Databases have greater importance in the fields of storing and manipulating data every day. In this article I am going to give you a run down of various database software, its advantages, and then its disadvantages compared to the others. Databases are very quickly replacing the old flat-file systems, but if you do not move systems correctly it can prove to be a disaster.
As always you have to be careful with security and maybe take extra care of database passwords. You also need to only assign the permissions that are needed. As an example of this, a user which inserts into the database does not need the ability to drop tables.
There was the recent case of ACS:Law which didn't secure its databases properly. Therefore a hacker got into it and leaked the list of personal details online.
MS Access is Microsoft's own database package which usually comes with Microsoft Office. You can have databases and then create forms which can access the databases. It is quite limited, but you can access it through the ODBC connection. This means that you can connect to it through powerful web scripting languages such as PHP and ASP. This is easily one of the most popular database software packages around for accounting and web management.
The main disadvantage of MS Access is that it doesn't support the SQL-style commands that most databases use. This can prove to be a compatibility issue. However, the database software is cheap because it is bundled with MS Office.
Microsoft SQL is like the big brother of Microsoft Access. It supports more connections and is designed to be run on its own server separate from your main application. This is very useful for places such as a school which has information on its pupils that needs to be accessed from a lot of computers.
It also supports SQL-style commands so it is easier to migrate to from another piece of database software. MS-SQL is also supported natively in ASP and PHP, it does need to the ODBC wrapper. The main disadvantages of this one is that it doesn't allow you to edit it to your needs and the price, but if all you need is a stable database out of the box MS-SQL is certainly worth looking at.
MySQL is a completely open-source database package. It can be modified so that it behaves the way you would like it to. It also supports multiple users and table permissions as mentioned in the introduction. It makes a great addition to a PHP application as PHP has many commands built into it to handle MySQL. ASP.NET can also connect to MySQL but you are better using an MS product if you are using ASP.NET. This is the most popular database software for PHP programs and is often used to power small web-based games.
MySQL is also free to use, but offers no official support which means that you need someone confident with programming and configuring applications in your business. It is very good for anything web-based though.
In this article I have gone through the top three database solutions and given you some advantages and disadvantages of them all. MS SQL or MS Access are certainly the best if you do not feel confident using databases when migrating. If you do feel confident and can take the security risks of using a database into consideration then control these then you can use MySQL.
If you have any more questions about databases or how to use them, please feel free to comment below.