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84 Informatica Economică vol. 13, no.

1/2009

Database Systems – Present and Future


Ion LUNGU, Manole VELICANU, Iuliana BOTHA
Economic Informatics Department,
Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
{ion.lungu|manole.velicanu|iuliana.botha}@ie.ase.ro

The database systems have nowadays an increasingly important role in the knowledge-based
society, in which computers have penetrated all fields of activity and the Internet tends to de-
velop worldwide. In the current informatics context, the development of the applications with
databases is the work of the specialists. Using databases, reach a database from various ap-
plications, and also some of related concepts, have become accessible to all categories of IT
users. This paper aims to summarize the curricular area regarding the fundamental database
systems issues, which are necessary in order to train specialists in economic informatics
higher education. The database systems integrate and interfere with several informatics tech-
nologies and therefore are more difficult to understand and use. Thus, students should know
already a set of minimum, mandatory concepts and their practical implementation: computer
systems, programming techniques, programming languages, data structures. The article also
presents the actual trends in the evolution of the database systems, in the context of economic
informatics.
Keywords: database systems - DBS, database management systems – DBMS, database – DB,
programming languages, data models, database design, relational database, object-oriented
systems, distributed systems, advanced database systems.

and of the links between them. In the special-


1 Introduction
The notion of database system is used in
the context of the development of the infor-
ty literature are presented various DBS archi-
tecture types [12], [8]. We propose a simpli-
matics application with databases. An infor- fied architecture, as well as suggestive and
matics application requires a set of interre- comprehensive, easy to understand and use.
lated elements for the collection, transmis- Our experience theoretical and practical on
sion, storage, and processing of data with DBS, and the research undertaken in this
computer. A Database System – DBS is a set area, helped us to build a components archi-
of interrelated elements, which allows the tecture for such a system (figure 1). The main
development and the deployment of a data- advantage is that any type of DBS architec-
base application. These elements refer to da- ture can be adapted to the components archi-
ta, software and others resources necessary in tecture. Also, trends of development for DBS
the development of a database application. will generate new components that could fit
The data are structured and stored on the into the architecture that we have proposed it.
computer, in the external memory (database) Therefore, it results that our architecture has
with specific software products (Database a large portability, flexibility and simplicity.
Management System – DBMS and applica- The components architecture gives an idea of
tion programs) and in a certain work context the constituent elements of a DBS and of the
(legislative framework, organizational interdependence between them.
framework, equipment, human resources From the proposed architecture of DBS re-
etc.). Thus, DBS involves a great complexity, sults three components:
a lot of components, and a large volume of 1. The data are organized in a database – DB,
data. All these aspects result from the struc- which include: data collections; the data dic-
ture of a DBS, namely from its architecture. tionary containing the data structure, con-
DBS architecture is a graphical and sugges- straints etc.; annex files that refer to the pa-
tive representation of the system elements rameters files, index files and so on.
Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009 85

2. Software is the component addressed to bute to the completion and working of the
develop and to explore the database and con- entire DBS: set of automated procedures
tains: database management system – DBMS (routines) and manuals; legal, administrative
and application programs. and organizational regulations; hardware
3. The auxiliary elements are complementary used; categories of users involved.
components of the two above, which contri-

Fig. 1. Components architecture of a DBS

DBS types can be grouped into different cat- additional information to ensure the access.
egories. These categories are obtained taking These additional data can be: links, files with
into account certain criteria for classification, addresses, pointers, index files etc.
of which the most important criteria refers to The data file contains a collection of homo-
the logical data model implemented. Thus, genous data, which are organized by a given
are obtained two categories of DBS, each organization technique on an electronic sup-
with subcategories, as we present below. port that can be processed with the computer.
− DBS that implement the classical logical There are two levels for the description of
data models (as shown in the 1st paragraph), data files: logical and physical. The main
in historical order, with the following subca- ways of organizing data files are: indexed,
tegories: hierarchical, network, relational, ob- direct, relative, by partitions, multi-indexed,
ject oriented. In such a DBS, will work prop- reverse, with links etc. A number of tech-
erly the corresponding DBMS; niques for organizing data files are also used
− DBS that implement advanced logical data for organizing data in databases. File man-
models – is based on classical logical data agement is performed by a component of the
models which are adapted and developed operating system named File Management
with new informatics technologies, in order System.
to reach the following subcategories: distri- The term database has appeared first in the
buted, spatial, parallel, multimedia, XML etc. conference Development and Management of
(as shown in the 3rd paragraph). This is ac- a Computer-Center Data Base, organized by
tually the current trend of development for System Development Corporation in Santa
DBS [2]. Monica in 1964. However, the definition was
made in the technical report of the confe-
2. Database – DB rence CODASYL, in 1969, which was dedi-
Organizing data is an important activity in cated to the data management languages. Un-
the process of developing informatics sys- like data files, the novelty are given by the
tems. The performances of the informatics existence of a file that globally (conceptual)
system depend greatly on how data are orga- describes the data and the links between
nized. In the process of organizing data are them. In this way, it is ensured logical and
followed mainly two major objectives con- physical independence of data towards appli-
cerning optimizing computing resources: fast cations.
access to data and small memory space occu- The databases are characterized by the fact
pied. Sometimes these two objectives are that they contain data collections homogene-
contradictory. If data access is faster, it is ne- ous and interrelated [19] and that they ensure
cessary memory space in addition to provide the logical and physical data independence
86 Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009

