Studying The Database Management System

A Database Management System is a commercial software program used to control, manipulate and maintain the Database by enabling users to access, store, organize, modify, retrieve, secure and provide integrity of data in a database.

A DBMS accepts request from users or applications and instructs the operating system to transfer the appropriate data as shown in the diagram below.

Wikipedia (2011) defines Database Management System as a set of computer programs that controls the creation, maintenance, and the use of a database. It allows organizations to place control of database development in the hands of database administrators (DBAs) and other specialists. A DBMS is a system software package that helps the use of integrated collection of data records and files known as databases. It allows different user application programs to easily access the same database.

DBMSs may use any of a variety of database models, such as the network model or relational model. In large systems, a DBMS allows users and other software to store and retrieve data in a structured way. Instead of having to write computer programs to extract information, user can ask simple questions in a query language. Thus, many DBMS packages provide Fourth-generation programming language (4GLs) and other application development features. It helps to specify the logical organization for a database and access and use the information within a database. It provides facilities for controlling data access, enforcing data integrity, managing concurrency, and restoring the database from backups. A DBMS also provides the ability to logically present database information to users.

Examples:

Microsoft Access, My SQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and FileMaker Pro are all examples of database management systems. (Wikipedia, 2011).

Microsoft Access:

Microsoft Office Access, previously known as Microsoft Access, is a relational database management system from Microsoft that combines the relational Microsoft jet database Engine with a graphical user interface and software-development tools. It is a member of the Microsoft Office suite of applications, included in the Professional and higher editions or sold separately. In mid-May 2010, the current version Microsoft Access 2010 was released by Microsoft in Office 2010; Microsoft Office Access 2007 was the prior version.

My SQL:

MySQL is a relational database management system that runs as a server providing multi-user access to a number of databases. It is named after developer Michael Widenius’ daughter, my. The SQL phrase stands for Structured Query Language.

Microsoft SQL Server:

Microsoft SQL Server is a relational model database server produced by Microsoft. Its primary query languages are T-SQL and ANSI S SQL.

Oracle:

The Oracle Database (commonly referred to as Oracle RDBMS or simply as Oracle) is an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS), produced and marketed by Oracle Corporation.

FileMaker Pro:

FileMaker Pro is a cross-platform relational database application from FileMaker Inc., formerly Claris, a subsidiary of Apple Inc. It integrates a database engine with a GUI-based interface, allowing users to modify the database by dragging new elements into layouts, screens, or forms.

Advantages

Singh (2009) illustrates advantages and disadvantages of DBMS. A true DBMS offers several advantages over file processing. The principal advantages of a DBMS are the followings:

• Flexibility: Because programs and data are independent, programs do not have to be modified when types of unrelated data are added to or deleted from the database, or when physical storage changes.

• Fast response to information requests: Because data are integrated into a single database, complex requests can be handled much more rapidly then if the data were located in separate, non-integrated files. In many businesses, faster response means better customer service.

• Multiple access: Database software allows data to be accessed in a variety of ways (such as through various key fields) and often, by using several programming languages (both 3GL and nonprocedural 4GL programs).

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• Lower user training costs: Users often find it easier to learn such systems and training costs may be reduced. Also, the total time taken to process requests may be shorter, which would increase user productivity.

• Less storage: Theoretically, all occurrences of data items need be stored only once, thereby eliminating the storage of redundant data. System developers and database designers often use data normalization to minimize data redundancy.

Warehouse of information, where large data can be stored.

Systematic storage meaning data can be stored in the form of tables.

Change of schema meaning it is not platform dependent tables can be edited to add new ones without hampering the applications.

No language dependence meaning use of various languages on various platforms.

Table joins meaning data can be in two or more tables and can be put into one table this enables easy retrieval of data.

Data security meaning DBMS secures all your data.

The data independence and efficient access of data

Easy in data administration or data management.

