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Database Management Basics

Database management is the system to manage information that is essential to an organization’s business operations. It includes data storage, distributing it to users and applications and modifying it as needed as well as monitoring changes to the data and preventing it from becoming damaged by unexpected failure. It is an integral part of the entire informational infrastructure of a business that supports decision making and corporate growth as well as compliance with laws like the GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act.

The first database systems were invented in the 1960s by Charles Bachman, IBM and others. They evolved into information management systems (IMS) which allowed large amounts of data to be stored and retrieved for a variety of purposes. From calculating inventory, to supporting complex financial accounting functions as well as human resource functions.

A database is a set of tables that store data according to some schema, such as one-to many relationships. It utilizes primary keys to identify records and allows cross-references between tables. Each table has a set of fields, called attributes, which provide information about the data entities. The most well-known kind of database is a relational model designed by E. F. “Ted” Codd at IBM in the 1970s. The design is based on normalizing the data, making it more easy to use. It also makes it easier to update data by avoiding the need to update many sections of the database.

Most DBMSs can accommodate different types of databases by offering different levels of internal and external organization. The internal level addresses cost, scalability and other operational concerns including the design of the database’s physical storage. The external level is the way the database is presented in user interfaces and other applications. It could comprise a mix of various external views based on different models of data and can include virtual tables that are calculated using generic data to enhance the performance.

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