Three (often conflicting) database requirements

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May 18, 2014 by Ozgur Ozden

Database design is one of the most important steps in a business or an organization information system. All the departments namely HR, finance, purchasing, registrar etc… depend on the data from the database. So validity and the design of the database is crucial in order to obtain the correct figures and and correctly analyze the data by these departments. Data must fulfill all the needs of these departments.
As far as my research indicates a good and i must add efficient database design should include three main points as
1- In agreement with the design specifications
2- End user input
3- Sufficient processing speeds.
Now let us discuss these points one by one.
1- In agreement with the design specifications
Every database design includes some prior design specifications that they must be properly fulfilled during the design process. These specifications may vary depending on the scope of the database but they can be summarized as:
Reducing redundancies
Use of Null values
Correctly chosen entities and attributes that reflects real world.
Correctly set up relationships between the tables and prevent M:N relationships.
Dividing the database as possible as to its atomic levels
Using proper capitalization for attributes
Referential integrity etc…
We can add more items to this list and all these items are important to have a solid database.
2- End user input – Information requirements
All the data eventually will be used and analyzed by the end users. So input of the end user is extremely important about the functionality of the database. At this point details of the information to be used in the database is really important. With little information entered database will not run as it is expected and too much information will be the waste of efforts and space on the database. I think database designer and selected group of experienced end users should decide how much information is needed considering the future needs of the database as well as the company strategy.
3- Sufficient processing speeds.
Depending on the business and organization sufficient and reliable processing speeds must be achieved in a database design of course with the help of the end user as well. This is basicly the time needed to execute the data. Processing speed directly depend on item number two as we have described above which is the amount of data contained in the database. Limiting the relations used in the database may also have a positive effect on the database processing speeds.
Robert (2011) also suggests that properly indexing most common and used attributes also may increase the speed.
Partitioning the database may also have an impact on the processing speed on the database as described by Schumacher (n.d.)
All these three items that i have tried to explain here sometimes confused and mixed with another. I think end user input is very important part of the whole process and taken into account seriously during the database design process but all the above mentioned items must be used and applied.

References:
1- Elmasri (2007) “Fundamentals of Database systems”, Fifth Edition (Online) Available at: http://www.aabu.edu.jo/tool/course_file/lec_notes/901331_Fundamentals_of_Database_Systems,_6th_Edition_(0136086209).pdf [Accessed at: 26.9.2013]
2- Access Database Too Slow – Make Faster! (n.d.) (Online) Available at: http://www.blueclaw-db.com/access_consultant_rapid.htm [Accessed at: 27.9.2013]
3- Schumacher (n.d.) Improving Database Performance with Partitioning (Online) Available at: http://dev.mysql.com/tech-resources/articles/partitioning.html [Accessed at: 27.9.2013]
4- Coronel, C., Morris, S. & Rob, P. (2011), Database Systems: Design, Implementation, and Management, 9th Ed, Boston, MA: Course Technology, Cengage Learning.

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