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What are Databases Actually Used For? You May Be Stunned to Know

What are Databases Used For?
A database is a data warehouse, wherein the data is stored in an organized manner. It facilitates functions such as the retrieval, updating, and adding of new data. Databases have numerous uses and benefits when it comes to large amounts of data.
Techspirited Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Did You Know?
'Database Integration' has brought about a revolution in the business, IT, and educational sector, by providing a wide range of features for the management and analysis of data.
Structure of a Database
A database system consists of the following elements:

Tables: Data is stored in rows (records) and columns (fields).
Forms: Forms are designed for the purpose of data entry. It is easier and error-free to add data to the database via a form, rather than entering the data directly into the table.
Queries: Queries are written in order to extract rows and/or columns based on a predefined condition.
Well-known databases include MySQL, SAP, Oracle, IBM DB2, etc. DBMS or 'Database Management System' acts as an interface for communication between the user and the database.
What is a Database Used For?
Data Storage/Insertion:
Initial phase (before data entry) involves creating a data structure such as a table (with required number of rows and columns). Data is then entered into this structure.
Data Retrieval:
Databases are used when the data to be stored is in large quantity and needs constant retrieval. This make the process of fetching specific information simpler.
Data Modification/Updation:
Static data doesn't require updating. However, dynamic data needs constant modification. Consider the age of the employees in an organization. It needs to be updated every year (periodic update). A database allows for a hassle-free updating process.
Reports Generation:
Data reports ease the printing of the fetched output data.
Example
Consider a recreation club which has a large number of people registered. The secretary needs to keep a track of contact details of all registered members. If these records are stored in a number of datasheets/lists, changing the details is a cumbersome task. Because, fetching and modifying of data needs to be done in all the sheets containing these records in order to maintain consistency. Thus, it is advantageous to use a well-defined database.
Benefits of Databases
Storage Capacity:
Databases store a large amount of data as compared to other data warehouses. Small size data can be fit into spreadsheets or documents. However, when it comes to heavy data, a database is the best bet.
Data Association:
Data records from individual tables can be linked. This is required when a certain chunk of data exists in more than one table. For example, the IDs of employees can exist in the 'Payroll' as well as 'Employee Details' table. Linking is essential in order to have uniform changes throughout the multiple locations of the same data.
Multiple Users:
Permissions can be given for multiple access to a database. This allows concurrency (more than one user) to access and manipulate the data.
Data Deletion:
Unwanted data demands for deletion from the database. In such cases, the records need to be deleted from all the linked tables, to avoid any data violations. It is much simpler to delete entries from a database through queries or forms, rather than other data sources such as tables or worksheets.
Data Security:
The data files stored are secure, in most cases. This feature ensures that there is no illegal access to the data, and that its quality is maintained.
Importing:
This is another important use of databases. It allows importing external objects (data from other databases). Imports are mainly done for any table or query. On import, the database creates a copy of the imported object.
Exporting:
Similar to importing information, in this case, tables or queries are imported by other databases. That is, the database under consideration is the source database.
Data Linking:
This is done in order to avoid creation of an object copy in the database. A link is defined to the required object of the source database.
Data Sorting/Filtering:
Filters can be applied to data which have identical data values. An example of identical data can be names of employees of an organization with similar last names or first names. Similarly, data can be sorted as ascending or descending. This helps in viewing or printing out results in a desired order.
Database Indexing:
Most databases contain an index for the stored data, which eventually improves the access time. The fact that linear data search is time-consuming, makes this feature popular.
Conforms to Continuous Data Changes:
Tables with common data may be linked with keys (primary, secondary, etc). Keys are very helpful, because change of the common entity in one table reflects in related tables as well.
Reduces Overheads:
Manual data transactions are time-consuming. Database transactions using queries are very speedy, thus producing quick results.
Databases help simplify the whole purpose of storing and accessing information. However, a little forethought is needed on the part of the database creator/manager, so as to have the most efficient database at hand.