comes into a database is both correct and consistent. Additionally, integrating changes in the database is easy.

4. Supports ACID properties: 

Any DMBS supports ACID (Accuracy, Completeness, Isolation, and Durability) properties. 

5. Security: 

DBMS provides security to the data stored because all users have different access permissions.  

6. Query language: 

Queries are used to manipulate and retrieve data, but DBMS are armed with a strong query language that makes it more efficient and effective. 

DBMS Functions

The most important functions of database management systems are:

  • Data dictionary management
  • Data transformation and presentation
  • Security management
  • Multi-user access control
  • Database access languages and application programming interface
  • Data storage management
  • Database communication interfaces

Types of Database Management Systems 

There are 7 types of database management systems:

1. NoSQL Database

Non-relational database, known as NoSQL characterizes by providing a data storage and recovery mechanism. It's not a relational database as its stores data not exclusively in a tabular form but in different ways.

This type of DBMS is suitable for loosely defined data structures that could potentially evolve or transform over time but may require more application involvement for schema management. 

NoSQL databases can be divided into four types: key-value storage, documented-oriented database, graph database, and wide-column stores. 

2. Relational DBMSs

Relational database management systems are the most used type of database system. This model is based on a table that has columns and rows:

  • Columns represent a data attribute
  • Rows represent database records
  • Fields represent data values. 

To tap the information in SQL or in relational databases, users submit a query that finds and analyzes data relevant to the query, generating the results in the form of a report. 

3. In-Memory DBMSs

In-memory DBMSs rely on the computer´s memory rather than on the disk storage. This makes it improves its performance over standard database models. By keeping data in active memory, I/O latency is basically eliminated. 

One of the key characteristics of in-memory DBMSs is their adherence to ACID properties. 

4. Cloud-based DBMSs

Now more than ever, a relevant number of companies choose to store their data on public cloud platforms. Cloud-based database services manage data through systems via the DBaaS model. Rather than provisioning the underlying infrastructure and resources required to run a relational DBMS on-premises, the cloud model lets companies pay only for the storage, processing, and other resources that they actively use. 

5. Columnar Database Management Systems

Columnar DBMS are primarily used in data warehouses that store massive amongst of structured data. This type of database system is mostly used by business intelligence applications in which a few columns of many rows are queried. 

This type of database is designed to store a great number of dynamic columns. Instead of having all column names and record keys fixed, the values in a single column are serialized in sequence. So, the information that normally a relational DBMS would store in several rows in a columnar DBMS fits in one column. 

Columnar DBMS are characterized by their durable data storage, self-indexing, and scalability. 

6. Centralized Database

This type of database stores data at a centralized database system. Users can access the stored data in the database from different locations through several applications. These applications contain the authentication process that enables users to access data securely. 

Centralized databases usually provide better data quality, enabling organizations to establish data standards. 

7. Distributed Database 

In distributed systems, data is distributed among various database systems of organizations. These systems are connected via communication links. 

Distributed database systems are divided into two groups: 1) Homogeneous, which execute on the same operating system and use the same app process. And 2) heterogeneous, which executes on different operating systems under different application procedures, carrying different hardware devices. 

Database Management System Examples

There are many different database softer solutions that include both enterprise and open-source, available for database management. These are some of the most popular database management systems:

1. Oracle - It's a commercial relational DBMS. 

2. MySQL - Relational database management system with open source systems used on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

3. SQL - Relational database management system that allows database administrated to manage databases and query data.

Wrapping Up 

Databases have record items with complex logical relationships that grow with the number of users. Data helps businesses better understand their business, and as a result, they need to actively monitor and improve their databases to ensure a high level of performance.

Database management systems allow organizations to manage and store all their data securely. This is why every business has to evaluate its priorities and choose a database management system that best covers its needs. 

Image Source: Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Author's bio: Gabriela Molina is the Editor-in-Chief of IT staffing agency  DistantJob. As a former freelance journalist, she has covered a wide range of topics throughout her career. She was featured in Datasciencentral, Simpleprogrammer, and YouTeam, to name a few. She is currently specializing in the areas of technology, leadership, and remote work.