During database design, there are a few simple rules that can save you a lot of time and headaches down the road. Check out these tips that we have developed in our years of hands-on experience:
Use Naming Conventions
Many developers and admins might not deem name conventions as important during the design phase. But in fact, naming conventions provide important insight to understand a model.
Weak and inconsistent conventions will likely cause errors during development. They not only discourage developers who must access the data but also administrators and modelers who must make changes in the future.
Naming conventions are a question of personal choice. Whatever convention is chosen, make sure to be consistent and document the model to that everyone involved is aligned. If there happens to be an exception, document it as well and explain why the convention is not followed.
Indexes in Your Design
During the design stage, start indexing your model. This should revolve around your primary keys and constraints.
Even if the indexes change during the development process, having them already designed is useful during modeling.
Quick tip: try not to over-index a table to avoid an impact on performance.
Consider how the data will be queried since indexing revolves around query optimization.
Often, databases are designed without a precise strategy of data retention and archiving in mind. Data will be kept available in active database tables for a very long time. Most systems are created to store data in the database forever. This is not a reasonable long-term data retention strategy. At some point, active data should be archived.
One of the most successful approaches is to include data retention as part of the design considerations, thus avoiding having to redesign archiving.
Don’t Forget Testing!
Do you want to save time and money? Consider testing at an early development stage.
Testing has always been a great challenge and it is generally the first thing to be left out when time is running short. Nevertheless, proper testing should be an integral part of the data modeling and database development.
None of these activities will take a tremendous amount of time yet they have an enormous impact on the quality of your database design.
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