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Definition - What does Database Management System (DBMS) mean?

A database management system (DBMS) is a software package designed to define, manipulate, retrieve and manage data in a database. A DBMS generally manipulates the data itself, the data format, field names, record structure and file structure. It also defines rules to validate and manipulate this data. A DBMS relieves users of framing programs for data maintenance. Fourth-generation query languages, such as SQL, are used along with the DBMS package to interact with a database. Techopedia explains Database Management System (DBMS) A database is the back-end of an application. A DBMS receives instruction from a DBA and accordingly instructs the system to make the necessary changes. These commands can be to load, retrieve or modify existing data from the system. A DBMS always provides data independence. Any change in storage mechanism and formats are performed without modifying the entire application . There are four main types of database organization: Relational Database: Data is organized as logically independent tables. Relationships among tables are shown through shared data. The data in one table may reference similar data in other tables, which maintains the integrity of the links among them. This feature is referred to as referential integrity - an important concept in a relational database system. Operations such as select and join can be performed on these tables. This is the most widely used system of database organization. Flat Database: Data is organized in a single kind of record with a fixed number of fields. This database type encounters more errors due to the repetitive nature of data. Object Oriented Database: Data is organized with similarity to object oriented programming concepts. An object consists of data and methods, while classes group objects having similar data and methods. Hierarchical Database: Data is organized with hierarchical

relationships. It becomes a complex network if the one-to-many relationship is violated.

A database is a collection of related files that are usually integrated, linked or cross-referenced to one another. The advantage of a database is that data and records contained in different files can be easily organized and retrieved using specialized database management software called a database management system (DBMS) or database manager. After reading this lesson, you should be able to:

Define the term database management system (DBMS). Describe the basic purpose and functions of a DBMS. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of DBMSs.

DBMS Fundamentals A database management system is a set of software programs that allows users to create, edit and update data in database files, and store and retrieve data from those database files. Data in a database can be added, deleted, changed, sorted or searched all using a DBMS. If you were an employee in a large organization, the information about you would likely be stored in different files that are linked together. One file about you would pertain to your skills and abilities, another file to your income tax status, another to your home and office address and telephone number, and another to your annual performance ratings. By cross-referencing these files, someone could change a person's address in one file and it would automatically be reflected in all the other files. DBMSs are commonly used to manage:

Membership and subscription mailing lists Accounting and bookkeeping information The data obtained from scientific research

Customer information Inventory information Personal records Library information

DBMSs and File Management Systems Computerized file management systems (sometimes called file managers) are not considered true database management systems because files cannot be easily linked to each other. However, they can serve as useful data management functions by providing a system for storing information in files. For example, a file management system might be used to store a mailing list or a personal address book. When files need to be linked, a relational database should be created using database application software such as Oracle, Microsoft Access, IBM DB2, or FileMaker Pro. The Advantages of a DBMS Improved availability: One of the principle advantages of a DBMS is that the same information can be made available to different users. Minimized redundancy: The data in a DBMS is more concise because, as a general rule, the information in it appears just once. This reduces data redundancy, or in other words, the need to repeat the same data over and over again. Minimizing redundancy can therefore significantly reduce the cost of storing information on hard drives and other storage devices. In contrast, data fields are commonly repeated in multiple files when a file management system is used. Accuracy: Accurate, consistent, and up-to-date data is a sign of data integrity. DBMSs foster data integrity because updates and changes to the data only have to be made in one place. The chances of making a mistake are higher if you are required to change the same data in several different places than if you only have to make the change in one place.

Program and file consistency: Using a database management system, file formats and system programs are standardized. This makes the data files easier to maintain because the same rules and guidelines apply across all types of data. The level of consistency across files and programs also makes it easier to manage data when multiple programmers are involved. User-friendly: Data is easier to access and manipulate with a DBMS than without it. In most cases, DBMSs also reduce the reliance of individual users on computer specialists to meet their data needs. Improved security: As stated earlier, DBMSs allow multiple users to access the same data resources. This capability is generally viewed as a benefit, but there are potential risks for the organization. Some sources of information should be protected or secured and only viewed by select individuals. Through the use of passwords, database management systems can be used to restrict data access to only those who should see it. The Disadvantages of a DBMS There are basically two major downsides to using DBMSs. One of these is cost, and the other the threat to data security. Cost: Implementing a DBMS system can be expensive and timeconsuming, especially in large organizations. Training requirements alone can be quite costly. Security: Even with safeguards in place, it may be possible for some unauthorized users to access the database. In general, database access is an all or nothing proposition. Once an unauthorized user gets into the database, they have access to all the files, not just a few. Depending on the nature of the data involved, these breaches in security can also pose a threat to individual privacy. Steps should also be taken to regularly make backup copies of the database files and store them because of the possibility of fires and earthquakes that might destroy the system.