What is a Physical Data Model?
A physical data model is a representation of how data is stored in a database system. It defines the structure of the database, including tables, columns, and relationships between them. A physical data model is created after the conceptual and logical data models have been developed.
Physical data models are used in database design to ensure that the system can handle the desired data volumes, perform efficiently, and meet performance requirements. The physical model also takes into account technology limitations and capabilities, such as storage space and processing power.
Creating a physical data model involves translating the logical data model into a physical implementation. This involves selecting the appropriate data types for each data element, defining indexes to optimize performance, and specifying constraints to enforce data integrity.
The physical data model includes the following elements:
Tables: A table is a collection of data organized into rows and columns. The physical data model specifies the tables needed to store the data, along with their respective columns and data types.
Columns: Columns represent individual elements of data within a table. The physical data model specifies the names, data types, and attributes (such as nullability) associated with each column.
Indexes: Indexes are used to speed up access to data by creating a data structure that allows for faster retrieval. The physical model defines the indexes needed to support the necessary queries.
Constraints: Constraints ensure data quality and consistency by enforcing rules on the data. The physical data model specifies the constraints needed to maintain data integrity.
Relationships: Relationships define how the tables are related to each other through foreign keys. The physical data model specifies these relationships along with any required cascading behavior.
In conclusion, a physical data model is an important component of the database design process. It translates the logical data model into a physical implementation that takes into account technology limitations and enables efficient data storage and retrieval. By defining tables, columns, indexes, constraints, and relationships, the physical data model lays the foundation for a robust and efficient database system.