Types of Databases
These days, when you talk about
databases in the wild, you are primarily talking about two
types: analytical databases and operational databases.
Let's examine each type.
Analytic databases (a.k.a. OLAP- On Line Analytical Processing)
are primarily static,
read-only databases which store archived, historical data used
for analysis. For example, a company might store sales records
over the last ten years in an analytic database and use
that database to analyze marketing strategies in relationship
On the web, you will often see analytic
databases in the form of inventory catalogs such as the one
shown previously from Amazon.com. An inventory
catalog analytical database usually holds descriptive
information about all available products in the inventory.
Web pages are generated dynamically
by querying the list of available products in the inventory
against some search parameters. The dynamically-generated
page will display the information about each item (such as title,
author, ISBN) which is stored in the database.
Operational databases (a.k.a. OLTP On Line Transaction Processing),
on the other hand,
are used to manage more dynamic bits of data. These types
of databases allow you to do more than simply view archived data.
Operational databases allow you to modify that data (add,
change or delete data).
These types of databases are usually
used to track real-time information. For example,
a company might have an operational database used to track warehouse/stock
quantities. As customers order products from an online
web store, an operational database can be used to keep track
of how many items have been sold and when the company will
need to reorder stock.