What is a Database Management System (DBMS)? – Techopedia

What does database management system mean?

A database management system (DBMS) is a software package designed to store, retrieve, query and manage data. User interfaces (UIs) allow authorized entities to create, read, update, and delete data.

Database management systems

are important because they provide programmers, database administrators, and end users with a centralized view of data and free applications and end users from having to understand where data is physically located. APIs (application program interfaces) handle requests and responses for specific types of data over the Internet.

Relational and non-relational DBMS components delivered over the Internet may be referred to as DBaaS (database as a service) in marketing materials. According to research firm Gartner, database management systems designed to support distributed data in the cloud currently account for half of the total DBMS market.

Known DBMSs include

: Access: A lightweight

  • relational database management system (RDMS) included in Microsoft Office and Office 365
  • . Amazon

  • RDS – A cloud-native DBMS that provides engines for managing MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and Amazon Aurora databases
  • .

  • Apache Cassandra: An open source distributed database management system known for being able to handle massive amounts of data.
  • Filemaker: A low-code/no-code relational DBMS (LCNC).
  • MySQL – an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) owned by Oracle.
  • MariaDB – an open source fork of MySQL.
  • Oracle: A patented relational database management system optimized for hybrid cloud architectures.
  • SQL Server: An enterprise-grade relational database management system from Microsoft that is capable of handling extremely large volumes of data and database queries.

Techopedia explains the database management system

DBMS users include database administrators

(DBAs), application programmers, and end users


Most of the time, database administrators are the only ones who interact directly with a DBMS. Today, developers typically use cloud APIs to interact with a DBMS, and end users typically read and write to the database through front-end interfaces created by programmers.

The back-end components of a DBMS include


Catalog/Dictionary: Provides

metadata management services for database data. Data utilities:

Manage backups and restores, data integrity checks, and reports


Database Access Language: Provides a way for end users and application programs to access data. RDMS, for example, uses Structured Query Language (SQL) as the default data access language.

Lock Manager: Ensures that multiple users cannot modify the same data simultaneously.

Log Manager: Provides a chronological record of database activity.

Optimization engine: Adjusts database performance.

Query processor: Interprets user queries and returns the requested output if allowed.

Storage Engine: Performs create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) operations.

User Policies: Provides access controls.


of database management systems

Until the turn of the century, database management systems were classified as relational or non-relational based on their structure and uses. Simply put, if the DBMS stored data in tables, it was called a relational DBMS (RDBMS). If you did not store data in tables, it was called a non-relational DBMS.

Today, database management systems are still classified as RDBMS or non-RDBMS, but they are also classified by the advantages they provide in the cloud.

In-memory database management systems (IMDBMS): Designed to reduce latency by using main memory for data storage and management.

Columnar database management systems (CDBMS): designed to return queries faster by storing data in columns instead of rows.

Distributed database management systems: designed to

ensure the integrity of logic-related database data

. Hierarchical database management system: designed to support

databases organized into parent-child relationships. Network database management system: designed to support many-to-many relationships.

Object-oriented database management system (OODBMS): designed to handle a large number of data types

. Cloud DBMS: Designed to

manage distributed data stored in one or more clouds

. HTAP DBMS: Designed to support

mixed workloads for transactional and analytical data. Graph DBMS: Designed

to support graph databases that store relationships at the individual record level.

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