In the past man used paper and physical filing systems to store data or information. At the time, information storage, access, and editing were cumbersome. Later, technology like the computer was concocted and with it came benefits. A term developed from computer technology, known as a database. A database is a system whereby all data about and for an enterprise is stored. With a database, there is easy data access, editing, or updating.There are more forms of database today than there were before. Making a choice on, which one would suit your business purpose is not easy. However, we are going to make it easy for you by showing you how to select a suitable database for your enterprise as below:
- Your business goals define your choice of database
Different businesses have different business goals and therefore possess varied kinds of information. Information itself establishes the way it may need to be stored. A database is a part of what can help a business achieve its goals and therefore choosing the most suitable one is imperative.
Businesses keep information for many purposes some of which include reference purposes. What you wish to do with the information to achieve your business goals will moreover define the best database for the job. I suggest you to read this article on thebalancesmb and set your targeted goals.
- Research the database categories
The most basic database we have today is Microsoft Access. Any starting business might go for it, and it might work for them. As the business grows, information gets more extensive and sensitive. The idea of an actual database comes. Databases come in multiple kinds and therefore knowing them is essential. Databases like SQL Server help store large loads of information. The information can be shared, accessed and updated from anywhere provided users are given access. Some must-know database system are as below:
- Server- based: this system allows multiple users to access it and can be changed by any of them that access to it.
- Desktop- based: this system runs on a desktop computer. It is suitable for individual-use only.
- Web-Enabled: this one allows for connection to and with the internet. Microsoft Access of that kind.
3.Compare known database system categories
The choices are many, but you have to choose the one suits your needs better. There are parameters to look out for in your comparisons as below:
A database needs to make your information use, storage, access and update easy. For example, server databases are more efficient than shared-file databases. The explanation is simple; for a server database, you only send a query to the server and get an immediate response. For a shared-files database, everybody that wants information viewing information from his or her screens in real time. There is a chance that everybody could be doing this at the same time. Such could lead to a lag in the database access and use process making the shared file system lesser efficient than server database systems.
- The integrity of the database to your information
Today, they say information is power. With the advent of cybercrimes information and data belonging to your enterprise it at risk of tampering. Today people get away with intellectual property and personal information. This could ruin your business and your life at the same time. Seek a system that can withstand attacks, give you alerts where possible. If possible, apply data encryption methods in the protection of your data. Read this article on Digitalguardian and find more info about encryption.
- Check ease of maintenance
Just like any other computer system, a database requires maintenance. This is common for databases that are not built for larger projects. As a developer continues to grow the database, it could be challenging to track activities of the database and maintain it when it is facing issues. Know the much it will cost you for every maintenance and the frequency with which it will need to be done. This way you do not end up wasting funds meant for your business on a database.
- Compare available database systems on the basis of strength and weakness
Under the three basic categories are the actual databases for your business. As mentioned earlier, databases are many, and the best way to choose the most suitable is to where capabilities on parameters of strengths and weakness. We have made it easy for you to do that by comparing most of the database systems below:
- Relational Database Systems
Most of the common databases belong to this sub-category. MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL and MS Server are among those in the list of relational database management systems. Relational databases were designed for the sole reason of handling huge loads of information produced in an enterprise. The relational database system is the motivation behind most databases today.
This system stores data in the form of relations such as tables with the columns and rows. To access the information one has to use an SQL. The relational system works under some strict rules of its creator E. Codd. The rules allow users to achieve maximum assistance from the database. Moreover, the rules prevent the system from alterations and ensure consistency in the use of the system for any users. The relational database management systems come with particular strengths as follows:
- Relational database systems are very good at handling a complex set of data.
- They support ACID transactions also Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability.
- The system allows for secure data storage and retrieval
- Relational systems are easy to scale even without having to change existing data
- This system is the best for limiting what individual users in your enterprise have access to in the database
The relational database management system has its downsides from which you could choose from, as follows:
- They may be good at handling structure sets of data, but they are poor at unstructured data. Representing realistic entities in the system is challenging. You will have to put the pieces of information together from the database so that it makes sense. This is time-consuming.
- Relational databases are quite expensive. To go cheaper on them, your developer needs to do a horizontal scaling. This scaling involves adding more servers. Vertical scaling is costly because one has to add more resources to a server to meet particular needs.