Provides concurrent access, recovers the data from the crashes.

Disadvantages

A database system generally provides on-line access to the database for many users. In contrast, a conventional system is often designed to meet a specific need and therefore generally provides access to only a small number of users. Because of the larger number of users accessing the data when a database is used, the enterprise may involve additional risks as compared to a conventional data processing system in the following areas.

Confidentiality, privacy and security.

Data quality.

Data integrity.

Enterprise vulnerability may be higher.

The cost of using DBMS.

Confidentiality, Privacy and Security

When information is centralised and is made available to users from remote locations, the possibilities of abuse are often more than in a conventional data processing system. To reduce the chances of unauthorised users accessing sensitive information, it is necessary to take technical, administrative and, possibly, legal measures.

Most databases store valuable information that must be protected against deliberate trespass and destruction.

Data Quality

Since the database is accessible to users remotely, adequate controls are needed to control users updating data and to control data quality. With increased number of users accessing data directly, there are enormous opportunities for users to damage the data. Unless there are suitable controls, the data quality may be compromised.

Data Integrity

Since a large number of users could be using a database concurrently, technical safeguards are necessary to ensure that the data remain correct during operation. The main threat to data integrity comes from several different users attempting to update the same data at the same time. The database therefore needs to be protected against inadvertent changes by the users.

Enterprise Vulnerability

Centralising all data of an enterprise in one database may mean that the database becomes an indispensible resource. The survival of the enterprise may depend on reliable information being available from its database. The enterprise therefore becomes vulnerable to the destruction of the database or to unauthorised modification of the database.

The Cost of using a DBMS

Conventional data processing systems are typically designed to run a number of well-defined, pre-planned processes. Such systems are often “tuned” to run efficiently for the processes that they were designed for. Although the conventional systems are usually fairly inflexible in that new applications may be difficult to implement and/or expensive to run, they are usually very efficient for the applications they are designed for.

The database approach on the other hand provides a flexible alternative where new applications can be developed relatively inexpensively. The flexible approach is not without its costs and one of these costs is the additional cost of running applications that the conventional system was designed for. Using standardised software is almost always less machine efficient than specialised software.

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Cost of hardware and software meaning having to upgrade the hardware used for file based system it is very costly.

Cost of data conversion meaning it’s costly to convert data of data files into database and have to hire database and system designers.

Cost of staff training meaning organization has to be aid a lot of amount for the training of staff to run dms.

Database damage meaning all data stored into a single file if database is damaged due to electric failure or database is corrupted on a storage media meaning all valuable data may be lost forever.

It also takes a lot of time and effort to get DBMS started.

Benefits of a Database Management System in an organization

As discuss by the Ezinearticles (2011), organizations often times find themselves in a dilemma on how they can effectively serve the needs of their members. At the same time, they also enter a situation wherein there is difficulty in handling data, given the sheer volume of information. More often than not, the results of these instances are not anything but desirable; confusion, chaos, mismanagement, lost confidence by members, etc.

To solve these problems, organizations turn to information technology (IT) experts for answers. With many years of experience in coming up with solutions for businesses and other entities, IT professionals have what it takes to come up with an effective data management and accreditation system that will be used by organizations. There must also be enhanced accessibility to the said system, which means that members from other locations can still gain entry into the system, regardless of elements such as time and geography.

Investing on the services of IT consultants is, however, not like buying something from a store. It entails huge sums of money to come up with a good data management and accreditation system for an organization, aside from engaging the professional services of IT experts. Fortunately, IT experts can help minimize the cost through the creation of a database system based on existing resources being held by the organization.

Investing on the services of IT experts and having a good data and accreditation management system may seem to be too costly, but the long-term benefits are worthy to be seen. By having a good database system, it will be much easier for organizations to deal with their members because of enhanced access to information. The placement of additional pieces of information can be done better if there is a good data management system.

