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Existing Types of Databases

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.

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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;

a.Operational databases:

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.

b.End-User databases:

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.

c.Centralized databases:

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.

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d.Distributed databases:

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.

e.Personal databases:

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.

f.Commercial databases:

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.

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What is a Database?

The use of databases is an ingenious way of storage and processing of large amounts of information. Databases are specified according to the client’s needs be it for business or personal use.

Databases often abbreviated DB; a database is basically a collection of information organized in such a way that a computer program can quickly select desired pieces of data. You can think of a database as an electronic filing system.

Traditional databases are organized by fields, records, and files. A field is a single piece of information; a record is one complete set of fields, and a file is a collection of records. For example, a telephone book is analogous to a file. It contains a list of records, each of which consists of three fields: name, address, and phone number.

An alternative concept in database design is known as Hypertext. In a Hypertext database, any object, whether it is a piece of text, a picture, or a film, can be linked to any other object. Hypertext databases are particularly useful for organizing large amounts of disparate information, but they are not designed for numerical analysis.

To access information from a database, you need a database management system (DBMS). This is a collection of programs that enables you to enter, organize, and select data in a database.
Increasingly, the term database is used as shorthand for database management system. There are many different types of DBMSs, ranging from small systems that run on personal computers to huge systems that run on mainframes.

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The information in a database is access via a database management system; that are typically an aggregation of programs. The programs arrange, interpret, maintain, and store information; which is the primary goal of databases. The database manager will act as a way of controlling all the processes.

Computer databases typically contain aggregations of data records or files, such as sales transactions, product catalogs and inventories, and customer profiles. Typically, a database manager provides users the capabilities of controlling read/write access, specifying report generation, and analyzing usage. Databases and database managers are prevalent in large mainframe systems but are also present in smaller distributed workstation and mid-range systems such as the AS/400 and on personal computers. SQL (Structured Query Language) is a standard language for making interactive queries from and updating a database such as IBM’s DB2, Microsoft’s SQL Server, and database products from Oracle, Sybase, and Computer Associates.

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Some of the common databases include; Oracle databases, IBM DB2, and Microsoft’s SQL server. The following are the existing sub-classes of databases;

1.General Interest Databases

General interest databases are a great place to begin research or for a general topic. These databases contain the broadest range of materials and include many different subjects and disciplines. Examples of general interest databases include:

  • Academic Search Complete (EBSCO) – Identifies magazine and journals articles in most subject areas including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, medical sciences, and ethnic studies.
  • Academic OneFile (Infotrac) – This multi-disciplinary database provides access to over 3000 journals, with links to full text for over half of the journals.

2.Discipline-Specific Databases

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Discipline-based databases are more focused than general interest databases. These databases include materials in several related subject areas. Materials are usually only from professional/trade publications and scholarly/academic journals. If you are having trouble finding information on your topic, in general, interest databases, try a discipline-based database.

  • Ethnic NewsWatch – Identifies full-text access for 200 newspapers and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press.
  • PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service)– Contains information sources for the government, political science, social science, and related topics.
  • SocINDEX (EBSCO) – Identifies articles in all areas of sociology including anthropology, criminology, ethnic & racial studies, gender studies, politics, religion, rural sociology, social psychology, and urban studies.
  • Sports Discus – Scholarly and popular information on all aspects of sports, exercise, training, etc.

3.Subject-Specific Databases

If you are doing in-depth research on a topic, you will want to use subject-specific databases. These databases usually only contain materials from professional/trade publications and scholarly/academic journals. Below are some examples, but a list of all available subjects can be viewed on the Online Journals and Database’s page.

  • ABI/INFORM – Identifies articles on business, finance, and management topics from regional, U.S. and international publications.
  • CINAHL (EBSCO) – (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) – Authoritative coverage of the literature related to nursing and allied health.
  • Historical Abstracts – Scholarly articles on the history of the world from 1450-present.
  • PsycINFO – Identifies articles, books, and dissertations in psychology and related subjects.

Sourced from: http://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/howdoi/databasetypes.html

What is Cloud Computing?

The world of information technology is ever growing and improving. The latest introduction is the use of cloud computing to store information that can be shared easily. The use of cloud computing has eliminated the need for local servers that can easily be hacked.

Cloud computing is defined as a type of computing that relies on onsharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. Cloud computing is comparable to grid computing, a type of computing where unused processing cycles of all computers in a network are harnessed to solve problems too intensive for any stand-alone machine.

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Cloud computing is similar to grid computing where any unused processing cycles are put together to solve a severe problem that cannot utilize a standard machine. Cloud computing uses a non-hard drive technology to store information.

It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulonimbus cloud, accepting connections and doling out information as it floats. What cloud computing is not about is your hard drive. When you store data on or run programs from the hard drive that is called local storage and computing. Everything you need is physically close to you, which means accessing your data is fast and easy, for that one computer, or others on the local network. Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry functioned for decades; some would argue it is still superior to cloud computing, for reasons I will explain shortly.

Sourced from: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372163,00.asp

Cloud computing allows the user to access their information at any location, which makes data access easy and convenient. The only requirement is that cloud computing needs to utilize or, at least, be synchronized via the internet.

For it to be considered “cloud computing,” you need to access your data or your programs over the Internet, or at the very least, have that data synchronized with other information over the Web. In a big business, you may know all there is to know about what is on the other side of the connection; as an individual user, you may never have any idea what kind of massive data processing is happening on the other end. The result is the same: with an online connection; cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime.

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Cloud computing allows the user to have convenience, increased storage, and quick data processing. The basic working of the system is as follows;

The goal of cloud computing is to apply traditional supercomputing, or high-performance computing power, normally used by military and research facilities, to perform tens of trillions of computations per second, in consumer-oriented applications such as financial portfolios, to deliver personalized information, to provide data storage or to power large, immersive online computer games. To do this, cloud computing uses networks of large groups of servers typically

running low-cost consumer PC technology with specialized connections to spread data-processing chores across them. This shared IT infrastructure contains large pools of systems that are linked together. Often, virtualization techniques are used to maximize the power of cloud computing.

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Cloud computing utilizes supercomputing or high maintenance computing power that was initially only utilized by the military and research organizations. The following are some of the benefits each user enjoys when they utilize cloud computing;

1.Self-service provisioning: End users can spin up computing resources for almost any type of workload on-demand.

2.Elasticity: Companies can scale up as computing needs increase and then scale down again as demands decrease.

3.Pay per use: Computing resources are measured at a granular level, allowing users to pay only for the resources and workloads they use.

4.Cloud computing services can be private, public or hybrid.

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5.It’s virtual

Imagine racks of servers, humming along in a data center. Together, these servers become a massive pool of resources. Divide this “pool” into multiple virtual servers, and you create a “cloud.”

6.It can be secure

For the utmost security, create a private cloud on dedicated hardware. However, always remember to put appropriate security measures in place, no matter which cloud you choose.

7.It’s flexible and scalable

Since virtual servers are not physical, they are super flexible, giving you what you need at the moment. Spin up a server in minutes, and take it down just as easily.

8.It can be affordable

You will get the greatest cost savings in the public cloud, where your virtual servers run on physical servers that you share with other customers.

9.It’s open (or closed)

In the open cloud, you can easily move your cloud around—without being locked into one provider or a closed, proprietary technology.

10.It can be secure and affordable

A hybrid cloud gives you the benefits of both public and private clouds. For example, you can put public-facing components in a public cloud while storing customer-sensitive data in a private cloud.

Sourced from: http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/what_is_cloud_computing