​​Vital Things to Consider When Choosing a Database for Your App

5 September 2022

Liubomyr Sirskyi

Content Manager

To provide a quality user experience, you should ensure that you choose a proper way of managing data in your app. Moreover, this data must be carefully stored so intruders cannot access it. You cannot rely on the well-designed app's interface and clean and lean code until you provide quality receiving, processing and transmitting data. Fortunately, you can achieve it with a correctly chosen database. 

First, a database is where you store and organise all the data you obtain through your application. In contrast, a database management system is specific software that allows you to manage this data conveniently. But there is a question: What database would fit your project?

It is challenging to find an answer since more than 390 databases are available on the market. Founders may get lost choosing from a massive amount of options. Luckily, we are ready to help you and share tips on selecting the database for your app. 

How Database Selection Affects Your Business Performance

App development includes multiple phases, from creating a user interface to writing workable code. We cannot imagine any modern company without handling large amounts of data. Increase conversion in an online store using recommendations, track LTV and MAU/DAU/WAU in online services, process transactions in FinTech and predict equipment downtime in manufacturing—there are cases when storing and processing structured data is a must.

Potential Advantages of Selecting the Right Database 

  • Flexibility in scaling the database: If founders plan their actions carefully, the app database can scale on demand and adapt to the business objectives.
  • Improving your user experience and satisfying clients: It will increase revenue and customer base. 
  • Maintaining strong operability of the database: A purpose-specific database will fit the founders' and users' expectations. Different options may have various response times and limit for concurrent users and requests.
  • Speed and reliability: If you pick the database correctly, you may save time and reduce maintenance resources.
  • No need for refactoring. If you have taken a smart approach to the database choice, you can avoid changing the code structure since everything runs properly. 

It is not a complete list of benefits, but it is enough to encourage you to choose between different solutions thoughtfully. 

Weak Points of Choosing the Wrong Database

  • Your information and database don't match each other: Choosing the wrong tool for your application will result in reduced uptime and higher maintenance costs.
  • Too high operating costs: If you ignore this, you will spend too many resources in the future.
  • The difference in security concerns: SQL databases are more secure than NoSQL databases. If you select the last option, you should consider extra security measures. 
  • Unplanned outage accidents increase: A database overload can slow down or completely stop its work. That is why some databases are not a good fit for your project if you have to process a massive amount of data and user requests.
  • Your client base outgrows your database: If you expect to develop your business needs and requirements, it is better to build a database strategy in advance. You need to define clear steps for implementing a new database or scaling an existing one.

It would help if you kept these things in mind when choosing a database for a web application. 

SQL vs NoSQL: What Is the Difference?

Now that we have covered the critical points regarding choosing a database, it is time to explore the differences between the main types of app databases.

SQL Databases

SQL or relational databases use Structured Query Language to define and manage data. SQL is one of the most versatile and widely used options, which is particularly suitable for applications that require multi-row transactions and complex queries.

However, you should have the normalised data before working with it. All your data must have the same structure, which can require a lot of upfront preparation. Besides, any change to the design will be complex and disruptive to your entire system.

The most commonly used databases are MySQL and PostgreSQL. Both solutions support the concept of ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) and data normalisation.

NoSQL Databases

NoSQL or non-relational databases, in contrast, have dynamic schemas for unstructured data. The stored data can be column-oriented, document-oriented, graph-based or organised as a KeyValue store. This flexibility provides the following benefits:

  • You can create documents without first defining their structure.
  • Each document can have its unique structure.
  • The syntax may vary from database to database.
  • You can add new fields at any time.

NoSQL tools do not have complex transactional properties, but they stand out for their good scalability. Therefore, they are an excellent choice for many modern applications that require flexible databases with high performance, extensive functionality and maximum usability.

The most popular NoSQL solution is MongoDB. It is suitable for apps where structure flexibility and large amounts of data are needed. Therefore, developers use MongoDB in high-performance web applications (Amazon, Netflix, eBay). MongoDB is also used to collect data from GPS and IoT devices since it stores data in the format that the device transfers and is quickly accessed.

Considering which database to choose is vital, but​​ plenty of technologies and instruments are also available for backend development. However, each of them should fit your project goals. Learn more about the trending backend technologies to follow in 2022 here

What Are the Key Aspects to Consider While Selecting a Database?

Remember that you do not have to limit yourself to one technology. Each service, ideally, should have its own base and you can choose the appropriate solutions. Try to reach a compromise between using the wrong technology in all subsystems and creating a technology park. There is no universal recipe, but here are some critical aspects you should consider while choosing a database.

Data Type 

First, your choice depends on the type of data your project handle and its structure. An SQL tool is a perfect choice if you deal with structured data. But if you work with unstructured information, databases with critical values (NoSQL) will significantly benefit your project. Sometimes, you must pick and implement a combination of the two options to meet your business objectives. 

Scalability

Your database grows with the company. You can enhance server capabilities (vertical scaling) or increase performance by splitting data across multiple servers (horizontal scaling). A relational database is suitable for vertical scaling, while non-relational databases are the best for horizontal scaling.  

Fault tolerance

All servers may crash. And the more servers in your system, the higher the probability of failure of any of them. You should try to avoid creating single points of failure (at least in critical subsystems) and explore the resilience of systems. Some solutions, such as Apache Cassandra, are even robust to the failure of an entire data centre. However, you must perform tests to ensure you have configured everything correctly.

Security

Your database should be adequately protected and provide consistent and reliable performance. SQL and NoSQL can be secure enough, but you always have to check each potential option.

Integration

Another critical point is the flawless integration of the chosen database with other instruments. If you give up on this aspect, a poor integration will harm your company's performance.

The Expertise of Your Team

Learning new technology always takes time and people will make common mistakes without relevant experience. So often the best solution is to take the most familiar option.

How to Find the Database for Your Application: 6 Key Steps

As you consider your database requirements, following a particular process may be helpful. Let's learn six crucial steps to choosing the proper database and implementing the right option for your project. 

Analyse Your Business Needs Carefully

First, you must meet with your development team and customer company representatives. At this stage, your task is to define your database features and business expectations.

Review Your Existing Tech Stack

The next step is picking up tech requirements based on the current technology stack of your company. Consider all aspects, from programming languages and cloud infrastructure to integration with other databases.

Create a Visual Model of Your Data

The visual representation of data will help you test the hypotheses you are working at. In this case, flow diagrams and entity-relationship models are your best friends since they can help you understand how your app processes data. 

Draft a Roadmap

You should indicate all details of the transition process: timelines, engaged teams and milestones. The final design of your roadmap depends on a specific goal (implementing a database from scratch, adding databases, transitioning data, etc.). For example, when migrating to a new database, your team requires more time to protect the older data's integrity.

Start the Implementation Process

After the preliminary work is done, you can begin implementing your roadmap. It is better to use visual models prepared in advance to help your development team stay on the course.

Conclusion

You should make choosing a database a serious task because the wrong option complicates a development team's work and results in fed-up clients. It will harm your business reputation and sharply cut your revenue, so you should select your database wisely. But if you do not have enough experience to perform this task, it is better to ask for a trustworthy vendor with extensive market expertise. At Rocketech, we know how to develop functional and purpose-specific solutions. We assign a dedicated team that focuses on your project and implements advanced approaches to build both frontend and backend sides of the app. As a result, you will get a full-fledged tool to reach your business objectives. And if you want to grow your business with well-developed software, contact us now.

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