Answering the Question: What Are the Types of Database Software?

Answering the Question: What Are the Types of Database Software?
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Two Types Of Database Software

Types of database software can be distinguished from each other by their purpose of use, and the type of the storage. Databases have the following two main types, on the basis of their storage method.

1. Single file (sometimes called as flat-file)

2. Multi file (relational)

Both single and multi file database software are used for accommodating various businesses needs. The type of database adopted mainly depends on the following factors:

  • Whether the data will be accessed and edited by one or multiple persons simultaneously.
  • The number of persons and the volume of data you need to share with others, simultaneously.
  • The amount of data to be stored and processed by the database.
  • The complexity of the data e.g. whether data is images, text, sound, videos, etc

A Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) supports both single and multi file option, where as non-RDBMS supports only a single file for all the storage. For a large business where records of thousands of products or customers need to be managed (or also shared), a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) using the multi-file option is the only choice. Oracle, mySQL, Sybase, Microsoft Access, Apache Derby, and Microsoft SQL Server are among some of the popular database management systems available on the market.

However, if the requirement for managing data is simple, for example you just need to manage small records of your 100 clients i.e their names, addresses and telephone numbers, a non-RDBMS software like MongoDB or any standard spreadsheet program like Microsoft Office Excel will suffice your need.

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Types Of Databases

Depending on the purpose of use, databases can be classified into following types:

Operational Database

An Operational Database, also called as subject-area database or production database is the one in which data required for the operations of a business or project is stored. Organizations store all the information required for the regular operations of the organization in this database. An Operational Database usually contains detailed information about a business department, employees, proposals, training statuses, etc

External Database

An External Database contains information gathered for use across different individuals or organizations, either via subscription or freely. External databases are accessed online by users to read privately owned data. The Internet Movie Database is one of the examples of an external database

End User Database

An End User database contains data created by individual users. Some examples of End User databases are word processing, spreadsheets, downloaded files, etc.

Distributed Database

A Distributed Database is a database which is distributed at various geographical locations. This type of database system works under the control of one central database management system and the storage devices of the distributed database are not all connected to a common CPU. A distributed database can reside on intranets, internet, network servers or extranets. The advantage of distributing the database is significant improvement in performance of data rates.

Data Warehouse

Data Warehouse is a database containing collection of information extracted from various other databases. Data Warehouse can be used by end users or management personnel, primarily for reporting purposes. There are many benefits of using a Data Warehouse, such as retrieval of information from a Data Warehouse doesn’t affect the performance of the operational system, automatic identification and resolving of inconsistent data, etc.

Analytical Database

An analytical database is used to store extracted information from external or operational databases, for analysis purposes. The data in the analytical database is filtered, edited and used by the analysts of the organization. Organizations worldwide use Analytical databases for the analysis of employees’ or organization’s performance.

Hypermedia Database

The Hypermedia database is used for the purpose of storing multimedia web pages. In a Hypermedia database, data is stored online and it can be accessed by multiple users, simultaneously.

In addition to the above database types, there can be other types of databases as well. For example, businesses in specific industries will have customized database solutions, targeted at the particular requirements and needs of the business.

Database Software Requirement

For all the different types of databases mentioned above, different types of database software may be required. As we read above, if the requirement for data storage and sharing is large and complex, a RDBMS like Microsoft SQL Server, mySQL or Oracle is required. Since RDBMS’s are multi-file capable and powerful for handling large amount of data, and accesses, simultaneously, these can easily complete all the data needs of a large organization. In small offices where requirement for data storage and sharing is simple and small, a single-file database like Excel is in most cases sufficient.