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Database Development 101


App Development
6 minutes read
Database Development Explained
By B Siddharth Rao


Database development is a complex process that involves analyzing an organization’s goals and objectives and developing a solution to store and organize its raw data. There are four core steps database developers follow when building a database. Understand business requirements. Conceptual modeling. Logical modeling.

Modern web services and mobile apps are powered by data, making database development a critical task your organization should not overlook. Businesses today collect and rely on massive amounts of data to make strategic decisions and improve their product and service offerings. Without the right database tools, your organization could miss valuable insights and business opportunities.

This post will explain database design and development, the benefits it can provide your business, and common things you should consider when deciding if custom database development is the right choice for your business.

What is Database Development & Design

A database is a structured form of data stored in software that is used to perform business operations more efficiently. Database development is a complex process that involves analyzing an organization’s goals and objectives and developing a solution to store and organize its raw data. There are four core steps database developers follow when building a database.

  1. Understand business requirements
  2. Conceptual modeling
  3. Logical modeling
  4. Physical modeling

Understanding Business Requirements

The first stage of the database development process is understanding the organization’s requirements. There are several different types of databases, and they serve different purposes. Therefore, before development can begin, database programmers need to know if you want a relational or non-relational database.  Relational databases store data in columns, rows, and tables, and data from multiple tables are linked together. Non-relational databases store data based on the type of file stored. For example, document storage could have a different storage model than images. 

The optimal database design for your needs will depend on your requirements. For example, a database to manage customer relationships will vary from big data analysis databases or inventory management databases. 

Conceptual understanding

Once a database developer knows what your business requirements and needs are, they can begin the process of developing your database. The first thing most database developers do is create a conceptual data model. A conceptual data model describes what the database will contain. Database developers create conceptual data models to organize, define, and scope the business rules and concepts that drive the database. Conceptual modeling gives developers a chance to organize priorities and collaborate with stakeholders in the business regarding the final product.

Logical Modeling

After creating and discussing the conceptual data model with stakeholders, database developers can build a logical data model. The logical data model describes how the database will be implemented regardless of the database management system used. Developers build logical data models with the aid of business analysts to create a technical roadmap of different data structures and governing rules. This part of the database development process helps ensure that the database being developed fits business requirements and operations.

Physical Modeling

The final stage of database development is physical data modeling. A physical data model defines how the database will be implemented using a specific database management system. Database developers create physical data models to aid in implementing the database they designed and developed. Physical modeling also helps developers generate the database schema.

Benifits of Database Development

Your organization could buy off-the-shelf database management systems, but these solutions don’t offer the same benefits as custom database development. In addition, handling a HiTech database on your own could be a tall task for your organization. Here are some of the reasons you should consider database development:

  • Strategise
  • Customize
  • Support

Strategise

Like any other aspect of your business operations, you should have an expert helping guide your database strategy. Priorities change over time, and challenges can arise when you least expect them. A benefit of custom database development is that you will have experts helping your organization strategize in the present and future. 

For example, database developers can help your organization implement new data collection and analysis strategies that create more opportunities for your business. Plus, database programmers can help your team plan and implement more stringent data security measures. 

Customize

Every business has different processes and goals. A one-size-fits-all off-the-shelf database management system might not be the right choice for your business. The primary benefit of database development is that a custom solution can be created to meet all of your needs. Whether you want to develop a database to analyze big data using Machine Learning or create a database to help you store and manage customer data, a custom solution will add more value to your business and enhance your decision-making processes.

Support

Databases, like any software, require ongoing maintenance and support. Working with a skilled database developer will give you the option to have ongoing support and maintenance services for your database. Not only do things sometimes go wrong or break and require support, but sometimes databases can use a little optimization to improve performance. Database developers can help you keep your custom database solution secure and running efficiently. Plus, if anything goes wrong, you have a dedicated expert that can help you troubleshoot any problems you may have.

Do you need Database Development?

There are several reasons why your business could use database development. Still, you might think that now is not the right time or that maybe it is not as critical to your business operations. Those are fair things to consider. However, if one of the following statements apply to your business, you probably need database development:

  • Systems crash frequently and cause significant downtime.
  • Your business has multiple databases that communicate with one another, but employees have to upload the same data multiple times.
  • Your competition is using newer technology.

Database development is valuable because it can help your business streamline operations and provide better customer service. If your competition can offer better service, your organization will quickly lose customers and market share. Don’t hold onto legacy systems that slow down your operations and frustrate your employees. 


PHASES

The database development life cycle includes eight steps that help guide us through the creation of a new database. The steps are planning, requirement gathering, conceptual design, logical design, physical design, construction, implementation and rollout, and finally ongoing support

The different phases of database development life cycle (DDLC) in the Database Management System (DBMS) are explained below −

  • Requirement analysis.
  • Database design.
  • Evaluation and selection.
  • Logical database design.
  • Physical database design.
  • Implementation.
  • Data loading.
  • Testing and performance tuning.
  • Operation.
  • Maintenance.

Requirement Analysis

The most important step in implementing a database system is to find out what is needed i.e what type of a database is required for the business organization, daily volume of data, how much data needs to be stored in the master files etc. In order to collect all this information, a database analyst spends a lot of time within the business organization talking to people, end users and getting acquainted with the day-to-day process.

Database Design

In this phase the database designers will make a decision on the database model that perfectly suits the organization’s requirement. The database designers will study the documents prepared by the analysis in the requirement analysis stage and then start development of a system model that fulfils the needs.

Evaluation and selection

In this phase, we evaluate the diverse database management systems and choose the one which perfectly suits the requirements of the organization. In order to identify the best performing database, end users should be involved.

Logical database design

Once the evaluation and selection phase is completed successfully, the next step is logical database design. This design is translated into an internal model which includes mapping of all objects i.e design of tables, indexes, views, transaction, access privileges etc.,

Physical Database Design

This phase selects and characterizes the data storage and data access of the database.
The data storage depends on the type of devices supported by the hardware, the data access methods.Physical design is very vital because of bad design which results in poor performance.

Implementation

Database implementation needs the formation of special storage related constructs.These constructs consist of storage groups, table spaces, data files, tables etc.

Data Loading

Once the database has been created, the data must be loaded into the database. The data required to be converted, if the loaded date is in a different format.

Operations

In this phase, the database is accessed by the end users and application programs. This stage includes adding of new data, modifying existing data and deletion of absolute data. This phase provides useful information and helps management to make a business decision.

Maintenance

It is one of the ongoing phases in DDLC. The major tasks included are database backup and recovery, access management, hardware maintenance etc.


COST

Most of the cost will come from the design work. The process can take months and most designers bill in the range of $50 to $250 per hour. Small business can expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 for database design, while larger companies might spend anywhere from $10,000 to half a million dollars


BASICS

The design process consists of the following steps:

  • Determine the purpose of your database. …
  • Find and organize the information required. …
  • Divide the information into tables. …
  • Turn information items into columns. …
  • Specify primary keys. …
  • Set up the table relationships. …
  • Refine your design. …
  • Apply the normalization rules

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