As the amount of data generated globally grows exponentially, data-driven businesses are increasingly turning to more innovative database management systems to store, manage, and process all that data. This article provides an overview of database management, how it has evolved – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – and the future of database management systems.
What Is a Database?
Before learning more about database management systems, it’s essential to understand what a database is and how various kinds of databases are used.
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A database is a collection of structured data stored in a computer system that can be easily accessed and managed by users. The database keeps data mainly in the form of tables, views, schemas, etc., which allows users to handle the data more efficiently and effectively. There are several types of databases suitable for businesses of all sizes:
- Relational databases organize data into tables with rows and columns. Each row can be identified with a unique key, or “record.” Columns in the relational database are called “attributes.” In most relational databases, the table represents an entity, rows indicate the instances of that specific entity, and columns mention the values attributed to that instance.
- Non-relational (or NoSQL) databases store data in different forms, including documents, graphs, wide columns, and key-value stores, rather than tables as in the relational databases. NoSQL databases are flexible and scalable enough to store and process a vast amount of data.
- Cloud databases allow users to access and manage a database in a cloud environment, with the additional benefits of cloud computing. This can be private, public, or a hybrid cloud.
- Databases as a service (DBaaS) is a cloud computing service in which a cloud provider offers a comprehensive level of database management features, including operational, maintenance, administrative, and more, based on a fee-based subscription model. It allows users to choose a “pay-as-you-go” service in the areas of scaling, provisioning, availability, and security.
- Open-source databases are free database applications that allow users to store, view, download, modify, and reuse data based on their unique business requirements. The users can download the source code, customize it, and distribute it without any vendor restrictions.
- Graph databases store data as nodes and edges, and they represent entities and relationships, respectively. There are mainly two models of graph databases: property graphs and RDF graphs. The former focuses on data analytics, and the latter on data integration.
The Importance of Database Management Systems
A database management system (DBMS) is an integrated set of software that facilitates database management, including the storage, organization, and retrieval of large volumes of data. Database management systems have become more relevant as the use of data in businesses continues to expand, providing organizations with the following benefits:
- Obtaining meaningful insights from the data
- Organizing the data of customers, clients, inventory, products, and employees efficiently
- Allowing data storage in different types of data models such as tables, graphs, documents, and so on
- Facilitating query performance and enabling the generation of new data sets based on the business requirements
- Automating processes such as data organization, data analytics, and more
Database management systems offer stringent data security while enabling various Data Management tasks. There are three types of systems:
- Centralized: All the data lives in a single location, which might be a computer system or a server CPU. Although this kind of database architecture offers increased data security, bottlenecks are common due to high traffic.
- Distributed: Data can be stored in multiple locations. Distributed database systems are easy to manage remotely from a central database management system. The retrieval of lost data is a simple process in a distributed system, as it always stores copies of the same data in multiple locations.
- Federated: Contains multiple autonomous database systems, allowing partial or controlled sharing of data sources. Federated systems can access the data that is located at different data sources and combine them.
How Have Database Management Systems Evolved?
In the last decade, the amount of data generated has increased tremendously, rising from two zettabytes of data in 2010 to 64 zettabytes in 2020. The total volume is expected to reach 180 zettabytes by 2025. The need for database management systems to process, manage, interpret, and analyze data has never been greater.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the popularity of online shopping and remote working, further led businesses to embrace database management systems. It also paved the way for the increased use of cloud database management systems over on-premises, with the automation of cloud databases attracting businesses to invest in them. Indeed, the total revenue from the DBMS market was $65 billion in 2020; of that, cloud DBMS accounted for $26 billion.
The Future of Database Management Systems
So, which DBMS trends can we expect to see more of in the years to come?
- Cloud migration: According to one study, 75% of databases will be migrated to the cloud by the end of 2022. Cloud database management systems can store data in any of the cloud storage tiers in different types of data models, including relational, non-relational, and more. During the pandemic, many organizations offered remote working opportunities, and cloud-based systems allowed employees to access their work-related datasets at any time from anywhere.
- Increased data security: The recent rise of cyber threats and data breaches has inspired an even greater emphasis on data security in database management systems, especially those in the cloud.
- Open-source cloud: Most organizations are looking for open-source cloud database management systems because they are reluctant to pay license costs. However, they are willing to pay for the services and support. Open-source cloud systems also provide a portable front-end API.
- Graph in popular demand: Graph database management systems can perform graph database tasks, including storage, processing, and analytics of graph datasets. Today, many businesses prefer a natural way to represent their connected data, making graph a popular technology for industries of all kinds.
As the importance of collecting, storing, and analyzing data increases day by day, the use of improved database management systems – especially those based in the cloud – will continue to help businesses perform Data Management tasks and achieve more productive results.
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