What is a Database?
A database is an organized and structured collection of information that is normally stored in a computer system (source: Oracle). The operation and management of the database is usually done in a database management system (DBMS), such as MySQL. This is one of many programs designed to help store and retrieve the data efficiently.
Many websites, for example, those created with the WordPress program, use a MySQL database to store various information that can then be displayed on the website.
Features of MySQL
The RDBMS MySQL is already used in many companies and organizations. This can be attributed, among other things, to the many advantages of the system.
- High compatibility: MySQL is mainly used for websites and Internet applications. However, it is also compatible with all operating systems, i.e. Unix-based (e.g. MacOS) or Windows. Due to the client-server architecture, which we will describe in more detail in the next section, it can also be combined with a wide variety of programming languages and backends.
- Relational databases: MySQL stores only relational data, i.e. information that can be organized in tables with rows and columns. This structure makes data operations, such as aggregations, much faster and more efficient than with unstructured data.
- Open Source: Any person or company can use, view and modify the source code free of charge. In addition, licenses can be purchased if the database is to be used in a commercial application.
- Easy to use: Relational data is widely used and easy to understand even for users with little experience. This makes it particularly easy to get started, which is further simplified by various tools and applications with a graphical interface for operating the RDBMS.
Client Server Architecture
When using MySQL, there are two components of the architecture, the client and the server. Clients are all the computers that have the RDBMS installed and access the database. The server, in turn, is the instance that has the actual data stored. There are several reasons why it makes sense to physically separate the server and client as well and not run both on the same computer:
- Centralization: All data is stored centrally on one server and not distributed across different machines. If problems should arise, this one server can be focused on and different systems do not need to be investigated.
- Security aspects: Data access permissions can be implemented very easily, as only access to the data server needs to be restricted. This can be implemented, for example, by assigning users and corresponding passwords.
- Scalability: The scaling of the server is done centrally by better equipping the computer on which the data is located, for example with more memory. These configurations can be carried out easily, since no new machines have to be integrated, which could then lead to network problems, for example.
SQL vs. MySQL
MySQL and SQL are not the same. MySQL, as we have already found out, is one of the most widespread RDBMS currently on the market. It uses a so-called client-server architecture, where the server stores the data and the client can query it. In order for this communication to take place smoothly, both systems need a language. This language is SQL. RDBMS are often written in classical programming languages, such as C++. SQL is then in turn used to be able to interact with the database.
The following types of commands can be executed with SQL:
|Data Manipulation Language||– Inserting data into an existing table|
– Updating data
– Deleting table rows
– Selecting data from tables under certain conditions.
|Data Definition Language||– Creation, modification, and deletion of tables|
|Data Control Language||– Administrative tasks|
– Creating new users
– Granting access to parts of the database
MySQL, in turn, offers further features that go beyond these functionalities. For example, MySQL offers a graphical interface, the so-called Workbench, with which the database can be visualized and organized comparatively easily. Of course, SQL, as a pure query language, cannot offer such functionality.
This is what you should take with you
- MySQL is a relational database management system, operated and developed by Oracle.
- Some features of this system make it especially attractive for companies and organizations, which has led to its widespread use nowadays.
- MySQL uses the so-called client-server architecture, in which the data is stored on the server and one or more clients can query it.
- MySQL differs from SQL in that it offers additional features, such as a graphical interface.
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- Valuable information, documentation, and use cases can be found on the MySQL homepage.