Database management is a method of managing information that supports a business’s operations. It involves storing data, distributing it to applications and users and then modifying it if necessary as well as monitoring changes to the data and preventing the data from becoming damaged due to unexpected failure. It is part of the overall infrastructure of a company which supports 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 evolved into information management systems (IMS) that enabled the storage and retrieve huge amounts of data for a wide range of uses, from calculating inventory to supporting complex human resources and financial accounting functions.

A database is a set of tables that arrange data in accordance with a specific pattern, such as one-to many relationships. It uses primary key to identify records, and also allows cross-references among tables. Each table has a variety of fields, called attributes, that represent facts about the data entities. The most well-known type of database currently is a relational model developed by E. F. “Ted” Codd at IBM in the 1970s. This design is based on normalizing the data, making it simpler to use. It also makes it easier to update data without the need to modify many sections of the database.

Most DBMSs support multiple types of databases through different levels of internal and external organization. The internal level concerns cost, scalability, and other operational issues, including the physical layout of the database. The external level focuses on how the database is displayed in user interfaces and other applications. It could comprise a combination of different external views (based on the different data models) and may also include virtual tables that are created from data that is generic to enhance performance.