Today’s tech-driven world is governed by data – so much so that nearly 98% of all organizations are increasing investment in data.

However, company owners can’t put their feet up after improving their data capabilities. They also need a database management system (DBMS) – a program specifically designed for storing and organizing information efficiently.

When analyzing a DBMS, you need to be thorough like a detective investigating a crime. One of the elements you want to consider is DBMS architecture. It describes the structure of your database and how individual bits of information are related to each other. The importance of DBMS architecture is enormous, as it helps IT experts design and maintain fully functional databases.

But what exactly does a DBMS architecture involve? You’ll find out in this entry. Coming up is an in-depth discussion of database system concepts and architecture.

Overview of DBMS Architecture

Suppose you’re assembling your PC. You can opt for several configurations, such as those with three RAM slots and dual-fan coolers. The same principle applies to DBMS architectures.

Two of the most common architectures are three-level and two-level architectures.

Three-Level Architecture

Three-level architecture is like teacher-parent communication. More often than not, a teacher communicates with parents through children, asking them to convey certain information. In other words, there are layers between the two that don’t allow direct communication.

The same holds for three-level architecture. But instead of just one layer, there are two layers between the database and user: application client and application server.

And as the name suggests, a three-level DBMS architecture has three levels:

  • External level – Also known as the view level, this section concerns the part of your database that’s relevant to the user. Everything else is hidden.
  • Conceptual level – Put yourself in the position of a scuba diver exploring the ocean layer by layer. Once you reach the external level, you go one segment lower and find the conceptual level. It describes information conceptually and tells you how data segments interact with one another.
  • Internal level – Another name for the internal level is the physical level. But what does it deal with? It mainly focuses on how data is stored in your system (e.g., using folders and files).

Two-Level Architecture

When you insert a USB into your PC, you can see the information on your interface. However, the source of the data is on the USB, meaning they’re separated.

Two-level architecture takes the same approach to separating data interface and data structure. Here are the two levels in this DBMS architecture:

  • User level – Any application and interface in your database are stored on the user level in a two-level DBMS architecture.
  • System level – The system level (aka server level) performs transaction management and other essential processes.

Comparison of the Two Architectures

Determining which architecture works best for your database is like buying a car. You need to consider how easy it is to use and the level of performance you can expect.

On the one hand, the biggest advantage of two-level architectures is that they’re relatively easy to set up. There’s just one layer between the database and the user, resulting in easier database management.

On the other hand, developing a three-level DBMS architecture may take a while since you need to include two layers between the database and the user. That said, three-level architectures are normally superior to two-level architectures due to higher flexibility and the ability to incorporate information from various sources.

Components of DBMS Architecture

You’ve scratched the surface of database system concepts and architecture, but don’t stop there. It’s time to move on to the basics to the most important elements of a DBMS architecture:

Data Storage

The fact that DBMS architectures have data storage solutions is carved in stone. What exactly are those solutions? The most common ones are as follows:

  • Data files – How many files do you have on your PC? If it’s a lot, you’re doing exactly what administrators of DBMS architectures are doing. A large number of them store data in files, and each file is categorized into blocks.
  • Indexes – You want your database operations to be like lightning bolts, i.e. super-fast. You can incorporate indexes to accomplish this goal. They point to data columns for quick retrieval.
  • Data dictionary – Also known as system logs, data dictionaries contain metadata – information about your data.

Data Manipulation

A large number of companies still utilize manual data management methods. But using this format is like shooting yourself in the foot when there are advanced data manipulation methods are available. These allow you to process and retrieve data within seconds through different techniques:

  • Query processor – Query processing refers to extracting data from your DBMS architecture. It operates like any other multi-stage process. It involves parsing, translation, optimization, and evaluation.
  • Query optimizer – A DBMS architecture administrator can perform various query optimization tasks to achieve desired results faster.
  • Execution engine – Whenever you want your architecture to do something, you send requests. But something needs to process the requests – that something is the execution engine.

Data Control

We’re continuing our journey through an average DBMS architecture. Our next stop is data control, which is comprised of these key elements:

  • Transaction management – When carrying out multiple transactions, how does the system prioritize one over another? The answer lies in transaction management, which is also about processing multiple transactions side by side.
  • Concurrency control – Database architecture is like an ocean teeming with life. Countless operations take place simultaneously. As a result, the system needs concurrency control to manage these concurrent tasks.
  • Recovery management – What if your DBMS architecture fails? Do you give up on your project? No – the system has robust recovery management tools to retrieve your information and reduce downtime.