towards applications via a third level of data searched new solutions for organizing data.
description - the global logical level called The premises of the relational model can be
also the database schema. found in the concept of the sets/ensembles
Database management is performed by soft- data model, defined by D. F. Childs in 1968.
ware called Database Management System – He indicated that any data structure could be
DBMS, which is portable on certain operating represented through data tables with relation-
systems and certain computer systems. ships between them.
In the databases case, the data access is done The relational databases, as a new form of
quickly by several users at the same time, in organizing data, are based on the relational
various forms and criteria; it is increased the model proposed by E. F. Codd in two papers
level of protection of the data; it is kept a published in the years 1969 and 1970. He de-
minimum and controlled redundancy; data fined the relational model [12] through the
are structured according to a data model etc. relational data structure, the operations of re-
The databases and their facilities have lational algebra and relational calculus, and
evolved from the first type of database to the integrity rules or constraints (restrictions) re-
newest appeared. quired for maintaining accurate and consis-
Taking into account the development so far tent data.
and the current trend of databases, we pro- The relational data model was mathematical
pose a complete definition for the concept of fundament and has been a basis for building
database. Database - DB is [13] a whole col- relational languages and relational database
lection of data, stored in the external memo- management systems. This model is asso-
ry, with the following characteristics: ciated to the normalization theory that opti-
− organized on three levels (conceptual, logi- mizes database structure, by eliminating
cal, physical - see the three-tier architecture possible update anomalies.
of DBS); The relational structure has, as basic element,
− structured according to a logical data model the relation, which is part of a Cartesian
for DB (hierarchical, network, relational, ob- product of several domains of data, contains
ject oriented); tuples with significance, and has a name. All
− consistent, ensuring integrity constraints tuples of the relation should be unique.
and data protection; Representing relations in a two-dimensional
− with a minimum redundancy, controlled by table (data table) is easy to understand and
implementing a data model and by applying a use. The relationships between data tables
design technique (the technique of normali- can be logically created through connection
zation for relational DB); codes (primary keys, foreign keys). The rela-
− accessible to more users in a timely man- tions in a field of activity, mandatory norma-
ner, so that multiple users can use informa- lized according to defined rules, and the rela-
tion from DB whenever they need. tionships between them, form a relational da-
The first databases that appeared were the ta structure for that area. This structure is ma-
hierarchical databases and the network da- terialized in the database schema, which con-
tabases. They are based respectively on the tains the names and attributes of each table,
hierarchical model and the network model. and the relationships that can be logically es-
They are characterized by the three levels of tablished between them. On this relational
description: logical, physical and conceptual, structure are acting operators of the relational
a minimum redundancy, and the fact that the calculus and of the relational algebra.
links between data are done through physical The Relational Calculus (RC) was proposed
address or through pointers. These databases by E. F. Codd and it is based on the first-
allow easy access by multiple keys, but also order predicate calculus, which is a field of
present a disadvantage because of slow up- mathematical logic.
dates caused by the physical data links. This The basic construction in the relational calcu-
is one of the main reasons for which were lus is an expression of the tuple relational
Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009 87

calculus or of the domain relational calculus restrictions, have been studied in terms of
(depending on the type of variable used). Re- possibilities for the verification of com-
lational expression calculation is made of: pliance and for their power to modeling, so
operation performed, variables (tuples or as to be consistent and accurate data into the
fields), conditions (for comparison, of exis- database.
tence), well-defined formulas (constant, vari- The relational databases are based on the re-
able, function, predicate), operators etc. The lational model. They can be consider to be
operators used in the relational calculus are: formed from a set of relations (data tables)
the universal quantifier (∀), the existential that can have logical relationships between
quantifier (∃), the conjunctive connector, the them, and the data dictionary, in which are
disjunctive connector and the negation con- described data, relationships, constraints,
nector. views etc.
The relational algebra (RA) is a collection of Relational databases present precise advan-
formal operations applied to the relations, tages in front of the hierarchical or the net-
and it was mathematical fundament also by work databases. Thus, they eliminate the
E. F. Codd. The operations are implemented physical links between data (references,
in relational algebraic expressions, which are pointers etc.) and contain data structures easy
the database queries. They are composed of to manipulate them, assure an increase de-
operands and relational operators. The ope- gree of logical and physical independence of
rands are always data tables (one or more), data towards applications. Relational data-
and the result of the relational expression bases offer new control possibilities for data
evaluation is only one data table. coherence and correctness, multiples facili-
Codd’s standard relational algebra consists of ties for defining and manipulate data, and al-
six primitive operators (union, difference, low an increase integrity and security of data
Cartesian product, selection, projection, join) and also fast access to the data.
and two derived operators (intersection and Though, the relational databases present
division). Later, were introduced other de- some limits. They offer less support for: mul-
rived operators (specials) or extensions of the timedia applications, GIS (geographic infor-
standard RA, such as: the transitive closure, mation system), knowledge-based systems,
the relation splitting, the relation complement computer aided design, informatics areas
etc. These operators can be grouped into set where is working with complex objects. One
operators and special operators. modality of storing such objects is
The relational algebra and the relational cal- represented by unconventional data types,
culus are logically equivalent: for any alge- such as BLOB (Binary Large Object), which
braic expression, there is an equivalent ex- are allowed in all the relational databases. In
pression in the relational calculus, and vice the relational databases, these objects are
versa. The RA is by definition non- considered entities with no internal structure,
procedural (descriptive) while the RC allows therefore isn’t any possibility of finding or
procedural and non-procedural searches. accessing their elements. These deficiencies
The integrity constraints defined in the rela- led to the introduction of object-oriented
tional model represent the main method of technology concepts in the area of databases,
integration of the data semantics in the rela- leading to the object-oriented model, and re-
tional databases. The advantage of the intro- spectively to the object-oriented databases.
duction of the data semantics into the data- At the base of the object-oriented data struc-
base, through mechanisms of defining and ture are the following concepts: object, ob-
verifying these restrictions, consists in the ject class, hierarchies of object classes, inhe-
easiest way of maintain applications and im- ritance, encapsulation, persistence, polymor-
plement effective physical mechanisms. The phism etc.
two types of restrictions placed in the rela- The objects are basic structures that include
tional model, the structural and the behavior data structures and methods, and are grouped
88 Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009

