History of Database Management


It is said that our world is dependent on technology, but what many do not talk about is an aspect of technology that is crucial – database management. For those who may be wondering what this is all about, a database management system is one that allows for the organization, storage, and retrieval of data from a source, typically a computer. Communication with the stored memory of a computer is only possible via a database management platform. 

The Early Days of Database Management 

Even though database management has become extremely sophisticated and advanced today, it was not always like that. When computers were first invented, the DBMS was a set of what was known as punch cards. These punch cards served the purpose of input, output, and storage of data.

As at that time, the punch cards were the best options as far as managing data was all about. Scientific history gives the glory to American inventor Herman Hollerith for modifying the punch cards that were initially utilized for weaving looms to function as the memory for the mechanical tabulating machine used for calculation and accounting tasks 1890. 

The 1950s, Computer Programs, and Evolution of Databases

A significant shift came in the early 1950s with the development of the first set of computer programs. These programs focused mainly on coding languages and algorithms. In that era, computers were massive machines or gigantic calculators, and data was primarily in the form of phone numbers and names. Data at that time was seen as remnants of information processing systems. Computers were not widely available then, but immediately those in the business world embraced the computer, the importance of data became a major priority. 

As computers entered the business world, the Database Management System (better known as DBMS) was soon rolled out. A database is a collection or aggregation of information, and it can be arranged so that a management system can reach out and get detailed information. 

The 1960s to the 1980s – Transformation of Database Management 

As database management grew in scope and importance, scientists, inventors, and researchers stepped up their works. Hence, by 1960, a computer scientist from the United States of America, Charles William Bachman, designed the Integrated System and was christened the first real DBMS. 

Around that time, other brands were also taking note, and they did not want to miss any of the action, so they threw in their gauntlets. Prominent among these brands was IBM, which went ahead to develop its database and named it IMS. 

By the middle of the 1960s, it was apparent that computers were becoming practically unstoppable. They were evolving faster, more flexible, and a lot more popular with the people. As a result, more systems were rolled out. Users wanted a conventional standard, and that made Bachman come up with the Database Task Group.

This group took it upon itself to design and standardize a language that was named Common Business Oriented Language (better known as COBOL). In 1971, the Database Task Group released this to the public, and it was soon tagged the CODASYL approach. 

However, the CODASYL approach would soon chase users away. This is because it was a very complicated package, and no one could use it without extensive training from professionals. People just had to shun it as it was too cumbersome for individuals and even many businesses. CODASYL did not have an inbuilt search engine, and frustrated users and the IMS structure from IBM did not help. 

As a result, an English computer scientist working for IBM, Edgar Frank Codd, took it upon himself to envision newer and more innovative ways of designing databases. He outlined more modern data storage methods and processing of voluminous databases, and his ways were more efficient than the CODASYL approach. 

Unfortunately for IBM, it did not take an interest in Codd’s works, but by 1973, other parties had shown interest. Eugene Wong and Michael Stonebraker decided to go deeper into the niche of relational database systems with a project called Interactive Graphics and Retrieval System (better known as INGRES). 

The outcome was successful, and INGRES blended well with a query language called QUEL, and by 1974, IBM had no other choice but to develop SQL (Standard Query Language). In no time, SQL displaced QUEL as a more reliable query language. These systems would dominate the management niche all through the 1980s to the 1990s. IBM recorded massive success with this, and other brands got interested too. 

The 1990s 

Following IBM’s impact in the sector, several other companies became attracted, mainly when database products were sold at incredibly high rates. By the early 1990s, other tools like VB, Oracle Developer, and PowerBuilder were already in the market, but that was not all. Models for the Object Database Management Systems (also called ODBMS) were established at the beginning of the decade.

By the middle of the 1990s, the coming of the Internet led to an explosion in the DBMS growth. Users of desktop computers started utilizing client-server systems, and by the late 1990s, it was a different landscape. This is because, at that time, space was already crowded by several Internet database connectors. These include Oracle Developer 2000, Dream Weaver, Active Server Pages, ColdFusion, FrontPage, and others. 

The 2000s and Beyond

In the early 2000s, management did not abate in its growth. Innovative and interactive applications were all over the place, but only three companies dominated the database. These were Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft. 

Today, our lives are so dependent on DBMS that it is almost inconceivable to think of life without them. Cloud storage, complex accounting tasks, and even artificial intelligence are applications dependent on databases and are vital to the global economy as we know it. There are also new trends regarding management, and from the look of things, the future can only get better for this niche. 

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