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Evolution of Data Models

Evolution of Data Models

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Published by Sunil Kumar
Evolution of Data Models
Evolution of Data Models

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Published by: Sunil Kumar on Jul 22, 2011
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Topic 2.4: The Evolution of Data Models
The quest for better data management has led to different models that attempt toresolve the file system’s critical shortcomings. Because each data model evolvedfrom its predecessors, it is essential to examine the major data models in roughlychronological order.
2.4.1 The Hierarchical Model
The first data model was developed by Rockwell and IBM in the 1970s. It isknown as the hierarchical model. The hierarchical database is a collection of records that is logically organized to conform to the upside-down tree(hierarchical) structure. Within the hierarchy, the top layer (the root) is perceivedas the parent of the segment directly beneath it.
While this model represents1:M relationships well, it does not represent M:N relationships.Basic Structure
Given its manufacturing heritage, the hierarchical model’s best basic logicalstructure is best understood when you examine a manufacturing process. For,example, let’s examine a somewhat simplified production process that creates afiling cabinet:1. A filing cabinet has many components: a frame, a set of drawers, andsliding bars for those drawers.2. A component may be composed of many smaller assemblies. For example, each drawer has a handle with a latching mechanism, a set of rollers that fits into the frame’s sliding bars, and a divider blade.3. An assembly may contain many parts. For instance, each roller iscomposed of a small wheel, an axle, and a brace.4. The production process is based on data relationships that remain fixedover time. Whether a given filing cabinet model is produced today or tomorrow, the same parts are put together in the same ways to producethe same assemblies that are combined to produce the same componentsthat are assembled in the same way to create the filing cabinet.Tracking the parts, the assemblies, and the components we have just describedis facilitated by understanding the logical process that is represented by theupside-down “tree,” known as a
hierarchical structure
, shown in Figure 2.1. Wehave labeled the structure’s components to help you understand the basichierarchical model’s vocabulary.As you examine Figure 2.1, note that the user perceives the hierarchicaldatabase as a hierarchy of segments. A segment is the equivalent of a filesystem’s record type. In other words,
the hierarchical database is a collectionof
 
record segment structures
that is logically organized to conform to the
 
upside-down tree (hierarchical) structure shown in Figure 2.1.Within thehierarchy, the top layer (the
root
) is perceived as the parent of the segmentdirectly beneath it.For example, in Figure 2.1, the root segment is the parent of level 1segments,which in turn, are the parents of the level 2 segments, and so on. In turn thesegments below other segments are the children of the segment above them. Inshort:
°
Each parent can have many children
°
Each child has only one parentIn this hierarchical structure, it is easy to trace both the database’s componentsand the 1:M relationships among them.
Advantages
Conceptual simplicity
Database security
Data independence (because the data characteristics of the databasestructure are not defined in the programs accessing the database, insteadthe database structure and its data characteristics are defined in the datadictionary component of the DBMS. Therefore the programs accessingthe database become independent of the database)
Database integrity (because data duplication or data redundancy isminimized as a result of relating the segments or records)
Efficiency (the hierarchical DBMS file storage organization and accessmethods are based on the new hierarchal database structure which ismuch faster than the file storage organization and access methods used in
 
the old file system)
Disadvantages
Complex implementation
Difficult to manage
Lacks structural independence (because the programmer still needs towrite instructions on how and where to find the data stored on thecomputer disk, which depends on the database structure)
Complex applications programming and use
Implementation limitations (because the hierarchical data model does notsupport entities or record segments having multiple parents which aremodeled in a M:M relationships between two or more entities)
Lack of standards among the implementation software (DBMS) developedby various software vendors
2.4.2 The Network Model
The network model was created to represent complex data more effectively thanthe hierarchical model could, to improve database performance, and to impose adatabase standard.
Basic Structure
In many respects the network model resembles the hierarchical model. For example, as in the hierarchical model, the user perceives the network databaseas a collection of records in 1:M relationships. However, unlike the hierarchicalmodel, the network model allows a record to have more than one parent or multiple parents. This feature allows the network model to handle complex (M:M)relationships between two or more entities, such the commonly encountered M:Mrelationships depicted in Figure 2.2 can be handled easily by the network model.In Figure 2.2, the M:M relationship between the ORDER and PART is resolved

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