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Chapter: Database Management Systems : Introduction to DBMS

File systems vs Database systems

DBMS are expensive to create in terms of software, hardware, and time invested.

File systems vs Database systems:


DBMS are expensive to create in terms of software, hardware, and time invested.

So why use them? Why couldn‟t we just ke processors to edit the files appropriately to insert, delete, or update data? And we could write our own programs to query the data! This solution is called maintaining data in flat files. So what is bad about flat files?


o Uncontrolled redundancy

 o Inconsistent data 

o  Inflexibility 

o  Limited data sharing 

o Poor enforcement of standards o Low programmer productivity

o Excessive program maintenance o Excessive data maintenance

File System

§        Data is stored in Different Files in forms of Records


§        The programs are written time to time as per the requirement to manipulate the data within files.


§        A program to debit and credit an account


§        A program to find the balance of an account


§        A program to generate monthly statements


Disadvantages of File system over DBMS


Most explicit and major disadvantages of file system when compared to database managementsystem are as follows:


Data Redundancy- The files are created in the file system as and when required by anenterprise over its growth path. So in that case the repetition of information about anentity cannot be avoided.


Eg. The addresses of customers will be present in the file maintaining information


about customers holding savings account and also the address of the customers will be present in file maintaining the current account. Even when same customer have a saving account and current account his address will be present at two places.


Data Inconsistency: Data redundancy leads to greater problem than just wasting thestorage i.e. it may lead to inconsistent data. Same data which has been repeated at severalplaces may not match after it has been updated at some places.


For example: Suppose the customer requests to change the address for his account in


the Bank and the Program is executed to update the saving bank account file only but hiscurrent bank account file is not updated. Afterwards the addresses of the same customerpresent in saving bank account file and current bank account file will not match.Moreover there will be no way to find out which address is latest out of these two.


Difficulty in Accessing Data: For generating ad hoc reports the programs will not alreadybe present and only options present will to write a new program to generate requestedreport or to work manually. This is going to take impractical time and will be more expensive.


For example: Suppose all of sudden the administrator gets a request to generate a list of all the customers holding the saving banks account who lives in particular locality of the city. Administrator will not have any program already written to generate that list but say he has a program which can generate a list of all the customers holding the savings account. Then he can either provide the information by going thru the list manually to select the customers living in the particular locality or he can write a new program to generate the new list. Both of these ways will take large time which would generally be impractical.


Data Isolation: Since the data files are created at different times and supposedly bydifferent people the structures of different files generally will not match. The data will be scattered in different files for a particular entity. So it will be difficult to obtain appropriate data.


For example: Suppose the Address in Saving Account file have fields: Add line1, Add line2, City, State, Pin while the fields in address of Current account are: House No., Street No., Locality, City, State, Pin. Administrator is asked to provide the list of customers living in a particular locality. Providing consolidated list of all the customers will require looking in both files. But they both have different way of storing the address. Writing a program to generate such a list will be difficult.


Integrity Problems: All the consistency constraints have to be applied to database through appropriate checks in the coded programs. This is very difficult when number such constraint is very large.


For example: An account should not have balance less than Rs. 500. To enforce this constraint appropriate check should be added in the program which add a record and the program which withdraw from an account. Suppose later on this amount limit is increased then all those check should be updated to avoid inconsistency. These time to time changes in the programs will be great headache for the administrator.


Security and access control: Database should be protected from unauthorized users. Every user should not be allowed to access every data. Since application programs are added to the system


For example: The Payroll Personnel in a bank should not be allowed to access accounts information of the customers.


Concurrency Problems: When more than one users are allowed to process the database. If in that environment two or more users try to update a shared data element at about the same time then it may result into inconsistent data. For example: Suppose Balance of an account is Rs. 500. And User A and B try to withdraw Rs 100 and Rs 50 respectively at almost the same time using the Update process.




