Choosing the right database for your business-related data could make or break how well you understand your customers and the larger business landscape. Qualities such as speed, scalability, how it responds in specific use cases, and the ability to integrate with third-party software are all important deciding factors.
In this article, I will go over what you need to look for in your ideal big data storage solution.
Data Storage Requirements
Your fundamental storage requirements will always govern the type of database you invest in. These storage requirements include:
- Speed: How quickly the database can store and partition new data, as well as retrieve specific data as per queries.
- Scalability: How far the database can be expanded without encountering any problems with speed, security, and capacity.
- Data structures: How the data is stored (this relates to the specific use case, since storage types depend on application).
- Data amount: Overall storage capacity of the database.
If your use case involves structured data sets, SQL databases may be the ideal answer for you. They’re built to store and process structured data sets. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with unstructured or semi-structured data types, you’re better off with NoSQL databases.
The ideal metaphor for databases is that of a clothing organizer. It segments different types of data into various sets, according to the structure type. If you have the wrong organizer, you’re more likely to spend far too long looking for a specific set of clothes.
Integration with Third-Party Tools
Your database needs to be able to integrate with a variety of third-party services and software tools. With a growing business and database, you’ll need to integrate various business intelligence tools in order to turn big data into actionable intelligence.
Big data is useful in both B2B and B2C business applications. Customer-facing businesses in particular need accurate and up-to-date data on their customers to strategize, produce, and deliver better.
Integrating customer-specific software into a data storage solution will enable businesses to calculate ROI on new initiatives and improve customer service overall.
For example, integrating big data with CRM helps companies discover customer perception of products and brands. This makes it invaluable for the customer management side of big data analytics.
Operation and Maintenance Costs
Depending on the amount, type, and quantity of data you’re looking to accumulate, a database will have different operating, maintenance, modification, and scaling costs.
Additionally, the scope of a singular database is usually limited. If you need to upgrade or migrate to a more advanced, higher capacity database in the future, you’re looking at costs on top of the initial investment.
Modern databases also have regular monitoring and alerting systems in place in case of data breaches or other malfunctions. If these are not built-in, there’s another cost you must consider since these are usually third-party systems built to work with a specific database.
Lastly, there’s the cost of outsourcing big data storage. This is particularly for smaller companies or startups in industries where large amounts of data are needed to make decisions. Such companies often can’t support in-house or on-premises storage infrastructures.
This in turn leads to expensive database outsourcing, something that can cost in the hundreds of thousands, even more.
Troubleshooting and Support Availability
Most modern databases come with developer support in addition to active communities that are constantly developing solutions to common storage and maintenance-related problems.
However, for the ideal database solution, you should choose one with both developer and community support. The latter is important since communities on Github and similar platforms often create APIs and other solutions for common database issues.
Official support is also necessary, especially if you’ll be looking to expand the database, or introduce more features soon.
Luckily, most databases come with consistent company support and even have built-in safeguards against most functional faults. Also, there are various open-source databases that let developer communities create unique availability and security solutions.
Choosing an open-source database may be a great option for you if you need something that can be modified easily and efficiently as needed.
Data Integrity and Safety
An obvious requirement, data integrity is vital to any operation that requires data for vital business decisions.
A strong database will have several constraints that ensure complete data integrity when storing and processing large amounts of data. These constraints include:
- Exclusion constraints
- Advisory locks
- Foreign keys
- Explicit locks
- Primary keys
These are invaluable for the vast majority of data handling objectives.
There should also be several solid access control measures to protect against unauthorized data access. These measures should restrict control to select individuals while still providing easy audit access for those individuals and specific data management professionals.
Plus, in the event of false data coming in, the databases need to have identification protocols that help identify where the false data is coming from.
Miscellaneous Quality Requirements
In addition to the aforementioned general requirements, here are some more specific factors to look out for when choosing a database for big data storage in 2022:
- Does the database support high-level hierarchical storage features?
- Does it support a multi-level architecture and multiple writes?
- What is the average latency, and how many queries per second (QPS) can it manage?
- Does it have an active monitoring system with alerts in case of breaches or internal malfunctions?
- Does it prevent information leakage and SQL injections, while meeting audit requirements?
- Does it allow independent modification of database schema?
Make sure to confirm these fundamental requirements when shopping for a database. If any of these are not available from the get-go, at least confirm that there are some community-based solutions available for them.
You may provide analytics as a service (AaaS), or simply want to know more about your customers by leveraging big data. In any case, you’ll need a stable platform to accumulate, organize, and manage said data.
Choosing the right database for your data-driven business will give you that, on top of a business intelligence framework that helps you grow, scale, and evolve safely and successfully.