in classes or types of objects. The object the sources of the dimensions. The most
classes are related by inheritance and form popular multidimensional models are: star
class hierarchies. Data structure contains schema, snowflake schema, constellation
complex objects, made up of simple compo- schema. Multidimensional model is the basis
nents, each with its own attributes and beha- of defining data warehouses as a way of or-
vior. The operations of the object-oriented ganizing data. In the widest sense, a Data
data model can be grouped in: getting and Warehouse (DW) is a complex database that
sending messages, selecting the appropriate is maintained with data from internal and ex-
methods, updating methods, updating classes ternal sources of the organization. Data from
etc. In the object-oriented data model, the in- source systems are extracted, cleaned, trans-
tegrity constrains are deducted from the defi- formed and stored in special data ware-
nition of structure and operations, and they houses, in order to support decision-making
are: the encapsulation constraint, the con- processes [14]. DW is a collection of subject-
straint on compliance with the protocol spe- oriented data, integrated, historical and non-
cified by the definition of the class, the volatile, which is supporting the process of
unique object identifier constraint etc. making decisions [18]. This vision of DW
The object-oriented database allows storing focuses on their role in the decision informa-
and selecting data through object-oriented tion management, maintaining in this way a
technology. It contains classes of objects high level of generality.
among which there are different hierarchical DW has the following characteristics [16]:
links or another type of link and which com- allows the access to organizational data, the
plies with the rules of creation and usage of data are consistent, and can be combined and
the objects. separated according to each dimension or
These databases have the advantage of better every aspect of business. DW will have at-
reflecting the real world that consists in com- tached a software product that provides a set
plex objects, of different types, which can be of tools for data query, analysis and presenta-
decomposed in other objects and over which tion. This is where the data used are pub-
can act events to change their status. The lished, and the quality of these data contained
access at database objects is much faster be- in DW will be a prerequisite for business
cause of the addressing mode based on poin- reengineering.
ters. Also, object-oriented databases allow IBM Company uses for data warehouses the
the definition reusability, which increase ef- term: Information Warehouses. Moreover, in
ficiency in the creation and use of the data- the specialty literature are used simultaneous-
base. They are used in the domains where ly the two terms of data warehouse: Data
there is no need for complex objects and rela- Warehouse and Information Warehouse.
tions to be broken and then to be reassembled The purpose of a data warehouse is to devel-
for use. op a data repository that will make available
In the recent years was founded a new data operational data in a form acceptable to sup-
model, namely the multidimensional model. port decisions and for other applications [14].
This model represents the data as a data cube. In terms of area coverage, there are three
The data cube allows modeling and visuali- models of DW: enterprise data warehouse,
zation of data in multiple dimensions. A data data mart, virtual data warehouse.
cube is a set of information, organized and The Enterprise Warehouse collects all the in-
presented in a multidimensional structure formation about topics related to the whole
with a set of dimensions and measures. The organization [17]. It provides an extensive
data cube provides a mechanism for querying amount of data (Terabytes). Usually, contains
data with a response time very short. Each detailed data, but can include also aggregated
data cube has a schema, which contains the data. Enterprise data warehouse can be im-
facts table that is the source of the cube plemented on traditional mainframes, on su-
measures, and the dimension tables that are per-servers UNIX or on platforms with paral-
Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009 89

