Compare and Contrast OODBMSs and RDBMSs - Page 1
Individual Assignment Week 3
Compare and Contrast OODBMSs and RDBMSs
Database Concepts - DBA 330
Instructor - Murry Jensen
March 17, 2004
Compare and Contrast OODBMSs and RDBMSs - Page 2
Databases are used throughout the computer industry to store and
manage data of different types and scales. To provide the best possible
solution, several types of DBMSs are available to meet the needs of the specific
business problem that needs to be addressed. The benefits and drawbacks of
the two major types of DBMSs, Object Oriented Database Management
Systems (OODBMSs) and Relational Database Management Systems
(RDBMSs ) will be discussed in this paper.
Relational Database Management System
The most widely used DBMS is the Relational Database Management
System (RDBMS). This system is based on a table structure that stores and
manages data. A table is a predefined categories of datum that are made up of
rows and columns. The columns store the fields that define the category of
data. Each row holds a complete record for the table where the data is stored.
Each table has a key field that uniquely identifies the table. The key field is the
field that is used to create relationships between other tables in an effort to
connect data. This type of organization allows data to be stored in smaller
increments and then connected by through association. A key field is a unique
field that identifies the table and allows relationships to be created between
tables. Business rules are applied to the tables and fields to ensure the data is
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accessed and used properly. SQL (Standard Query Language) is the
tool/language that is used to interact with and between tables to utilize the data
in ways that is meaningful to the business rules.
The Object Oriented Database Management System (OODMS) do not
have as high a usage rate. This type of DBMS provides high performance for
companies with extensive amounts of data that is highly complex. OODMSs
incorporate Object Oriented technology where the data is seen as an object.
Data is defined as an objects and classes (collections of like minded objects).
The data objects utilize the concept of inheritance, where the lower classes
inherit the data definitions and methods from the upper classes. The class
defines only the data it is associated with. This helps to determine how the
classes of objects relate to each other. Data is accessed in a transparent manner
through intersections of persistent objects.
So why would one choose RDBMS or OODBMS? There is no real right
or wrong answer to this question. The choice made is based on the data to be
stored/managed, the type of database needed and the technology preferences
of the company providing the service or company who is receiving the service.
Often the choice is made based on the skill set available and the DBMS that is
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Benefits and Drawback of Each System
Regardless of the preference, each DBMS has its benefits and
drawbacks. OOBMS are documented as being easy to maintain as classes and
objects can be developed and updated separate from the system. Performance
is also high with OODBMSs as one can store complex datasets in their entirety
and therefore process data more quickly. Due to the class structure, the data
can be more easily distributed across networks as well as the distribution of
work. A query language is not necessary since the interaction of the data is
done by transparently accessing the objects. No keys are needed to identify the
datasets or create connections between the relationships. Many developers find
the programming time to be reduced with an OODBMS since objects inherit
the characteristics of the classes. The use of classes also helps to ensure the
integrity of the data. In addition, a class is reusable for the existing database and
other databases so that it can be distributed more easily across networks.
On the other hand, Relational Database Management Systems (RDMS)
are much easier to learn and create. Many of the available systems have a GUI
interface that makes the technology available to people who are not highly
technical. Since the database is not dependent on a complex schema, increasing
the capability and size is relatively easy. Ad-hoc queries can also be added using
Structured Query Language (SQL) once the production database has been
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completed. In addition, the data can be used independently as the tables are set
up as separate entities rather than grouped in class.
Both systems have their drawbacks as well. OODBMSs have their
drawbacks. They can be somewhat complex and difficult to learn due to the
object oriented technology. When a change needs to be made to the database,
the entire schema must be updated. Queries are dependent upon the system
and therefore must be predetermined in the planning stages. Adding queries to
the database after the fact is a difficult task.
While RDBMSs are easier to use, they are limited to simple data types
and therefore do not support more complex types such as multimedia. In
addition, if the data that needs to be processed is complicated and extensive,
performance may suffer. While there are lots of solutions within this family of
database systems, they may not be robust enough to handle larger scale
Both types of database technologies provide a solution for the right type
of project. The choice to use one vs. the other depends on the type of project,
skills of the development group and the technology available for the company
who is looking for a DBMS.
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Barry & Associates (n.d.) Object-oriented database articles and products
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Tech-Target.com Object Oriented Programming – Definition. (n.d)
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