Types of database systems

Databases generally have one of two basic forms - the single-file database or the multi-file relational database. Single-file databases are often called "flat file" systems and relational databases are frequently known as "structured" databases.

The type of database system that you require depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • the complexity of the data involved, eg plain text, images, sound files
  • the quantity of data to be stored and processed
  • whether the data needs to be accessed and amended by more than one person simultaneously
  • whether data needs to be imported from, or exported to, other IT systems

If your requirements are simple, eg monitoring the names and addresses of around 100 customers, you might find that standard office tools such as a spreadsheet might be all you need.

However, as your needs become more complicated you will need more a sophisticated and capable database. This can be specifically designed to your needs.

Subjects covered in this guide


Information Systems
Online Databases
Data Driven Websites