Database Development Best Practices | WellData

8 Best Practices Of Database Development

WellData has combined the knowledge of its database development team to provide a comprehensive list of 8 database development techniques which you should follow to avoid the challenges which you may face during a database development project.

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WellData has just launched a new Development Managed Service which looks to offer enterprises with access to continuous support during the ongoing process of database development. 

Annette Allen - our Development Team Leader, has designed a unique service offering based upon 8 database development best practices which should be followed at each stage of the database development lifecycle. As a result, we now can offer enterprises with a dedicated point of contact for specialist support throughout development projects.

We recommend that all companies who are looking to improve their databases or are currently planning for digital optimisation, do consider speaking to experts before proceeding with the complex tasks, however, we do not believe in gatekeeping vital advice and therefore, have combined our knowledge to provide a comprehensive list of 8 database development techniques which you should follow to avoid the challenges which you may face during a database development project.

  • Planning and Requirements Analysis
  • Data Modelling and Design
  • Efficient Indexing and Query Optimisation
  • Security and Access Control
  • Backup and Recovery
  • Testing and Quality Assurance
  • Documentation and Change Management
  • Ongoing Monitoring and Maintenance

Planning and Requirements Analysis

When first considering the development of a new database for your business, it is crucial that you plan for the requirements for your DBMS. 

As part of the planning, you should consider immediate objectives, as well as, how the company may look in years to come, so that you have a scalable environment for data to grow and thrive. 

By considering an analysis of your database requirements, you will be able to forecast how much database development will cost, and be able to plan a project timeline to find out how long database development may take.

We propose that during this stage of a database development project, you should:

  • Clearly define the objectives and requirements of the database system.
  • Understand the needs of the stakeholders and end-users.
  • Document and prioritise the requirements to guide the development process.

Data Modelling and Design

When employing database architects and developers to design and build your bespoke database, you should have the confidence that they can apply the best practices of data modelling. 

Database development projects often require skilled professionals with previous experience. Project managers must be sure to check that database developers take great care in their roles and responsibilities, confirming that they;

  • Follow data modelling practices, such as normalisation, to ensure a well-structured database schema.
  • Use clear and consistent naming conventions for tables, columns, and other database objects.
  • Define appropriate primary keys, foreign keys, and constraints to maintain data integrity.

Efficient Indexing and Query Optimisation

Furthermore, when reviewing the implementation of any database development projects, you should be sure to consider the ongoing optimisation of indexing and queries. The following tasks should be carried out to maintain some database development standards:

  • Identify and create indexes on columns frequently used in queries and joins.
  • Regularly analyse and update statistics to ensure accurate query optimization.
  • Optimise SQL queries to minimise resource usage and improve performance.
  • Monitor and analyse query execution plans to identify and resolve performance bottlenecks.

Security and Access Control

As part of ongoing database development, there are several maintenance activities which should be reviewed regularly. One of the many responsibilities of a database administrator, will involve reviewing security of the DBMSs. Those who are responsible for protecting the databases from potential breaches or cyber attacks, should be sure to:

  • Implement proper security measures to protect the database from unauthorised access.
  • Use strong authentication mechanisms to validate user identities.
  • Assign appropriate user roles and permissions to ensure the principle of least privilege.
  • Encrypt sensitive data to prevent unauthorised disclosure.

It is important to note: All database users have a duty of care to maintain security of data, and it does not fall only to a database administrator, however DBAs can implement preventive measures to reduce risk.

Backup and Recovery

When engaging in an ongoing database development project, you should carefully consider your backup and disaster recovery processes to protect the data and progress of your project. Working in offline environments can also help with mitigating risks.

  • Establish a robust backup and recovery strategy to protect data from loss or corruption.
  • Regularly perform database backups and test the restoration process.
  • Store backups in secure and off-site locations to mitigate risks.

Testing and Quality Assurance

When developing databases, testing is crucial. There are a few elements which you should check during the testing phase of your project, and it is worth running these tests regularly to prevent drops in optimal performance.

  • Perform thorough testing of the database system before deployment.
  • Validate data integrity, data validation rules, and business logic.
  • Conduct performance testing under various load scenarios.
  • Use automated testing tools and methodologies to ensure consistent quality.

Documentation and Change Management

One of the most common database development challenges which WellData helps businesses to resolve, is the lack of documentation for processes or logic within the technology, such as business rules and design restrictions. Documentation is extremely important to those who inherit systems following another member of staff leaving their position and more simply, for whoever is responsible to track and log changes which have occurred over time.

  • Maintain comprehensive documentation of the database schema, design decisions, and business rules.
  • Document changes made to the database over time.
  • Implement a change management process to track and manage database schema changes.
  • Communicate changes to stakeholders and end-users to ensure proper understanding and adoption.

Ongoing Monitoring and Maintenance

Finally, we introduce the usefulness of services that offer managed database support. Databases require ongoing monitoring and maintenance from Database Administrators (DBAs) who work alongside architects and developers to maximise performance and prevent issues from arising. The main responsibilities that should be carried out on a regular - and, preferably daily basis include the following:

  • Continuously monitor database performance, availability, and security.
  • Regularly apply database software updates, security patches, and bug fixes.
  • Perform routine maintenance tasks, such as index rebuilding and database reorganisation.
  • Monitor database storage usage and plan for future growth.

You should be aware that database development best practices may vary depending on the specific database management system (e.g., Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL) and the unique requirements of a project. It is recommended to consult the documentation and guidelines provided by database vendors and seek expert advice from experienced database development professionals to tailor best practices to your specific development environment and requirements.

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