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A database is an electronic arsenal of data that a user builds in order to later access, review, and update particular pieces of information in a rapid and coherent manner. Whether you need a refresher on database software basics or are looking to deepen your understanding of core concepts, read on.

Database software is designed to create databases and to store, manage, change, search, and extract the information contained within them. A comprehensive database software program is sometimes called a database management system.

What is database software used for?

Mainly, database software exists to protect the information in the database and ensure that it’s both accurate and consistent. Database software functions include:

  • Data storage
  • Data backup and recovery
  • Data presentation and reporting
  • Multi-user access control
  • Data security management
  • Database communication

What are the types of database software?

Database software is generally classified into six sub-types: analytical database software, data warehouse database software, distributed database software, end user database software, external database software, and operational database software.

Analytical database software

Allows the user to pull data from a variety of databases and examine them for the purpose of quantitatively assessing performance (business, departmental, employee, etc.).

Data warehouse software

Allows the user to pull key data from a variety of databases and store it in a central location for the purpose of deriving critical insights and reporting those insights. Data warehousing helps to ensure data integrity by readily identifying inconsistencies.

Distributed database software

Involves a centralized database management system that controls information stored in a variety of locations (including the cloud, a company LAN or a network server). The distributed model is often considered the safest because of its natural data redundancy.

End user database software

Stores information that is used primarily by one person (Microsoft Excel and its spreadsheets are an example.)

External database software

Compiles information that must be accessed by a variety of users, often via the Internet.

Operational database software

Allows the user to modify data in real-time (for purposes such as financial and customer relationship management).

What are examples of database software programs?

  • IBM DB2
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • Oracle RDBMS
  • Quick Base*
  • SAP Sybase ASE
  • Teradata