Databases and Maintaining Their Uptime

by Stephen J. Richards - Date: 2008-06-19 - Word Count: 532 Share This!

Databases provide a convenient means of storing vast amounts of information, allowing the information to be sorted, searched, viewed, and manipulated according to the business needs and
goals. A computer database relies upon software to organize the
storage of data. The software models the database structure in
what are known as database models. The model in most common use today is the relational model. Other models such as the hierarchical model and the network model use a more explicit
representation of relationships (see below for explanation of the various database models).

The first database management systems were developed in the 1960s. A pioneer in the field was Charles Bachman. Bachman's early papers show that his aim was to make more effective use of the new direct access storage devices becoming available: until then, data processing had been based on punched cards and magnetic tape, so that serial processing was the dominant activity.

While storing data is a great feature of databases, for many database users the most important feature is quick and simple retrieval of information. In a relational database, it is extremely easy to pull up information regarding an employee, but relational databases also add the power of running queries. Queries are requests to pull specific types of information and either show them in their natural state or create a report using the data. For instance, if you had a database of employees and it included tables such as salary and job description, you can easily run a query of which jobs pay over a certain amount. No matter what kind of information you store on your database, queries can be created using SQL to help answer important questions.

Databases can be very small (less than 1 MB) or extremely large and complicated (terabytes as in many government databases). However, all databases are usually stored and located on hard disk or other types of storage devices and are accessed via computer. Large databases may require separate servers and locations, but many small databases can fit easily as files located on your computer's hard drive.

Obviously, many databases store confidential and important information that should not be easily accessed by just anyone. Many databases require passwords and other security features in order to access the information. While some databases can be accessed via the internet through a network, other databases are closed systems and can only be accessed on site.

The need for database maintenance is unavoidable, so enterprise data availability software solutions have been created to help businesses reduce downtime from hours or days to mere minutes or even seconds. Effective database management applications can
reduce or eliminate downtime that renders a database unavailable, giving business owners and developers a flexible and powerful tool to protect the performance of their valuable business operations.

Companies which provide enterprise data availability software and services help businesses manage their databases by offering services such as backup and recovery, automation of maintenance tasks, and fine tuning performance efficiency, among others. With an assessment of current database maintenance practices, enterprise data availability companies can recommend the appropriate system to implement that can solve the database management shortfalls of most organizations, playing a valuable role in the protection and longevity of their clients.


Related Tags: database, database management, backup and recovery, data quality, database uptime

Stephen J. Richards has 25 years experience in Data Management and Information Technology. This information is provided as a public service by Neon Enterprise Software, a leading provider of IMS outsourcing. For more information, please visit

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