Several criteria are normally used to classify DBMSs. The first is the data model on which the DBMS is based. The main data model used in many current commercial DBMSs is the relational data model. The object data model was implemented in some commercial systems but has not had widespread use. Many legacy (older) applications still run on database systems based on the hierarchical and network data models. The relational DBMSs are evolving continuously, and, in particular, have been incorporating many of the concepts that were developed in object databases. This has led to a new class of DBMSs called object-relational DBMSs. We can hence categorize DBMSs based on the data model: relational, object, object-relational, hierarchical, network, and other. The second criterion used to classify DBMSs is the number of users supported by the system. Single-user systems support only one user at a time and are mostly used with personal computers. Multiuser systems, which include the majority of DBMSs, support multiple users concurrently. A third criterion is the number of sites over which the database is distributed. A DBMS is centralized if the data is stored at a single computer site. A centralized DBMS can support multiple users, but the DBMS and the database themselves reside totally at a single computer site. A distributed DBMS (DDBMS) can have the actual database and DBMS software distributed over many sites, connected by a computer network. Homogeneous DDBMSs use the same DBMS software at multiple sites. A recent trend is to develop software to access several autonomous preexisting databases stored under heterogeneous llBMSs. This leads to a federated DBMS (or multidatabase system), in which the participating DBMSs are loosely coupled and have a degree of local autonomy. Many DBMSs use a client-server architecture.
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