A database is the heartbeat of every information system. In order to put a finger on the pulse, a CEO needs to become familiar with various programs and processes – index, SQL, NoSQL, Oracle, Sybase, PostgreSQL, SQL server, MariaDB, MySQL, Google Cloud SQL, SQL Azure, simpleDB, DynamoDB, mongoDB, document saving, sharding, clustering, and upscaling. Each method can keep a database protected and healthy, which, in turn, will keep a business healthy.

File sheet – the simplest way to protect data

Since the dawn of computer science, information systems have employed a simple list file to save data. Microsoft’s Excel and Access work on this platform. A drawback of this system is that it is limited in the size of data it can save, thus making it suitable only for a small business or a data set.

SQL-related database

Launched in the 1970s, Simple Query Language, or SQL, is the most-used way to manage a database. Implemented by a number of software companies and open-source solutions, SQL technology has many advantages. The prime advantage is that data are saved at only one place at a time and might be replicated if necessary, making it possible to know the value of any field at any time. The second advantage is that SQL saves data in tables with links between rows to different tables, depending on data needs.

SQL is used heavily in banking to save payment transactions.The cons of SQL become apparent when there is a need for large-scale database management and endless services, such as when dealing with payments. In that case, a backup plan is needed, such as a replication database or a standalone backup system with its own database. In summary, SQL is a reliable database for small businesses (i.e. a small website) or for important data management, such as when dealing with payments. The cost of implementing depends on the system used – Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL server, or MariaDB, Sybase.

New NoSQL database

Over the past few years, NoSQL (Not Only SQL) has expanded because of significant increases in Big Data and data-storing needs. In other words, the centralized SQL system comes up short in managing current data needs. To manage their massive data needs, big companies, like Google and Facebook, have found it helpful to use a distributive database system, even if some data might not be synced in real time. Instead of using vertical scaling with a big server, companies with large data needs split data and replicate it over as many computers as needed. The technique is called sharding, which is ideal for companies that do not need a time marker on a data set, such as on a payment. A plus of NoSQL is that it saves data in a hierarchical format with a key and values. Known as document saving or unstructured data, NoSQL technology is distributed as MongoDB, Cassandra, Hbase, simpleDB, and dynamoDB.

How does a search work?

It’s important to understand database search concepts. Searching is one of the most-used database functions. Depending on the amount of information on a database, it can take some time. That’s why it is common to use an index, which can provide a RAM-optimized search. Indexing is available on SQL and NoSQL systems. A search can be more effective when it is optimized by including spelling correction, synonyms, etc. Helpful search services/software include ElasticSearch, Azure, Apache Solr, OpenSearch, Sphinx, SearchBlox, and Algolia.

What about you?

Which database do you use and how? What have been your experiences with the system? Feel free to comment.