Databases have provided a perfect way of storing large amounts of data for individuals, businesses, and companies. Databases vary in security; some are open access while others have strict security protocols that may even include scans.
Huge volumes of primary data are archived in numerous open-access databases, and with new generation technologies becoming more common in laboratories, large datasets will become even more prevalent. The archiving, curation, analysis and interpretation of all of these data are a challenge. Database development and biocuration are at the forefront of the endeavor to make sense of this mounting deluge of data.
Databases allow quick arrangement and translation of data that may have been a challenge without such systems. The following are the types of databases available on the market;
These databases store data relating to the operations of the enterprise. Generally, such databases are organized on functional lines such as marketing, production, employees, etc.
These databases are shared by users and contain information meant for use by the end-users like managers at different levels. These managers may not be concerned about the individual transactions as found in operational databases.
Rather, they would be more interested in summary information. Although, the operational databases can also generate summary information from the transaction details, they would be quite slow as they are not designed for this purpose.
These databases store the entire informa¬tion and application programs at a central computing facility. The users at different locations access the central database to make processing. The communication controller sends the transactions to the relevant application programs. These programs pick up the appropriate data from the database for processing the transaction.
For example, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) has a centralized database for registration of applications for new tel¬ephone connections. The data regarding the applicant are received from a local area office of MTNL.
Data validation and verification is carried out by the application programs at the central computer center, and a registration number is allotted by the application pro¬grams located at the central facility. The local area office keeps on recording it and hardly does any processing.
These databases have contributions from the standard databases as well as the data captured from the local operations. The data remains distributed at various sites in the organization. As the sites are linked to each other with the help of communication links, the entire collection of data at all the sites constitutes the logical database of the organization.
These data¬bases reduce the communication requirement by ensuring that the detailed local information remains stored in the local facility. To¬day, the client-server technology is most popular for managing distributed databases. In a client-server environment, DBMS has two components, one interacting with the needs of the user (client) and passing requests to the other component of DBMS.
The other component interacts with the database to meet the information needs of the client. The primary reason for dividing the DBMS into two components is that a part of the job is moved to the user’s PC (client). This makes the simultaneous processing possible on client PC and Server com¬puter system. The server is also able to coordinate the requests from a number of clients at a time.
The personal databases are maintained, gen¬erally, on Personal computers. They contain information that is meant for use only among a limited number of users, generally working in the same department.
These databases are generally subject specific and are user designed. They use simple and less powerful DBMS packages available on PCs. These DBMS packages may not have all the features of relational DBMS but do have simi¬lar features in a limited way.
The database to which access is provided to users as a commercial venture is called a commercial or external database. These databases contain information that external users would require but by themselves would not be able to afford the main¬taining such huge databases.
These databases are subjected specific and access to these databases is sold as a paid service to its user. There are many commercial database services available, particularly in the area of financial and technical information.
These databases may offer statistics regarding commodity, foreign exchange and stock markets, companies and their performance, importers and their buy¬ing patterns, decided case laws, etc. The access to commercial databases may be given through communication links.
Some of the database service providers also offer databases on CD-ROMs, and the updated versions of the databases are made available periodically. The databases on CD-ROMs have the advantage of reduced cost of communication. However, in applications such as stock market, com¬modity market, and currency market information, this medium is not suitable because information is needed on a ‘real-time’ basis.