Having a good data and accreditation management system empowers members of an organization. This is possible because they have the ability to gain the necessary information about things that matter to them as members. They conduction of business with the organization’s intervention is made faster and more efficient if a good data management system is in place.

There is no reason for organizations to hesitate when it comes to investing on a good data and accreditation management system. The long-term benefits of having one are far greater than the costs, and will be very helpful to the organization and their members in the long run.

Improved strategic use of corporate data.

Reduced complexity of the organization’s information systems environment.

Reduced data redundancy and inconsistency.

Enhanced data integrity.

Application-data independence.

Improved security.

Reduced application development and maintenance costs.

Improved flexibility of information systems.

Increased access and availability of data and information.

(Blurtit, 2011).

Prospects in DBMS and Career Opportunities

The work of a database administrator (DBA) varies according to the nature of the employing organisation and the level of responsibility associated with the post. The work may be pure maintenance or it may also involve specialising in database development.

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Prospects, the UK’s official career website (2011) states that jobs available in this field are:

Senior Database Architect

Database Architect design and builds database structure and objects that best support operational and analytics application. Tests and debug physical database objects for performance and troubleshooting.

* Design and implement optimal star and snowflake schema in the database

* Communicate and collaborate with team members and management on the designed database structures and schemas

* Write and present eloquently with the appropriate audience perspective in mind

* Support troubleshooting of production issues of existing application as warranted

* Participate in collaborative discussions with team members to monitor progress against enhancement queue and bug resolution.

* Stay proactive in identifying potential risks/issues due to the overall application design and make recommendations.

Database Administrator

This position requires a Top Secret Security Clearance. This position will support a US Air Force Contract. The successful candidate will be responsible for planning, coordinating and administering computerized databases, including base definition, structure, documentation, long and short range requirements, operational guidelines, protection and logical-physical database design. Formulates and monitors policies, procedures and standards relating to database management. Identifies, evaluates and recommends relevant COTS software tools. Collaborate with software engineers, security administration, computer operations, network management and system administration to ensure quality and integrity of databases, application software and data. Responsible for performance monitoring, database.

Database Architect Specialist

Database Architect design and builds database structure and objects that best support operational and analytics application. Tests and debug physical database objects for performance and troubleshooting.

* Design and implement optimal star and snowflake schema in the database

* Communicate and collaborate with team members and management on the designed database structures and schemas

* Write and present eloquently with the appropriate audience perspective in mind

* Support troubleshooting of production issues of existing application as warranted

* Participate in collaborative discussions with team members to monitor progress against enhancement queue and bug resolution.

* Stay proactive in identifying potential risks/issues due to the overall application design and make recommendations.

Database Administration Consultant

Evaluates new database technologies and tools, sets database system and programming standards, applies database technology to business problems and manages the development and production database environments with emphasis on security, availability and performance. Provides database services in compliance with all audit and regulatory requirements. The ideal candidate must be experienced in the management of Oracle E-Business 11.5.10.2 including installation, upgrade, patching, cloning, backup and recovery, monitoring, tuning, security, and definition of procedures for custom development. The ideal candidate must be experienced in the implementation and management of Oracle E-Business 11.5.10.2 as configured for the Oracle Massive Availability Architecture.

Senior Database Engineer

Responsible for requirements analysis, software development and installation, integration, evaluation, enhancement, maintenance, testing, and problem diagnosis and resolution. Qualifications: Bachelors degree with ten (10) years experience as a Database Engineer in developing relational database software and experience with one or more relational database products. Preferred Additional Skills: Possess organizational and management skills, along with the ability to respond to crises objectively. Understanding of the current database management system releases.

Conclusion

The document that we have put together is a group assignment that was done by four individuals. Some of the problems that we faced as a group are that, we couldn’t meet due to our clashing schedules; others are busy with other obligations. We would like to say that we tried to produce the best group work that we could, hopefully learnt from this experience to better ourselves for our future endeavors.

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