lel architectures. This requires large expenses two conditions: to implement a logical data
for modeling and years for design and execu- model for the database, to incorporate at least
tion. a programming language as well as interfac-
The Data Mart contains a subset of the data es/instruments to optimally manage the data
volume of the organization, which is specific The relational DBMS are the ones that have
to a group of users [18]. The domain is li- been mainly used in the last 30 years – they
mited at specific subjects. The data contained implement the relational data model and at
in the data mart are usually aggregated. Cur- least a relational programming language –
rently, the data marts are implemented on usually SQL. This type of DBMS has greatly
cheaper departmental servers, which are evolved in the past 10 years, adding new fea-
based on UNIX or Windows NT. The cycle tures based on applying new technologies –
of implementing a data mart is rather meas- object oriented, distributed, Business Intelli-
ured in months. As such, a data mart can be gence etc. This trend was maintained up to
considered a part of a data warehouse, easier present, when DBMS become more than just
to build and maintain and less expensive. complex database software, they became an
The Virtual Warehouse is a set of views on infrastructure for databases.
the operational databases. For the efficiency
of query processing, some of the views of The DBMS role
aggregation can be materialized. A virtual Using the definition already given for a
warehouse is easily to build, but requires ad- DBMS and some others that exist in the spe-
ditional capacity on the database servers. cialized literature [12], the intent of such a
software system becomes clear. We have de-
3. Database Management Systems – limited the role of a DBMS in a database sys-
DBMS tem context and designed a suggestive dia-
At the beginning of this article we presented gram (figure 2). So, the role of a DBMS is
the part that Database Management Systems to:
– DBMS play in the by component architec- 1. define and describe the structure of a data-
ture of a Database System. Based on that we base through a specific intrinsic language -
devised a series of definitions for the DBMS Data Description Language - DDL, corres-
[9], listed below: ponding to a certain logical data model;
A DBMS is a complex ensemble of programs 2. load-validate the data in the database, res-
that provide an interface between a database pecting some integrity constraints enforces
and its users. A DBMS is the software com- by the data model in use;
ponent of a database system that interacts 3. make access to the data for different opera-
with every other component, ensuring the tions (consulting, interrogations, actualiza-
connection and independency between the tion, reports editing) using the data model
system’s elements. Taking into account all operators;
these definitions, a software product is a 4. database maintenance using specialized
DBMS if all of the following assertions are instruments (editors, shells, browsers, trans-
simultaneously true: lators etc);
− it’s a system – an ensemble of intercon- 5. ensure database protection namely the se-
nected programs that collaborate with each curity and integrity of data aspect.
other to attain a shared purpose – creating da- The examination of this last diagram leads to
tabase applications; the conclusion that, for a DBMS to work
− it manages data organized in the external properly, it has to have at its disposition a
memory, according to a logical data model conceptual schema of a database. This sche-
for the database; ma is built [8] based on the real world, deli-
− it achieves the objectives and functions of a miting the domain of interest. This domain
DBMS. has to be the subject of a study/investigation
Hence, a DBMS must, at a minimum, satisfy activity – to identify the activities, resources
90 Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009

and transformation-objectives – then the base that contains, in a graphical form, all the enti-
activity has to be covered – that means a ties, their characteristics and connections. Up
conceptual modeling to emphasize the appli- until this moment the design team was in
cations requirements (an entity-relationship charge. From now on, the DBMS takes
diagram will emerge). Based on the obtained charge – it can work like in the last diagram.
results, the design of the database step will be To this end, the DBMS consists of a series of
covered, applying specific techniques, such software components called by the DB reali-
as normalization for a relational DB. The re- zation team.
sult is a conceptual schema of a database –

Fig. 2. The Roles of a DBMS

To fulfill its goal, a DBMS has to use all its functions available for all the DBMS catego-
components on the database. The current ries (as shown in figure 3). These are some
trend is that the DBMS’s role extends more basic functions, and if a software system
and more, taking on many more features does not provide them, it cannot be consi-
from one version to another, becoming more dered a DBMS. These functions are: the data
of a database infrastructure. description, the data manipulation, the data
use, the data management. All of them are
The DBMS functions carried out through operations on data orga-
The entirely of a DBMS components ensure nized in a database. There is a tendency to
its role through four obligatory functions. To keep the functions of a DBMS the same,
fulfill the four functionalities, each DBMS even if the systems keep expanding and in-
supplies a series of activities on the database, cluding new features.
using its components. The grouping of these A DBMS, through its functions, allows the
activities on functionalities has a relative na- authorized users access to the database, as
ture – taking into account the complexity of specified in our definition of a DBMS. A
DBMS, the functionalities offered, the em- short presentation of each of the four basic
ployed programming languages and the me- functions of a DBMS follows.
thod of implementing the data model. Differ- 1. The data description
ent DBMS have distinctive features, based on A DBMS allows the definition of the data-
the implemented data model, identified base structure, using the Data Description
through specific operations and activities. Language – DDL. Defining the data can be
Despite these characteristics, there are some realized at a conceptual, logical and physical
Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009 91

level. The following items need to be de- tized, and now a DDL has a small number of
scribed: attributes (fields) in the database commands. The DDL is specific to each
structure, connections between database enti- DBMS, but it always produces the descrip-
ties, criteria to validate the data, methods to tion of data according to the elements of the
access the data, aspects pertaining to provid- data model that specific DBMS uses. At the
ing referential integrity. The tangible objec- end of this function, the database entities ex-
tive of this function is the database schema, ist as files in the DBMS, but they do not con-
memorized (committed) in the database dic- tain data, only the database structure (data-
tionary. This function was greatly automa- base schema).

Fig. 3. DBMS functions

2. The data manipulation tabase. Many of these data processing opera-


The manipulation function is the most com- tions are accomplished with the help of some
plex one; it delivers update and query of data of the operators of the data model imple-
from the database, using the Data Manipula- mented by the DBMS.
tion Language – DML. The following proce- The data query / interrogation consists of
dures can be performed on the data: load, up- operations like displaying (on screen or on
date, processing, and query. paper), database browsing, output editing.
The data load into the database is executed The outputs can be final or intermediary, and
through automated or programmed opera- can be obtained on several information sup-
tions that ensure the necessary validation cri- ports: on screen, on paper, on a magnetic
teria. medium, on an optical medium. They can be
The update of a database consists in opera- presented in many ways: bulleted lists, re-
tions of adding, modifying and deleting the ports, graphs, images, sounds, video and can
records. The same validation criteria used for be obtained using different search criteria.
loading the data have to be used during the A DML can use a host language or its self
adding and modifying of the records. Updat- language. DML with host language are de-
ing is possible only after authorization, by veloped through adapting some universal
ensuring data protection to conserve the da- programming languages (like COBOL, Pas-
tabase coherence. cal, C, Java, etc) to the DBMS requests. This
The data processing is carried out through way, the power of an universal programming
selecting, ordering, grouping, un-grouping of language is combined with the data query re-
the database entities. These are, usually, quirements (e.g. Oracle). The ones with self
computations made prior to querying the da- language are developed in a specific lan-
92 Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009

