Advantages of Database Management Systems

DBMS stands for Data Base Management System. Most popular DBMS are:

  • Oracle
  • MySQL
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • PostgreSQL
  • MongoDB: note that MongoDB is a NoSQL DBMS, the other DBMSs mentioned in this post are SQL.
  • IBM Db2

A DBMS is a software that assists in using and maintaining large collections of data. An alternative to a DBMS is to store data in files (be it CSV or other file formats) and manage this data using application-specific code.

However, most organizations use DBMSs instead of file application data management system because of several advantages that we will describe below.

The main advantages of a DBMS over a file system data management are:

  • Data independence: The DBMS provides an abstract view of the data. Data representation and storage are independent of application programs.
  • Efficiency: DBMSs are very efficient at accessing, storing and modifying data.
  • Data integrity: DBMSs can enforce some constraints on the data, for example, a DBMS can enforce salary information to be of integer type. Also, DBMSs can enforce access controls to different classes of users. For example, human resources department could be given read and write access to the ‘employees’ table, while another group could have access to ‘products’ and ‘sales’ tables.
  • Data administration: A centralized program to manage the data has advantages related to minimize redundancy, improve security, data durability, and access speed.
  • Reduced application development time: most DBMSs use SQL as lingua franca. SQL is a standardized language used for writing and retrieving data. This facilitates quick development of applications and more robust applications.

When not to use a DBMS?

For certain specialized applications, a DBMS might not be the best solution. For example, applications that have near real-time access constraints. Some times, directly accessing binary or text files can be done quite fast. Some file formats used as alternatives to DBMSs are binary files, simple text files (including log files) and XML.

And take a look at the following infographic with the most important aspect in a single figure. Feel free to share it over your social channels:

Infographic: Advantages of DBMSs

Consulted Bibliography: Johannes Gehrke and Raghu Ramakrishnan (1996), “Database Management Systems”