Relational Databases: Features and Functions

Introduction to Database

A collection of information which is organized in such a manner that it can be easily accessed, managed, and updated by the individuals of a company, such collection of information is known as a database. A database which is well designed and well managed supports decision making and is an extremely valuable tool for the individuals working in a company. Database provides businesses with benefits and continue to evolve and yield real business benefits for the organization. Relational databases are the most prevalent approach to match todays businesses, which are experiencing new technology at every step. A relational database helps todays businesses in a number of ways because the data stored in such an approach can be assessed by the individual in a company in different ways and also the data can be reorganized in simple format as required by the individuals of a company. A database includes different aggregations such as records and files of data. In a hierarchy of database characters are entered which are converted into fields, then the fields are converted into records. The records are then summed up in a file format and finally are stored in a database, providing individuals of a company with valuable information. A database also includes a key field, which is unique for every employee in a company. The attributes in a key field include last name, first name, hire date, and the department number. Key fields act as a vital part of a database because they are allotted to one individual only. There are different database approaches such as the traditional approach and the database management approach. (What is database, 1, 2008).

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Data Modeling and Database Models

When a company has to select a database they have to keep a few things in mind such as content, access, logical structure, and physical organization. The most important part is selecting of data that what content should be collected and stored in a database, which can be accessed by the employees in a company. Secondly information cannot be given to each and every employee of a company and there needs to be some restriction, so company has to decide that what data should be given to what user. The data stored in the database should make sense to particular individuals so it has to kept in mind that how the data has to be organized to make sense to a particular user. Finally a company has to decide that where all the data is to be stored that all the company employees can easily access it and manage their work efficiently and effectively. There are three different data models; hierarchical model, network model and relational model. In a hierarchical data model data is organized in a tree like structure. Network model is flexible database model which represents objects and their relationship. In short, “Everything is interconnected”. A relational database model is concise and merged data, which is gathered from different departments of an organization. In this model one common characteristic exists, which is a key field.

Research Questions

Databases is a very broad and supportive topic for the field of computers and information. This dissertation is about databases and their use in the organizations. As it is a vast area of subject so a particular area has to be chose. The area that will be under focus in this dissertation will be relational databases. The research questions that are under considerations throughout dissertation include:

  • What are relational databases?
  • What are their use in the organizations?
  • What are the main features of relational databases?
  • What is the importance of relational databases?

The literature part of this dissertation provides an in depth analysis of the relational databases and its use as well as features. The literature overview part helps in finding out the answers to our research question.

Introduction to Relational Databases

The concept of relational databases came in to existence in 1970. As it has been discussed earlier that database is a collection of different files that are related to each other. Different types of database have been introduced and used but the emergence of relational database was just like and evolution in this area of information collection. The relational databases allow to store the huge amount of files and then these files are related to each other by using a common field. As the name shows that relational database needs a common field that will be used to relate the two files. This functionality of relational database has made it very flexible. The relational databases make use of relational model. The relational model arranges all the information in multidimensional tables and then finds and shares one common attribute through which the relation is made between the files. The relations are then applied and useful information is obtained out of the files. Special language is used for creating relational databases and this language is known as Structured Query Language (SQL). The SQL can be known as the standard language that is used for the interoperability of databases. SQL has made it easier and simpler to develop many database application that are widely being used today like ORACLE and ACCES. SQL has really made the things simpler by providing simple queries that are performed over the files to perform the operations. Currently, relational database is being used in most of the organizational activities of managing records of any kind. The reason for this widespread use may be the easier use of relational database while providing many functionalities (Gilfillan, 1, 2002).

Use of Relational Databases in Companies and its Features

Relational databases are proving to be the best solutions for managing the data in companies and organizations. It has replaced all the traditional approaches of data storage and management. The relational databases have proven to be the most robust way for managing the data. A relational database id the choice for most of the organizations and companies because it can find out answers to the complex queries as well just by making some relations. The relational databases can also maintain the relations such as one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many. The relational databases has dominated the world of business and companies and is becoming the first choice of every organization when it comes to data management. The relational databases provide following features to the organizations and companies due to which it is being used widely.

