Databases

Databases

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Databases
Databases are used on a daily basis amongst nearly every industry in the world. Regardless of what job function you currently work you can expect that the data you are using or inputting is coming from or being stored in some type of database. To understand databases you may want to consider how they impact your career, if they are consider enterprise tools, how they are designed and the effort required to do so, and the database architecture.
Why this course will be important to your career

Databases are all around us and by having some knowledge of how they are developed and what they can contribute to my current organization. This course will enlighten me as to the requirements necessary to personalize our databases, how they are developed and how implementing additional databases can improve my organization. While I'm not currently in a technical field I do utilize databases on a daily basis and this class will allow me to understand the finer aspects of them.
With the knowledge gathered over the coming weeks I will be able to begin branching off into another direction for my career. I have aspirations of entering the computer analyst area of Lockheed Martin and armed with this class as well as the others I have already taken and will be venturing into over the coming months, I will be able to meet my objectives. This class lays a foundation of basic database understanding and without it I will not be able to understand database concepts.
Whether Microsoft Access can be considered an "enterprise tool"

Many applications currently used in my office are from the Microsoft Office suite. We currently have no Access databases being used in my office, rather we are using SAP. I do believe we may be able to implement Access into our work center and improve our ability to share information. This being said, I do believe Access has limitations when trying to implement this program on an enterprise basis. Accessibility to multiple users simultaneously can be difficult (at least in my limited experiences). This limits the ability to use the databases across multiple offices within an organization and obviously across multiple organizations.
Microsoft Access is an excellent tool for interoffice work. Examples of this type of use from a previous organization include a Job Control or Preventive Maintenance database that allows users to track the status of maintenance activities.

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Additional office databases that I have utilized include a property management database that allowed us to track items by manufacturer, model number, serial number, as well as item location. Overall, Access is an excellent tool but limitations can make it difficult to implement organization wide.
Why database systems cannot be designed "on the fly"

Intricate databases take time to design and a thorough understanding of the customers and users requirements must be understood to achieve design success. To fully design a functional database time must be taken to ensure the requirements are fully understood, testing completed, and changes made. Each of these components will take time to develop and each may have to be revisited in order to create the functional database the customer desires
Each aspect of design is integral to the success of the database and will prevent duplicating efforts at a later time do to minimal effort being put into the initial phases of the design. The designer of a database wants to ensure that the database is easy to use and navigate, crash-proof, as well as aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The time required gather customer requirements information, build the database, test the database and fine-tune it will be lengthy if the designer wants to ensure program success.
An overview of what is meant by "database architecture"

Database architecture is defined as "The collective application and database instances that comprise the complete system" (Data Warehouse, n.d.). According to an article by Jim Gray of the Association of Computing Machinery, Inc., "database systems architectures are undergoing revolutionary changes…algorithms and data are being unified by integrating programming languages with the database system. This gives an extensible object-relational system where non-procedural relational operators manipulate object sets" (2004).
Constant changes in the technology available to us will enhance our ability to create database management systems, query within those systems, input data requirements, and create reports capable of providing real-time information to the users. The overall architecture of the database will allow for future changes necessary to keep the databases current.
Conclusion
While database management is not something I foresee in the near future it is of great interest to my personal and professional development. Beginning database building using software such as Microsoft Access will enable me to gain a greater understanding of the requirements for designing a database that will meet my customer's requirements and needs. Areas that must be considered when creating databases are the design (and the amount of time required to do so) and the overall architecture in which the database is being built. We must keep in mind the overall functional requirements for these databases and find ways in which we can utilize the latest in technology to improve the functionality. By and large, the form, fit, and functions of the databases hinge on the design and architecture in which they are developed.

References
Data Warehouse: Glossary, (n.d.). Retrieved on February 18, 2006 from:
http://uis.georgetown.edu/departments/eets/dw/GLOSSARY0816.html#D
Gray, J. (April, 2004). The Revolution in database architecture. Retrieved on February
18, 2006 from: http://research.microsoft.com/research/pubs/view.aspx?tr_id=735
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