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Last Updated: Jan 2, 2024

What is Schema in DBMS

Author Muskan Sharma
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Dbms - Database management systems
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Most of us have already heard about what a database is. So basically, A database is an organized collection of data that can be readily accessed and controlled. If we talk about how the data is organized in the database and how their functions are connected, then comes the concept of schema in DBMS. So let's go on the journey to explore more about it.

Schema in DBMS

What is Schema?

A schema is like a blueprint that explains how data should be organized in a database or system. It tells you what kind of information can be stored, how it's connected, and what rules it needs to follow. Schemas help ensure that data is well-organized and makes sense, making it easier to manage and work with. It's like having a map to navigate your data effectively.

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What is Schema in DBMS?

A Schema in DBMS is a logical representation of a Database that demonstrates how data is logically stored throughout the database.

It provides a collection of attributes and how the elements are related.

The Database schema contains the objects like tables, fields, primary keys, foreign keys, and packages.

The data stored in physical form may be in unstructured form, so to use that data should be structured, so the database schema is used, which helps the programmer know about the database more efficiently.  

Schema in DBMS

What is Database Instance?

A database instance is a specific, running occurrence of a database system at a given moment. It represents the database software and the data it manages during its operation. A database instance includes the database management system (DBMS) and the memory and storage structures required for data storage and processing. In simpler terms, it's the active, working version of a database that you interact with to store, retrieve, and manage data. Multiple database instances can run concurrently on a single physical server, each managing its own set of data and resources.

Types of DBMS Schema

Now let's have a look at the types of schema we have. There are three types of schema:

  • Logical Schema
  • Physical Schema
  • View Schema

Logical Database Schema

The logical database schema lays out all the logical restrictions applied to the data.

Views, integrity restrictions, and the table are all defined in it.

Various tools are used to build up a logical schema, and ER modeling is a technique that involves using a variety of tools to design a logical database schema that shows the links between the components of your data.

Let's look at the diagram, which will help us better understand.

Logical Database Schema

The Ids are supplied in each circle in the example; these Ids are primary and foreign keys.

The primary keys are the Ids in the upper three circles. The primary key is used to identify a document or record's entry.

Other tables use the Foreign key as the primary key. In the diagram, the FK stands for the foreign key. It connects two tables.

Physical Database Schema

A physical database schema describes how data is physically stored in the form of Files and Indices on a storage system or disc storage. A physical schema is a method of designing a database at the physical level.

Now we have learned about what a database schema is. Many of us get confused between database schema and database instance. 

View Database Schema

View schema refers to a database's view-level design.

This schema represents the end-user interface with database systems in general.

Read About - Specialization and Generalization in DBMS

Database Schema vs Database Instance 

Database Schema Database Instance
The database schema is a skeleton of data that has been planned but does not contain any data. Database instances are a snapshot of data from a database at a specific point in time.
It is made there is no data in the database. It contains all of the properties described as data values in the schema.

Benefits of Database Schema

Database objects and schemas are becoming increasingly important as big data grows, ensuring efficiency in day-to-day business processes. Relational models that are inadequately organized and documented will be more challenging to manage, causing issues for both users and the firm.

1. Security and access

A database schema design helps organize data into distinct entities, making it easier to reuse a single schema across multiple databases.

Database permissions provide another degree of security for highly sensitive data, allowing administrators to regulate access.

2. Organization and communication

The storage and retrieval of data can be done effectively with a well-designed database schema. It arranges data logically and formally, making managing and maintaining it simpler. A well-communicated database schema improves collaboration and reduces the possibility of mistakes and inconsistencies.

3. Integrity

Integrity refers to the accuracy and consistency of the data in the database. It is upheld by enforcing integrity constraints that stop the database from being updated or filled with invalid or inconsistent data.

Also, Read - Cardinality In DBMS

Database Schema Designs

Database schema designs define how data is organized within a database. They specify the structure, tables, fields, relationships, and constraints, providing a blueprint for data storage. Effective schema designs ensure data integrity, optimize query performance, and support efficient data retrieval. A well-designed schema simplifies database management, enhances data consistency, and enables effective organization and access to information.

Now let’s have a look at Schema designs:

  • Flat Model
  • Relational Model
  • Star Schema
  • Snowflake Schema
  • Hierarchical Model
  • Network Model

Flat Model

A flat model schema is a 2-D array in which each column contains the same type of data and components within a row are linked. It's like a single spreadsheet or database table with no relationships. 

This schema is best for simple applications that don't have a lot of complex data.

Relational Model

The relational database, which stores data as table relations, is built using relational models. To manage and calculate distinct values from data, relational operators are utilized organization.

Star schema

The star schema is a different type of data organization structure. It operates on "Facts" and "Dimensions" and is best suited for storing and analyzing large amounts of data. The fact here is a numerical data point that drives business activities and the dimension describe that fact. We can structure RDBMS data using Star Schema.

