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A Data Management System (DBMS) is the software that allows user to define, create and maintain a database and provide control to the data (Prince, 2007). Where database refers to data itself; however, they are other additional components that form part of complete management software. Good data management software should have properties; ability to keep accurate records, proper maintenance of data, providing access to data and maintain security of the data. The commonly used software’s in data management are Microsoft Access, SQL, DB2 and Oracle. Various features are used in determining the type of database management system software to be used. The one major character that distinguishes Microsoft Access from the other three DBMS is that, the three are relational database management system software’s. The main characteristics that are considered while choosing the type of DBMS software to be used are; system compatibility cost of implement and maintenance, system performance, system requirement and security among others (Allen, 2008).

To begin with, system performance; is the software character that describes the speed at which the DBMS programs are able update records, process transactions and provide feedback.  Microsoft Access has the smallest scale of data transactions compare to SQL and Oracle. In multiple users, Microsoft Access has the lowest performance because of lack of robust transaction process. Although both SQL and oracle can handle multi-user, SQL has minimal transaction when weigh against Oracle. This is because Oracle has reduced database page reads and writes; it has also improved response time making it faster (Allen, 2008). Also on a similar hardware, SQL software achieves a better performance than Other DBMS programs.

Database management system software’s; also have different system requirements for their operations. Microsoft Access can run under the following operation systems: Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, , Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me), Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 6 (SP6), Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows 2000, or Window Oracle is not supported on Windows NT, but works well with widows 2000, XP, widow’s server among others. SQL is supported by a variety of platforms; Mac OSX, HP-UX, including windows (Cassel, Craig & Price, 2002). The DB2 does work on Windows NT 4, HP-UX and Sun Solaris among others. Base on these platforms SQL is easier to manager and more productive than DB. This is for reasons that, SQL updated tools are integrated with windows, unlike DB2 that has only rudimentary patching.

 Apart from the performance platform, security is also a major factor of evaluation. This is the ability to manage user, migrate account and manage password security. The security of Ms Access is most limited of the four DBMS; hence is not advisable to use in wireless communications. SQL is the leader in terms of database platform security.SQL has rich security architecture that helps protect and network resources. It also contains role base security and integrated tools for security auditing. Apart from this, SQL supports for sophisticated file and network encryption; for instance, secure socket layer (Allen, 2008). On the other hand oracle provides role level, function level and row level security.  It contains the advanced security option, oracle, label security, virtual private, database, fine grained auditing, password management and many others. DB2 does not require user to be defined within the database, instead it relies insecurity mechanisms. Oracle is an embedded database and can be hidden from application without database administrator; SQL does not have this feature.

The cost of implementing, training and maintaining of the DBMS software’s varies depending on the software. Microsoft Access is the cheapest of all the DBMS software’s. It is installed with Microsoft office. Since Access is a non relational DBMS and cannot does not support multi-user, its operational cost is therefore high compared to RDBMS software’s.  The cost of a particular DBMS varies with its edition. On a similar edition, for instance Enterprise edition, Oracle is the most expensive (about $40000), followed by DB2 (about $28000) and SQL that cost (about $19999) (Allen, 2008). The cost of training Microsoft Access is relatively the lowet compared to other DBMS. Also the cost of training of SQL is relatively low compared to Oracle. Contrarily the cost of maintenance of Oracle is relatively low than both DB2 and SQL.

In conclusion Ms Access is less complicated, easy to design and least expensive of the four however it only runs on windows environment.  From the system requirement point of view, Oracle is the most suitable since it can run on any operating systems. It is also a fully object oriented database. DB2 is almost similar to Oracle in terms of system requirement. Selection of a DBMS depends on the consistency of the organizational software system and expectations.

Below are the factors to consider when choosing a Database Management System. They are;

  • Security – Enhanced security in database software is the first and most important feature the user will go for.
  • Development platforms – Desirable database software must provide SQL forms and integrated APEX development platforms.  
  • Database Administration tools– There should be enhanced partitioning capabilities.
    • SQL language extensions – some admirable features such as the DECODE operator ae extensions that provide flexibility.
    • High availability – Continuous availability in a database management system is a key factor. Shared databases have RAC clusters in oracle.   
    • Self-management features
    • Backup & Recovery
    • Performance
    • Ø  Procedural language features
    • Ø  SQL Optimizer

All database Softwares are ANSI compliant. Still though, this is just a basic requirement. The complete database software must possess all the above attributes, in as much they can vary from one platform to another.

 

Access

SQL

DB2

Oracle

Security

Show or hide objects in the database window

Built-in security and compliance capabilities

Allows the user to create tables or indexes in the USERSPACE1 table space

Oracle Fusion Middleware Security: Managing SSL stores Using the nsstools

Development platform

Single platform development

Cross – platform development

Optim Development Studio and pureQuery Runtime

 

Cross – platform development

Administration Tools

The AccessUI Administration Tool allows the developer to manage the configuration settings for an AccessUI application

Builds and executes dynamic SQL statements without knowing the exact SQL syntax

DB2 for z/OS Administration Tools for Enhanced Change Management

 

-         Built-in Administration Tools

-         JMX-Based Administration

 

Backup & Recovery

MS Access backup with automatic database backup software. Handy Backup supports MSAccess and can backup MS Access databases via ODBC protocol.

Backup and restore the master, msdb, and model databases.

DB2 backup and restore functionality

Redo logs, and other data structures for data recovery

Self Management

Microsoft Identity and Access Management

Dynamic Data warehousing

Dynamic Data warehousing

Simplified key DBA functions, such as performance diagnostics, SQL tuning, and space and memory management.

 

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