Database Schema Design: A Comprehensive Guide 101

on Data Mapping, Database, Database Management Systems, Database Schema Design, ETL • February 16th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

Feature Image for Database Schema Design

In today’s modern world, data is generated from every digital computing device, handheld phones, workstation, servers and so on. This valuable information generated by millions of computing devices helps private, public and professional enterprises to store, monitor and analyse data for different purposes. Companies use Database Schema Design to design efficient Databases for catering to the analysis process.

While any typical arrangement for SQL (Structured Query Languages) Schemas will help create a logical grouping for the data objects, Database Schema Design assists the process of simplified development, execution as well as maintenance within Databases. An efficient Database Schema Design can help minimise data redundancy as well as reduce the storage space required for corporate data.

This article gives a comprehensive guide on Database Schema Design to enable companies to efficiently use their Databases. It also explains the components and indicators for a good Schema Design. It also provides insights into how to design a good Schema and how the Database Schema Design can be beneficial to companies.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Database Schema Design

A Database Schema offers a look into the logical view of the Database. This involves the way the Database is organised, how relations are interlinked, and specifying the constraints and rules for the transactions that take place in the Database. 

The Database Schema, consequently, details out all the entities within the Database and also the relationships between them. The Database Schema can play a vital role in helping programmers better understand the Database and help them make the best use of it.

It provides a blueprint for all types of data and also supports Big Data. The logical view of the Database is represented and all the relationships between the entities are managed in a simple manner which ensures data is easier to consume and interpret.

Database Schema Design is very important because inefficiently handled Databases can consume a lot of time and space for all the employees who operate the Database and are also hard to maintain and administer.

A Database Schema Design in relation to the large amount of information involved can be visualised as follows:

Database Schema Design Example
https://www.holistics.io/blog/top-5-free-database-diagram-design-tools/

In order to understand about Database Schemas in detail, click this link.

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Components of a Database Schema Design

There are 2 fundamental components to be understood when explaining any Database Schema:

1) Physical Database Schema

The Physical Database is where the storage takes place. Thus, the Physical Schema indicates how the data will be physically stored in the system. This includes various forms of data storage like files, key-value pairs, or data indices as well as the other rules defining the physical storage of data. With a suited Physical Schema, attributes can be defined as per the business requirements and data can be organised efficiently for quick access and effective use.

2) Logical Database Schema

The logical part of the Database Schema indicates the logical constraints that are applicable to different data fields. These can help to implement rules on the data tables, relations, and other entities based on how the corporate data needs to be manipulated.

The two schemas are interlinked with each other based on the information being managed by the Databases and also as per how the Schemas are designed. 

Different views can be accessed with different design factors of Physical and Logical Schemas, and their functioning can be illustrated in the figure as follows:

Components of a Database Schema
https://www.tutorialspoint.com/dbms/dbms_data_schemas.htm

Indicators of a Robust Database Schema Design

After learning about the basics of a Database Schema, the next step would be to understand how to judge the performance of a Database Schema Design. Other than the use cases that are defined by the company, there are some more factors to consider when ensuring that the Database Schema is robust:

  • The Schema must ensure that data is maintained with integrity and accuracy. The benefit of having access to correct and unaltered data is an important one.
  • The usefulness of a Database is greatly based on access features. The Database should implement access specifications and provide robust access to data as per the organisation’s requirements.
  • As Data Analytics is an important aspect when dealing with Databases, the Database should ensure minimum data redundancy and the elimination of any inconsistencies and redundant spaces. 
  • In addition to these essentials, the Database Schema Design must cater to all forms of data processing, availability, reporting, transfer, and other requirements. 

By following these parameters, companies can judge whether they have an efficient Database Schema and can also provide companies with the important parameters when they are building a Database Schema Design.

4 Key Steps to Prepare the Best Database Schema Design

Having identified the requirements for a robust Database Design, the next step is to figure out how to design the perfect Database Schema for the business data. Planning out what is required and prioritising them are the most important factors in the decision-making process that can help to design a Database Schema that fits the organisation’s purpose perfectly.

There are 4 key steps to design the best Database Schema:

1) Establishing the Requirements

Businesses can start out by establishing clear cut requirements before they get on with the designing process. This can include the types of information they are going to deal with and the querying results they want to receive. They can also point out any additional requirements for data format and processing at this stage.

2) Selecting a Simple Primary Key

After dividing information into tables as per the business requirements, the next step is to select a Primary Key for every table within the Database. This is an important step as it will be used for all querying purposes and can make a huge difference to Database efficiency. Having a simple Primary Key is preferred and ensure it is unique and have any duplicates removed.

3) Defining Entity Relationships

The next step is an interesting step in the design process. This is where relationships are defined between different tables and are utilised for the specific use cases. Many relationships can be defined such as a One-to-One relationship or perhaps a One-to-Many or even Many-to-Many as per the company’s requirements. 

4) Enhancing Designs for Specific Features

After having designed the basic Database Schema, the company can proceed with refining this structure to incorporate specific requirements. Additional enhancements include checking for any loopholes for redundancy, checking if there is enough space for expected data, empty and null fields, and other existing issues. The Database can then be normalised to automate some rules into the Database functionality. 

Conclusion

This article gave a comprehensive guide on Database Schema Design and its importance to any company. It also provided the components of a Database Schema and gave proper indicators of judging a Database Schema. It also provided the steps to develop the best Database Schema Design.

Overall, Database Schema Design plays a major role in any sector of the company and helps manage and maintain all the Databases efficiently.

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