Managing the Database System: A Shift in Focus

The introduction of a database system over the file system provides a framework in which strict procedures and standards can be enforced. Consequently, the role of the human component changes from an emphasis on programming (in the file system) to a focus on the broader aspects of managing the organization’s data resources and on the administration of the complex database software itself.

The database system makes it possible to tackle far more sophisticated uses of the data resources, as long as the database is designed to make use of that available power. The kinds of data structures created within the database and the extent of the relationships among them play a powerful role in determining the effectiveness of the database system

Although the database system yields considerable advantages over previous data management approaches, database systems do carry significant disadvantages. For example

  • Increased costs. Database systems require sophisticated hardware and software and highly skilled personnel. The cost of maintaining the hardware, software, and personnel required to operate and manage a database system can be substantial. Training, licensing, and regulation compliance costs are often overlooked when database systems are implemented.
  • Management complexity. Database systems interface with many different technologies and have a significant impact on a company’s resources and culture. The changes introduced by the adoption of a database system must be properly managed to ensure that they help advance the company’s objectives. Given the fact that database systems hold crucial company data that are accessed from multiple sources, security issues must be assessed constantly
  • Maintaining currency. To maximize the efficiency of the database system, you must keep your system current. Therefore, you must perform frequent updates and apply the latest patches and security measures to all components. Because database technology advances rapidly, personnel training costs tend to be significant
  • Vendor dependence. Given the heavy investment in technology and personnel training, companies might be reluctant to change database vendors. As a consequence, vendors are less likely to offer pricing point advantages to existing customers, and those customers might be limited in their choice of database system components
  • Frequent upgrade/replacement cycles. DBMS vendors frequently upgrade their products by adding new functionality. Such new features often come bundled in new upgrade versions of the software. Some of these versions require hardware upgrades. Not only do the upgrades themselves cost money, but it also costs money to train database users and administrators to properly use and manage the new features

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