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What Is Database System Utilities Used For?

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In addition to possessing the software modules just described, most DBMSs have database
utilities that help the DBA in managing the database system. Common utilities have the
following types of functions:
• Loading: A loading utility is used to load existing data files-such as text files or
sequential files-into the database. Usually, the current (source) format of the data
ti.le and the desired (target) database file structure are specified to the utility, which
then automatically reformats the data and stores it in the database. With the proliferation
of DBMSs, transferring data from one DBMS to another is becoming common in
many organizations. Some vendors are offering products that generate the appropriate
loading programs, given the existing source and target database storage descriptions
(internal schemas). Such tools are also called conversion tools.
• Backup: A backup utility creates a backup copy of the database, usually by dumping
the entire database onto tape. The backup copy can be used to restore the database in
case of catastrophic failure. Incremental backups are also often used, where only
changes since the previous backup are recorded. Incremental backup is more complex
but saves space.
• File reorganization: This utility can be used to reorganize a database file into a different
file organization to improve performance.
• Performance monitoring: Such a utility monitors database usage and provides statistics
to the DBA. The DBA uses the statistics in making decisions such as whether or not to
reorganize files to improve performance.
Other utilities may be available for sorting files, handling data compression,
monitoring access by users, interfacing with the network, and performing other functions.

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