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A database management system (DBMS) is created for defining, manipulating, retrieving, and managing data within a database. Typically, a DBMS will manipulate the data, data format, field names, file structure, and record structure. It defines rules, too, for the validation and manipulation of said data.

These systems are set up on certain data handling concepts, as database administration practices continue to evolve. The earliest databases were only capable of handling single pieces of data that had been formatted specially.

But the more advanced systems available today are capable of handling less-formatted data of various types, and of connecting them in more sophisticated ways.

How a Database Management System Works

Database management system models have evolved significantly over the years. And that’s crucial in understanding the way in which different database management systems work.

The earliest database management system types primarily comprised hierarchy and network models:

  • in the hierarchy model, each component or node functions as part of a child/parent relationship with another component or node
  • In the network model, an individual component may have numerous relationships: in essence, a single node can “multicast” connections

But these models have been overtaken by a relational database over time.

A relational database model has individual components with attributes linked to their respective identities via a database table design. Within an individual database table, the rows and columns include the identities and attributes in such a way that allows for the use of standard structured query language (SQL) in gathering various types of information on these models.

However, a newer concept — NoSQL — has gained recognition since. Those with expertise in the subject claim that the best way to understand NoSQL is to rephrase it so that it means “not only SQL” instead. More specifically, NoSQL can be used broadly to describe systems that are beyond the standard SQL and relational database models.

It’s also worth noting that NoSQL is a far more abstract term than the conventional relational database. NoSQL can be considered “not relational”, in the traditional sense at least. One well-known NoSQL database management system type is the object-oriented database model.

Instead of comprising relational tables, database systems utilize object designs to work with the attributes and identities covered above.

Amongst the considerations for NoSQL database design are the degree of normalization, or data structuring, that takes place, and the way in which this is handled by the database system. Engineers need to explore tools for consistency and data resolution throughout the system. This is important to achieve uniformity, and for fixing a number of correlation problems.

Other database management system model types include the graph database model, in which graph models are utilized for semantic queries, as well as the entity-relational model. Both serve as additional alternatives to standard relational database design.

Newer database management system types may be utilized where a data center has a broad disparity of data that is formatted differently, or relatively unformatted (“raw”), to handle. In these cases, records will not be normalized as per the conventional method.

This, and other kinds of advances, have made the world of database management systems more complicated. And they have increased the value that experienced database engineers and administrators for modern systems have.