A Guide to Using Distributed Databases
Distributed databases provide tools and benefits for data storage and analytics processes in businesses. The key issue is understanding how to use them correctly. When we think of major users of distributed databases, we immediately think of tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, PayPal, and others. But what exactly are distributed databases, and how can they be used? In this article, we’ll go over how to use a distributed database in your business.
A Distributed Database: What Is It?
A distributed database is one in which records are stored in more than one location. It’s a web of various databases linked together via a centralized network, whereas a centralized or single-node database stores your entire database on a single server.
A distributed database management system (DDBMS) manages and retrieves information from all connected databases as if they were a single database. A distributed database can thus hold virtually infinite amounts of data.
You’ve probably worked with single-node databases if you’ve used PostgreSQL, MySQL, or SQLite. Many people consider these to be “classic” databases because they existed long before distributed databases were invented.
What Are the Different Types of Distributed Databases?
Distributed databases can be organized and configured in many ways, and each has its pros and cons.
Homogeneous vs. Heterogeneous Distributed Databases
A homogeneous distributed database is a network of databases that store the same information at different locations. Each individual node that communicates with the others runs the same operating and management system. A distributed database with identical nodes is easier to manage than a heterogeneous distributed database.
In heterogeneous distributed databases, the nodes that are linked to each other use different software or data management schema and can store data in various ways. This can cause problems when recalling and analyzing data because translation is required first to correctly parse the data, and issues frequently arise during translation.
Replication vs. Fragmentation
In distributed databases, data is stored two ways. The first type is referred to as data replication. Data is saved as duplicate copies on multiple nodes. Replicated databases enable much faster data availability and retrieval. They function by appointing a “primary” data node and syncing its data with the data of other nodes. If one of your databases fails or has scheduled downtime for maintenance, the other replicated databases can be used to retrieve the data. To maintain consistency between the primary node and the replicated nodes, replicated databases require constant coordination and syncing.
The second type of data storage is fragmentation. Horizontal and vertical fragmentation are the two types of fragmentation. Data is separated by rows in horizontal fragmentation. The primary keys used in data recall are unique to a single record. This fragmentation method is useful if you frequently need to retrieve information pertaining to a specific section or branch of data.
Pros and Cons of Distributed Databases.
One of the primary advantages of a distributed database is its computational and storage size. By distributing your database across multiple servers, you can continue to build a web of database storage that can scale to whatever size you need to meet your database requirements.
Distributed databases make it easier and faster to scale. Instead of upgrading a single computer when it runs out of space, you can keep it and simply add another unit to it.
Single large-storage computers can be extremely costly for many organizations and individuals, especially if they must be constantly upgraded to store more information. A better way to manage your resources is to add several smaller computers as needed.
Improved Reliability and Availability
Distributed databases can improve reliability and availability. You can duplicate information across multiple computers using a replicated distributed database model. If one fails or becomes temporarily unavailable, the information can still be retrieved from another computer connected to the network.
Better Speed and Performance
Distributed databases have also increased speed and performance. When retrieving information from a distributed database, you can run multiple queries at the same time.
Disadvantages of Distributed Databases
There are some disadvantages to using distributed databases, such as communication issues, and maintaining “consensus.” Managing all the servers connected through the database system, particularly with heterogeneous distributed databases, can be difficult because the system must take into account all the operational differences in the connected databases.
This can also be a problem with duplicated databases or an issue of reaching consensus. This occurs when there is a conflict between two or more versions of a database and the database management system is unable to determine which is the “most correct”.
Who Are the Main Users of Distributed Databases?
The primary users of distributed databases are large corporations that need to compute massive amounts of data in their databases and use geo-distributed databases across many physical locations. Netflix is an excellent example of a business that requires distributed databases. The need to maintain a massive library of tagged and categorized content that is only available in certain countries makes distributed databases extremely useful. Distributed databases are also commonly used by large manufacturing or procurement firms that manage and coordinate complex supply chains.
How Do You Choose the Best Distributed Database Solution for Your Business?
When it comes to choosing a solution, you should think about what is most important to you. Cost, deployment ease, and day-to-day management must all be considered. On the other hand, perhaps you are willing to spend a little more time deploying your new solution if you can stay within your budget.
How to Start with Your New Distributed Database?
Once you’ve chosen a solution for managing your distributed databases, you’ll want to ensure that you’re making the most of your new expanded data storage and computational capabilities. Because your data is now distributed, it’s even more critical that you centralize your data outputs and optimize your data pipeline from A to Z.
There are numerous types of distributed databases and configuring your data pipeline to make the best use of your data is critical to getting the most out of your database. It is crucial to decide which setup and use case will work best for your company’s specific infrastructure and growth potential.
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