guage, capable of reuniting the power of pro- a particular methodology, creates the concep-
cedures with querying of a particular data- tual database schema, and coordinates the da-
base type (e.g. Visual FoxPro). For the query tabase design. To achieve all these tasks, the
activity there are specialized query languages DBMS provides a series of CASE elements
that can be included in the DML or that can and specialized utilities.
exist as-is. In the operational stage of the database, the
3. The data use administrator has to authorize data access
This function provides an assortment of in- (set-up accounts, passwords etc), to rebuild
terfaces needed to ensure the communication the database in case of accidents (through
of all the users with the database. To imple- journalization or copies), to efficiently use
ment this function, the DBMS has to provide the storage space in the internal and external
facilities for several user categories: end- memory (through organizing, optimization
users, expert-user, managers. routines), to provide a series of statistical
The end users are the major category of users analyses for the database (number and type
– recipients of the information stored in the of users, number of logins, number of up-
database. The DBMS allows them to use dates etc). For each and every of these activi-
nonprocedural languages and other database ties, the DBMS provides a mechanism or a
querying facilities (generators, utilities) in a working technique.
simple and interactive manner. These users In the case of a network setup, using distri-
do not have to be familiar with the database buted databases, the DBMS has many com-
structure and / or programming languages, ponents dedicated to the database administra-
the DBMS helps them to interactively use the tion, because the database is complex and the
database through – menus with suggestive data are distributed on all of the computers in
options, windows, templates, wizards, com- the network and there are many users of dif-
prehensive help (tutorials). ferent types.
The expert users in informatics create data- Mainly to serve the administrative function,
base structures and complex procedures to but also helping the other three functions, a
explore the database. DBMS provides these DBMS provides protection of the database,
users with the DDL, the DML and interfaces under both aspects: security and integrity.
with universal programming languages – that
vary in complexity and capacity from one The DBMS architectures
DBMS to another – presenting nonprocedural From their appearance up to present, DBMS
and procedural items to the expert user. Us- have known a great variety, and therefore it
ing them, the expert user describes the data- is difficult to give a unique architecture, valid
base schema and complex ways to manipu- for all their types, because are frequently ap-
late data. To create a database, the DBMS pearing features from one system to another.
will provide to the user CASE (Computer There are concerns about the standardization
Aided Software Engineering) elements that of DBMS architecture, which seeks to define
help in different design steps. a general framework. Among them, two ref-
The DB manager users have an important erence architectures of DBMS are proposed
role in the optimal operation of the system. by the researchers group of CODASYL and
Due to the importance of this category, the ANSI / SPARC [15]. The trend in recent
DBMS has a distinct function to serve them. years is that the DBMS architecture has
4. The data management evolved to a configuration with three compo-
The administration function is complex and nents (as shown in figure 4) – kernel, inter-
can be performed only by a database manag- faces, and tools. This situation is encountered
er. Such a user, which has a rich background at the latest versions of commercial systems.
in analyzing, design and programming, orga- Another trend is represented by distributed
nizes and administer a database in all of its and object-oriented architectures of DBMS
design stages. He sets-up the database using [13], which are more commonly used in net-
Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009 93

work computers and in new types of applica- DBMS. In defining a DBMS we have shown
tions. Since components / levels architecture that not every software product that manages
reflects the current trend of DBMS structure, data in the external memory is a DBMS, but
we further present it. only one that meets certain conditions. Result
Starting from the specialty literature and that DBMS contains a number of compo-
studying the current trends, we have identi- nents, which are interfaces and software tools
fied a modality of grouping the DBMS com- that are designed to meet specific system
ponents and their graphic representation on functions.
three levels, and therefore we have designed The various components in different types of
the components/levels architecture of DBMS. DBMS - each came with one or more pro-
The main advantages of our architecture are posals for architecture - can be placed, some-
the following: it is very simple, easily un- times questionable, in one of these three le-
derstood, easily implemented, and it is porta- vels. The architecture levels of the above can
ble - any kind of DBMS architecture can be contain the following components of a
adapted to the three levels architecture. DBMS:

The components/levels architecture of a

Fig. 4. The components/levels architecture of a DBMS

− the kernel contains DDL, DML, and the oriented technology) have led to the emer-
mandatory components in the minimal kit of gence of new types of DBMS. The architec-
DBMS. This component is designated to ana- tures proposed for them can be adjusted on
lysts, programmers and DB administrators; the three levels;
− the interfaces are composed of: generators - new informatics technologies (such as mul-
of various types - menus, forms, reports etc.; timedia, Internet etc.) have interfered with
CASE elements - Computer Aided Software the database technology, leading to appro-
Engineering; interfaces with the universal priates evolved DBMS. For them were pro-
programming languages; interfaces with oth- posed architectures which can be adapted to
er systems etc. The component is intended the structure on three levels.
for all categories of users: end-users, experts;
− the tools consist of: editors, browsers, 4. The advanced DBS
shells of various types. The component is de- As we have shown earlier in the text, at
signed, essentially, for the database adminis- present, the most widely used database sys-
trator, but also for other categories of users. tems are the relational ones. The relational
DBS have permanently developed new facili-
Conclusion. We believe that the compo- ties, a series of remarkable optimizations and
nents/levels architecture is simple, but com- have continually adapted to the IT context,
plete. Therefore: which, as we all know, has an extraordinary
- standardized architectures - CODASYL dynamics. The databases technology has in-
and ANSI can be made on three levels; terfered with other information technologies,
- new database technologies (e.g. object- resulting in new hybrid types of database sys-
94 Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009

