Database management is the system to manage information that is essential to an organization’s business operations. It involves storing data, distributing it to application programs and users and modifying it as needed and monitoring changes to the data and preventing it from being corrupted by unexpected failure. It is part of the overall infrastructure of a company that aids in decision-making and corporate growth as well as compliance with laws such as the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

In the 1960s, Charles Bachman and IBM along with other companies developed the first database systems. They evolved into information management systems (IMS) which allowed large amounts of data to be stored and retrieved for a range of reasons. From calculating inventory to supporting complex financial accounting functions as well as human resource functions.

A database is a collection of tables that arrange data according to a specific pattern, such as one-to-many relationships. It uses primary key to identify records and permits cross-references between tables. Each table has a set of fields, known as attributes, that contain information about the data entities. The most well-known type of database today is a relational model, designed by E. F. “Ted” Codd at IBM in the 1970s. This model is based upon normalizing the data, making it easier to use. It also makes it simpler to update data by avoiding the necessity of changing many sections of the database.

Most DBMSs are able to support different types of databases and offer different internal and external levels of organization. The internal level concerns the cost, scalability, and other operational issues, such as the physical layout of the database. The external level is the representation of the database in user interfaces and applications. It could comprise a combination of different external views (based on the different data models) and may also include virtual tables which are generated from generic data to improve performance.