Difference between Schema and Database

Key Difference: A database is any collection of data. The data in a database is usually organized in such as manner that the information is easily and readily accessible. A schema is basically a formal description of how a database is formed and where everything is. It basically works as a blueprint that depicts where everything in the database and how it is structured.

A database is any collection of data. The data in a database is usually organized in such as manner that the information is easily and readily accessible. In computers, a database management system (DBMS) is a computer software application that is used to capture and organize data as and when applicable. The general function of a DBMS is to define, create, query, update and administration of databases.

The purpose of a database is to collect and store information in such a way that the computer can easily and quickly access the information it requires. A database is basically an electronic filing system.

The term ‘schema’ is derived from a Greek work, which means shape or plan. In relevance to database, a schema is basically a formal description of how a database is formed and where everything is. It basically works as a blueprint that depicts where everything in the database and how it is structured. The schema defines the tables, fields, relationships, views, indexes, packages, procedures, functions, queues, triggers, types, sequences, materialized views, synonyms, database links, directories, XML schemas, and other elements.

 
Let’s consider an analogy to understand what a schema and a database are: think of a building. This building has many floors, and each floor has many rooms. So, it is like any other building. In the building, each floor consists of a department, and each room houses thousands of the department’s files. Now, someone needs to access a particular file for XYZ department; how will he go about it? He cannot check each and every file, in each and every room, on each and every floor. So, he needs a floor map or a blueprint that will tell him which department is on each floor, as well as how the files are categorized and in what room are they stored. For example: room 1 has files starting with the letter A, while room 2 has files starting with B, etc. Now, looking at the map, the person can easily find the file that he was looking for. The schema is basically the floor map or blueprint for the building, which is the database.

Comparison between Schema and Database:

 

Schema

Database

Description

A schema is the formal description of the organization and the structure of data in the database.

A database is an organized collection of data.

Aim

To specify the facts that can enter the database or those of interest to the possible end-users.

To collect and store information in such a way that the computer can easily and quickly access the information it requires.

Purpose

The database schema describes how these fields and cells are structured and organized and what types of relationships are mapped between these entities

The database holds the records, fields and cells of data.

Consistency  

Stays constant after creation

The actual data in the database tables may change all the time.

Image Courtesy: essentialsql.com, docs.oracle.com

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