Chapter 4. Planning Your Database

There's an old saying in the military: "Prior planning prevents poor performance." This cliché proves true in the database world in several ways. If you take the time to map out your database on paper, the odds are on your side that you can build a scalable database that meets your business needs far into the future. You can enjoy a second benefit also: Well-designed databases simply perform better. They store and process data efficiently, helping you to minimize the demands on your computer systems and reduce the amount of time clients spend waiting for database transactions to complete.

In this chapter, I walk you through the process of properly designing a database. The techniques I discuss apply to any relational database system and work equally well in Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Oracle, or any other database you encounter in the future. I also discuss diagramming techniques that can help you easily document your design decisions in a format understood by database professionals around the world.

Finally, database designers follow some basic principles intended to improve database efficiency and reduce redundant data. I conclude the chapter with a look at these techniques, showing you how to normalize your database design and how to choose appropriate data types for your database.

Introducing Database Design Concepts

Databases store data. You probably already knew that, but you should take a moment to reflect on that simple statement ...

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