The database system, and more precisely the database management system (DBMS, Database Management System) is a special software. Its task is to manage the database and enable operations on information sets. Are you wondering what the database system consists of and how does it work? We explain.
Database system – what is it?
A database system is a software or system whose tasks are:
- managing complex information structures,
- operating on very large data sets.
Without a DBMS, it is not possible to efficiently and effectively process large amounts of information. These types of solutions are used, among others as part of IT solutions for business. They are necessary for business analytics purposes.
What must a good database system have?
Database management systems fulfill specific functions and must meet specific requirements to be useful. Here are the most important ones.
Integrity in a database system can be understood in several ways. They are expected to be:
- a reliable reflection of the facts,
- comply with the restrictions and parameters indicated by system users,
- presented without any problems, even if many users will be using the same database at the same time.
Integrity can also be said in the context of resistance to damage related to hardware or software failure or errors committed by users. In the context of database structures, we talk about referential integrity, entity and attribute.
The database system is to provide secure access to authorized users who have been granted this right by the administrator. It is worth remembering that users may be assigned different levels of access – depending, for example, on their position in the organization or performed duties. Imposing limits reduces the risk of information leakage from the company or damage to it.
The database system is designed to provide access to the collected information to many participants at the same time – in such a way that no conflicts arise in data sets. Good systems have mechanisms in place to prevent such situations from arising and ensure smooth access to all data.
Databases store only selected, specific information about objects of interest. The database system must be able to filter them according to predetermined categories, and at the same time correctly reflect real world objects and the relationships between them.
The data contained in the database should be independent of the applications that obtain information from it, so that it does not get damaged or undesirable modifications. Data independence is only partially achieved due to the increasing integration of software from different areas.
The database system allows you to gather in one place information from various sources like client devices and from a wide range of software.
This can be well understood by taking a closer look at how a corporate software such as an ERP system works. It collects data from various modules for the management of warehouse and production resources, customer service, finance and accounting and others. As a result, it provides uniform, consistent information that allows you to make informed business decisions and exercise full control over the operation of the organization.
What elements does the database system consist of?
Much depends on how you look at it. In literal terms, it can be said that it is composed of:
- data stored in the system. They must be ordered and standardized, so that it is possible to carry out operations on them and perform analytical tasks,
- hardware – here a lot depends on whether it is a local database that is “physically” located at the organization’s headquarters, or a cloud-based database, which is usually more dispersed, but also provides a much wider range of functionalities,
- programs that allow you to manage operations,
- people who operate the entire system. Both database administrators and their end users.
However, in a more practical sense, the architecture of a database system is spoken in a different way – relating to communication with this software. In this context, the following are mentioned:
- client-server architecture
In this model, the database management system is also the server. It can provide end customers with data directly or via a web server. Solutions of this type mean that the main functions related to data processing, as well as organization and data protection, are on the server side. However, the user interface itself is installed on the client side. In this model, the most used query language is SQL, and the most popular communication mechanism is Open Database Connectibity.
- Three-tier architecture
In this model, an intermediary in the form of an application server is introduced between the database server and the end client. This solution is most often used when access to the database takes place via a web browser, for example in the SaaS model. In this model, the user contacts the database through dedicated software available via www. The database management system also communicates with the application server in the first place, and only through it, the data goes to the end customer.
This solution increases the security of access to data, and also allows for remote use, for example in the cloud model. Its use also makes it possible to update and replace individual modules independently of each other. The goal is that the modifications do not affect the storage and processing of information in the file.
In the single-tier model, mainly local bases, with a relatively small range, operate. On the other hand, multi-layer bases have a much wider scope of application. It is worth knowing that both client-server databases and those based on the three-tier architecture are available in many versions. Examples of the first type of database systems are DB2, Informix Dynamic Server, Firebird, MariaDB and Microsoft SQL Server.
The selection of the appropriate architecture, as well as a specific solution, depends on the specific requirements for the database being created and the operations planned to be performed on them.
For example, solutions in the area of Business Intelligence may require the use of more advanced systems with wide functionality and high performance. However, the final decision about what tools to use depends on the conditions of a specific implementation. It is worth learning about the solutions available on the market and choosing the optimal one.
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