Relational database. When you hear the words, you may notice your mind going blank and your eyes glazing over, thinking the term completely uninteresting or unrelated to your work. Dig in further, and you’ll find terms like normalization, entity and referential integrity, superkey and abstraction layer. Relational databases, however, play a huge role in our daily office activities, and even how we shop.
The relational (which refers to mathematical relations) database was created in 1970 by E.F. Codd, a researcher at IBM. At its core, the database is made up of a group of connected tables. With anywhere from 10 to more than 1,000 tables, a typical relational database contains a column or columns that other tables can key on to gather information from that table. Since its creation, databases have become a standard for most businesses and websites—Amazon’s site contains hundreds or thousands of tables all used together to quickly find the exact information needed at any given time—even deciding what products to suggest, based on the user’s activity and interests.
A relational database sorts and filters data, provides stronger security, ensures increased data integrity, and shares information.
Data Integrity is the foundation of a solid and proper database design. A relational database is able to cross reference data. The lack of data integrity will cause duplication of data, missing records, and orphaned database records.
Another key aspect of a relational database is it gives the ability for users to share information simultaneously. The database automatically updates the system when information is deleted, added, or changed. Users are able to immediately access all changes.
No data can be totally safe; still, a relational database allows for different access levels and password protection. Also, authentication steps can be set to ensure that users are only allowed to access information relevant to their job. Authentication steps can also produce a record of user access that can be used to determine access for different users.
While building a custom relational database may take time, its positive impact on a business can be tremendous. A relational database can quickly and efficiently compare information, allow access to vast amounts of information to numerous people at once, and keep information protected by the use of passwords authentication steps. If you are considering a relational database for your company, it is easy to see how important it could be to your business and your bottom line.
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