History of Database Systems

1950s and early 1960s:

  • Data processing using magnetic tapes for storage
  • Tapes provide only sequential access
  • Punched cards for input

Late 1960s and 1970s:

  • Hard disks allow direct access to data
  • Network and hierarchical data models in widespread use
  • Ted Codd defines the relational data model
  • Would win the ACM Turing Award for this work
  • IBM Research begins System R prototype
  • UC Berkeley begins Ingres prototype
  • High-performance (for the era) transaction processing


  • Research relational prototypes evolve into commercial systems
  • SQL becomes industrial standard
  • Parallel and distributed database systems
  • Object-oriented database systems


  • Large decision support and data-mining applications
  • Large multi-terabyte data warehouses
  • Emergence of Web commerce


  • XML and XQuery standards
  •  Automated database administration

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