You are more likely to grasp information easily from an organized data set compared to an unorganized one. The reason is that it’s fairly difficult to retrieve information from raw data. This is why we have a database that lets us organize the data. Thus, whenever you want to get information to make a decision, you can simply use the database, where you can access, manage, and update accordingly. Besides providing convenience, data has several types. A few of them are: relational, distributed, object-oriented, and cloud. We will now analyze the advantages and disadvantages of a database.
First, we define data in the relational database to reorganize and access it in multiple ways. In a distributed database, the database collections are stored across different locations in a computer network. An object-oriented database is about organizing based on objects and logic. And, cloud database is concerned with the virtualized environment to which users get access. In brief, this is what a database is all about. Now let’s go through the benefits it offers, and its drawbacks.
Advantages of a database
A database lets us access data strategically, making it possible for us to easily manage information. There are many such advantages of the database, so let’s look at some:
1. Enhances data access
The database allows multiple users to access data, and they can do so at the same time. The system is designed so that features such as concurrency control strategies are applied. These strategies aim at maintaining the integrity and accuracy of the data. Earlier, the database was confined to usage by one person at a time. Now, the modern system is designed by keeping improved access and multiuser in mind.
2. Improves data security
The data is an asset of the organization, and it is at risk of cyberattacks. This is why the database is used, as it provides improved data security. The data within the database are protected, and several measures are taken to prevent potential serious security breaches. The outsider’s access is forbidden, thus protecting the confidential information of the organization.
This security benefit is very cost-effective for businesses, conforming to the terms and policies, and protecting them from potential threats. Additionally, having a database means there’s a backup in case older data is needed for comparison or improvements. Consequently, should a disaster, both in hardware and software, happen, the data remains safe and can be restored with minimal financial and time losses.
3. Reduces data redundancy
Data redundancy can be very problematic and databases can solve that problem. But, data redundancy doesn’t only occur accidentally—sometimes it is intentional. When the processes are quite complex, then accidental data redundancy takes place. In contrast, intentional data redundancy is used for data protection. The unnecessary data which is repeated can be properly removed with foreign keys. It is essential to get rid of redundant data as it causes data inconsistency, making information unreliable for businesses to make decisions.
4. Diminishes the number of errors and increases consistency
The occurrence of error was more in traditional file-based systems. To deal with this concern, the database was designed, which helped to reduce errors significantly, and increased the consistency of the data. Now, businesses don’t have to worry about data being updated only in one location—the database updates them in them all. Various methods are used to collect data which increases the chances of inconsistency, but with a database, data consistency can be ensured. Thus, successful data-driven decisions can be made.
5. Reduces operating costs
The database helps businesses to detect and correct problems. In this way, problems are solved before they can become serious. The monitoring tools in the database discover security weaknesses. All these risks can incur massive costs, and the database helps to avoid them. In the database, the licensing costs are lower. The organization doesn’t have to pay for the entire license when they don’t need the full suite of features. Instead, they can use database tools to track the list of features they require and only pay for them.
6. Supports decision-making and standard-following
The fact that databases support multiple users accessing data simultaneously, yet each has a strictly controlled access permission, makes a world of difference. Those with higher permissions can make changes and analyze data at the same time, on the go. The data is sorted neatly and others can contribute their information or opinion. That leads to more efficient decisions across the board. Additionally, having a single database management system means applications in use must be compatible and optimized to process data. That makes it easier to choose adequate applications, then maintain and update systems over time.
Disadvantages of a database
The database system increases efficiency in organizations, but there are drawbacks to it. Now, let’s address the disadvantages of the database.
The database can be quite complex. This comes as no surprise, considering there are numerous tables involved with a bunch of attributes. The data relating to potential applications are stored and analyzed in a database so that it can also be used for future analysis. The system has been designed for comprehensiveness, thus there is complexity.
2. Start-up costs
The huge costs incurred are a stumbling block in the installation of the database. If you think paying a huge amount in the beginning for its installation would be enough, then you are wrong. You can never really calculate the actual cost in the beginning, as with time other costs such as training and maintenance will come up. It’s not just the initial purchase, but the other expenses that come later make database setup expensive.
It is possible to rent a data center and store your data in a central location or purchase servers and store it there. In both cases, you need a powerful CPU (Central processing unit) and considerable memory size. While storage requirements aren’t as high as in other applications, professionals usually suggest having at least one backup of the original. Furthermore, you must include the pricing of hardware and software required to access and utilize the database, whether at the location or remotely.
3. Risk of damage
Since the database is a one-stop for storing and managing all the business information, the damage caused to it can affect all the applications. It is at risk of physical damage as well as logical errors, causing data losses. Additionally, natural disasters can destroy its entire infrastructure. But, there is no need to worry, as disaster recovery combats these problems.
4. Substantial conversion costs
If you are planning to switch to a database system from your existing file-based system, then remember that the conversion costs will be extensive. But, the traditional file-based system is only suitable for small businesses. If your business is growing, it’s time to switch to a database system. It takes a few months to switch to a database system sometimes. However, considering it stores and manages all the information of the business in one place, it is a suitable option and profitable in long run.
5. Staff requires training
We discussed in the start-up costs section how there are training expenses. If a company is looking for training its existing staff in the database, then it will have to invest a lot in their training as it is fairly difficult to work with the database. On the other hand, if the company decides to get a technical team to handle the database, then they will have to pay well to them. In either case, the costs are incurred, and training cannot be neglected.
6. Database may require frequent updates
We already analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of data mining and studied the types of data. Consequently, it’s easy to see that it is a growing industry. Thus, databases that store all kinds of information must be organized constantly to reduce memory size while improving access speed and data accuracy. Therefore, the aforementioned start-up costs may balloon quickly if database management system developers and database hosting services introduce new features, redesign the user interface, or offer new related products and applications.