First and foremost we need to understand “what is a database?”. Simply put -A database is a structured collection of data. It allows data to be easily accessed, managed and updated. Databases are the heart of most business applications. The way that data is organized in a database greatly impacts the performance of the application. It’s important to design databases well in order to speed up the processing of queries, indexing, and storage.
The various reasons for which we require databases are:
To manage large chunks of data: Yes, you can store data in a spreadsheet, but if you add large chunks of data into the sheet, it will simply not work. For instance: if your size of data increases into thousands of records, it will simply create a problem of speed. This makes databases so viable and important.
Accuracy: When doing data entry files in a spreadsheet, it becomes difficult to manage the accuracy as there are no validations present in it.
Ease of updating data: With the database, you can flexibly update the data according to your convenience. Moreover, multiple people can also edit data at same time.
Security of data: There is no denying the fact that your data is less secure in spreadsheets. Anyone can easily get access to file and can make changes to it. With databases, you have security groups and privileges you set to restrict access.
Data integrity: Data integrity also becomes a question when storing data in spreadsheets. In databases, you can be assured of the accuracy and consistency of data due to the built-in integrity checks and access controls.
What is Database Design?
Database design is the science and art of assembling a database. Repetitive data entry and business processes are consolidated in a database. Database design requires you to choose the field names, data types and indexes, which will allow maximum productivity and performance.
Every business needs a good database design. The definition of a good database design is one that allows the company to find the right data when they need it, without having to sort through loads of data that they don’t need. A good database design is important for any company that deals with its own data or the data of others. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with small or large amounts of data, it’s still vital that you have a good database design. A lot of people believe that database design is one of the less important tasks, and this is rather a misconception. The database has been there for quite a long time now and through its evolution, it has been made sure that it delivers to its users the most efficient, safe and secure means of data storage.
What makes Database Design so important?
The reason for this is quite simple: when the database contains a lot of complex data, the performance of the application built on top of it can be affected in a major and even critical way. Most application developers don’t go much deeper than a simple table structure and some basic relationships between tables. But there can be subtle and complex details that, if overlooked, will cause a significant performance issue. Thus, meticulous database designing is very critical for the smooth functioning of the business depending on it.
Database Design can make or break a business. A good database design ensures that:
- Business rules can be enforced.
- Data Integrity can be maintained, which means that there are no duplicates in your records, or missing pieces, and every question that you need to answer can be easily available, fast and beyond any shadow of a doubt.
- The database is secured. It also ensures that everything can be tracked and audited and every transaction is protected in such a way that malicious users can’t use the database for illegal or improper activities.
- The data is properly organized. Anything can be easily accessible through tools without wasting time and effort.
Good database design helps the organization to manage its data in an efficient manner. If your database is not designed for growth, chances are that after a couple of years, your client software starts to become sluggish, slower and slower to the point of becoming unusable. A secure database design (think about data encryption and access mechanisms), can save you from catastrophe in case someone tries to hack into your database. A good data backup policy will save you and your application from going out of business on those days when you accidentally delete important data.
All the above-mentioned points state the importance of a good database design. If you don’t have a solid design, your database can easily become obsolete, expensive and difficult to use. This can lead to lost business, missed opportunities and eventually, to companies going out of business.
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