Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Advantages and Benefits of Relational Database And RDBMS

Continuation of my previous post about RDBMS, here is a summary of the relational database and RDBMS advantages from various sources.


A Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) is a software system that provides access to a relational database. The software system is a collection of software applications that can be used to create, maintain, manage and use the database. A "relational database" is a database structured on the "relational" model. Data are stored and presented in a tabular format, organized in rows and columns with one record per row.

A relational database is one of the most popular ways to store large amounts of data. The method in which the data is organized in a relational database makes it much easier for users to understand that data. It allows information to be easily grouped or compared by type, such as year or name.

A relational database acts as a collection of several separate lists of related information from which data can be extracted. According to the online journal Phyloinformatics, relational database design provides better speed, a more flexible size and higher efficiency than other types of databases. The power of a relational database is that you can continue to add and retrieve data for the duration of a project. Relational databases lend themselves to diverse financial, scientific and marketing uses, given their flexibility and robust data structure.

1. Data Structure
The table format is simple and easy for database users to understand and use. RDBMSs provide data access using a natural structure and organization of the data. Database queries can search any column for matching entries.

2. Multi-User Access
RDBMSs allow multiple database users to access a database simultaneously. Built-in locking and transactions management functionality allow users to access data as it is being changed, prevents collisions between two users updating the data, and keeps users from accessing partially updated records.

3. Privileges
Authorization and privilege control features in an RDBMS allow the database administrator to restrict access to authorized users, and grant privileges to individual users based on the types of database tasks they need to perform. Authorization can be defined based on the remote client IP address in combination with user authorization, restricting access to specific external computer systems.

4. Network Access
RDBMSs provide access to the database through a server daemon, a specialized software program that listens for requests on a network, and allows database clients to connect to and use the database. Users do not need to be able to log in to the physical computer system to use the database, providing convenience for the users and a layer of security for the database. Network access allows developers to build desktop tools and Web applications to interact with databases.

5. Speed
The relational database model is not the fastest data structure. RDBMS advantages, such as simplicity, make the slower speed a fair trade-off. Optimizations built into an RDBMS, and the design of the databases, enhance performance, allowing RDBMSs to perform more than fast enough for most applications and data sets. Improvements in technology, increasing processor speeds and decreasing memory and storage costs allow systems administrators to build incredibly fast systems that can overcome any database performance shortcomings.

6. Maintenance
RDBMSs feature maintenance utilities that provide database administrators with tools to easily maintain, test, repair and back up the databases housed in the system. Many of the functions can be automated using built-in automation in the RDBMS, or automation tools available on the operating system.

7. Language
RDBMSs support a generic language called "Structured Query Language" (SQL). The SQL syntax is simple, and the language uses standard English language keywords and phrasing, making it fairly intuitive and easy to learn. Many RDBMSs add non-SQL, database-specific keywords, functions and features to the SQL language.

8. Functions
Relational databases offer a wide array of functions that create advanced data manipulation techniques. They support relational algebra as well as set operations. This includes operations to select, join and divide. Many of these operations are possible only with relational databases. This data manipulation is possible with the use of queries, generally in Structured Query Language (SQL), to manage the data and give users the information they are looking for.

9. Efficiency
Efficiency is one of the benefits to a relational database. Because of the ways in which data can be compared and combined, each piece of data needs to be saved in only one place. This is related to the process of normalizing the database, which eliminates the need for duplicate data. Since each piece of data is saved in only one location, it is much easier and quicker to update. The language used to create the database, SQL, can also validate date entry.

Because relational databases are highly customizable, users can present data in any way they wish. One of the most important concepts of the database is known as a view. Although the data is stored in tables, which may never change attributes, users can customize or delete a view easily without affecting the data. Views manipulate the data to present the important pieces that users would like to see, while removing the unnecessary data that is not used. This is similar to copying and pasting the important parts of documents into one file.

11. Scalable
Both in the number of records, or rows, and the number of fields, a database can be enlarged to enhance its usability. Whether a relational database is complex or simple, the size is scalable. Records can be added over time. The flexible structure also allows the addition of new fields not anticipated in the initial database design. By adding records and fields, the size of the database can be increased for a particular project.

12. Minimizes Duplication and Inconsistencies
The relational database inherently lacks duplication. Data entry is streamlined because the user enters and stores a particular bit of information only once. This allows for less data entry, which minimizes data entry errors. The design eliminates inconsistencies in data retrieval and formatting.

13. Generate Metadata
The streamlined design of a relational database allows for generation of metadata, or data about data. For example, the user can generate statistics about the frequency that a value occurs in the table.

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