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The Best Guide To Tools And Practices For Managing Databases

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Writer Kurt Vonnegut once said, “The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.” In business, organization comes from having your information in order, that is having it stored in a database management system.

Running a business without database management is akin to trying to round up sheep without a sheepdog — chaotic. With no sheepdog to round up the sheep and point the way, you get little groups of sheep running off in all kinds of directions. Without database management, you have all kinds of information in any number of different places, making it almost impossible to access, maintain and manage with any kind of efficiency. 

A database management system (DBMS) pools together data for secure storage, clear organization and simple access. This enables you to easily create, find and edit electronic documents without having to search through endless files and folders or, God forbid, stacks of paperwork. And it prevents important information from getting lost.

All of this makes life easier for database administrators, causing less stress and helping them work more productively.

How to manage databases

To manage a database, all you need is a DBMS tool and basic knowledge of SQL.

Overall, a DBMS should do four things:

  1. Allow access to data
  2. Maintain relationships between data
  3. Make data easy to search
  4. Make databases easy to update

That’s all. Some systems and providers overcomplicate things too much when they explain system features and the way they work. But as the administrator, you just want to be able to create and manage databases with minimum fuss.

Database management software on Setapp

Create and manage your own database

Now, let’s take a hands-on look at Mac database software you can use to easily create and manage your own database.

Base is just the tool for that. This SQLite database software for Mac is excellent for creating and managing databases of any kind. In the app, you can view and edit table contents, make custom SQL queries, utilize command logging and schema viewing.

Base, SQLite database software for Mac

SQLPro for SQLite is another tool to manage and edit tables, filter data, run multiple queries at the same time and much more. Deleted something accidentally or saved an unintended change on top of what you really need? Roll back to the previous version thanks to the app’s integration with Versions!

SQLPro for SQLite integrated with Versions

What are the four types of DBMS?

When you are picking your database management tools, you might notice that not all of them are designed for any type of database. That’s because there are four types of databases and DBMS, respectively:

  • Relational
  • Object oriented
  • Hierarchical
  • Network

Relational databases used to dominate the market before the era of big data. They are secure, accurate and easy to work with, but not ideal for large amounts of information, i.e. big data. Simply put, a relational database is a table.

Object oriented databases store data in the form of objects. Hierarchical databases organize information in a tree-like structure.

Network databases, while similar to hierarchical, allow an object to have multiple parents instead of one, unlike the tree-like structure of hierarchical DBs. 

Popularity of relational databases

SQL is the language of choice for relational databases. Non-relational databases, such as Cassandra or MongoDB, have grown in popularity with the rise of big data and always-on applications. But there are a few good reasons why relational databases are still a solid choice for many data systems:

  1. Data security. A relational database management system provides a layer of protection by allowing you to hide sensitive data tables and restrict access to information as needed. 
  2. Reliability. Simple data structure ensures compliance regulations are easier to meet. 
  3. Easy data management. Storing data in columns and rows makes data management as straightforward as can be.
  4. Development. Major players such as Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and SAP have contributed to SQL growth. 
  5. Flexibility. SQL works well on PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones and servers.

Monitor and manage multiple relational databases

Depending on your work requirements and the amount of information you oversee as a database administrator, chances are, you’ll find yourself needing to manage several databases at once. This can quickly become quite hectic.

Fortunately, there’s an app for that too. In fact, there are two apps. 

TablePlus is a sleek tool with modern UI that lets you manage multiple databases simultaneously.

In the app, you can connect databases, create, edit and manage them, and work in several SQL formats, including PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite. TablePlus helps you keep all your databases organized and easily accessible.

TablePlus to manage multiple databases

Alternatively, SQLPro Studio is another database software for your Mac capable of working with multiple databases.

This tool allows you to quickly access tables and columns, can run queries based on your selection, enables you to select several tables at once and easily update table content. SQLPro Studio excels at database basics.

SQLPro Studio to quickly access tables and columns

Typical administrative tasks for DBMS

Before we dive into the overview of database management best practices, let’s see what typical database admin tasks can be performed using a DBMS.

Some of the most common tasks a database administrator will face are:

  • Managing and maintenance
  • Configuring user authentication and authorization
  • Creating data backups
  • Updating the database
  • Improving database performance through optimization
  • Data recovery

You can use the apps we’ve mentioned above — Base, SQLPro for SQLite, TablePlus and SQLPro Studio — to handle your database management tasks. All of the apps are available under a single Setapp subscription. For just $9.99/month you get 230+ apps for your Mac, from coding to design to project management.

You can start your 7-day free trial now to explore the features we’ve talked about.

Database management best practices

Just by using any of the apps mentioned here, you’ll make your database management a whole lot easier. However, to ensure everything continues to run smoothly, there are some best practices you should employ.

Have a proper indexing strategy. Periodically review indexes based on usage. Delete duplicate and unused indexes, and update missing ones. 

Ensure your staff is trained. Having one database administrator usually isn’t enough. As your business grows, arm employees with the skills they need to create and manage databases too. Thankfully, with apps mentioned above it’s not a problem.

Control security. Stringent security protocols should be put in place across cloud platforms and physical servers. In the case of the former, security is generally taken care of by the provider. With physical servers, a full security package should be installed. System privileges and access-control should be put in place to protect sensitive data and reviewed regularly. 

Update SQL server documentation. You should have a solid internal IT infrastructure with documentation that includes details about SQL servers, a list of databases and their sizes, general configuration settings, server admin and user privilege information, and a comparison of settings with industry best practices. 

Keep backups. Always plan for the worst-case scenario and backup your databases often with tools like Get Backup Pro.

Picking database software for your Mac

Database management keeps all of your information organized and easily accessible by your whole organization. And using apps like Base and SQLPro for SQLite to create simple databases and TablePlus or SQLPro Studio to manage multiple databases will make your job less stressful and a lot more productive in no time.

The database apps you pick for your Mac can make or break your database management experience, so choose wisely and make sure you test drive the tools before committing your whole database collection there.

With Setapp, you can try all the apps we’ve mentioned in this post and see which works best for your database management needs. And with the Setapp free trial, you can explore these apps for 7 days before deciding if you want to use them or any of the other 230+ apps for Mac that are available under your Setapp subscription.

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