DBMS models

February 2017

The various database models

Databases appeared in the late 1960s, at a time when the need for a flexible information management system had arisen. There are five models of DBMS, which are distinguished based on how they represent the data contained:

  • The hierarchical model: The data is sorted hierarchically, using a downward tree. This model uses pointers to navigate between stored data. It was the first DBMS model.
    The hierarchical model
  • The network model: like the hierarchical model, this model uses pointers toward stored data. However, it does not necessarily use a downward tree structure.
    The network model
  • The relational model (RDBMS, Relational database management system): The data is stored in two-dimensional tables (rows and columns). The data is manipulated based on the relational theory of mathematics.
    RDBMS - Relational database management system
  • The deductive model: Data is represented as a table, but is manipulated using predicate calculus.
  • The object model (ODBMS, object-oriented database management system): the data is stored in the form of objects, which are structures called classes that display the data within. The fields are instances of these classes
    ODBMS - Object-oriented database management system

By the late 1990s, relational databases were the most commonly used (comprising about three-quarters of all databases).

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