What is a Distributed Database?
A distributed database gathers company data in different locations (computers, departments, buildings or even countries), instead of a single central storage.
This means that your data is stored in different archives and is also managed independently, even though it is all interrelated.
Even having information shared between two computers could already be considered a distributed database, albeit at its simplest level.
Among the benefits of a distributed database is its agility in adapting to companies having geographically dispersed teams, for whom it’s easier to access a local network than a central one.
These are some more of its important advantages:
- Modular development: The network can be extended to include new locations, computers and data, simply by connecting them to each other.
- Geographic management: Each region can continue to manage its database in a customized way, without affecting any central base.
- Failsafe: If there are problems in a central database, everything comes to a standstill. In a distributed database, a failure in one of its components does not affect the overall operation.
- Swift communication: As each team can continue to manage its own system, they don’t have to resort to a central, or even physically distant, system each time a change is made.
- Rapid requests: Whenever information is needed, requesting it from the corresponding local storage is faster than sending the request to a central base.
A distributed database means that your information management is also divided and it becomes more complicated to coordinate data and avoid errors or loss of time by requesting information from one team to another.
Other difficulties that accompany this type of database:
- More management effort
- Complex and expensive software systems needed
- Higher maintenance costs for various databases
- Longer development times
- More complex management
- Increased risk of errors, as there are no uniform updates across all storage locations
- Less security, as there is no central control of access to data
When Would a Distributed Database Be a Suitable Solution?
A distributed database is not the perfect solution for all companies.
If your business can run on a single server and doesn’t have a very complex data distribution network, a distributed database would add unnecessary difficulties.
Also, remember that its maintenance costs would be higher, which can discourage smaller businesses.
However, it may be time to adopt a distributed database if you often encounter one of these situations:
- You find it difficult to replicate and share data
- You need more data storage space
- You’re looking for ways to optimize the capacity of your repositories
- You detect very slow responses to information requests
- Yours is a widely dispersed geographic network, with teams and regions that need local information
Note, also, that in order to implement such a database, it’s best to incorporate a Distributed Database Management System in your business. This is a software system that allows you to manage and interconnect your distributed databases as if they were a single centralized database in one place.
These distributed database management systems manage the synchronization of all your information as well as checking that it is updated throughout each different location. Thus, a change made by a user to one database will immediately be reflected in all other databases connected to the distributed database system.
Optimizing Catalog Management by Using Distributed Databases
Your catalog management can improve if you use a distributed database. So if you think this system sounds a bit complicated, let’s take a look at its key advantages:
- The right software system: Would you prefer a single system that manages all locations, or a specific service for each location? Take into account how the costs of contracting and maintenance increase according to the number of databases.
- Homogeneous or heterogeneous? If your databases display widely different data, an individual management tool for each location may be useful. But if they share the same tables that need to be synchronized and updated in real time, a single, global service may be urgently needed.
- Better in the cloud: Consider the option of hiring a Catalog Management service that provides software in the cloud, since an on-premise Catalog Management service would involve installing the program on each of the computers and locations where there are databases. This delays installation time and increases costs, compared to a cloud system that ensures universal access from any computer, network or location.
- Varied management controls: To reduce errors, you can incorporate different checks on your databases, such as by type of data and indexes, registered users, rights of each user, access history, dependency between modules…
- Replication tracking: The system must replicate data between different databases to ensure information recovery in case of system failure or damage.
- Security reinforcement: Being composed of various databases and locations, a distributed database needs extra security, and access controls require extra caution and vigilance. Opt for Catalog Management tools that guarantee confidentiality and ensure there are systems in place for the replication and backup of the data.
If your company already has a lot of team units and is planning to expand further, a distributed database is most likely the best option. You’ll get faster and more efficient access to local data, with the peace of mind that you’ll always have backup copies.