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Five things to consider when choosing a Database for business

Planning for an ideal database is critical to your business and can save from a lot of chaos

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Within the realm of the current business landscape, organizations are increasingly adopting database management. The objective is to support application hosting, and/or storing and analyzing the massive data for profit seeking purposes. Both application hosting, and data analytics offers businesses the advantage of using technology to grow and sustain their operations.

The choice for a suitable database is therefore critical if you plan to do application hosting or use data analytics to drive business decisions. When it’s time to choose a database, there are a number of factors that should be considered and evaluated against your use case.

There are two options in the market: the structured (SQL) and loosely structured databases (noSQL). And it’s your application that decides which one is best for your use case.

Deciding an ideal data management solution for your organization, there are five database characteristics that experts find useful. 

Flexibility

A flexible database is the one that offers the following expansion facilities. Storage of various data types, ability to scale capacity of storage, and timely processing of queries. 

For your future database look at the kind of application you are developing today. What kind of data types would you need to store?. Is your application going to scale in future? (by scalability we mean an increasing user base as well as growing data). And is the querying speed critical to your application?

If your use case needs you to store numerous data types in your database then a better option is to choose noSQL database. A noSQL database is a non-relational database which allows you to store almost any kind of data type. 

With regards to speed, a noSQL database offers a better option. It doesn’t conform to ACID compliance and achieves speed in storing semi structured/unstructured data. This data could be structured later along with support of variable schemas. 

Contrary, if your application works well on structured data that follows strict data categories, then a relational database (SQL database) is a more stable option. The speed could be compromised too given its strict compliance to ACID features.

Another dimension of flexibility is the Scalability that needs to be scrutinized while considering a database choice. A noSQL database in this regard offers better horizontal scalability, meaning you could distribute workload among different servers without much difficulty. 

Please note that a relational database cannot not offer horizontal scaling because of its conservative architecture.

Another question to ask for your future database choice is how much you want to explore the data at your hand. Big data companies often want to explore limitlessly to answer diverse business questions. A SQL database can limit data exploration because of its fixed schema that solves limited business questions. 

A noSQL needs to be considered only if your database has to see a lot of schema changes in future. Otherwise SQL based databases are preferred. 

Finally, to enable flexibility in your database management, it is wise to consider a database vendor that uses standardized language. This is important so that in future you don’t find yourself trapped in vendor lock-in. With no hassle of re-training the workforce this will save you from additional switching costs.

Functionality

By functionality, we mean the additional vendor-specific functions that are available to us in the database solution. Well it might sound unimportant, but the vendor functionalities are very powerful and play a defining role in database management. 

One of the functionality areas is the “query interface”. A query interface is a friendly feature that is used to communicate with databases with or without writing the query language. Depending on the vendor, robust query interface functionalities are available. Some of them also offer to enable analytical, and OLAP queries

Ask yourself the questions: what kind of query interface is the right choice for your application?. Is a standard query language more suitable or a non standard API to prefer?.

Other functionalities include: data backup methodology, data loss in case of node failure, and recovery procedure in case of an error.

Useability and Performance

Following the above, we have already discussed useability areas such as the requirement of query interface or an API for your use case. There are other useability concerns too that need to be considered while choosing your database. 

One such area is the logging and auditing functionality offered by the vendor of your potential database. Auditing process monitors and logs the database management process and is considered an essential tool. However, you have to see if the offered functionality is what your application requires? What if you want to integrate your future database with the current monitoring tools at your hand?

Concerning the performance of a database, there could be a number of areas to look into. For example, you may need to ask yourself: does your application require more performance in the data ingestion stage or the data access stage, or both? 

There’s a difference between these two areas and database management systems out there address these separately. 

Another use case could be in the transaction read and write operations. As an example, consider the MySQL database, the second most used relational database. MySQL offers high performance in the data access area with support for frequent read operations. This is one of the reasons Facebook uses MySQL.

Then there is PostgreSQL. It’s an object relational database management system and offers the ability to write complex queries in procedural language. It offers high performance in both read and write transactions. Instagram uses PostgreSQL.

The final question in performance you would ask yourself could be on scalability. Is it easy to add additional nodes in future? As we discussed above, adding nodes in NoSQL is easier than for SQL based database solutions.

Security

Security of your business data is as important for consideration as the flexibility, functionality, and useability areas are. Data breaches are costly. Securing users data is a matter of trust your customers have in your business. Customers have their identity information that could come with data and that needs to be secured from unauthorized access.

Both Europe and America have general security compliance guidance on securing the identity information of users. 

As a manager of a future database system, it’s important for you to consider the access control procedures of the vendor offered solution. Other areas to look for include, keeping an eye on the data sources. Are the connections secured? Can encryption be performed? What if the database management is integrated with overall IT security infrastructure?

Cost

Cost is another and yet the most important factor to consider when it comes to database choice. There are a number of cost areas which includes, the license cost, the fixed infrastructure you require, and whether a cloud based solution creates enough value than an on-premise thereof. 

Another important area with regards to cost is the staffing requirement. Does the database solution you are opting for be supported by enough skill in the market? Common talent available on a technology means not-so high wages.

Summary

Let’s summarize our learning here. In this article we came to know that planning for a future database is critical to sustain your business operations. A bad database choice can take you to replan and reinvest in setting the required business operations. A best database design: is flexible enough to settle with your changing business needs, offers required operational functionality and is robust in useability. It offers secure data storage and processing. Finally, the cost factors in buying, and running the chosen database system has to balance according to the added value. 

