A database is the management and organization of related data which is stored on multiple disks and can be accessed by many users at a time. The databases are further separated by their application areas. A database allows the users to query it efficiently without having to go through the tedious process of manually looking for information. A database consists of multiple tables and their relationship constraints. The most significant purpose of a database system is to provide efficiency or speed in retrieval and storage of data (Ramakrishnan & Gehrke, 2000). In addition to tables, databases have forms, reports, queries, et cetera. These features are the primary features of data processing in databases. They all draw their data from the tables and use special user-defined commands to convert it into various inputs according to user needs. For example, a report can be used to convert raw data into charts and graphs.
Technically, a database must meet a universal criteria. Such criteria include but is not limited to collection, management, organization, and processing of user data to some form of final output. Typically, data collection is the fundamental stage of data collection in databases. After the data has been collected, it can be organized into various categories depending on the user content. Such a condition means that databases are different from each other. Normally, databases are created after a certain set of problems have been identified in an organization. For example, a school might realize that it has challenges with collection and processing of student exam data. In such a way, a database program can be developed to address this challenge. Apart from the aforementioned core features, the database has the ability to sort, filter and produce data according to user preferences.
The main difference between the databases and file system lies in the type of data. A database handles structured data whereas the file system handles unstructured data. File system doesn?t have Meta data and it doesn?t allow multiple users to access or modify it at the same time whereas a database is self-organizing structure and it provides centralization to manage information while allowing multiple interfaces and advanced facilities of backup and recovery of data.
Data saved in file systems has many draw backs, for instance, issues like data redundancy and data inconsistency are present in the traditional file system. The operating system provides only one password mechanism for security which is not efficient in case users have to access only subsets of data.
A data base management system acts as an intermediary between the DBA and the database and controls the creation, use and maintenance of a database. As the database structure saves multiple files in itself, a DBMS is used to query the database by hiding the internal complex structures from the users. It receives requests from applications and translates them into complex queries for the database. Different integrity constraints can be applied to data stored across multiple tables in a database. These constraints include Primary key, Foreign key, Unique, Not null etc. There are various types of database systems that include Oracle, SQL, MySQL, DB2 and IMS (Elmasri, 2008).
The need for DBMS arises as the application programs could not directly deal with the database system. The DBMS system allows other software and programs to query and retrieve data in a structured and organized manner. As businesses expand, the amount of data they accumulate increases at a rapid pace (Connolly &Begg, 2005). To manage this large amount of data manually or by using a file system becomes very tedious, so the need of a tool arises which can store all the data in a secure and efficient way providing fast and easy access. A DBMS is therefore the answer to such situation.
The main benefits of using a DMBS are that it allows sharing of data without any inconsistency along with maintaining the integrity of data. A DMBS allows data independence and enforces security.
Data redundancy is controlled by using a DMBS since it does not allow you to create multiple copies of the same file like traditional DBMS. Data inconsistency is ensured in such a way that when one record is modified by a user of DBMS operator, it is immediately available to all the users. Users are given access rights based on their roles and responsibilities and remote users are also able to share the data. A DBMS also provides data security as users are given passwords and usernames to access data and no unauthorized user is allowed to access, modify or create anything in the database. It also provides atomicity of data. In short a DMBS allows the efficient and robust retrieval to data
A RDBMS is the relation database management system which uses a relational database model. A RDMBS uses the relationship between tables represented by primary and foreign keys as its foundation. The data is stored in rows and columns. It is less complex and more powerful since the relationship between entities is clearly visible. ODBMS however follows the object model unlike RDBMS (SABAU, 2007). The main difference between both is that while RDBMS deals with entities represented as tables, ODBMS deals with entities represented as classes and objects of classes. ODBMS is mostly used in object oriented programming approach; however, RDBMS is the most common and widely used database management system due to its ease of use (Devarakonda, 2001).
Choosing the type of DBMS in your organization depends on the amount and type of data stored. Other factors which help in deciding which type of database should be used include how fast and secure does the data retrieval need to be. Most of the organizations today follow the RDBMS approach. Hardware should also be kept in mind while implementing the database whether they will be compatible with each other in providing the most efficient solution. The performance, scalability and flexibility of a DBMS should be judged according to the organization?s need before implementing it in systems. A DBMS plays a vital role in organization?s information system since all the sensitive data is stored in a database and the security features of a database enable only the authorized users to access it. The information system of any organization will not be efficient without any database and the business information cannot be stored for longer period of times which may result in loosing important data.