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Notes > Database Systems > Databases and File Based Systems

A file based system is a collection of application programs that perform services for the users wishing to access information. Each program within a file based system defines and manages its own data. Because of this, there are limits as to how that data can be used or transported.

File based systems were developed as better alternatives to paper based filing systems. By having files stored on computers, the data could be accessed more efficiently. It was common practice for larger companies to have each of its departments looking after its own data.

The problems that arise with this type of file based system are listed below:

- Data separation and isolation
- Data dependence
- Data duplication
- Incompatible data (different file formats)
- Lack of flexibility in organising and querying the data
- Increased number of different application programs

Some advantages of database systems are outlined below:

- Sharing of data
- Consistency of data
- Integrity of data
- Security of data
- Data independence
- Allows for more analysis of the same amount of data
- Improved data access and system performance
- Potentially increased productivity
- Increased concurrency
- Improved data backups and recovery

Some potential disadvantages of database systems are the cost of implementing them, the amount of effort needed to transfer data into the database from a current system, and also the impact on the whole company if the database fails (even if only for a relatively short period).

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