What Are Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Database?


Quick Answer

The advantages of using a database are that it improves efficiency, facilitates organization and eliminates useless information, while disadvantages are compatibility problems with computers and significant software and startup costs.

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Full Answer

Database systems are used to collect, organize and manage large volumes of data, which is valuable to people in the fields of computer science, medicine, science, finance and many other disciplines. Data can easily become unmanageable and unwieldy when it reaches large volumes, and it can also become redundant and repetitive. Therefore, having a method to collect, store and control data proves quite valuable in many professions. Database systems are valued for their ability to synchronize with many computing systems. They are produced by many different companies and are compatible with many existing applications. Once installed, databases can also provide companies with a measure of security as they keep information safely in one central electronic location. Databases also generally improve consistency and reduce the number and frequency of updating errors.

Database Disadvantages
Databases are quite useful once they are set up and activated, but getting to that point can be problematic for individuals and companies planning to use them. One of the main drawbacks of database systems is their cost. Because they can take up quite a bit of space and memory, people may need to upgrade their existing hardware or get new hardware that can support the addition of a database. This, along with the requisite software needed to run and maintain the database systems, can be quite expensive. Another consideration to keep in mind before getting a database is that the database synchronizes most, if not all, applications that a company uses. The benefit of this scenario is that it streamlines all applications and makes the workforce more productive and efficient. Everyone has access to the data and information, and they may even be able to collaborate more effectively using the database system. The downside, however, is that a problem with the database system will potentially disrupt other applications, which can reduce work productivity. Another drawback of database systems is that the process of migrating files to the database can be both time and cost prohibitive. There can also be compatibility problems if old database systems do not translate correctly to the new database system. Lastly, another practical disadvantage of a database system is that it can take some time to train people in how to use the new database system, which can take away from work productivity.

Selecting a Database
Database systems can either be built from scratch or purchased from a company. When considering a database, people should note that there are several things to look for and consider before making a purchase. On a basic level, they should all allow users to access, create and edit all of the information that's stored in the database. Database systems also range in complexity, storage capacity and the degree to which they are user-friendly, which should be taken into consideration. Database systems also vary in size, and some have more bells and whistles than others. Ideally, they should be able to grow with an organization and be adaptable in terms of storage space and functionality.

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