This system is, however, the best where your business information requires topnotch data integrity, when the information is highly structured and where you need an automated nature of internal processes.
- Document store
This is a non-relational database management system. Information here is stored in XML, BSON or JSON documents. They do not SQL for access because of their flexible schema. Information on a document has to come alongside table schema to allow insert data. Document stores include MongoDB and Couchbase and come with multiple strengths as follows:
- The data storage is flexible
- Can handle both structured and unstructured data
- You do not need to have prior knowledge of sets of data to expect
- User can structure data any way they want without affecting other documents
- Schema requires no downtime in modification making it a faster and more efficient database system
- You can also quickly scale horizontal document store databases
On the flipside, Document store comes with some limitations as follows:
- For flexibility, the system has to sacrifice compliance with Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability (ACID).
This system is the best for content management, for in-depth information and data analysis, fast prototyping and handling of both unstructured and semi-structured data.
- Key-value store
This non-relational database also referred to as associative array has each value represented by a specific key. Key-value store databases like Redis have a key, whose binary sequence goes up to 512 MB. The values are stored in the form of blobs without a stipulated schema. Value could be anything, an image, numbers, counters binaries, brief videos or any key-value pair. This database management system comes with strengths as follows:
- It is data flexible; can handle a wide range of data types
- Use of keys makes it access efficient; key takes you directly to the information you need to access
- Have higher portability; keys can be moved from a system to another without having to redo a code
- It is easy to scale horizontally
- It is cheap to maintain
The key-value system on the other side comes with some weaknesses as follows:
- You cannot query values; data in the form of blobs have to be accessed in the same way. You cannot easily edit or report any part of the values.
Key-value stores are suitable for user profiles and settings, on unstructured data like product reviews on websites and comments on a blog post and for easy access to data. This informative video will teach you some useful information about Key-value stores.
- Wide-column store (Cassandra, HBase)
They are column-oriented databases. They take the form of key-value stores yet still possesses features of traditional relational systems. Wide-columns use keyspace in place of schemas. The keyspaces include column ranges, accompanied with rows that possess individual columns. One can how current the data is through their timestamps. Wide-column store databases have strengths that stretch across relational and non-relational databases as follows:
- Can handle both structured and semi-structured data
- Easy to update the data
- East to scale horizontally unlike in relational databases
- Easy to explore large sets of data
Wide-store columns also have their limitations, as follows:
- Updating small loads of data is complicated than bulk updating
- They are slower than relational databases
You can use these database management systems for extensive data warehousing, faster large data analytics, and large-scale projects.
- Search engine
Not just any search engine, but Elastisearch works as a database system. In a quest to reduce search lag. This is a document based data-store system. This system allows for easy document storage as well as retrieval. This system comes with some advantages as follows:
- It is effortless to scale. The system uses a flexible schema, which makes it very easy to access stored information. You can access information using suggestions, full-text searches, and compound search expressions.
Elastisearch uses a stemming feature, which makes document search easy. The feature analyses word root forms and provide records of related root search.
The downside of this system is that it serves well as additional storage to the primary database. Moreover, it has lower durability and lesser data integrity. The system also lacks proper authentication and access control. You can also not do any transactions on the system.
You can use a search engine as a database for logging and improving user experience through quicker results.
As you, choose the best database for the storage of enterprise data. You need to know that you are not limited to databases alone. Today we have document management software that makes this task even easier. A typical document management software your business could use is Filecenter DMS. As you worry about information management, this system makes it easy for you to turn the paper you have into a searchable computer file.
You might be asking yourself, “How does this even work?” The answer is simple; you need to scan the document and store it in the form of a computer file. This system comes with fascinating additional features as follows:
- The filing system is intuitive: a database is designed for queries, searches, key-values, and keyspaces. This document management software is an electronic filing cabinet that predicts on a single character giving you quick access to any information you want in a way that is more efficient.
- In a case, you are dealing with PDFs then you have a chance of doing anything you want with them. You can merge them, split them, and search them by OCR (Optical Character Recognition).
- You get to access the files directly on your Windows. A database holds your data hostage. This system makes it easy gets you off the complications of databases.
By now, you have a screenshot into how to select the most suitable database for your enterprise. All you need to do is follow the steps carefully and find the database that works for you. All the best!