As we have explored in the prior tutorial, the issues with file systems make the use of a database much more effective and efficient. With the file systems where there are separate and unrelated files, the database stores logically related data in separate tables within the same system. Since this repository of data is in a single logical unit, this structure helps structure how data is stored, accessed, and managed in one place. It is important to note that the database management system is just one crucial part of the database system. The database system organizes various components that work together to help collect, manage and store the data within a database environment. The database system has five main parts that include the hardware, software, people, procedures, and data.
Hardware refers to all of the physical devices that the database system interacts with. This can include the servers that the database is connected to as well as the desktop, workstations, tablets, and mobile devices that connect to the database. In addition, this also includes the network components, storage devices, and other devices that may be unique to a database system such as a digital key reader or automated teller machine.
The software in the database system can consist of various parts. There is the operating system software that helps to manage the hardware components and allows the other key software to run on the servers and computers. Some of the common operating systems include Windows, Linux, Mac OS, UNIX, Android, and iOS. The database management system (DBMS) software is what manages the database within the entire database system. Some of the common DBMS software will include PostgreSQL, Oracle, MySQL, MS Access, and MS SQL Server.
The other types of software in a database system are the applications or utilities that are used to access and manipulate data. These are the programs that are used to interact with the DBMS to insert data, query data as well as create reports. There are various tools and utilities that are also used to help create the database structures and control the database access. One such utility is the web interface that you use in this course to access the PostgreSQL database to be able to run SQL commands.
The people include the various types of users in the database system. There are generally five different types of users that are defined based on job functions within the database. There are system administrators that would oversee the entire database/information system to ensure that everything is operating optimally. Database administrators or also called DBAs are the users that manage the database management system specifically and ensure that the database is running correctly. DBAs will be the ones that control access and optimize the queries.
Database designers are the ones that design the database structure and architect the database to ensure that the database design not only fits the business needs but also functions optimally. The system analysts and programmers are the ones that design and implement the application programs that interact with the database management systems. They are the ones that create the web applications, applications, reporting systems that end users would use to interact with the data. Lastly, we have the end users which are the individuals that use the applications to run the day-to-day operations of the organization. End users like sales, marketing, customer service, directors, or even the CEO of a company would be considered an end-user. Different end-users will interact with different levels of the information from the database.
Procedures are an aspect that we will get into in more detail later. These are the rules or instructions that define how the database is designed and how it is used. This is a key aspect throughout the database design process as it ensures that the specific way that a business operates is correctly reflected in the database design and setup. These procedures can also include various methods of ways to monitor and audit the data based on a business process or other laws.
Lastly, we have data, which are just the raw facts that we are able to build the necessary information that we have discussed so far.
The entire database system has to fit within an organization’s operational structure. Depending on the business and the size and complexity of the organization, you may have varying amounts of parts being used.
Source: Authored by Vincent Tran