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History of Database Management Systems

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 3/8/2011

Whether you know it or not, databases play an important role in our world today. The history of database management systems goes back a long ways, but the impact on the world as we know it has been an important one.Learn more about the history, what DBMS is, and why it is so important to us now.

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    What is a Database Management System?

    What is a database management system? For many beginners either going to school or even picking up the basis of databases in general, this is an important questions. First, what is a database? It's essentially a system that's used to store, organize, and retrieve information or data. In learning what a database is, the answer to what a database management system is similar along those lines. A DBMS, as it is sometimes known, is a program or group of programs that help with the maintenance, creation, and use of a database.

    There are of course different types of DBMSs, as well as different languages in which a person can learn DBMS. But where did database management systems come from? Who invented it? How does it relate to life today, with the increase of technology, the Internet, and everyone on it.

    Here, learn about the history of database management systems.

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    A History of Database Management Systems

    The history of database management systems begins around the time that computers began taking off. In the 1960's, the concept of the History of Database Management Systems database was put in use and also began to grow in commercial use and it was this rise that was an interest to a man named Charles W. Bachman. Why is Mr. Bachman so important? Well, this is the guy who invented the database management system. Charles Bachman was an industrial researcher, beginning a career at Dow Chemical, where he became the data processing manager in the 1950s before leaving to work at General Electric in 1960.

    It was in 1960 that Bachman came up with the Integrated Database System, the very first DBMS. This got the proverbial ball rolling, as Bachman founded the Database Talk Group along with the group that gave the standardization to the programming language of COBOL. Not to be left out, IBM created their own database system, known IMS, for that of NASA's Apollo space program. Both of these are now known as the precursors of navigational databases.

    Then in the 1970s, another change was coming. While the above started DBMS, there were in no way easy to use. But then a man named Edgar Codd thought of a way to make things a bit easier. Codd worked for IBM and felt that there had to be a way to make things easier when using these DBMS. He wrote a paper entitled, A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks, in which he proposed replacing these current systems with that of tables and rows. This concept would become relational DBMS.

    And this is where we are today.

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    Knowing this history, where are DBMS used today? Would you believe everywhere? That's right - everything from banking transactions to online auctions - anything that deals with data and information is using some sort of database management system. And as technology grows, as more businesses and consumers get online for various reasons, you can expect more and more usage.


    Charles Bachman

    Database Systems

    IBM Research News - Edgar Codd Passes Away

    Image @ Microsoft