Home 9 Software Development 9 Availability and Reliability in Database Systems: The Complete Guide

Availability and Reliability in Database Systems: The Complete Guide

In this data-driven world, available and reliable database systems are an absolute must for any business. Learn how to do that with this guide!
Daniel Zacharias

Ygor Ribeiro

August 15, 2023
Database reliability and accessibility tips

Did you know that one minute of downtime can cost businesses an unbelievable $5,600?

That’s just the harsh reality of our current digital age. Right now, in this data-driven world, being available and reliable with your database systems is no longer a technical detail — it’s an absolute must for any business.

So let’s take a look at what goes into making sure these databases are running optimally. We’ll examine all those less well-known parts, as well as tried and tested strategies for turning your databases into secure and dependable fortresses.

Why do database availability and reliability matter?

When it comes to software development, database availability and reliability are absolutely essential. These two factors act as the invisible pillars that keep an application or system running smoothly, making sure users have seamless experiences with no interruptions while businesses continue their operations.

Database availability is basically having your database accessible at all times. In other words, you can depend on getting access to databases whenever you need it. Just imagine the struggle your business would go through if you had to work without reliable data services!

It’s increasingly important in this digital era for applications to be always available. For instance, if a database of an online shopping site crashes during peak hours it could result in lost sales and angry clients which would damage its image.

Database reliability, on the other hand, is about being sure that your app has access to consistent data every time. Integrity, accuracy and consistency are fundamental qualities here

To illustrate what I mean let’s think about banking apps: Unreliable databases may bring serious consequences such as discrepancies between customers’ account balances thus causing lack of trust or even legal issues. 

Database availability: The lifeline of your application

What does it mean for a database to be “available”?

Database availability is all about having your application able to access its database anytime it needs to do so. It’s making sure that the database is running, ready to receive queries and respond back, whenever there are requests made. It goes regardless of when they come or how many users make those demands.

High availability usually gets expressed as a percentage rate with ideal aims of “five nines” (99.999%) availability — which basically equates roughly five minutes of downtime in one year! Reaching this availability level is a huge undertaking and requires meticulous planning, reliable infrastructure, plus the implementation of special tactics like redundancy and failover systems.

Redundancy refers to making copies of essential parts or functions in a system for greater dependability. In terms of databases, that means having more than one database server running concurrently. If any single server falters, others can take over its duties guaranteeing continuous availability. It’s kind of a backup upon backup on top of another backup!

Did you know: Having redundancy in your cloud computing and databases turns out to be a real lifesaver? It’s not just about backup but also about optimal performance through load balancing within the cloud.

Failover systems are another crucial aspect of maintaining high availability. These systems automatically reroute requests from a failed or unresponsive server to a backup or standby server. This process is typically seamless and transparent to the user, ensuring uninterrupted service.

However, it’s important to note that high availability doesn’t just happen from thin air.  It also needs other crucial pieces in place, like:

  • Specific application’s needs.
  • Well-designed database architecture.
  • Proactive approach to monitoring and maintenance

Database reliability: The trustworthy backbone of your application

Achieving database reliability is about crafting a system that users can trust, knowing their data is secure and precise. To make this happen, there are certain integral aspects you need to put in place like assessing your application’s needs, having well-developed database architecture and proactively monitoring and maintaining the system.

Now let’s take a look at a few strategies which help you achieve reliable databases:

  1. Data validation — This strategy entails using checks to guarantee only appropriate data enters the database so as to preserve its integrity while avoiding mistakes that could undermine its dependability.
  2. Backup and restoration — It’s critical to back up data in order to protect it from potential loss due to system malfunctions or disasters. Having a reliable recovery plan enables you to bring the information back into an accurate state that mirrors your most recent transaction.
  3. Concurrency control — This guarantees that concurrently happening transactions don-t meddle with each other, preserving consistency and integrity of data.
  4. Fault tolerance — The database design needs to anticipate potential issues, so when some part fails, it still continues running correctly. Approaches such as replication and redundancy can help attain a high fault tolerance rate.
  5. Monitoring and maintenance — Regular monitoring helps identify any possible issues before they turn out to be serious problems while routine maintenance sustains the reliability of the database.

Mastering the art of database systems: Proven strategies for success

Over the years, I have devoted my time to strengthen and enhance database systems’ availability and reliability. Having many ups-and-downs along this journey made me learn how to craft successful strategies that consistently deliver the right results. 

These are my techniques, yours for the taking. Use them to maximize your project success and improve current database systems.

1. Embrace redundancy

Redundancy is an absolute savior! This strategy allows you to create back up plans just in case one system fails, resulting in uninterrupted service even if there is a malfunction or failure elsewhere.

2. Leverage replication

Replicating my database has been super helpful in increasing availability and reliability, as I can ensure consistent data across all the copies.

3. Set up automatic failover

In order to provide continuous uptime even in case of unexpected failures, I always set up automatic failover systems which detect when my primary database server is unavailable and switch operations to a standby one. 

4. Prioritize regular backups and recovery planning 

I can’t tell you how many times backing up my data has saved me from major headaches, while having an effective recovery plan in place gives me peace of mind should anything go wrong. 

So why not copy this winning strategy for yourself, for free, and ensure your database stays reliable?

5. Implement load balancing 

Taking the time to set up load balancing across several different servers is one of the best moves I’ve ever taken when it comes to optimizing resources, boosting throughput speeds, decreasing response times, and avoiding overloading any single server. So definitely consider adding this tactic into your own infrastructure.

6. Monitor database performance

If you can anticipate any disaster before they actually happen, why not take advantage of that?  This is where monitoring databases come in handy. Think about them as your all-inclusive safety net. I’ve always used regular tracking systems which alert me whenever there’s an issue threatening my system from going offline or crashing.

7. Ensure data validation

By implementing checks to ensure that only valid data is entered into the database, you’ll maintain your data integrity and prevent errors that could compromise the reliability of the database.

Did you know: Normalizing schema in databases and input validation are both highly significant for proper data validation? The right way to format it all stops irregularities or anomalies showing up when updating, getting you closer to that 99.999% rating.

8. Commit to regular maintenance

It’s so easy to forget about ensuring routine updates and patching on a regular basis with database software, but this is something developers can’t ignore.

If you make it your daily routine to defend against potential security threats, then you can rest assured that your databases will stay secure, even more than Fort Knox!

Reliable and available databases: A recap

Remember — the availability and reliability of a database isn’t only about tech. It has an impact on user experience as well as business continuity and brand reputation. Investing some time into making sure these factors are covered is key to setting up a successful project.

By applying strategies such as redundancy backup plans, replication, automatic failover, load balancing prioritizations, data validation, performance monitoring, and regular upkeep, your database’s robustness and resilience is bound to happen!

Get the best of Code Power News in your inbox every week

    You may also like

    Principles and Benefits of Reactive Programming

    Principles and Benefits of Reactive Programming

    Unlike traditional programming, reactive programming revolves around asynchronous data streams. However, code is usually written linearly, one step after another. Reactive programming offers a way for developers to deal with scenarios where events occur unpredictably...

    Get the best of Code Power News in your inbox every week