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  1. #1
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    Dec 2009
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    Question Unanswered: Database / Electronic Repository HELP

    Good day all;

    I'm currently working for a nonprofit NGO in the Health Sector and were looking at building an Electronic Repository / database that would be able to do the following;

    1) store old information
    2) Link with other regional databases to pull epidemiological data from their database.
    3) Provide a Url for information to be uploaded into, and
    4) Provide this information to the World Wide Web trough a virtual library of some sort.

    As I am new to this, Id like to ask is SQL Server the way to go in order to accomplish this task, and if not are there alternatives.

    Im also looking to be completely trained in whatever solution is required, are there any suggested courses?

  2. #2
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    SQL Server can be used as the underlying database for all those tasks (and most other databases too). But whatever database you choose, the database itself will not do all those tasks. You will need to develop a program for that.

    If in your case "nonprofit NGO" stands for "low budget", you may want to have a look at PostgreSQL, an open source and free (money) database. Together with Django, a Python web framework, you can do all the things you mentioned. Django comes with about the best documentation I've ever seen. You may also take those into consideration when "nonprofit NGO" in your case stands for "high budget". (Django is by far not the only open source web development framework, nor is PostgreSQL the only open source database, they are just my preferred ones.)

    The Django / PostgreSQL / Apache / Eclipse development / deployment environment is free ($ 0). But that is not the only factor to take into consideration when making a choice. They are only the tools. Look at the skills of the people who will have to work with it. If those are experienced MS-software people, go with the flow. MS offers certain (huge) price cuts for certain types of organisations (like for mine).

    On the other hand, NGO's can often rely on last year students who have to do a project for school. I found out offering the possibility to work with open source software can attract highly skilled and enthusiast young people.
    With kind regards . . . . . SQL Server 2000/2005/2012
    Wim

    Grabel's Law: 2 is not equal to 3 -- not even for very large values of 2.
    Pat Phelan's Law: 2 very definitely CAN equal 3 -- in at least two programming languages

  3. #3
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    Dec 2009
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    Thanks for the reply Wim.

    In this instance Nonprofit NGO stands for "whatever Budget is needed". This project is being funded by outside donors and the platform that is needed will have to be able to interact with some of the bigger players in the Health arena who gather statistical info i.e., the WHO, UNAIDs, UNICEF... etc. So therefore we need a steardy and secure platform.

    Your thoughts on this?

    D'Wade

  4. #4
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    So therefore we need a steardy and secure platform.
    I think SQL Server, DB2, Oracle, PostgreSQL will all be able to deliver that. But it seems you are not just looking for a database, you are looking for a whole environment: hardware, OS, database, network, security, ...

    What do you mean with:
    2) Link with other regional databases to pull epidemiological data from their database.
    You want to maintain a connection with their databases? I don't think they will like that idea. Talk to them about what data you will be needing and how they can provide it to you. Best way imho is by exchanging XML files.
    With kind regards . . . . . SQL Server 2000/2005/2012
    Wim

    Grabel's Law: 2 is not equal to 3 -- not even for very large values of 2.
    Pat Phelan's Law: 2 very definitely CAN equal 3 -- in at least two programming languages

  5. #5
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    "I think SQL Server, DB2, Oracle, PostgreSQL will all be able to deliver that. But it seems you are not just looking for a database, you are looking for a whole environment: hardware, OS, database, network, security, ..."

    An additional Server and Firewal is being sourced to meet this requirements. But yes Your right I am seeking the whole environment. Is there any specific certification or non certificaiton course(s) that you would suggest that would allow me to get my feet with in this regard?

    "You want to maintain a connection with their databases? I don't think they will like that idea. Talk to them about what data you will be needing and how they can provide it to you. Best way imho is by exchanging XML files."

    MoU's are being drafted to address the sharing of information, it is not quite clear how this is going to be done as yet as we are still in the discussion phase, but infrastructure needs to be in place because we too would have information that they would want to access.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delano1981 View Post
    An additional Server and Firewal is being sourced to meet this requirements.
    Quote Originally Posted by Delano1981 View Post
    it is not quite clear how this is going to be done as yet as we are still in the discussion phase
    I'm afraid you are starting this from the wrong end. The choice of hardware and development tools should come later. Your best bet now would be to visit your friendly local book store (or a university library) and pick up few books about software architecture.
    ---
    "It does not work" is not a valid problem statement.

  7. #7
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    Motorcycles and freight trains are both vehicles, but their puspose, design, etc are very different. At this point you have stated that you want to track and exchange data, but you haven't given us nearly enough to help you yet...

    Honestly, if you need results in the next 24 months, I think that your best bet is to find a good consultant that will help you analyze the problems facing this NGO and plan out a workable solution with you. After you get to that point, it MAY be possible to train you to use the specific tools needed to create and implement the soltion.

    Based on your description of the problem you need to solve, I really think that you need some up front guidance and very possibly some long term technical assistance too.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  8. #8
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    MoU's are being drafted to address the sharing of information, it is not quite clear how this is going to be done as yet as we are still in the discussion phase, but infrastructure needs to be in place because we too would have information that they would want to access.
    Reply With Quote
    Stick to a well defined interface, be it XML, CSV or whatever, so you can change your database structure, database, hardware, ... Don't allow anyone to connect directly to your database. You will put a lock on your ability to fine tune and alter your database and perhaps even your RDMBS.

    You have only one certainty: no matter how good your database design is now, you will need to change it in time, when new insights emerge, new opportunities arise, assignment of new tasks, new legislation, ...

    If you're new to setting up a computer infrastructure, try to read up as much as you can, but seek assistance from someone who has already done it successfully before.
    Last edited by Wim; 12-03-09 at 19:21.
    With kind regards . . . . . SQL Server 2000/2005/2012
    Wim

    Grabel's Law: 2 is not equal to 3 -- not even for very large values of 2.
    Pat Phelan's Law: 2 very definitely CAN equal 3 -- in at least two programming languages

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4
    thanks for all of your replies,

    this project does entail engaging a consultant to create the desing and complete programming, so i'm trying to get a greater understanding of exactly what I'm getting into because i will be the one left holding the bag, and we all know what happens to the bag holder.

    the project has to be completed in the next year, or else the funds have to be sent back. I'm not looking for a quick fix because there is still adequate time remaining, I'm just looking to be pointed in the right direction.

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