How to Select the Best Database Software

Databases are on more than columns and rows. No matter what type of business you run, you’re likely going to need a way to store the data you’ve collected and whether it’s a simple mailing list or a large inventory of products, you will want to maximize this data. Here are some tips to help you choose the best database software for your business.

How to Select the Best Database Software: Know Your Types of Database Software

The multiple options for database management systems -; Web, desktop, server, etc. -; can be overwhelming, admits Bill Veiga, vice president of business development for MarkLogic, a leading provider of information access and distribution solutions in San Carlos, Calif. . He notes that offerings in the information management space have moved beyond traditional databases to include specialized options focused on things like in-memory items, column stores, and unstructured information, which can all of which bring different types of value to an organization.

While there are pros and cons to each platform, experts stress the importance of selecting a system that best meets your needs. At the bare minimum, you’ll want one that offers customization tools, is updated frequently, and comes with reliable and proven support. Bob Alves of Alexandria, Va., Advanced Solutions International, a global non-profit software provider, advises entrepreneurs to keep in mind that choosing database software is a business decision that will be up to you. beneficial in the long term. While the process can be time consuming, it will take even more money and resources to repeat the process if you are not happy with their top picks. An all-too-familiar issue for developer Jeff Cogswell, owner of and Cincinnati-based certified Alpha Five developer, who has had to counsel clients numerous times. “Too often they will end up with disaster on their hands, wasting months and months trying to force a square peg through a round hole.”

Here are the different types of databases:

  • Office: A simple and inexpensive solution generally for single users designed to run on a desktop or PC. Cost: nominal.
  • Server: Usually for a multi-user database, this platform allows you to organize large amounts of data to update data simultaneously. Most popular products: Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server. Cost: steep.
  • Web: Today, most database applications have web integration coupled with a desktop platform. Most Popular Products: Microsoft Access Cost: Inexpensive.

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How to Select the Best Database Software: Think About How You Will Use the Data

Veiga recommends that small business owners ask themselves, “What value do I want to get from my information and what is the right tool for the job?” “

Your decision will depend on your budget, the size of your organization and the use of the database. To get it right the first time, Alves recommends:

  • Development of a strategic plan. Describe a strategy, along with financial data, that illustrates the scope of the software your business actually needs to support its operational goals.
  • Decide what information you want to organize and how you are going to use and access it. Sit down and assess all your needs before deciding if a custom solution is needed rather than out-of-the-box software. Consider your budget, who will be using and maintaining the database, and what tasks they will perform with it. Before launching the selection process, ask the various departments or key players for their feedback and their list of must-have. Clearly define staff needs to achieve these goals.

If you have complex requirements, you can go for a server platform. If budget and ease of use are an issue, a desktop database may be more suitable for your needs. If you are looking for more flexibility and openness, a web database may better suit your needs. A web-based solution is advantageous for companies that want to have functionalities such as CRM (customer relationship management) and CMS (content management system) fed by the same database.

TRICK: Make sure the software supports both PC and Mac platforms. If you go for the hosted option, the problem does not arise since users have the option to access information by simply logging into a website through their browser. If you go for a server-based solution, the PC vs. Mac platform issue can get tricky.

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How to Select the Best Database Software: How will you protect your data

Each vendor offers different security options, but Alves says companies should use data encryption, which scrambles data as it is stored in databases so that anyone without the decryption key can only see an encrypted version of the data.

TRICK: Today, businesses are required to follow guidelines set by the PCI Security Standards Council. Any company that stores, processes, or transmits credit card data is responsible for meeting the standard. To be considered compliant, you must meet each individual requirement, and your e-commerce systems that handle credit card data must pass automated security scans.

Alves says many of his clients need an open and flexible system that will help them achieve personalization. “My clients are looking for a solution that tailors the user experience, supports unique workflow requirements, and integrates with external applications. “

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How to Select the Best Database Software: Know the lingo

While you aren’t supposed to become a programmer overnight, there is some general knowledge that can definitely be of benefit. Here are some terms you will want to memorize.

Database: A database is an organized collection of information. This information can be stored as text files or spreadsheets, as well as many other forms. Even a simple hand-written address book with basic information like name, address, and phone number could be considered a database.

Database management system or DBMS: A tool or software application used to create and manipulate databases. It uses a standard method of cataloging, capturing and executing queries on data, handling incoming data, organizing it, and providing methods for the data to be modified or retrieved by users or other programs. .

NoSQL, or non-relational database: Suitable for data that does not fit very well in a diagram. For example, if you want to generate value from documents, tweets, emails, web content, or metadata, an unstructured information database would be the best choice, says Veiga of MarkLogic.

Primary key: This column uniquely identifies each record in the table, such as a social security number or customer number, and can be made up of a single attribute or of multiple attributes combined.

Diagram: The schema is the structure of databases described in a formal language supported by the database management system (DBMS). In a relational database, the schema defines tables, fields, relationships, indexes, functions, sequences, and other elements.

SQL or structured query language: A programming language used to create and manipulate databases, considered the foundation of all relational databases.

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Maria H. Underwood