A database consists of logically related data stored in a single repository, normally within a computer. The components of a database are columns, rows, tables, and keys. They are the building block of any relational database, and understanding their functions helps an organization to manage its data.
Columns are single characteristics or facts about an entity within a database. Employee’s name, department number, customer’s name, and product price are examples of columns. A row contains data of one or more columns according to the design of a database; it describes a single instance of an entity. Columns and rows are contained in a table, making it necessary to group data logically. For instance, you can have a customers table that store customers’ details.
Tables can be linked together by keys. A table can consist of a primary key, a foreign key, or both. A primary key is a field that uniquely identifies each row; and a foreign key is a key in one table that must match a primary key value in another table in order to establish a relationship or a link between two tables (Coronel, 2000).
Amazon has been able to embrace the use of databases in order to manage its organizational records hence meeting its corporate objective. The company offers its customers a wide range of products, including music, toys, electronics, software, books, and clothes. These products are sold through the company’s website (Amazon.com) and managed by relational databases such as Amazon RDS (Vogels, 2009).
Amazon’s database enables it to take online orders, manage supply, and coordinate many e-mails. The company records customer details in a table having columns such as names and phone numbers.
Each row in a table contains individual customer records. Another table containing product details enable the company’s database to link product and customer tables through keys. When a customer selects a product, the product number identifies the item in the product table, thus enabling the company to manage product details with much ease.
There are several data management issues that can be encountered by Amazon. First, the company’s database may run out of space because many people are now registering in e-market places.
The increase in number of products may lead to little or no storage capacity. Second, handling many transactions tends to lower the operation of a database. This may lead to orders taking longer than normal. Third, data stored in the database can be hacked or destroyed by viruses. Besides, private information about users or customers can be leaked, leading to loss of privacy.
Coronel, R. (2000). Database Systems: Design, Implementation, and Management. (4th Ed.). Cambridge: Thomson Course Technology.
Vogels, W. (2009). “Expanding the Cloud: The Amazon Realtional Database Service (RDS).” All Things Distributed. Retrieved from http://www.allthingsdistributed.com/2009/10/amazon_relational_database_service.html