tems. These are based on one of the funda- of a certain rank (all the villages in Roma-
mental data models for databases (hierarchic- nia), of proximity (three neighboring towns in
al, network, relational, object oriented) and Moldova), of junction (pairs of towns in Ro-
are extended with new facilities [2]. Thus, mania, situated at a distance of 50 km from
the so-called advanced DBS were created, each other);
among which we shortly present a few of - the spatial index is the index ordering ap-
them. plied on spatial data and it can be done by
The parallel DBS are the result of the inte- several techniques: spatial curves, distribu-
gration of the database technology with the tion files, R trees etc.;
technology of parallel processing on calculat- - the applications types of spatial DBS: GIS
ing systems and in computer networks. Con- – Geographical Information Systems, CAD –
cerning such a system, we are interested in: Computer Assisted Design, GPS browsers
- the necessary operations of parallel etc.
processing – on data, query requests, transac- The multimedia DBS are stores and
tions, concurrent access; processes, within databases, classical data
- the available calculation resources, which (texts, graphics), as well as multimedia data
means the partitioning of internal memory, of (image, audio, video). The main features of
external memory, of all the available calcula- the multimedia DBS are: it stores large di-
tion resources. mension data (Gigabytes); accepts similar
The mobile DBS refers to database applica- query for images, audio, handwriting; accepts
tions destined to mobile equipments – mobile continuous media data, such as sound and
phones, PDA, POS etc. – connected to porta- video; accepts different data formats (JPEG -
ble microcomputers – Laptop, Notebook, Join Picture Experts Group, MPEG - Motion
Palmtop etc. - and to a communication net- Picture Experts Group etc.); the types of
work. The main features of the mobile DBS DBS multimedia applications are those
are the following: the users are connected via which presuppose queries based on content,
network and obtain a short response time; the the use of individual large objects, a great
communication cost increases function of the necessity for video data.
in/out operations and depending on the inter- The advanced Decision Support Systems -
nal memory processing operations; the user DSS are complex software products which
localizations changes permanently; the use use online data for justifying decisions and
time is limited (batteries etc.); one cannot for assisting the decision-making process.
work with centralized transactions, only with The main features of a DSS are: complex
distributed ones. queries; classical statistical analyses, by us-
The spatial DBS - using the database tech- ing specific models; Data Mining for the au-
nology - resulted by integrating geographical tomatic discovery of certain rules and patters
systems (with a memorizing map and asso- (information) using the available data; the
ciated information) with computer-aided de- processing of large data volumes (Data
sign systems (with the information stored for Warehouse, Data Mart), by using special
assisting a design process). The main fea- technologies; they can be used for all types
tures of the spatial DBS are: of decision-making problems: structured,
- the spatial data are a collection of multidi- semi-structured, unstructured; it has to be in-
mensional data, lines, polygons, cubes and cluded in the integrated information system
other geometrical objects. They can be point of the organization; it includes data, as well
data, when a point is completely characte- as models, organized in databases; it offers
rized by its location in a multidimensional support for the decision-making activity, but
space, region data, when the data are charac- it does not replace it.
terized by localization and destination; The distributed DBS is included in the larger
- the spatial queries are queries made on spa- concept of distributed systems. They are used
tial data. Here are a few types of spatial data: in several IT domains: database systems,
Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009 95

computer networks, operating systems etc. ment, based on the solutions of the advanced
Nevertheless, all the distributed systems, ir- IT.
respective of their type, have a few common The BI domain is included in the tendency of
features and objectives: support for resource transition from the industrial society to the
partitioning, openness, competition and par- information and knowledge society [3].
allelism, scalability, tolerance to accidents, Business Intelligence presupposes the use of
transparency. all the data available to a firm, by means of
The distributed DBMS is the result of the in- computers, with the purpose of improving the
tegration of the DB technology with the decision-making process. This objective re-
computer network technology by extending a quires access to the data, their analysis and
DBMS with data communication and man- finding new possibilities for using them, that
agement facilities in the network. DDBMS is a set of information technologies, used in
manages several local DBs, integrated by a the business making process.
communication network; thus, the user, no Business Intelligence refers to the capacity of
matter his location within the network, perce- transforming existent data into useful infor-
ives a single DB. The researcher C.J.Date es- mation, which can provide a wide range of
tablished 12 rules, according to which it can perspectives, especially new perspectives, on
be established if a DBMS is distributed and the business world at present and which can
to what extent. The main idea resulting from offer an idea on its future development.
the rules is that data distribution must not af- BI requires the capacity of processing a great
fect users in any way; in other words, DBMS number of entries, of performing complex
must ensure a total transparency of data dis- calculations and of aggregating the data into
tribution. significant summaries. The database de-
Data distribution is ensured by a DDBMS, by signed for the BI must be optimized for re-
implementing some specific techniques: ports. Such a database will often store very
fragmentation, replication, mixed, loading. large amounts of historical data and it can be
much larger than a transactional system. The
Other information technologies imple- DB requirements for the transaction
mented in advanced DBS processing are presented comparatively to the
Business Intelligence is an information BI requirements (Table 1) in the following
technology which deals with organizing and table:
running an enterprise, as well as its manage-