Database System Concepts

To give you a better understanding of a DBMS architecture, let’s describe the most important concepts regarding this topic.

Data Models

Data models do to information what your folders do to files – organize them. There are four major types of data models:

  • Hierarchical model – Top-down and bottom-up storage solutions are known as hierarchical models. They’re characterized by tree-like structures.
  • Network model – Hierarchical models are generally used for basic data relationships. If you want to analyze complex relationships, you need to kick things up a notch with network models. They enable you to represent huge quantities of complex information without a hitch.
  • Relational model – Relations are merely tables with values. A relational model is a collection of these relations, indicating how data is connected to other data.
  • Object-oriented model – Programming languages regularly use objects. An object-oriented model stores information as models and is usually more complex than other models.

Database Schema and Instances

Another concept you should familiarize yourself with is schemas and instances.

  • Definition of schema and instance – Schemas are like summaries, providing a basic description of databases. Instances tell you what information is stored in a database.
  • Importance of schema in DBMS architecture – Schemas are essential because they help organize data by providing a clear outline.

Data Independence

The ability of other pieces of information to remain unaffected after you change one bit of data is known as data independence. What are the different types of data independence, and what makes them so important?

  • Logical data independence – If you can modify logical schemas without altering the rest of the system, your logical data is independent.
  • Physical data independence – Physical data is independent if it remains unaffected when changing your hardware, such as SSD disks.
  • Significance of data independence in DBMS architecture – Independent data is crucial for saving time in database management because it reduces the amount of information that needs to be processed.

Efficient Database Management Systems

Database management systems have a lot in common with other tech-based systems. For example, you won’t ignore problems that arise on your PC, be they CPU or graphics card issues. You’ll take action to optimize the performance of the device and solve those issues.

That’s exactly what 75% of developers and administrators of database management systems do. They go the extra mile to enhance the performance, scalability, flexibility, security, and integrity of their architecture.

Performance Optimization Techniques

  • Indexing – By pointing to certain data in tables, indexes speed up database management.
  • Query optimization – This process is about finding the most efficient method of executing queries.
  • Caching – Frequently accessed information is cached to accelerate retrieval.

Scalability and Flexibility

  • Horizontal scaling – Horizontal scaling involves increasing the number of servers.
  • Vertical scaling – An administrator can boost the performance of the server to make the system more scalable.
  • Distributed databases – Databases are like smartphones in that they can easily overload. Pressure can be alleviated with distributed databases, which store information in multiple locations.

Security and Integrity

  • Access control – Restricting access is key to preventing cyber security attacks.
  • Data encryption – Administrators often encrypt their DBMS architecture to protect sensitive information.
  • Backup and recovery – A robust backup plan helps IT experts recover from shutdowns and other unforeseen problems.

Preparing for the Future Is Critical

DBMS architecture is the underlying structure of a database management system. It consists of several elements, all of which work together to create a fully functional data infrastructure.

Understanding the basic elements of DBMS architecture is vital for IT professionals who want to be well-prepared for future changes, such as hybrid environments. As the old saying goes – success depends upon preparation.

Related posts

New OPIT Degrees launching (soon)!
Riccardo Ocleppo
Nov 29, 2023 2 min read


Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.

🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)

Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.

🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)

Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.

💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!

We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Advanced AI
  • Digital Business
  • Metaverse & Gaming
  • Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).

🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)

With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.

🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch

We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Read the article
Five Reasons to Study Online at OPIT
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
OPIT - Open Institute of Technology
Nov 29, 2023 9 min read

Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.

The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.

In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.

Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).

Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?

Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.

Reason 1 – A Practical Approach

OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.

“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.

OPIT takes a different approach.

It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.

An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.

Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support

Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.

You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.

Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.

Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.

In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.

You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.

Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly

The field of computer science is constantly evolving.

In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.

Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.

“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.

That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.

When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.

This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.

Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education

Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.

“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.

OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.

It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.

Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.

Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.

Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.

Reason 5 – The Learning Experience

Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.

After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.

Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.

OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.

Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education

At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.

There’s also more to come.

Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.

Read the article