Snowflake schema

The star schema has been adapted into the snowflake schema. The star schema has a primary "Fact" table containing the key data items and references to its dimension tables. However, dimension tables in Snowflake can have their dimension tables.

Hierarchical Model

The first database management system model was the hierarchical model. The data is organized using a hierarchical tree structure. The root of the hierarchy, which includes the root data, is its start. As child nodes are added to the parent node, the hierarchy develops into a tree.

Network Model

The many-to-many relationship between the database constraints is represented by a hierarchical model in DBMS called the network model. It has a hierarchy, however it differs from a hierarchical database model as its member can have a number of parents.

Also See, File System vs DBMS

Star schema vs. Snowflake schema

The key difference between star schema and snowflake schema are:

  • A star schema has denormalized dimension tables, while a snowflake schema has normalized dimension tables.
  • The snowflake schema is harder to design and implement than star schema.
  • Because there are fewer JOINs between tables in a star schema than in a snowflake schema, it can be more efficient to query.
  • A star schema may need more storage space than a snowflake schema and may be more difficult to update because it uses denormalized data.
  • Due to the denormalized data, a star schema may be more challenging to troubleshoot than a snowflake schema.

Difference between Logical and Physical Database Schema 

Here's a comparison of Logical and Physical Database Schema in a tabular format:

Aspect Logical Database Schema Physical Database Schema
Definition Describes the logical structure and organization of data, focusing on how data elements relate to each other. It's abstract and independent of the physical storage and implementation. Represents the actual implementation and storage details of the database on a physical storage medium. It defines how data is stored on disks, file structures, indexes, and access paths.
Focus Concerned with high-level data organization and relationships, data modeling, and user views. Focuses on low-level storage, file management, and access mechanisms.
Abstraction Provides a conceptual view of the data, not tied to any specific technology or hardware. Deals with concrete hardware and software configurations, including file locations, data file types, and indexing methods.
Independence Independent of physical storage, allowing changes to the physical schema without affecting the logical schema. Dependent on physical hardware and configurations; changes may impact the logical schema.
Portability Highly portable, as it's not tied to a specific platform or technology. Less portable, as it's closely tied to the underlying technology and hardware.
Examples Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD), UML diagrams, and high-level data models. Data dictionary, file organization diagrams, and storage structures like B-trees or indexes.
Users Designed with the needs of application developers, data modelers, and business analysts in mind. Concerned with the database administrators, system architects, and storage engineers responsible for the physical database implementation.

Advantages of Database Schema

Advantages of a good database schema include:

Organized Data: It helps keep data neat and easy to work with.

Correct Data: It prevents mistakes and keeps information accurate.

Faster Searches: It makes finding information quicker.

Data Protection: It can keep sensitive data safe from unauthorized access.

Handles Growth: It works well even as more data is added.

Data Relationships: It helps understand how different pieces of data are connected.

Consistency: It keeps data structured the same way for everyone.

Easy Maintenance: It's easier to take care of the database.

Good Data Quality: It ensures the data is reliable and trustworthy.

User-Friendly: It makes it easy for people to find and use the data they need.

Recommended Topic, B+ Tree in DBMS

Frequently asked questions

What is schema in a database?

A schema in a database is a logical container or namespace that is used to organize database objects, such as tables, views, procedures, and other structures. It provides a way to group related database objects together, allowing for better organization, access control, within a database.

What is a schema in SQL?

In the context of SQL , "schema" is often used to refer to the structure or design of a database, which includes the layout of tables, their relationships, and the constraints applied to them. It is more about the logical design of the database and how data is organized. 

Type of schema in dbms?  

In database management systems (DBMS), there are primarily three types of schemas:

Physical Schema: Describes the physical storage and organization of data on hardware, including data files, indexes, and access methods.

Logical Schema: Defines the logical structure of data, its relationships, and user perspectives, independent of physical implementation.

View Schema: Presents a subset of data to specific users or applications, providing tailored access to the database while hiding complexity.

What is 3 schema architecture?

The Three-Schema Architecture in database management comprises three levels: external schema (user views and application data access), conceptual schema (entire database's logical organization), and internal schema (physical data storage details). It separates user interfaces, data structures, and physical storage for data management and access.


In this blog, we have extensively discussed What is Schema in DBMS, and how we implement it in real-life databases. Along with this, we learned about types of schema, and how to design database schema. We have discussed the difference between database schema and database instance.

We hope this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge regarding database schema and how it will be beneficial for the upcoming boom of big dataIf you want to learn more about the database schema, check out the excellent content on the Coding Ninjas:

You can also consider our DBMS Course to give your career an edge over others. Do upvote our blog to help other ninjas grow. 

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