Table 1. Transaction processing vs. BI


Transaction processing BI
1. Purpose Automatization of a repetitive process Reporting, data analysis and discovery
2. Designing Minimal and controlled redundancy, Introduced redundancy, flat data struc-
dynamic calculations ture, complex calculation
3. Data storage Discreet transactions, current data, an Transaction summary, historical data,
application multiple integrated applications
4. Access to data Updating, fast queries Only queries and average response times

The technologies employed for BI systems are incompatible purposes between transactions
described next. Today, only an estimate of processing and BI applications. A data ware-
about 12% of information technology solu- house’s purpose is to supply central data sto-
tions were not designed based on the data- rage for one or numerous transactional sys-
base systems and the forecasts are underlying tems, thus achieving a single, integrated and
a further drop of this percentage in the near consistent data source. The data warehouse
future. is designed to optimize the process of report-
Data Warehouses and Data Marts solve the ing for a large number of database records
issues concerning scattered data sources and [7]. It involves numerous data retrievals and
96 Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009

very little, if any updates. The development formation defines itself without being ad-
of enterprise data warehouses was long and dressed;
complex and its practitioners had to employ a - with OLAP searched items are known, in
new approach: the development of smaller, DM they are not – they are discovered;
consolidated warehouses, known as data - OLAP capitalizes on the classic statistical
marts. Thus, storing data in smaller quanti- analysis developing new techniques and me-
ties provides the opportunity of high accura- thods, while DM capitalizes on artificial in-
cy and fast reporting, attainable in a shorter telligence which is enhancing new discovery
development cycle [10]. These facilities, methods;
once integrated into DBMS instruments, - both technologies are searching cloud
meet all the requirements of a business, since grouped values into a multidimensional envi-
they rely on such a large and diverse array of ronment, but with different approaches.
data, with outstanding retrieval capabilities. A few characteristics of DM are:
Extraction-Transformation-Load – ETL - it builds upon computation sheets (table
takes into account the creation of a data computation) based software experience, de-
warehouse based on various data sources. veloping the concept furthermore;
Developing a single, consistent data storage - data analysis and the learning process are
gathered from multiple systems requires data achieved through numerous information
cleaning. Also, the numerous data sources technologies: artificial intelligence, statistics,
may require data transformation to a com- mathematics etc;
mon, unique format, prior to feeding the data - it handles the exceptions from the rules;
warehouse. An ELT instrument give the pos- - employs complex searching methods to
sibly to define business rules by using: a identify data patterns and groups;
graphic interface, standard communication - it extrapolates and builds upon known or
interfaces (e.g.: ODBC, JDBC etc). somewhat known cases;
OLAP – OnLine Analytical Processing em- - it always learns and presents a solution
ploys multidimensional analysis in order to with a certain degree of guarantee;
achieve flexibility, yet maintains a steady - it’s using a vast array of search and extrac-
performance level. Through this approach, tion algorithms: different tree types, neuronal
data is perceived as a cube concept. This networks, random search, probabilities, fore-
cube consists of quantitative values (known casts etc;
as measures) and descriptive categories - it can identify unforeseen tendencies in
(known as dimensions). Utility for companies consumer behavior, thus enhancing future
[4] will benefit from: behavior patterns;
- top management’s ability to provide a bet- - main target area: marketing and publicity:
ter analysis of own data, in order to take the marketing campaigns to promote goods and
best decisions; services, strategies for the mid and long-term
- on data analysis, searched factor is always developing of the company;
known; - establishing basket of goods; data extrac-
- possibility of multidimensional cloud tion improves with the growth of data
grouping data search; amount and requires high stocking quality for
- capitalizes on the classic statistical analysis useful results.
experience, developing new techniques and Example of DM based software products in-
superior methods. cluded in database platforms: Oracle 10g
Data Mining – DM takes BI one step further Miner, DB2 Data Mining, SQL Server 2008
than OLAP, and it can be stated that it is Data Mining.
complementary with OLAP for a number of The Java platform, powered and promoted
reasons: by Sun Microsystems USA, derived from the
- with OLAP technology, the user is actively developing of the Java programming lan-
engaged in data exploring, while in DM, in- guage in 1995 as a solution to adapt universal
Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009 97