Ayesha
Ayesha
I engineer the content and acquaint the science of analytics to empower rookies and professionals.
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Five things to consider when choosing a Database for business

Planning for an ideal database is critical to your business and can save from a lot of chaos

Within the realm of the current business landscape, organizations are increasingly adopting database management. The objective is to support application hosting, and/or storing and analyzing the massive data for profit seeking purposes. Both application hosting, and data analytics offers businesses the advantage of using technology to grow and sustain their operations.

The choice for a suitable database is therefore critical if you plan to do application hosting or use data analytics to drive business decisions. When it’s time to choose a database, there are a number of factors that should be considered and evaluated against your use case.

There are two options in the market: the structured (SQL) and loosely structured databases (noSQL). And it’s your application that decides which one is best for your use case.

Deciding an ideal data management solution for your organization, there are five database characteristics that experts find useful. 

Flexibility

A flexible database is the one that offers the following expansion facilities. Storage of various data types, ability to scale capacity of storage, and timely processing of queries. 

For your future database look at the kind of application you are developing today. What kind of data types would you need to store?. Is your application going to scale in future? (by scalability we mean an increasing user base as well as growing data). And is the querying speed critical to your application?

If your use case needs you to store numerous data types in your database then a better option is to choose noSQL database. A noSQL database is a non-relational database which allows you to store almost any kind of data type. 

With regards to speed, a noSQL database offers a better option. It doesn’t conform to ACID compliance and achieves speed in storing semi structured/unstructured data. This data could be structured later along with support of variable schemas. 

Contrary, if your application works well on structured data that follows strict data categories, then a relational database (SQL database) is a more stable option. The speed could be compromised too given its strict compliance to ACID features.

Another dimension of flexibility is the Scalability that needs to be scrutinized while considering a database choice. A noSQL database in this regard offers better horizontal scalability, meaning you could distribute workload among different servers without much difficulty. 

Please note that a relational database cannot not offer horizontal scaling because of its conservative architecture.

Another question to ask for your future database choice is how much you want to explore the data at your hand. Big data companies often want to explore limitlessly to answer diverse business questions. A SQL database can limit data exploration because of its fixed schema that solves limited business questions. 

A noSQL needs to be considered only if your database has to see a lot of schema changes in future. Otherwise SQL based databases are preferred. 

Finally, to enable flexibility in your database management, it is wise to consider a database vendor that uses standardized language. This is important so that in future you don’t find yourself trapped in vendor lock-in. With no hassle of re-training the workforce this will save you from additional switching costs.

Functionality

By functionality, we mean the additional vendor-specific functions that are available to us in the database solution. Well it might sound unimportant, but the vendor functionalities are very powerful and play a defining role in database management. 

One of the functionality areas is the “query interface”. A query interface is a friendly feature that is used to communicate with databases with or without writing the query language. Depending on the vendor, robust query interface functionalities are available. Some of them also offer to enable analytical, and OLAP queries

Ask yourself the questions: what kind of query interface is the right choice for your application?. Is a standard query language more suitable or a non standard API to prefer?.

Other functionalities include: data backup methodology, data loss in case of node failure, and recovery procedure in case of an error.

Useability and Performance

Following the above, we have already discussed useability areas such as the requirement of query interface or an API for your use case. There are other useability concerns too that need to be considered while choosing your database. 

One such area is the logging and auditing functionality offered by the vendor of your potential database. Auditing process monitors and logs the database management process and is considered an essential tool. However, you have to see if the offered functionality is what your application requires? What if you want to integrate your future database with the current monitoring tools at your hand?

Concerning the performance of a database, there could be a number of areas to look into. For example, you may need to ask yourself: does your application require more performance in the data ingestion stage or the data access stage, or both? 

There’s a difference between these two areas and database management systems out there address these separately. 

Another use case could be in the transaction read and write operations. As an example, consider the MySQL database, the second most used relational database. MySQL offers high performance in the data access area with support for frequent read operations. This is one of the reasons Facebook uses MySQL.

Then there is PostgreSQL. It’s an object relational database management system and offers the ability to write complex queries in procedural language. It offers high performance in both read and write transactions. Instagram uses PostgreSQL.

The final question in performance you would ask yourself could be on scalability. Is it easy to add additional nodes in future? As we discussed above, adding nodes in NoSQL is easier than for SQL based database solutions.

Security

Security of your business data is as important for consideration as the flexibility, functionality, and useability areas are. Data breaches are costly. Securing users data is a matter of trust your customers have in your business. Customers have their identity information that could come with data and that needs to be secured from unauthorized access.

Both Europe and America have general security compliance guidance on securing the identity information of users. 

As a manager of a future database system, it’s important for you to consider the access control procedures of the vendor offered solution. Other areas to look for include, keeping an eye on the data sources. Are the connections secured? Can encryption be performed? What if the database management is integrated with overall IT security infrastructure?

Cost

Cost is another and yet the most important factor to consider when it comes to database choice. There are a number of cost areas which includes, the license cost, the fixed infrastructure you require, and whether a cloud based solution creates enough value than an on-premise thereof. 

Another important area with regards to cost is the staffing requirement. Does the database solution you are opting for be supported by enough skill in the market? Common talent available on a technology means not-so high wages.

Summary

Let’s summarize our learning here. In this article we came to know that planning for a future database is critical to sustain your business operations. A bad database choice can take you to replan and reinvest in setting the required business operations. A best database design: is flexible enough to settle with your changing business needs, offers required operational functionality and is robust in useability. It offers secure data storage and processing. Finally, the cost factors in buying, and running the chosen database system has to balance according to the added value. 

Ayesha
Ayesha
I engineer the content and acquaint the science of analytics to empower rookies and professionals.
RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

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