• Data – some values obtained by observation or measuring.
  • Information – interpretation of data and relations between them.
    • Data which lower entropy of the systems.
    • Repeated / duplicated data bear no information.
  • Database – a generic structure for storing data;
    • could be even a file system.
  • Database system – an application managing data in a database.
  • Interface – means for connecting systems together.

Bulk Data-Processing

  • The goal is to obtain information from data.
  • The majority of BDP applications are Information Systems:
    • Company Information Systems
      • contain a collection of many different agendas (SIS),
      • e.g. finance, inventory, facility,
      • they are not just the software.
    • Specialized Information Systems
      • single agenda.

Separate Information Systems

  • The company information system is composed of unrelated sub-systems (SIS):
    • each system has its own application code,
    • each system has its own data store.
  • Format and structure of data are tied to each sub-system requirements:
    • therefore they are incompatible,
    • where there is incompatibility, there is isolation,
    • where there is isolation, there is redundancy,
    • where there is redundancy, there is inconsistency.
  • No one wants inconsistency.

Separate Information Systems

  • Isolation and incompatibility – data can be used only by the ‘owning’ application.
    • Data is unreadable (unknown or proprietary format).
    • Data is unintelligible (no documentation).
  • Redundancy – one piece of data in multiple locations.
    • Do not confuse with backups (no master – copy).
  • Inconsistency – occurs when redundant data is incompletely updated.
    • Civil service is a good (bad ?) example.
  • Ad-hoc queries are very expensive (substantial effort or new application).
  • Difficult to ensure data integrity and security.

Data integrity

  • Integrity – the state of the data (database) when all data is complete and correct.
  • What is correct is determined by integrity constraints, e.g.:
    • Age is a positive integer.
    • Every person is of some age (her age cannot be empty).
    • Every person has an address (his address cannot be empty).
  • Integrity constraints are not easy!
  • Integrity violation occurs usually as a result of bad data sanitization.

Separate Information Systems

  • How it happens:
    • development of the company – leftover legacy systems which do not integrate;
    • company merger – difficult to integrate information systems together (imagine a bank);
    • lack of money – cheap solution which does not adapt to existing systems (and does not integrate well);
    • surplus of money – expensive solution – DTTO;
    • laziness – no one cared for integration effort.

Integrated Information System

  • Ensures that data has one true master version:
    • using a centralized database:
      • all applications connect to a single database server;
      • does not need to be physically a single machine;
      • classic approach.
    • using distributed database or a collection of APIs:
      • data may be distributed over various systems;
      • each piece (or rather class) has master origin.

(Centralized) Database system

  • Data is stored and managed in one place.
  • Data files have set structure, hidden to outside world.
  • Data may be accessed only through the DBS interface.
  • Database system takes care of concurrent access of multiple users, permissions and data integrity.
  • Database system operations are optimized to lower time complexity.

Database Systems

  1. OLTP – Online Transaction Processing:
    • the foundation of all – processing of daily operations,
    • every information system must have this,
  2. DWH – Data Warehouse:
    • analytical systems, analytical queries,
    • large amount of read data, almost no data written.
  3. Others:
    • special analysis – text processing, image processing, predictions, etc. - Different technologies, but SQL language is used in most DBS. - Focus on OLTP, because that is the starting point.

Data Model

  • A set of resources to model and describe data.
  • The output of DM is a database schema – declaration of the database structure (database template).
  • Different tools:
    • functions,
    • graphs (from graph theory),
    • relations (sets),
    • objects.
  • Database is something which can hold data.
  • Database schema is the description of a database structure.
  • Object data model and relation data model are two approaches to the same problem.

Hierarchical Model

  • Data is organized in tree-like structures.
  • The relation between records is parent-child.
  • A child has one parent.
  • One parent can have more children.
  • It is not very suitable for general-use databases, special uses:
    • DNS, LDAP,
    • file systems (links ignored),
    • XML (partially HTML).

Network Model

  • An extended hierarchical model.
  • Each record (vertex) can be connected to any number of different vertices.
  • Handles relations 1:N, M:N and cyclic relations.
  • Very universal and flexible, no usable implementations.
  • Considered as a Network model with limitations:
    • a file system (links not ignored),
    • HTML DOM (Document Object Model).

Relational Model

  • Describes data with relations (something like a table, will explain later).
  • Designed around 1970 (E. F. Codd, in IBM).
  • Built on hard maths – relational algebra.
  • Relational database system – RDBS.
  • Gave birth to and uses the SQL language for querying.
  • Widespread:
    • DB2 (IBM), Firebird, MySQL,
    • Oracle Database, PostgreSQL, SQL Server (Microsoft), etc.

Object-Relation Model

  • A combination of the object and relational model:
    • The SQL query language or similar;
    • relational implementation of a database structure;
    • data results in form of objects;
    • supports class hierarchy, inheritance and encapsulation;
    • supposedly faster than converting from RDBS;
    • supports multi-valued attributes.
  • Instead of records, objects are returned.
  • Pure object databases do also exist.


  • Transaction – one action, optionally composed of multiple operations (e.g. insert a person together with contact information and meetings, …).
  • Atomicity – either all operations in a transaction must be performed, or none of them (rollback).
  • Consistency – before and after the transaction, the database is in a consistent state, during the transaction it may not be (imagine buying something).
  • Isolation – concurrently running transactions behave as if they are running sequentially.
  • Durability – a finished transaction is permanent.
  • ACID is what common sense expects from a database.


  • Virtually all ACID databases use the SQL language or some SQL dialect or a similar language.
  • The other option is BASE:
    • Basically Available, Soft state, Eventual consistency;
    • if a record is not updated any more, all queries to that record will eventually return consistent results;
    • unusable for an ordinary information system;
    • required for massive distributed services;
    • somewhat related to NoSQL databases (key-value databases) = associative array, graph, document, …);
  • There are also columnar and key-value databases which may by either ACID or BASE.


  • May one database system contain multiple databases?
  • What is the direct outcome of redundant data in an information system?
  • Is is possible to run two transactions at once in an ACID database?
  • Is an information system only software?
  • Is data better than information?
  • How is information transmitted?
  • Does every DBS have to use the SQL language?
  • Should accounting use an ACID or a BASE database ?
  • What are differences between the object data model and the relational data model?