12.3 Database Management Systems

Almost all sophisticated data management situations rely on an underlying database and the support structure that allows the user (either a human or a program) to interact with it. A database can simply be defined as a structured set of data. A database management system (DBMS) is a combination of software and data made up of three components:

  • The physical database—a collection of files that contain the data

  • The database engine—software that supports access to and modification of the database contents

  • The database schema—a specification of the logical structure of the data stored in the database

The database engine software interacts with specialized database languages that allow the user to specify the ...

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