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Importance of Using a Database in a Workplace Environment

Essay by   •  July 17, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,494 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,827 Views

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The purpose of the paper is to discuss the importance of using a database in a workplace environment. The information contained describes the uses of a database, type of information stored, from patient records to employee records, and the architecture that drives the database. The paper will focus on describing the enterprise Database Management System's (DBMS) like Intersystem's CACHE, the primary database system for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Enterprise Database Systems

A database system is designed to help efficiently organize, store, and access vast amounts of data on demand. Databases consist of organized and detailed information that can be accessed by one or more employees. Types of data that could be found in a hospital database might include such things as name, date of birth, social security and etc. Defining a databases would involve the type of the data stored, an example might be: health records, patient text documents, and historical data. The Department of Veterans Affairs incorporates just such a database. The VA uses a product called CACHE developed by Intersystem's. CACHE is written in MUMPS code and is an Object database. CACHE is a highly advanced and very fast database that integrates well with Oracle and SQL. It is for these reasons that the VA has used CACHE or its former partner DSM for several decades. Intersystem's obviously put a lot of engineering behind this product and the scalability, speed, and overall robust nature make it second to none as far as high performance databases go.

Database Architecture

Database architecture can be defined as three levels of coexisting architecture, external, conceptual and internal. A newer and most often used type of architecture is the relational database model.

The external level is represented by how users define and understand the data and the way in which the data is organized. A stand-alone database can have many external views. The internal level defines how the data is physically stored and processed by the computer system. Internal architecture can be defined as cost associated with the database, the performance at which the database operates, scalability (can the database grow to meet future demands), and overall operational abilities. The conceptual level provides an overview of both external and internal levels. It provides a simplistic view of the database that is easily understandable even to the laymen eyes. It is void of complicated details such as how data is stored, and that can present the various external views into a clear and concise picture. Intersystem's CACHE meets and exceeds the three levels and is generally used by businesses that must have a robust, fast, reliable database that produces results on a continuous basis.

A database management system (DBMS) relies on an application to operate, provide storage, grant access, security, and provide backups. Database management systems can be classified by the type of database architecture model that will reside within, such as relational or object orientated. Other factors include, the types of computing supported such as a clustered sever environment, or perhaps a host of interconnected databases. Some database models support more than one query language. Examples of some commonly used DBMS are CACHE, Microsoft Access, and SQL. Now days, most databases are designed to integrate with other databases.

Relational databases are one of the most widely used because they are cost-effective, scalable, and reliable. Relational database systems "are an application of mathematical set theory to the problem of effectively organizing data." In a relational database, data is collected into tables which provide a "view" that can be managed as need to exclude or add information that as required. A table represents a class of objects that an organization uses to fulfill business requirements. A company may have a database with a table for physicians, another table for nursing staff, and another for patients. Each table is constructed with columns and rows that store the related data. Each column represents object data stored by the table. For example, a patient table would typically have columns for attributes such as first name, middle name, last name, social security, insurance, and any related allergies. Each row represents a reference of the object defined by the table. For example, one row in the patients table represents the patient who has the social security number of 12-345-6789. Organizing data into tables can be manipulated in several different ways. Relational database theory uses a process called normalization, which ensures that the set of tables that have been defined, will organize the data effectively for future use.

Intersystem's CACHE Database. The Department of Veterans Affairs uses Intersystem's CACHE database. CACHE is "an advanced object database that provides in-memory speed with persistence, and the ability to handle huge volumes of transactional data. Plus, CACHE runs SQL at much faster speeds than relational databases and requires less maintenance.



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