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May 2015

Sort through types of database management systems before you buy

The database management system lies at the center of any organization's business activities. It houses the data that pumps life into operations and analytics applications and ensures that it's managed and manipulated securely. But the types of database management systems, or DBMSes, are numerous -- and organizations starting the evaluation process need to first examine the data they need to process, says data management consultant Craig S. Mullins in this special edition of Business Information. Is it traditional, structured data? Or is it a vast pool full of audio and video streams, social media data and other unstructured information?

First, Mullins surveys the database product landscape, detailing the advantages of the types of database management systems on the market, breaking them into three main categories: relational database management systems, NoSQL databases and in-memory databases. Next Mullins takes a close look at relational systems. Any organization shopping for a database system should begin here, he says, because relational databases are good for a wide range of uses -- traditional data management and analytical applications, batch processing and more. Finally, Mullins explores the relatively new world of NoSQL database systems, known for their able handling of big data. NoSQL has its own types of database management systems, falling into four categories: key-value, document, column and graph. Each is suitable for particular uses, so companies may want to consider mixing and matching, depending on their data needs.

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