1. Read the balance amount.


2. Subtract the withdrawn amount from balance.


3. Write updated Balance value.


Suppose A performs Step 1 and 2 on the balance amount i.e it reads 500 and subtract100 from it. But at the same time B withdraws Rs 50 and he performs the Update process and he also reads the balance as 500 subtract 50 and writes back 450. User A will also write his updated Balance amount as 400. They may update the Balance value in any order depending on various reasons concerning to system being used by both of the users. So finally the balance will be either equal to 400 or 450. Both of these values are wrong for the updated balance and so now the balance amount is having inconsistent value forever.


Sequential Access


The simplest access method is Sequential Access. Information in the file is processed in order, one record after the other. This mode of access is by far the most common; for example, editors and compilers usually access files in this fashion.


The bulk of the operations on a file is reads and writes. A read operation reads the next portion of the file and automatically advances a file pointer, which tracks the I/O location. Similiarly, a write appends to the end of the file and advances to the end of the newly written material (the new end of file).

File Pointers


When a file is opened, Windows associates a file pointer with the default stream. This file pointer is a 64-bit offset value that specifies the next byte to be read or the location to receive the next byte written. Each time a file is opened, the system places the file pointer at the beginning of the file, which is offset zero. Each read and write operation advances the file pointer by the number of bytes being read and written. For example, if the file pointer is at the beginning of the file and a read operation of 5 bytes is requested, the file pointer will be located at offset 5 immediately after the read operation. As each byte is read or written, the system advances the file pointer. The file pointer can also be repositioned by calling the SetFilePointer function.


When the file pointer reaches the end of a file and the application attempts to read from the file, no error occurs, but no bytes are read. Therefore, reading zero bytes without an error means the application has reached the end of the file. Writing zero bytes does nothing.


An application can truncate or extend a file by using the SetEndOfFile function. This function sets the end of file to the current position of the file pointer.


Indexed allocation


– Each file has its own index block(s) of pointers to its data blocks


         Logical view

Need index table


Random access

Dynamic access without external fragmentation, but have overhead of index block


Mapping from logical to physical in a file of maximum size of 256K bytes and block size of 512 bytes. We need only 1 block for index table




•  LA Q512




Q = displacement into index table


R = displacement into block


Mapping from logical to physical in a file of unbounded length (block size of 512 words) Linked scheme –Link blocks of index table (no limit on size




•  LA Q512 ×511




Q1 = block of index table  R1 is used as follows:



•  R1 /512




Q2 = displacement into block of index table


R2 displacement into block of file:


Two-level index (4K blocks could store 1,024 four-byte pointers in outer index -> 1,048,567 data blocks and file size of up to 4GB)


-- >  Q1


LA 512 / 512-- >


-- > R1


Q1 = displacement into outer-index


R1 is used as follows:


-- >Q2


R1 /512-- >


-- >R2


Q2 = displacement into block of index table


R2 displacement into block of file

Best method depends on file access type


–  Contiguous great for sequential and random


         Linked good for sequential, not random


         Declare access type at creation -> select either contiguous or linked


         Indexed more complex


–  Single block access could require 2 index block reads then data block read


–  Clustering can help improve throughput, reduce CPU overhead


         Adding instructions to the execution path to save one disk I/O is reasonable


–  Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition 990x (2011) at 3.46Ghz = 159,000 MIPS




–  Typical disk drive at 250 I/Os per second


        159,000 MIPS / 250 = 630 million instructions during one disk I/O


–  Fast SSD drives provide 60,000 IOPS


        159,000 MIPS / 60,000 = 2.65 millions instructions during one disk I/O



Method useful for disks.


        The file is viewed as a numbered sequence of blocks or records.


        There are no restrictions on which blocks are read/written in any order


        User now says "read n" rather than "read next".


         "n" is a number relative to the beginning of file, not relative to an absolute physical disk location.


purpose of database system


Database management systems were developed to handle the following difficulties of typical file-processing systems supported by conventional operating systems:


                                Data redundancy and inconsistency


                                Difficulty in accessing data


                                Data isolation –multiple files and formats


                                Integrity problems


                                Atomicity of updates


                                Concurrent access by multiple users


                                Security problems

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