What is a Database?

A database is a collection of data. That may sound overly simplistic but it pretty much sums up what any database is.

A database could be as simple as a text file with a list of names. Or it could be as complex as a large, relational database management system, complete with in-built tools to help you maintain the data.

Methods for Storing Data

Before we get into dedicated database management systems, let's look at some common methods for storing data.

So What's the Difference?

You may be wondering what the difference is between the last two examples (Excel vs Access). After all, both examples have the data organized into rows and columns.

There are many differences between spreadsheet software and database software. The rest of this tutorial will show you why database software is a much better option for creating databases.