A high-quality database can take much of the guesswork out of managing nearly any kind of business. If you run an eCommerce site, then you might want to have a place that automatically stores customer’s billing and contact details. Those who manage invoices can use a database to store and recall information instantly. If you run a forum, then you’ll need one to process login credentials.
However, not all databases are created equal. You’ll need to look for the following qualities to make sure the database you deploy suits your needs.
Programming Language & Platform
You don’t need to have a background in coding to pick the right database, but you do need to know what you’re looking for. Make sure that whatever platform you pick is based on open-source technology. This eliminates any problems associated with licensing and might also theoretically improve security. Some larger firms now support open development when deploying a database as a service.
Look for something that stores all of its data in the cloud. While cloud computing has become a buzzword and you might be skeptical, there’s a good reason to insist on cloud-hosting a database. You don’t want to have to invest in your own hardware. When data is stored in the cloud, it’s accessible from anywhere as well. Automated backups are perhaps the most notable benefit of a cloud database. You won’t have to worry about losing data if its hosted in the cloud. Certain firms have come up with pretty creative uses for their cloud database deployments, going so far as to deploy cloud databases as part of a restaurant POS.
There are a few other things you’ll want to look into before you can be sure your data is safe, however.
Fault Tolerance & Resilience
Computer scientists used to judge databases on how rare failures were. A much better method is measuring how long it takes for a database to recover after it fails. You might say that failures are inevitable. Even the best system with multiple backups with fall prey to a power outage or human error. Better systems are able to weather the storm because they use multiple clusters and journaling.
Multiple fault tolerance clusters distribute the task of managing the database over a wide geographical location. This is known as distributed database construction. If there’s some sort of physical service disruption to a server farm in one area, then requests will automatically route to another one. This is only useful for larger enterprise-level installations, however. Smaller businesses may be able to outsource their information to another company’s servers, however, and still take advantage of this kind of distributed database technology.
Journaling works regardless of the size of a database. Each time a database transaction is made a journaled system makes a note of it. If the database locks up or the server looses power during a write action, then it can just replay the transaction journal the next time the system gets booted up. This can save time as well as prevent permanent damage to the system.
Companies that provide a database as a service have long employed this technology, so you can trust its standard when shopping around.
Solid Personnel Make Solid Databases
A database is only as good as the people who operate it, so look for an organization staffed with people who have the right kind of certifications. Check what others have said about the support line of the organization you’ve decided to go with. While this research process might be a little irritating, it pays off in the end.