Let’s start with a few useful definitions. These will be helpful in describing the major components of DBMSs better. Database professionals love abbreviations, as do many other technical professionals. So, instead of “Database Management System,” you usually hear “DBMS.”
What is a database?
Exactly what is a database? A database is essentially a set of computerized tables that contain organized data. Similar to a spreadsheet, a table groups several fields and records together. A product catalogue, for instance, is a database with a few tables.
Let’s say you want to create a database from a list of products in an Excel file. Each column in the spreadsheet corresponds to a field. Each row in the spreadsheet represents a record in the database.
What is a data model?
A data model shows you how all the tables in a database are related. It is an abstract view of data. Data modeling is about representing the structure and organization of data in a database.
Data modeling aims to organize digitized information logically in a database. Such models assume data is organized in some structured form. Each data model represents a specific view of how the real world is organized. It helps you to answer questions about your stored information.
What is a Database Management System (DBMS)?
DBMSs allow you to share and manage data in a database. A database management system is a set of programs that lets you create, update, query, and store information in a database.
An end-user typically interacts with a database system through an application. Database management software manages access, integrity, security, and data optimization. It can also perform automatic backups, recoveries, and restores.
What are the components of DBMS?
DBMS can be divided into sub-components for easier understanding and management. These are the five major components.
- People or Users
Hardware includes all the physical devices needed to install and run a database. Among the items in this category are computers, servers, storage devices, routers, switches and hubs. They are all physical electronic devices required to host and manage a DBMS.
The server is the main part of the DBMS and is responsible for handling client requests. The database server is a high-performance computer that manages and maintains data for a network. Input/output devices are used to send and receive data between the server and the client.
We need three types of software applications in order to use a database. An operating system, a database management system, and application programs are all part of this system.
The operating system software manages all hardware components and allows all other software to run on servers and computers. Among the most common operating systems are Windows, Linux, and UNIX.
Database management systems provide a user-friendly interface for storing, retrieving, updating, and deleting data. This component can understand the Database Access Language and convert it into actual database commands that can be run on the database.
This makes it easier for users to input data and queries in a way that is easily understandable, improving efficiency and accuracy. Currently, relational databases are the most popular option for both transactional and analytical databases. Popular DBMS software includes,
- Microsoft SQL Server
- IBM’s DB2
- Microsoft Access
In a DBMS, data is accessed and manipulated by application programs. Business analysts and users of these programs are able to create reports and data visualizations that support decision-making. All commercial DBMS vendors have developed user-friendly applications to manage database operations.
For example, Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and Oracle SQL Developer are popular DBMS GUI applications. There are also third-party and open source applications that provide additional functionality to work with databases. These include add-ons and utilities.
The procedures are the instructions that govern the design, configuration, and management of the DBMS. Standards and procedures ensure the consistency and effectiveness of the database environment.
This also provides a framework for monitoring and auditing all databases within an organization. Maintaining your DBMS will be difficult in the absence of standards and procedures.
The following are some examples of DBMS procedures and standards.
Database Naming Conventions
You will need certain naming conventions for all the database objects you can create in each DBMS.
Data Administration Standards
These standards define how data is created, captured, and maintained in your organization. Examples include,
- Guidelines for data creation and ownership
- Metadata management policy
- Data modeling guidelines
- Data-sharing policies
Database Administration Standards
Documentation should be created on creating databases and making changes to existing ones.
Roles and Responsibilities
Establishing a roles and responsibilities matrix for database management systems is essential. It could be a simple RACI chart or a detailed matrix. The goal is to clarify who handles data and DBMS operations.
These guidelines explain how to manage database security. It is possible that you could not get access a database in your organization because of security standards.
Database security documentation typically includes granting users access to databases, connecting to external applications and data gateways, auditing the database, and onboarding and terminating employees.
You can think of data as facts or items of information about an object. This structured information has the potential to be transformed into something useful.
For example, data about an employee might include full name, age, birthday, contact details, position, hired date, and reporting manager. By looking at this data, you can determine how many new employees were hired last year.
As databases grow and become more complex, it is increasingly difficult to keep track of what all the entities and attributes mean. A data dictionary is used by many organizations to store and share the characteristics, definitions, and relationships of data. In addition, organizations often use an information catalogue to document the business details and rules related to their databases.
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People or Users
Database users fall into different categories. Users are usually classified according to their jobs. Some of the user groups are,
- Database administrators (DBAs)
- System administrators
- Database designers and modelers
- Analysts and programmers
- Business users
Database administrator (DBA)
Database administrators are responsible for designing and maintaining database management systems in multi-user business environments. They are knowledgeable of the organization’s IT infrastructure, business policies, and database design guidelines.
DBAs are responsible for the overall operation of the database. Besides ensuring the smooth operation of databases, they manage daily backups and disaster recovery.
Additionally, they are tasked with developing databases, managing security issues, and monitoring performance issues to ensure that the system meets the organization’s objectives. DBAs typically handle data access requests. Depending on the company, these responsibilities may differ.
A database designer defines the details of the database design, including tables, indexes, views, constraints, etc. Contributions of database designers may vary based on the size and complexity of a database.
Analysts and Programmers
These professionals design and develop business applications that capture and store business data in databases. Screens and forms in these applications allow end-users to view, enter, and update data. The programs are developed using programming languages such as C#, Java, Python, and web development stacks.
To query the data, they also use proprietary implementations of SQL (Structured Query Language) such as PL/SQL (Oracle) and TSQL (Microsoft).
Other employees who indirectly connect to databases through business applications are considered end-users. These users input and maintain data. Business users generate reports and use that information to make operational and strategic business decisions. They provide business requirements for database designers, analysts, and programmers to create and enhance applications required to run the business.
Organizations rely heavily on database management systems (DBMS) to manage and organize data. Hardware, software, procedures, data, and users are the major components of a DBMS. A database is a collection of data organized in a particular way. It holds all data related to business operations and metadata.
The importance of a DBMS cannot be overemphasized. This is because it provides effective data management, reduces redundancies, and makes information more readily available. These components of database management systems are crucial to an organization’s operation.