Database Transfer: Why You Need It, How To Do It

Database Transfer: Why You Need It, How To Do It

Among all the confusing terms we use when talking about information, database transfer is one of the least understood. But regardless of which industry you’re in, you’re probably doing database transfer every day. And you’re likely spending way more time, money and effort on it than you need to. Database transfer means moving a database from one physical, or logical, location to another for any reason. It can cover a wide variety of use cases, which we’ll describe below. Unlike database sharing, database transfer doesn’t imply that different parties are sending and receiving the data. But like database sharing, the ease and speed of how you transfer data is critical to saving money and focusing on your business, while giving your employees, customers and business partners the information they need. Let’s look at some of the use cases that fall under the heading of data transfer, and at the common technical requirements they share. Migration: Moving data from one location to another, without leaving a copy at the source. Replication: Creating multiple copies of the same database and reconciling differences among them. Backup and restore: Creating a second copy of a database for use in disaster recovery or business continuity, and copying it back to a production system to replace a lost primary copy. Supply chain: Making production data available to suppliers, customers or multiple internal facilities to coordinate production or shipments or to compare pricing. Government data sharing: Making government economic, environmental, scientific, legal or other information easily available to the public. Integrate and Automate Integration is the combination of data from multiple internal or external sources. It allows users to create, view and analyze data in their own database platforms and then combine their data with that of others for a broader view of a problem or a process. Such fast, easy and cost-effective information transfer is a critical requirement for a growing number of public and private information users. One federal agency, for example, resorted to mailing thumb drives and cutting and pasting data in spreadsheets to integrate audit data from regional facilities. A major aerospace manufacturer sought our DataPortal software to share detailed parts requirements with potential suppliers. In developing countries, retailers and manufacturers could transfer data without the expense and effort of implementing legacy technology such as EDI. What’s common across all these use cases? That you don’t want anyone from your employees to your...

Read More

Data Sharing… Also Known as Data Transfer, Data Migration, Data Replication, etc.

Data Sharing… Also Known as Data Transfer, Data Migration, Data Replication, etc.

Like everyone else in the tech industry, we in the database field can get a little sloppy when describing the various actions we take with our data stores. We use words like “migrate,” “copy,” “move” and “share” to mean many of the same things…except when we don’t. We at DataPortal run into this problem when we describe our solution as providing “database sharing.” Audiences sometimes look at us as if we were suggesting they share, oh, their ATM passcodes or their car keys. Being specific is important because, as our chart below shows, using the wrong term could lead you to spend more time, effort, and money than you need to. Here’s what, in our view, the various forms of “sharing” do and don’t mean, and where Data Portal does and doesn’t fit the bill. Remember, as you compare this chart to others you may have seen, when we say we can “share” databases we mean even the largest relational databases, in their full relational form, without adapting the databases, using custom protocols or reworking security architectures. Buzzword What It Means Can DataPortal™ Do It? Transfer Change the physical location of a database so only one copy of exists in a single place. Yes Copy Make an exact replica of a database so a copy or copies of it exist in multiple locations. Yes Migrate Copies a database from one database server platform (e.g. vendor, version) to another Yes Edit Allow one or more users or applications parties to view and make changes to the database. Yes Update Allow one or more users or applications to replace existing data with newer data. Yes Append Add additional columns and/or rows to an existing database. Yes Move Change the location Yes Replicate Make changes in multiple copies of a database to reconcile changes among them. Yes* Share Allow multiple users and/or applications to receive their own local copy of a database on their preferred database server platform. Yes *Even better, database updating can be automated so that all child databases are updated whenever the parent source database changes. You see we snuck “share” back into our list at the end, but for a good reason.  To us, database sharing simply means giving users appropriate access to view and change information that is stored in the form of a relational database, which is one of the most direct and efficient ways that...

Read More

Sharing Government Data in a Way it Can Be Useful for Everyone

Sharing Government Data in a Way it Can Be Useful for Everyone

There’s no Statue of Liberty (yet) welcoming government data to the Home of the Free and the Land of the Brave. But if there was, this might be the inscription on it. The rise of the Internet and the demand for more open government has resulted in initiatives such as the U.S. government’s Data.gov database sharing site. To cite just a few examples, with this data: Businesses can use Census data on housing, income and education to better plan everything from store locations to hiring, sales and production. Consumers can track the status of product recalls, government rankings of health care providers or crime rates when looking for housing. Citizen or advocacy groups can track the status of legislation, government contracts and political contributions. Investors, planners, policymakers and interest groups can use economic information such as gross national product to measure economic growth, and better plan government and public investment and economic policies. To meet the rising demand for data and government “transparency,” as of 2012 at least forty-three governments and international organizations worldwide have made more than one million data sets available, in areas ranging from education to health, energy and commerce. Not Just Data: Insights But pre-chosen subsets of data from a government agency are just snippets of reality. They may not contain all the data a user may need or present it in an easily usable format. These partial data sets in unusable formats make it difficult, if not impossible, to combine different forms of data in creative ways. It is such “mashups” that unleash insights from data, allowing users to answer new questions in new and unpredictable ways. Using “mashups,” for example: Citizen advocates can overlap emissions and weather data on maps to identify sources of pollution for remedial action. The unemployed can use the Employment Market Explorer app, a Google Maps mashup, to compare unemployment rates among communities. Home buyers can view a database of crime by type before choosing a neighborhood in which to     look for a home. Parents in Chicago can assess their child’s chances of getting into a selective public school based on their address. Consumers can check the quality ratings of care facilities before choosing a provider for an aging parent. Health care providers, vaccine producers or payers can track disease outbreaks in real time. Economists can use financial databases to build sophisticated models to forecast market prices and employment levels....

Read More