Describe the characteristics of hierarchical and relational databases.
Hierarchical and Relational Databases
Hierarchical databases are based on "parent/child" (or top-down) relationships among data elements.
The logic in this arrangement is that a child may have only one "parent," but a "parent" may have more than one "child." Hierarchical databases are rigid, which makes them easy to maintain but difficult to query.
Hierarchical databases have been used for core business applications such as payroll, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. The figure below shows how a simple order placed on a web site has to work its way down a hierarchical structure.
IBM's IMS (Information Management System) is one example of a proprietary hierarchical database software package.
Relational databases are based on the metaphor of a basic table with rows and columns. Data elements stored in these "tables" share a relationship defined by a common element, called a key. For example, the same product number (key) may be used by programs that process and ship orders, track inventory, update pricing, and so on.
The figure below illustrates how a product number (the key) entered by a customer on a Web site accesses many data sources simultaneously.
Relational database: Database based on the metaphor of a basic table with rows and columns. Data elements stored in these "tables" share a relationship defined by a common element called a key.
Examples of relational database products include:
Microsoft SQL Server
In the next lesson, you will learn about the characteristics of database-driven Web sites.
Click the link below to increase your understanding of the differences between hierarchical and relational databases. Database Characteristics
Hierarchical database: Database based on top-down relationships among data elements. Hierarchical databases are used for core business applications such as payroll and accounts receivable.