Database management is the system for managing information that aids the business operations of an organization. It includes data storage, distributing it to application programs and users and modifying it as needed and monitoring changes to the data and preventing it from being damaged by unexpected failure. It is an element of an organization’s overall informational infrastructure that aids in decision-making and growth for the business as well as compliance with laws like the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

The first database systems were developed in the 1960s by Charles Bachman, IBM and others. They evolved into information management systems (IMS), which allowed large amounts data to be stored and retrieved for a range of purposes. From calculating inventory to aiding complex financial accounting functions as well as human resource functions.

A database is a collection of tables that organizes data according to an established pattern, such as one-to-many relationships. It uses the primary key to identify records, and also allows cross-references between tables. Each table contains a number of fields, known as attributes, which provide information about the entities that comprise the data. The most well-known type of database currently is a relational model developed by E. F. “Ted” Codd at IBM in the 1970s. This model is based on normalizing data to make it more user-friendly. It is also easier to update data since it does not require the changing of various databases.

The majority of DBMSs are able to support multiple database types by providing different levels of external and internal organization. The internal level concerns cost, scalability, as well as other operational issues, including the physical layout of the database. The external level is the representation of the database in user interfaces and applications. It could include a mix of different external views (based on the various data models) and may also include virtual tables that are computed from generic data in order to improve performance.