In this chapter, we've looked at the components of a database system and laid the foundations for the rest of the book. We began by describing the problem space as some well-defined part of the real world. The conceptual data model is a description of the problem space in terms of entities, attributes, and the domains on which they are defined. The physical layout of the data model is the database schema, which is instantiated as a database. Finally, the database engine handles the physical manipulation of the database on behalf of the application, which consists of the forms and reports with which users interact.
In the next chapter, we'll examine the structure of a database in more detail as we explore the principles of normalization.