Organizations use large amounts of data. A database management system (DBMS) is a software tool that makes it possible to organize data in a database.
The standard acronymfor database management system is DBMS, so you will often see this instead of the full name. The ultimate purpose of a database
management system is to store and transform data into information to support making decisions. A DBMS consists of the following three elements:
1. The physical database: the collection of files that contain the data<br>
2. The database engine: the software that makes it possible to access and modify the contents of the database<br>
3. The database scheme: the specification of the logical structure of the data stored in the database.
While it sounds logical to have a DBMS in place, it is worth thinking for a moment about the alternative. What would the data in an organization look like without
a DBMS? Consider yourself as the organization for a moment, and the data are all the files on your computer. How is your data organized? If you are like most
typical computer users, you have a large number of files, organized in folders. You may have word processor documents, presentation files, spreadsheets, photographs,
etc. You find the information you need based on the folder structure you have created and the names you have given to your files. This is called a file system and is
typical for individual computer users. Now consider the challenges you are faced with. Have you ever lost a file? Have you had difficulty finding a file? Probably. Perhaps
you are using multiple computers and your files are located in different physical locations. And when was the list time you created a backup of all your files? You do back up,
right? You probably get the picture. A file system is relatively simple, but it only works if you keep yourself very organized and disciplined. Now consider an organization
with 1,000 employees, each with their own computer. Can you see some of the challenges when using a file system? Do you really want critical financial data floating
around the offices as simple files on individual computers?
So what does a DBMS really do? It organizes your files to give you more control over your data. A DBMS makes it possible for users to create,
edit and update data in database files. Once created, the DBMS makes it possible to store and retrieve data from those database files. More specifically,
a DBMS provides the following functions:
• Concurrency: concurrent access (meaning 'at the same time') to the same database by multiple users
• Security: security rules to determine access rights of users
• Backup and recovery: processes to back-up the data regularly and recover data if a problem occurs.
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