Approaches to Data Management | Database Management System

Approaches to Data Management | Database Management System

Approaches to Data Management : Database can be maintained manually or through electronic devices such as digital diaries, computers, mobile phones etc. for example: a roll number list of students on paper. A simple ASCII text file created in notepad/WordPad illustrating list of holidays is also a database but it has certain limitations with respect to DBMS. Similarly a student result worksheet created in MS excel is also an example of database however MS Excel does not have Sophisticated data handling features as available in a typical DBMS like Oracle, MS SQL etc.

The following figure illustrates various database maintenance techniques:

As illustrated in the above figure database can be maintained through computer in many ways like office automation package components like MS word, MS excel (MS Office), through Flat files (file handling) of traditional programming languages (C, C++, Cobo etc.) and through DBMS. However the capability of MS word, excel sheets is limited. Similarly the traditional file Oriented System does not provide the flexibility, security and features as provided by DBMS.

Before further elaborating features of DBMS let us have a brief review of various computer based data management techniques available:

Plain Text Files Created through Editors/Notepad

These are simplest type of data files which can be Created in computer. The data in them is usually stored as ASCII text which can be easily edited through any text editor. They do not provide any data security, data query facility. Usually they are used only to store small information and not for storing large volume of data.

Traditional Flat File-Based Systems

Conventionally, before the Database Systems evolved, data in Software systems was Stored in and represented using flat files. These files were created using the file handling features of programming languages such as C, C++, Cobol etc. A typical application Software developed in Such languages make use of Several such files.

Database Management Systems (DBMS)

As the use of computer increased for data processing, flat file systems proved to be inefficient and

database Systems evolved in the late 1960s to address Common issues in applications handling large volumes of data which are also data intensive.

A DBMS is software system that can be used to set up and manage a database.

A DBMS is usually a very large software package that carries out many different tasks including the provision of facilities to enable the user to access and modify information in the database. The database is an intermediate link between the physical database, the computer and the operating system, and on the other hand, the users. To provide the various facilities to different types of users, a DBMS normally provides one or more Specialized programming languages often called Database Languages. Different DBMS provide different database languages although a language called SOL has recently taken on the role of a de facto standard.

A typical DBMS provides a convenient and effective method of defining, storing, controlling and retrieving data stored inside the database. Examples of DBMS are Oracle, MS Access, Gemstone, IMS, MS SQL Server, MySQL, ORION, DS, DB2, System 2000 etc.

A database (abbreviated DB) is an entity in which data can be stored in a structured manner, with as little redundancy as possible. Different programs and different users must be able to use this data. Therefore, the Concept of a database is generally linked to that of a network used for sharing this information, hence the term base. “Information system” is the general term used for the overarching structure which includes all data-sharing mechanisms that have been installed.


DBMS are of many types like Hierarchical DBMS, Network DBMS, Relational DBMS. The classification is based on technique used to represent data in terms of entities and relationships. Detailed description of them will be covered in subsequent chapters. Let us first discuss flat file system used in earlier times.