What Are the Parts of a Computer Database?


A database is a software application that runs on an enterprise server. The software holds data for an individual or a company. The database can be a simple storage application holding only a few thousand records, or it can be gigabytes of information stored using millions of records. Knowing the inner parts of a database helps the administrators and owners understand how data is stored and secured.


  • The table is the component that holds rows and columns of data. The table is the central part of the database where information is manipulated, saved and deleted. The columns are the headers of the table. For instance, in a table of customers, the columns can be first name, last name and address. The rows are called records. These rows make up one of each column to hold a set of data for a specific customer.


  • A query is a set of instructions that retrieve data from the table. A query can be a line of text, or it can be run through a stored procedure. A query is also used to update or delete records in a table. Queries are created using a specific syntax. For instance, Oracle has a slightly different syntax than Microsoft SQL Server. Queries can be very basic, or they can be a very long set of complex instructions that do multiple actions to the tables.


  • Reports use queries to retrieve data and show a list of data. The data is used to analyze issues or send to forms. Reports are the essential tools for financial applications and marketing organizations. These reports can give managers the necessary data to evaluate sales, marketing effectiveness and employee's commissions.


  • Forms are the parts of the database where the data is returned to the user using styles and attractive layouts. These forms are normally used by managers or employees who view the same report every day or weekly. For quick reporting, raw data is used in reports. Forms allow programmers to lay out the data in a way that's easier to read than a matrix of numbers.


  • Security is an essential part of a database. Security is necessary so only users who have permissions can access the data. This protects customer data, as well as employee data, within payroll applications. Security has several levels. The entire database can be blocked using passwords, or the administrator can limit function like only allowing a user to see specific data within a table.

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