Databases play a pivotal role in your infrastructure, serving as the lifeblood of your system. They form the foundation upon which everything else is built. While applications can be scaled and replicated across multiple servers, databases present unique challenges in terms of scalability and replication.
Unlike applications, which can be split across multiple servers to handle high volumes of requests, databases cannot be easily replicated to distribute the workload. Consequently, performance and optimization considerations are of utmost importance when designing databases. Getting the database design right from the outset is crucial since making significant changes to an existing database infrastructure is akin to replacing the foundation of a building—a complex and arduous task.
Categories of Databases
To better understand databases, here’s some information on their categories based on their use.
Online Transactional Processing (OLTP)
OLTP databases are responsible for tracking all transactional updates, such as new order entries, customer entries, and event tracking. They serve as the “source of truth” and are critical to the operation of your systems. Losing or damaging an OLTP database can have severe consequences, making disaster recovery plans essential.
Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)
OLAP databases gather and sometimes pre-aggregate data, typically sourced from OLTP and third-party systems. These databases provide the basis for analytical processing and can offer valuable insights into your business operations.
While Caching may not be a true database it is still vital to complex systems. It is a technique used to store frequently accessed data points to enhance performance. Data caches can significantly improve system efficiency and can be implemented at various levels and configured for different types of refresh cycles and triggers.
Database Data Models
For any given use case category of database noted above, the actual data model structure can vary or even be mixed to support the need. Here’s a breakdown of types of databases based on their data models.
Need help with database design? Dymeng’s team is highly skilled in this area. Founder Jack Leach has many years’ experience in database design and it’s always been his forte and passion. He was a 5-consecutive-year recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award for their database-related products, and he brings his experience and passion to every project Dymeng takes on.