programming languages to the new, Internet cause of the creation of more and more po-
based environment. werful and cheaper components and because
Later on, new Java based products were of integration of technologies (hardware,
launched, thus creating what we know today software, data, communications). Most im-
as the Java platform: the Java programming portant features of GC are: virtualization, dy-
language, JavaScript, Servlets, Java Server namic resource supplying, automatic system
Pages – JSP, Java Database Connectivity – adaptation, unified and efficient manage-
JDBC, Java Beans, Enterprise Java Beans – ment.
EJB, Business Components for Java - BC4J, Through GC technology, taking into account
Java to Enterprise Edition - J2EE, SQL Java its applicability, the Enterprise Grid Compu-
– SQLJ etc. Latest types of DBMS have al- ting – EGC concept was conceived. This
ready fully/in part implemented this technol- concept assumes that several computers with-
ogy. Tendency [5] of the market is that more in an organization should run and work to-
DBMS will implement this Java technology, gether as one integrated system. EGC needs
in a certain measure. a software program that smoothly enhances
Grid computing represents a new technology the efficient accessing of multiple servers,
which grew from the idea that computing permits modular data storage and allows on
technology around the world isn’t employed request storage capacity increase.
to its fullest [6]. Most of the times, compu- Web technology is extremely business
ting systems are difficult to change, costly to oriented due to the rapid World Wide Web
operate and develop. Changes within the or- development and constitutes an almost limit-
ganizations emerge all the time, the need for less market, offering a huge source of infor-
information is higher and higher, therefore mation. The components of the web technol-
adaptation must be accomplished quickly and ogy, for dynamic pages work environment,
effortless in order to stay competitive. can be structured into two categories:
The demand for performance is continuously - description of the application – applica-
rising, while budgets may remain unmodified tion’s interface, which means that the user is
and therefore organizations develop their accessing, from a certain point of the net-
own servers or purchase more powerful sys- work, the web browser and sends queries.
tems. An actual solution to these issues is a Thus it is possible to access the services from
new kind of approach, the Grid Computing – a Web Server.
GC. For application users, through GC tech- - processing part - logic of application, that
nology it doesn’t matter anymore were data means that services are offered through Web
are stored, were applications are stored, Server resident program modules and rea-
which computers are processing the search lized through different technologies (CGI
queries, or what resources are used over the modules, Java platform products etc.). The
network. GC represents coordinated use of resident program modules are employed for
multiple smaller servers which act as one accessing and processing the databases to ob-
very powerful system. tain results.
For the first time, GC technology is adapted In modern DB applications there is the ten-
to database by the Oracle Company, through dency of employing a web technology based
Oracle 10g. We think that the main informa- user interface and therefore DBMS posses
tion technologies that through integration one or more such components.
made it possible for the latest Oracle product
version to be released were: GC, Intranet, In- Conclusions
ternet, multiple servers (Mail, network appli- If we should summarize the current devel-
cations, data, DBMS etc.), NC architecture, opment trend of databases, only in some
Business Intelligence, DBS. words, they should be integration and opti-
Technology break through took place be- mization.
cause of these information technologies, be- The integration is carried out on different le-
98 Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009

vels, but what we outlined in particular was 81-94.


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Ion LUNGU is a Professor at the Economic Informatics Department at the


Faculty of Cybernetics, Statistics and Economic Informatics from the Acad-
emy of Economic Studies of Bucharest. He has graduated the Faculty of
Economic Cybernetics in 1974, holds a PhD diploma in Economics from
1983 and, starting with 1999 is a PhD coordinator in the field of Economic
Informatica Economică vol. 13, no. 1/2009 99

Informatics. He is the author of 22 books in the domain of economic informatics, 57 pub-


lished articles (among which 2 articles ISI indexed) and 39 scientific papers published in con-
ferences proceedings (among which 5 papers ISI indexed and 15 included in international da-
tabases). He participated (as director or as team member) in more than 20 research projects
that have been financed from national research programs. He is a CNCSIS expert evaluator
and member of the scientific board for the ISI indexed journal Economic Computation and
Economic Cybernetics Studies and Research. He is also a member of INFOREC professional
association and honorific member of Economic Independence academic association. In 2005
he founded the master program Databases for Business Support (classic and online), who’s
manager he is. His fields of interest include: Databases, Design of Economic Information Sys-
tems, Database Management Systems, Decision Support Systems, Executive Information Sys-
tems.

Manole VELICANU is a Professor at the Economic Informatics Department


at the Faculty of Cybernetics, Statistics and Economic Informatics from the
Academy of Economic Studies of Bucharest. He has graduated the Faculty of
Economic Cybernetics in 1976, holds a PhD diploma in Economics from
1994 and starting with 2002 he is a PhD coordinator in the field of Economic
Informatics. He is the author of 18 books in the domain of economic infor-
matics, 64 published articles (among which 2 articles ISI indexed), 55 scien-
tific papers published in conferences proceedings (among which 5 papers ISI
indexed and 7 included in international databases) and 36 scientific papers presented at confe-
rences, but unpublished. He participated (as director or as team member) in more than 40 re-
search projects that have been financed from national research programs. He is a member of
INFOREC professional association, a CNCSIS expert evaluator and a MCT expert evaluator
for the program Cercetare de Excelenta - CEEX (from 2006). From 2005 he is co-manager of
the master program Databases for Business Support. His fields of interest include: Databases,
Design of Economic Information Systems, Database Management Systems, Artificial Intelli-
gence, Programming languages.

Iuliana BOTHA is a Pre-assistant Lecturer at the Economic Informatics De-


partment at the Faculty of Cybernetics, Statistics and Economic Informatics
from the Academy of Economic Studies of Bucharest. She has graduated the
Faculty of Cybernetics, Statistics and Economic Informatics in 2006 and the
Databases for Business Support master program organized by the Academy of
Economic Studies of Bucharest in 2008. Currently, she is a PhD student in the
field of Economic Informatics at the Academy of Economic Studies. She is
co-author of one book, 2 published articles (one article ISI indexed and
another included in international databases), 5 scientific papers published in conferences pro-
ceedings (among which 1 paper ISI indexed). She participated as team member in 3 research
projects that have been financed from national research programs. From 2007 she is the scien-
tific secretary of the master program Databases for Business Support and she is also a mem-
ber of INFOREC professional association. Her scientific fields of interest include: Databases,
Database Management Systems, Design of Economic Information Systems, Grid Computing,
e-Learning Technologies.