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
, 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