A database is an organised collection of information considering the data as the minimum unit. Normally, a database is controlled by a Database Management System (DBMS). Collectively, the data and the DBMS, together with the applications associated with them, are referred to as a database system or simply databases.

Some examples of popular database software or DBMS are: MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, FileMaker Pro, Oracle Database, SnowFlake, IBM DB2, Redshift, Microsoft Access, and dBASE and so on and so forth.

Types of Databases

There are many different types of databases. Knowing which one is appropriate depends on several factors such as the intended use of the data, the volume, type of data and budget, among others.

The information is organised in tables with columns and rows. Relational database technology provides the most efficient and flexible way to access structured information.

Information in an object-oriented database is represented in the form of objects, as in object-oriented programming.

A distributed database consists of two or more files that are located in different sites. The database can be stored on several computers, located in the same physical location or spread over different networks.

A central data repository, a data warehouse is a type of database specifically designed for fast queries and analysis.

A NoSQL database, or non-relational database, allows the storage and manipulation of unstructured and semi-structured data (unlike a relational database, which defines how all data inserted into the database should be composed). NoSQL databases became popular as web applications became more common and complex.

A graph database stores data related to entities and the relationships between entities.

An OLTP database is a fast, analytical database designed for many users to perform a large number of transactions.

These are just a few of the several dozen types of databases in use today. Other less common databases are tailored to very specific scientific, financial or other functions.

In addition to the different types of databases, changes in technological development approaches and considerable advances, such as cloud and automation, are pushing databases in completely new directions. Some of the most recent databases include:

An open source database system is one whose source code is open source; such databases can be SQL or NoSQL databases.

A cloud database is a collection of data that resides on a private, public or hybrid cloud computing platform. There are two types of cloud database models: traditional and database as a service (DBaaS). With DBaaS, a service provider performs the administrative tasks and maintenance.

Multi-model databases combine different types of database models in a single integrated server. This means that they can incorporate different types of data.

Designed to store, retrieve and manage document-oriented information, document databases are a modern way of storing data in JSON format rather than in rows and columns.

The newest and most innovative type of database, self-managing databases (also known as autonomous databases) are cloud-based and use machine learning to automate database tuning, security, backups, upgrades and other routine management tasks traditionally performed by database administrators.

Spreadsheet vs Databases

Both databases and spreadsheets (such as Microsoft Excel) are convenient ways of storing information. The main differences between the two are:

How data is stored and manipulated.

Who can access the data.

How much data can be stored.

Spreadsheets were originally designed for one user and their features reflect this. They are perfect for a single user or a small number of users who do not need to do a lot of incredibly complicated data manipulation. Databases, on the other hand, are designed to contain much larger collections of organised information, sometimes in massive quantities. Databases allow many users to access and query data quickly and securely at the same time using very complex logic and language.

Improving business performance and decision making

With the massive data collection of the Internet of Things transforming life and industry around the world, today’s businesses have access to more data than ever before. Visionary companies can now use databases to go beyond basic data warehousing and transactions to analyse large amounts of data from multiple systems. Through the use of databases and other IT and business intelligence tools, organisations can now leverage the data they collect to operate more efficiently, enable better decision-making, and become more agile and scalable.

SQL Server - Database
Microsoft SQL Server
Oracle - Database
MySQL - Database
Snowflake - Database
Amazon Redshift - Database
Amazon Redshift
PostgreSQL - Database
SAP - Database
IBM-DB2 - Database

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