A database is defined as a repository or a collection of logically related facts and figures which are used for the information need of the organization. The meaning of logical is that the database cannot be changed by any user apart from the database administrator. It shows the immunity of the user to change the database. The management of the database is done by software known as the database management system. This kind of software controls the access of the database, changing of the attributes of the database, updating the database through the use of the data manipulation language (DML). Databases have many advantages compared to the manual systems of managing data in an organization. One of the advantages is the compactness that comes with the use of databases. With databases, the large amount of data that could be stored in many cabinets will be reduced into a small compacted data in a computer. The collection of data can be stored in tables thus saving the space and finances that could be used to come up with the large cabinets and filing system in an organization (Prescott, & McFadden, 2007).
The other advantage is the ease of managing data. With databases, organizations can send customized messages to their clients. It is easy to send personal messages to people because, basing on the type of query, specific data can be harvested from the databases with considerations of what the customer is interested in. The use of databases improves on the speed of accessing and manipulating data. Retrieving a record from a database will just be a matter of writing a query which will get the specific record from the database using the shortest time. While in manual filing system, someone had to comb on the numerous files on the cabinet searching for a single file. It is worse if there is no proper filing system in place (Connolly, & Begg, 2005).
Some examples of commonly used databases include Oracle, Microsoft Structured Query Language Server, Informix, Sybase, Database 2, and MySQL. MySQL is used Google and Yahoo search engines. Microsoft Structured Query Language Server is used by the Microsoft Company. Most of the companies which advocate for open source technologies use MySQL. This database is open source in nature. Google uses MySQL (Prescott, & McFadden, 2007).
There are three architectures of a database. The first is the one-tier architecture. In this architecture, the user of the database accesses the database objects from the same computer they are using. A database program accesses a file on the local computer. Another form of one-tier architectures is that of mainframe computers where the mainframe computer gives access to computers that are directly connected (Connolly, & Begg, 2005).
Another architecture is that of two-tier. In the windows version, users access a server through a Graphical User Interface (GUI). In this setup, there is the client and the server. This is done so that there is a communication with the server by using structured query language (SQL) commands. In this architecture, there are two common scenarios, thin-client (where most processing takes place on the server machine) and fat-client (where most processing takes place on the client (Connolly, & Begg, 2005).
The third architecture is n-tier. Common n-tier architectures are three-tier. In this architecture, there is an inclusion of the business logic layer which handles some processes of the client that relate to the business (Connolly, & Begg, 2005).
Our company, Ampath Center, which deals with health care services, uses Microsoft Access. Most of the applications access the server of the database which is installed in the server room.
Connolly, M., & Begg, C. (2005). Database systems: A practical approach. CA: Addison-Wesley.
Prescott, B., & McFadden, F. (2007). Modern database management. Iowa: Pearson Education.