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Advantages of a DBMS over traditional File Processing Systems

DBMS note 1
Manik Chand Patnaik (M.Tech.
!ect"rer# (C.S.$# %oland &nstit"te of Technology.
S"nday# 'an"ary () * +(().
Advantages of a DBMS over traditional File Processing Systems
,hy -o"ld yo" choose a data.ase system instead of "sing a file /rocessing system0
A collection of data -hich is kno-n as data.ase# needs to .e /laced in /ermanent storage#
either as data1files or stored inside a data.ase management system. There are several limitations of
storing data in data1files. These limitations along1-ith the .enefits of "sing a data.ase is e2/lained
1. Diffic"lty
File /rocessing system is a c"stomised sol"tion# so -e need to define the data1str"ct"res and
-rite the a//ro/riate /rograms to access# mani/"late and maintain the data stored in the
DBMS /rovides a generic sol"tion so yo" 4"st need to logically define the str"ct"re of data to
store. All the /rograms to access# mani/"late and maintenance of data are /rovided .y the
DBMS vendor.
+. !ack of &nde/endence of data
File /rocessing system /rovides a s/ecific sol"tion for a /artic"lar /ro.lem for -hich it is
im/lemented. For e2am/le3 a st"dent information system can not cater for the li.rary even if
the same st"dents go to the li.rary to .orro- .ooks. $ven if there are t-o e2actly similar
st"dent information systems e2ist in t-o different colleges .oth -o"ld have data1str"ct"res
and st"dent records incom/ati.le -ith each other .eca"se the data in data1files and the
/rograms acting on them are very closely tied -ith each other. 5o" cannot even change the
order of individ"al val"es inside the record. &f the roll n" comes .efore the registration
n" it has to .e that -ay all thro"gh the a//lication. 5o" cannot kee/ the registration
n" .efore the roll n" in any case.
&n DBMS there is no connection of the "ser or /rogrammer -ith the storage of data. Both
the /rogrammer and the end1"ser need not -orry a.o"t ho- the data is stored or accessed.
They have to "se the li.raries6interfaces /rovided .y the DBMS vendor to access the data. So
data is /orta.le and a single so"rce of data can serve several "sers aro"nd a variety of
7. &nconsistency in data
&n a file /rocessing system the data1files are not /rotected in any -ay so they can .e changed
in any manner -itho"t any restrictions. At most the "ser acco"nt may .e /ass-ord
/rotected. Any one a.le to "se the /rogram to handle the data1files can change anything on
the data file so there is every threat of data .ecoming inconsistent d"e to im/ro/er handling.
htt/366manik.in6St"dS"//6 Manik Chand Patnaik * DBMS 8ote11 9 1 :
Advantages of a DBMS over traditional File Processing Systems
The e2am/le of a non e2isting st"dent -ith .orro-ed .ooks from li.rary is the classic
e2am/le of inconsistency in data in a file1/rocessing system.
;. D"/lication of data
This is another /ro.lem closely related -ith the /revio"sly disc"ssed /oint. &n a file
/rocessing system the /rocess of getting inter1related data is diffic"lt and so mostly data is
d"/licated across data1files to ease the data access. D"/licated data is a ca"se of inconsistency
.eca"se data "/dated at a single /lace is not availa.le instantly to all the /laces -here data
is d"/licated.
DBMS effectively addresses this /ro.lem .y allo-ing ta.les to have references -ith other
ta.les so as to minimi<e or com/lete eliminate d"/lication of data. &n this -ay the
inconsistency /ro.lem is eliminated.
=. A.sence of constraints
&n a file /rocessing system all the /rograms accessing data are inde/endent so ho- to control
the access of data is a .ig iss"e. There is a.sol"tely no constraints at the file level. Any
constraints re>"ired need .e -ritten as a /rogram and it is going to .e very com/le2.
DBMS have the a.ility not only to enforce constraints ."t also change them -itho"t
affecting the /rogram in any -ay.
?. Conc"rrency
,hen many "sers -ant to access a single record at a time this res"lts in conc"rrency
/ro.lem. @nly the last s"ccessf"l insertion is stored.
A DBMS can effectively solve this iss"e .eca"se "/dates in their tr"e sense is s"//orted. As an
"/date can .e relative to the val"e stored# no illogical data -ill get inserted .eca"se of
conc"rrency /ro.lem.
). Atomicity
This is a non1e2istent conce/t in file /rocessing systems. Partial data mani/"lation can res"lt
in illogical data .eing inserted into the data1files. For e2am/le transfer of f"nds from one
acco"nt to another acco"nt. &f the /rogram fails after -ithdra-al and .efore de/osit to
another acco"nt# this -o"ld res"lt in illogical transaction.
DBMS /rovides for transaction s"//ort so m"lti/le o/erations on data.ase can .e taken as a
single "nit. &f all o/erations s"cceed then the -hole "nit .ecome s"ccessf"l in "/dating the
data else all o/erations -ill fail (even those o/erations -hich can s"cceed are made to roll1
.ack their o/erations as if nothing has ha//ened.
A. Sec"rity
See the /oint 7 and =. The sec"rity in a file /rocessing system is limited to setting "/ of
/ass-ords for the "ser. A /art of data cannot .e e2/osed -hile restrictions are /rovided for
other /arts of data. This res"lts in -hole1scale e2/os"re of the data to the "ser to mani/"late
and this is a .ad /ractice as any "ser having access to the file /rocessing system can modify
any data.
DBMS allo-s for sec"ring data -ith a"thori<ation .y a chain of a"thority. A s"/er "ser
/rovides a"thori<ation on s/ecific ta.les to other "sers and the "sers having the
a"thori<ation can f"rther grant the a"thority to other "sers. %everse is also tr"e. &f the s"/er
"ser revokes the a"thori<ation# all s".se>"ent a"thori<ations .ecome n"llified. This allo-s
htt/366manik.in6St"dS"//6 Manik Chand Patnaik * DBMS 8ote11 9 + :
Advantages of a DBMS over traditional File Processing Systems
for greater control over data and its "se.
B. Fle2i.ility
See /oint +. As the file /rocessing system is a c"stomised sol"tion# it cannot .e ado/ted for
another /ro.lem or can .e marketed. For each and every >"ery even yo" have to -rite a
/rogram and it is a lot of -ork and there is very less re1"se of code as code is tightly .o"nd
-ith data.
1(. Card-are Constraints
Denerally data tends to gro- -ith "se. The file /rocessing system s"ffers from one serio"s
.ottleneck# that is availa.ility of system reso"rces. A 7+ .it system gives ;D. of addressing
s/ace so taking the @S and a//lication foot/rint into consideration# a .ig data file of
E7.=D. -onFt load "/ in the memory even if yo" have the >"antity of %AM. (C"rrently
very high end systems shi/ -ith s"ch a large >"antity of %AM# generally systems shi//ed
today have =1+11(+;M. of %AM.
A DBMS frees the "ser from the storage and retrieval details# so the "ser is not .othered
a.o"t storage s/ace. Tho"gh there is a limit to the si<e of the data.ase any commercial
DBMS can handle# generally it is >"ite large.
All these .enefits of "sing a DBMS res"lts in a red"ced a//lication develo/ment time .eca"se
only a//lication1s/ecific code needs to .e -ritten. There is inde/endence of data and most
im/ortantly the data is logical# sec"re and /rotected from "na"thori<ed access.
htt/366manik.in6St"dS"//6 Manik Chand Patnaik * DBMS 8ote11 9 7 :