What are databases? Why do we need them?

What are databases and why do we need them?

If you want to understand databases then don’t start with the features of database software.

you need to go the other way. Databases are designed to solve a problem trying to understand what problems the database is solving.

Database problems

You have some data and therefore you need a database is that true?

let’s look at this closely and see if that statement is really true.

let’s say there is some data you need to store. It could be information about customers suppliers or employees etc.

This data could be in any format text, numbers, amounts, date, documents, images audio or video etc.

You can store this data in text files or spreadsheets you can use folders to organize your files.

Then why do you need databases?

Many small businesses start with this setup they use spreadsheets and files and continue to use them for years.

types of data file formats

The set-up might work just fine. Because just having data is not a good reason to have a database.

Having data is not the main problem. What comes next is the problem here are a few issues that will come along the way.

Size of data ease of updating data, accuracy, security, redundancy and integrity of data small amount of data has a tendency to turn into a large amount of data.

Why a Spreadsheet alone will not solve the problem?

A spreadsheet solution is fine when you have 100 records.

It may not work if you have two million records. You have to split up the file into multiple subfiles.

This will create a problem with speed. It will take you a long time to find a record.

Also, ease of updating becomes an issue when using spreadsheets or text files.

Multiple people cannot edit the file at the same time. They will be overwriting everyone else’s changes all the time data accuracy is hard to maintain the no validation of data entry and hence accuracy is in question anyone can type anything.

You can enter wrong spelling and wrong dates, for example, you cannot secure data in spreadsheets and text files.

Large data validation issues using Excel

Anyone can access the files and can see any data within the files this solution will not work for payroll and healthcare departments where privacy is pivotal.

Then there will be problems of redundancy and duplication of data. Multiple copies of the same data would eventually find their way into spreadsheets and documents this further leads to the use of accuracy.

One file will say the price is dollar ten and the other one will say it is dollar fifteen.

It is not easy to update multiple copies of the same data at once.

Some of the data that is not considered important is not entered into the files as there is no validation.

This brings data integrity into question. Because of these problems, a database has required a database to prevent it.

These issues it is not that database is required because you have data and database lets you store data multiple people can do the modification at the same time the day.

Validated based on business rules you can control the security.

For example who can view and who can modify the data, you can track who did what all the essential data is captured.

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