Database management is a system of coordinating the information that a company needs to run its business operations. It involves storing data and distribution to users and application programs, modifying it as necessary, monitoring changes in the data and preventing it from getting damaged by unexpected failure. It is an element of a company’s overall informational infrastructure which aids in decision making, corporate growth and compliance with laws such as the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

The first database systems were developed in the 1960s by Charles Bachman, IBM and others. They developed into information management systems (IMS) that enabled the storage and retrieve large amounts of data for a variety of uses, from calculating inventory to supporting complex human resources and financial accounting functions.

A database is a set of tables that store data according to the specific scheme, for example one-to many relationships. It uses primary key to identify records and allow cross-references among tables. Each table has a set of fields called attributes which provide information about data entities. The most popular type of database today is a relational model designed by E. F. “Ted” Codd at IBM in the 1970s. This design is based on normalizing the data, making it easier to use. It is also simpler to update data because it does not require changing certain sections of the database.

Most DBMSs are able to support different types of databases by providing different internal and external levels of organization. The internal level focuses on cost, scalability and other operational concerns, such as the layout of the database’s physical storage. The external level is the representation of the database in user interfaces and applications. It may include a mix of various external views (based on the various data models) and could also include virtual tables that are computed using generic data to improve performance.