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Database Analysis

Institutions use a database to store data which is constantly searched and analyzed. Larger organizations use a data warehouse or a data mart. Database management systems (DBMS) can be either a desktop database or server database. An example of desktop database is Microsoft Access. Since desktop databases are oriented for single users and for less complex data storage, a server database management system is what most institutions use. Server databases, such as Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle, provide organizations the ability to manage massive amounts of data and helps users to access and update the data simultaneously. Flexibility, powerful performance, and scalability are some benefits of using Microsoft SQL server.

Databases systems have four components which are users, database application, database management system (DBMS), and the database itself. The database is a collection of related tables. Tables hold data for each entity in columns called attributes and rows called records. DBMS is a computer program used to create, process, and administer the database. The DBMS is a large complicated program that is licensed from a software vendor. Example of DBMS includes Microsoft Access, Oracle from Oracle Corporation, and SQL Server from Microsoft. The database application sends SQL statements to the DBMS which than translates the statements into action to the database. The users enter and retrieve the information using the database application. In the workplace database systems are needed to keep large quantity of data organized and linked for quick retrieval when needed for business operations. Organizations look for ways to provide greater service and solutions to clients. This includes the use of a database. When clients want to view their personal account information online or request data this is processed through the use of a database. Some use Microsoft Excel as their database which holds data in a list. This can cause data redundancy and anomaly. This is the reason for creating a relational database to store data into tables separating the data by topic. The tables are linked by using a foreign key matching the primary key of another table.

What were some of the weaknesses of early organizational database applications?  What are some strengths of relational databases today?

Early organization database applications were navigational which means pointers (nodes) were used to access the required data. This is done by following a path. The problem is that this can cause a mess "Spaghetti" because you would have all these paths mixed with each other. It would take longer to access a required data because you would have to go through a useless record to reach the desired record for data. Relational databases today use tables to logically describe the required data rather than how to navigate to it. For example, show me results based on this condition. Show me top five products with highest order count. The relational databases used today benefit from the improvements in technology making it more effective and efficient to keep up with the rapid increase of data. Early organizational database applications provided a basic user interface (UI) without much interaction. For example, Oracles PeopleSoft application currently uses UI from the 90's which is not meeting today's expectations. In order to build a database application, the developer would have to code most of the functions. Now this process is simplified. Example Oracle's JDeveloper.

Reference: Kroenke, D. M., & Auer, D. J., (2010). Database Concepts (4th ed.).
                    Pearson Education.

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