Skip to content
Related Articles
Get the best out of our app
GeeksforGeeks App
Open App

Related Articles

Impedance Mismatch in DBMS

Improve Article
Save Article
Like Article
Improve Article
Save Article
Like Article

Impedance mismatch is a term used in computer science to describe the problem that arises when two systems or components that are supposed to work together have different data models, structures, or interfaces that make communication difficult or inefficient.

In the context of databases, impedance mismatch refers to the discrepancy between the object-oriented programming (OOP) model used in application code and the relational model used in database management systems (DBMS). While OOP models are designed to represent data as objects with properties and methods, relational models represent data as tables with columns and rows.

This impedance mismatch can create challenges when it comes to mapping objects in code to tables in a database or vice versa. For example, an object hierarchy in code may need to be flattened into a single table for storage in a database, or multiple related tables may need to be joined together to represent a single object in code. These conversions can be complex, and can lead to performance issues, data inconsistency, and increased development time and costs.

To address the impedance mismatch problem, developers often use object-relational mapping (ORM) tools or other middleware solutions that provide a bridge between the OOP model and the relational model. These tools can automate the mapping process, allowing developers to work with objects in code while transparently interacting with the underlying database

Impedance mismatch is the term used to refer to the problems that occurs due to differences between the database model and the programming language model. The practical relational model has 3 components these are:

  1. Attributes and their data types
  2. Tuples
  3. Tables

Problems: Following problems may occur due to the impedance mismatch:

  1. The first problem that may occur is that is data type mismatch means the programming language attribute data type may differ from the attribute data type in the data model. 
    Hence it is quite necessary to have a binding for each host programming language that specifies for each attribute type the compatible programming language types. It is necessary to have different data types, for example, we have different data types available in different programming languages such as data types in C are different from Java and both differ from SQL data types.
  2. The second problem that may occur is because the results of most queries are sets or multisets of tuples and each tuple is formed of a sequence of attribute values. In the program, it is necessary to access the individual data values within individual tuples for printing or processing. 
    Hence there is a need for binding to map the query result data structure which is a table to an appropriate data structure in the programming language. A mechanism is needed to loop over the tuples in a query result in order to access a single tuple at a time and to extract individual values from the tuple. The extracted values are typically copied to appropriate program variables for further processing by the program. A cursor or iterator is a variable which is used for looping over the tuples in a query result. Individual values within each tuple are extracted into different or unique program variables of the appropriate datatype.


Increased flexibility: Impedance mismatch allows for more flexibility in the way data is stored and manipulated. Applications can use their own data structures, which may be better suited to their specific needs than the database schema.

Better performance: When applications use their own data structures, it can be easier to optimize queries and improve performance. This is because the data structures can be tailored to the specific queries being performed.

Easier development: Developers can work with familiar data structures and APIs, which can make development easier and faster.


Increased complexity: Impedance mismatch can add complexity to the development process, as developers must manage the mapping between the application data structures and the database schema.

Higher risk of errors: Mapping data between different structures can increase the risk of errors and data inconsistencies, particularly if the mapping is not well-designed or well-implemented.

Limited functionality: Impedance mismatch can limit the functionality of the DBMS, as applications may not be able to take advantage of all of the features provided by the DBMS. This can also lead to increased maintenance costs and slower development cycles.

Impedance mismatch is less of a problem when a special database programming language is designed that uses the same data model and data type as a database model for example Oracles’sPL/SQL. Example – UGC NET CS 2016 Aug – III | Question 7

My Personal Notes arrow_drop_up
Last Updated : 05 Apr, 2023
Like Article
Save Article
Similar Reads