Object database management systems (ODBMSs) are typically found in niche uses. For instance, they serve as repositories under some knowledge management and document management applications. Similarly, they sometimes serve as the repository under a corporate portal, when the portal fulfills document or knowledge management functions. The meta data repositories under data warehouses and other data integration platforms are sometimes hosted in an ODBMS. Very recently, ODBMSs started to be used to store XML-based data.

In all these cases, an ODBMS is a good choice because the data being managed tends to fall into hierarchical structures with numerous and somewhat unpredictable relationships between data objects. A relational database management system (RDBMS) could store this same data, but an RDBMS cannot handle hierarchical data structures as natively or naturally.

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