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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Post Some Quesions about Database for school report

    Hi, I'm new to the world of database, and I'm doing my senior year school project on database, more specifically the open-source alternatives to database management for low budget businesses. It is required that I interview a professional from the field I am reporting on, and rather than do an interview with a single person I would like to be able to get input from multiple people here. I am going to post interview questions below.

    If you would like to participate in my interview please post your name and experience in the field of database technology and answer the questions below. Thank You, those who respond for your time!

    1. What are the advantages of a Database such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL, over free ware database
    management systems such as MySQL or Firebird?

    2. After the cost of implementing a database, what other costs that can arise?

    3. Although you maintain data in a database table, do you also have physical/paper copies of your

    4. What DBMS do you use and why?

    5. If you were going to re-plan and re-implement you current database setup from scratch, what would
    you make different?

    6. Would you say a small business, that only needs to keep track of a couple hundred customer records,
    or product inventories, will ever need to utilize the full capabilities of a corporate DBMS such as
    Oracle or Microsoft SQL?

    7. What type of database implementation, relational, hierarchical, ect.) do you use/prefer to use? What
    specific benefits of it make you choose this one?

    8. Oracle has a free version, how does this version compare to it's non-free counter part?

    9. What can a database administrator do to speed-up/increase performance of a database?

    10. Are there any disadvantages to using a database as opposed to physical storage of paper files?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    1. I'll let someone else field this one
    2. Support, storage, DR, lots more...
    3. No..? Instead of paper copies we take regular backups.
      What an odd question...
    4. I use MS SQL Server - because it's what they have at work
    5. Personally; I would redesign the schema for one of the systems and go through a long, painful data cleansing process.
    6. Ever? Perhaps... Circumstances
    7. relational.
    8. No idea - a wild stab in the dark: it'll be missing features
    9. Learn how to write efficient SQL is always the best place to start...
    10. Databases give an "instant" response, they're argueably more "green"... yada, yada... They keep me in a job... Not a good question

    Hope this helps!
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    1: More features. More power. Larger user community for support.
    2: Administering the database. Keeping the servers running from day to day is a large portion of the cost.
    3: No.
    4: SQL Server, some MS Access, occasionally Oracle. SQL Server primarily as it is superior to Oracle for database application development and far cheaper to administer.
    5: Kick all the developers and managers out of the building.
    6: A business such as you describe would be able to satisfy their requirements with MS Access.
    7: Relational is the best way to model actual business structures.
    8: Costs less?
    9: Query optimization. Proper indexing. Load balancing. Hardware updgrades.
    10: You seem to think the primary purpose of a database is to store information. Wrong. The primary purpose of a database is to RETRIEVE information. Quickly, and in a variety of configurations.
    If it's not practically useful, then it's practically useless.

    blindman "sqlblindman"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Toronto, Canada
    1. you can get your VP to contact Oracle or Microsoft and have them come over and fix the server when it breaks
    2. hamsters and hamster food for the wheels that generate the electricity to run the database
    3. no, that would require far too much paper
    4. mysql because of all its lovely builtin functions
    5. nothing -- i did it right the first time
    6. ever? no
    7. relational, because then i can use SQL
    8. no idea -- check the oracle site
    9. buy more hardware
    10. yes, you need computers to run a database, and computers cost money | @rudydotca
    Buy my SitePoint book: Simply SQL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    1. The most obvious difference/advantage to most people is cost. Its free! The more hidden advantage is that some of the 'free' DBMSs out there are open source. It can be a question of dealing with vendors versus having knowledgeable people working on an open system. Each company has to evaluate its needs and determine what it wants. Each database can have different advantages over another. Some might be faster with SELECTS/UPDATES or dealing with Blobs. If a company has specific needs it might need to pick a DBMS based on that.

    2. There are ongoing service/licensing contracts that some companies have that can cost quite a bit (for small companies especially). The main cost in having a DBMS is staff (as with most things). For our company, the only cost for our DBMS are the two machines that it runs on (prod, dev) and me.

    3. There is nothing we have that would be a direct representation of data in the db. There are paper reports and stuff that happen normally and that data gets entered. If you mean backing up the db onto paper in a direct manner, then that is not very useful.

    4. Postgresql 8.1.9. It is a nice and very easy to use DBMS. It has a nice community and stable developers behind it. And of course it cost nothing for the company, although donations can be made. (and I encourage this for companies that use it.) There is also support out there for it if ever needed. It is amazingly documented too.

    5. Well, we are about 1 year into creating a new application for this company. So we are implementing for the first time. What I would say for this is... have users more involved. They expect things to just happen and it is odd. DB reworking can be bad as time goes by, but a good design pays off.

    6. I would say no. That would be bad. There are applications like ACT out there or as others mentioned MS Access. It cost and level of understanding is simply to high for most small business to really have a full DBMS. There is a balance act that companies must do as they grow. There is a point where they start building a 'data bureaucracy' which DBs/applications could help with. Each has to decide the benefit of paying knowledgeable staff to deal with this versus how much they need it and can afford. I would say for most that vendor software is the best option for awhile.

    7. I have only really worked with relational. Although I have not done research, I believe object oriented DBMSs are still in their infancy. (I could be completely wrong on this) I believe relational systems are well established and have a proven record of their benefit. You could look into the history of some of the major DBMSs for insight into this.

    8. I have no delt with Oracle really. I'll take a rational guess. I would imagine it is less configurable. Probably stripped down somewhat to allow people to use them to experiment with or for personal projects. Its good for businesses to get their products out there for free so people can decide if they want to commit. Someone else may know if there is a free commercial oracle system available to businesses?

    9. This depends on the DBMS in how much you can do. You could go as far as putting certain data on different sections of a disk to speed up the access times for certain data. You could evaluate how tables are used to arrange data differently, create indexes, or write procedures. Many of the systems have query planners I think that allow you to see what is actually going on.
    As far as system configuration here is a postgresql example page that shows what you can change in how the system runs. To my understanding oracle is the most configurable DBMS available.

    10. Time. It simply takes a human being to long to search for data in a physical storage system. A DBMS gives you a powerful advantage in that you can query you data in ways that are simply impossible in the physical world without expending enormous amount of human time to gather info. Also there is the storage of data. I can back up years worth of information in a few seconds and keep it secure, but in a paper world you have thousands of pounds of paper. Data is what is important here and a database is what gives the power of dealing with the data instead of a paper bureaucracy. A good DB will also give you ACID.
    Bah.. I read that question backwards But my answer still applies. The disadvantage to all of this is amount of data vs cost + knowledge. If it is a real small company with little (manageable) data then really a company doesn't need a DB System. Or, they could at least use MS Access or something.

    Edit: fixed a spelling error
    Last edited by amthomas; 10-17-07 at 17:40.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    The extremely Royal borough of Kensington, London
    Quote Originally Posted by blindman
    SQL Server primarily as it is superior to Oracle for database application development and far cheaper to administer
    We'll let that one slip.
    Bessie Braddock: Winston, you are drunk!
    Churchill: And Madam, you are ugly. And tomorrow, I'll be sober, and you will still be ugly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Wise decision.
    If it's not practically useful, then it's practically useless.

    blindman "sqlblindman"

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