Database Administration and Software

By: Dean Barnard

Copyright (c) 2007 Dean Barnard

Data is vital to an organizations functioning. Compromise of data due to security breach, access by unauthorized people, corruption of data due to human or machine error may irrevocably damage data integrity. A new breed of IT professionals has emerged to cater to this need. Data administration essentially means storing, backing up, and ensuring total data integrity of a database. The database administrator continuously monitors the health of a database. It is his responsibility to create a data recovery procedure or process in case of loss of data. This in popular parlance is known as disaster recovery. The need for data backup has been felt acutely after 11/7 where many corporations lost their entire database which may have been collected over many decades. This may include roll back to a state or time where the data is verifiable. This roll back operation is possible with some of the RDBMS like Oracle and IBM DB2. Extensive tests are available to ensure that roll back plan is effective and verifiable. Database administrators are to ensure that only authorized access is permitted to the database. Database availability is a key issue to be addressed. Data should be available as and when requested. Database tuning called performance tuning is required to make access faster. Tackling issue of performance may be one of the main activities of a database administrator.

Database software

Businesses run on data and storage, retrieval, manipulation and presentation of data is one of the most important functions of computers. Dedicated Database software has been designed to cater to this need. The early nineties were witness to windows based database software. The noteworthy ones are FOXPRO which started off as FOXBASE by FOX software. It later transformed the database field by introduction of Rushmore technology. It also introduced a graphical Screen Builder and Report Builder and integrated SOL support. FOXPRO became so popular that Microsoft soon acquired it and included it in its Visual Suite and renamed it as Visual FoxPro which continues by this name even today. Concurrent to the development of FoxPro another competing database offering was available in the market, dbase. Both these continued development head to head till version dbase IV after which it lost its way. The major reason given for its downfall was its inability to cater to a more technically savvy professional who demanded an advanced set of programming tools which dbase could not provide. However there were major limitations with both these software especially while handling large databases, real time application and online transactions. This space was filled up by Oracle. Subsequently Microsoft brought out two database software applications, Access and SQL server.

Data in the modern world is increasing by leaps and bounds. The quality of data is also quite sophisticated and requires specialist treatment. Database administrators are trained to manage large amounts of data and ensure its integrity, security and availability. Database is today a separate field of activity altogether.

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