Social media sites require organized database systems to allow users to create and operate their profiles online. There are some key features that are necessary for all website databases, not only social media. They include Backup and recovery systems, Monitoring, auditing and alert systems, Good support and General operability. Some of the best practices for designing social media databases include the following features:
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- Focusing on the data
Many programmers often design databases that cater for specific applications without considering what the future needs may be. This is often the case when programmers are expected to deliver a database within a short period of time and they end up taking design short cuts to save on time. With such database designs, it becomes very difficult to add new functionality in the future. With the speed at which technology evolves, taking design cuts and having a narrow form of thinking can be a huge problem for social media databases. Avoid skipping any functionality, assuming that you do not need it because you may in the future,
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When designing a social media database, you need to start by thinking of how many concurrent users you can handle. This is often referred to as requests-per-seconds (RPS). Choose a session-heavy database if you expect a high RPS limit. You may even hit a connection or session limit before the RPS maximum.
When it comes to social media databases, performance or response times is measured in percentiles and a definition of the workload. A good option for social media databases is buffering writes and caching for reads, to reduce read traffic to database. Buffering writes on the other hand helps to reduce the pressure on the database especially during peak times.
- Using the power of the database
The database design makes the application more efficient and easier to maintain. You should avoid creating a database that is only a data dump and building a database independent application. Sometimes, this may be appropriate but it is not the best approach for social media database design. If you merge the application and the database, you can use the database to reuse design elements and add functionality to the application in future without having to rebuild validation.
- Including DBA in the design
Programmers should not wait until the last stage of the database development to call in the database administrators, working with DBA experts is essential for social media databases. Database administrators require important details such as naming conventions, involving the DBA during the design phase ensures that the database developers include these essential details.
- Using data models
Using data models is an essential part of software engineering that many programmers often fore go. When it comes to social media sites, it is crucial to keep in mind that data is the memory of the enterprise. Programmers need to think beyond simply writing codes because although it is important, it is also replicable. The code can be rewritten any time. A summary data model is essential for the database design.
- Data interaction strategies
It is essential to have a good imagination of how the application will interact with the database. Choosing database layers that hide the database using programming objects makes the database data impossible to tell apart from the in memory data. This strategy is common with many developers but has many shortcomings. Using additional data interaction strategies and dedicated methods can summarize the data access. Programmers can write methods as programming codes or stored procedures and the programming logic of the application will access the database using these special methods.
- Indexing foreign database keys
You should cover every foreign key in the database using an index. The index should be explicit for every foreign key to remove the side effect of primary and alternate key definitions that covers foreign keys by implicit indexes. This is because database queries go across from foreign keys to primary keys. You can increase efficiency by designing primary keys and giving every foreign key and index. A single missing index can reduce the query performance tremendously and thus make it very difficult to predict the crossovers that may occur.
- Databases with partitioning support
Programmers need to keep in mind that with social media sites and members signing up every day, the application will likely evolve in the future, Even though you are not planning to partition now, picking databases with partitioning support is essential for a smooth transition when upgrading the application in future. Select a key type that easily supports partitioning for social media databases.
- Reuse ideas that have worked in the past
There are many existing database designs that have been quite successful in the past. Twitter alone is a social media site that stores about 250 Million tweets a day with a seamlessly functioning MySQL database.
Programmers can reverse engineer databases by replacing the database of an application using databases of related applications. You can use database reverse engineering techniques to partially extract the data model that is often inherent in the database schema. You can use these techniques to obtain ideas from existing databases that do not have an openly available database model.
Incorporating data patterns from verified and applied data representations is also another option for reusing ideas. You do not need to create these from scratch.
- Multiple perspectives
When it comes to considering the access paths to data, you need to consider multiple perspectives so that you can find potential issues early. This is because the optimal structure for one use is different from another. When building a social media database, you should build structures that enable data access to the application in a variety of ways.
Everything built into the modeling structure has to be consumed by a data access layer when the application is working. This is an important consideration to keep in mind, especially by avoiding proprietary extensions to SQL unless you have a very good reason for it. If you have to use proprietary extensions, ensure there is some form of insulation for it.
Guest Post by Sujain Thomas