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Description

A database is an organized collection of data, stored and accessed electronically. Database designers typically organize the data to model aspects of reality in a way that supports processes requiring information, such as (for example) modeling the availability of rooms in hotels in a way that supports finding a hotel with vacancies. The database management system (DBMS) is the software that interacts with end users, applications, and the database itself to capture and analyze data. A general-purpose DBMS allows the definition, creation, querying, update, and administration of databases. A database is generally stored in a DBMS-specific format which is not portable, but different DBMSs can share data by using standards such as SQL and ODBC or JDBC. The sum total of the database, the DBMS and its associated applications can be referred to as a “database system”. Often the term “database” is used to loosely refer to any of the DBMS, the database system or an application associated the database.

Computer scientists may classify database-management systems according to the database models that they support. Relational databases became dominant in the 1980s. These model data as rows and columns in a series of tables, and the vast majority use SQL for writing and querying data. In the 2000s, non-relational databases became popular, referred to as NoSQL because they use different query languages. The sizes, capabilities, and performance of databases and their respective DBMSs have grown in orders of magnitude. These performance increases were enabled by the technology progress in the areas of processors, computer memory, computer storage, and computer networks. The development of database technology can be divided into three eras based on data model or structure: navigational, SQL/relational, and post-relational. The two main early navigational data models were the hierarchical model and the CODASYL model (network model). The relational model, first proposed in 1970 by Edgar F. Codd, departed from this tradition by insisting that applications should search for data by content, rather than by following links. The relational model employs sets of ledger-style tables, each used for a different type of entity. Only in the mid-1980s did computing hardware become powerful enough to allow the wide deployment of relational systems (DBMSs plus applications). By the early 1990s, however, relational systems dominated in all large-scale data processing applications, and as of 2018 they remain dominant: IBM DB2, Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL Server are the top DBMS. The dominant database language, standardized SQL for the relational model, has influenced database languages for other data models.

Object databases were developed in the 1980s to overcome the inconvenience of object-relational impedance mismatch, which led to the coining of the term “post-relational” and also the development of hybrid object-relational databases. The next generation of post-relational databases in the late 2000s became known as NoSQL databases, introducing fast key-value stores and document-oriented databases. A competing “next generation” known as New SQL databases attempted new implementations that retained the relational/SQL model while aiming to match the high performance of NoSQL compared to commercially available relational DBMSs.

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