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  • It provides efficient development tolls.
  • It can answer complex and complicated queries that is not possible in traditional methods.
  • It can handle huge amount of data.
  • It is capable of dealing with the changes.
  • Many users can use the databases at a single time.
  • It is easy to use.
  • Relational databases are easy to access.
  • Relational databases are flexible enough.
  • Able to support data recovery.
  • Easy to understand language.

These are few of the most important features that are provided with the relational databases as a result of which these databases are the top most priority of the organizations. (Gardiner, 32, 1999).

Structured Query Language (SQL)

Structured Query Language or in short SQL is a language that is designed for being used in databases. SQL is the most famous and common language that is being used in relational databases. This language is used to perform queries in the relational databases. This is a simple language and easy to be used by any one. The purpose of SQL is to access, manage, retrieve and manipulate the data in databases. There are different elements using which this language is created. These elements include clauses, predicates, expressions, queries, statements and white spaces. There is a lot that can be done by using the SQL like executing queries, retrieving data, manipulating records, creating new databases, creating tables and setting permission and so on. Relational databases can be known as the foundation for SQL. Mostly all of the operations that are performed over the data are done by using the SQL. It is the simplest language that can be learnt by everyone (SQL syntax, 1, 2009).

Research Methodology

For this dissertation and research question we have used the methodology of qualitative research. Qualitative research methodology involves the collection of data, analysis, observation and the observation of the opinion of people that what they do think about this particular topic. Qualitative methodology looks for the in depth explanation of the concept, purpose, meaning, characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of the research question (Key, 1, 1997).

Secondary Data

For this dissertation we have used the secondary data for performing our task.. As we know that secondary data is the information that has not been generated directly rather it is the information that has been previously collected and developed and can be used in future for further uses. In our research we have used secondary data that already existed in some form or shape and was collected by some writer etc. All of that data that has been collected for our research was previously used for some purpose like for making any analysis, article, report, project, assignment or any book. We have used this data in many ways. Somewhere in our project we have used this data directly in its original form and some where we have just used it as a reference (Secondary data collection, 1, n.d).

Importance of Relational Database

Relational database are the most advanced and powerful version of database which includes different database management systems which provides user view, creates a database and modifies it. It helps to store and retrieve data, as well as manipulate data and produce reports. The most popular database management systems include IBM’s informix which shares 34.6% of the market share. Then oracle which shares almost 32.0% of the market share. Microsoft and other database management systems cover 16.3 and 14.5 % of the whole market share respectively. The database systems helps to keep track of relationships between different sets of data. We can say that they help organizations to keep a track of useful information.

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Conclusion

After deep analysis of the paper we come to this conclusion that the database provides a user interface and helps users in a number of ways. They can easily access the information and can manage their data very effectively. Previously traditional file approaches were followed by many companies which was timely approach and cost much more time than database systems. The relational database provides users with easy access to the information and also lets them manage the information the way they want to. It is very easily managed by the user and can be stored very easily as well. In a relational model there exists a common characteristic which is unique for every employee in a company, known as a key field. By the help of key fields the data of an employee can be accessed very easily without any problem and it is effective as well as key fields are different for every employee in a company. Relational databases are handled by using Structured Query Language (SQL) which makes it quite simpler and easier to manipulate and manage the records. Using SQL many different complex queries can also be solved easily. It is recommended that the organizations and companies should use relational databases for managing and manipulating the huge amount of data.

References

  1. Ian Gilfillan, Introduction to relational databases- Database journal (2002).
  2. James P. Key, Qualitative (1997)
  3. Jeffery E. Gardiner, Is a relational database necessary (1999)
  4. Secondary data collection (no date)
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