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How to Establish Table Indexes in Databases

Using table indexes allows you to find information within your database faster and more efficiently. The two indexes most commonly used in databases are unique and non-unique. To ensure you’re using the indexes correctly, it’s important to know the difference between the two types of indexes and how to use them in your design. 

What is a Table Index? 

A table index is a method used to sort through information within a database. It functions in the same way as an index in a book does. You look at the index, find what information you need and go directly to it. Easy! 

Table indexes are usually made with one column in a table, but they can also have more than one column. Once your index is established, you can use queries to search for information. 

If your database is small, you might not miss having an index. But as your database grows, you’ll likely need one to speed up data retrieval. 

Unique vs Non-Unique Indexes 

The two most common indexes are unique and non-unique. A unique index ensures that the values in the index key columns are unique. It also guarantees that no duplicate values are inserted into the columns.

A non-unique index is when the indexed column has duplicate values. Generally speaking, you’ll use this type of index when linking or joining a table to a second table to return multiple results. 

When to Use Indexes 

Indexes give you quick access to the information you need in your database without having to look through every item. Unfortunately, they do come with a cost to performance. This is why you don’t want to overdo it and index each and every column. Instead, it’s best to use indexes on columns that are referenced in your queries. 

Let’s cover some pros and cons to using indexes in your database.

Pros: 

  • See better performance when using them in queries 
  • Easily retrieve the data you need – great for large databases 
  • Use them for sorting and avoid a post-fetch-sort operation 
  • Get uniquely identifiable records with a unique index 

Cons: 

  • Decreased performance on inserts, updates and deletes
  • Stored on disks with the potential to take up unnecessary space 

Bottom line: Only create indexes when you really need them. 

Arkware’s database experts can help you identify where to use table indexes and how to establish them. Contact us today for all of your questions and concerns, or let us build an efficient database that contains the right amount of table indexes.

What are the Benefits of Having a Sales Database?

A sales database is a software program used to store information about prospects and customers. Thanks to these databases, there are many opportunities for businesses to optimize their sales relationships and reach more success. But in order to see results from your sales database, you must have a reliable platform that is easy to use. 

Thankfully, Microsoft Access offers various templates for sales databases. You can choose from one of them or request a database company to build one for you. Even though this is more expensive than using a built-in template from Access, you can ensure your database has everything you need. 

Let’s learn more about the benefits of having a sales database and how to start a new one using MS Access. 

Benefits of Having a Sales Database 

Sales databases can store past, present and future information on customers. This information may include things like addresses, phone numbers and emails, as well as personal notes regarding each person’s preferences. Here are some benefits of having this type of database: 

  • Retain customer details. Take notes after each interaction with your customer. This way, you’ll have key information about their wants and needs, allowing you to deliver a higher quality of service. 
  • Schedule meetings. Sales databases let you set up schedules for your customers. You can make note of the meeting times and schedule reminders for new meetings. This helps you keep in contact with your customers. 
  • Target customers. With a sales database, you can turn customer contact profiles into direct-mail or email campaigns. Your customers can be put into your communication cycles so they receive regular contact from your business. 
  • Increase sales. Having a database allows you to record customer data and access it whenever you need. This ultimately leads to optimized sales and profitability. Plus, you can track purchases to recommend new products or upgrades. 

How to Get Started with a Sales Database 

If you have Microsoft Access, you can get started with a sales database right away. Choose from one of the pre-existing templates or have a database built for you by a database expert like Arkware. If you do choose to create your own sales database, here are some tips to follow: 

  • Open Access, scroll down to the right side and review the prebuilt templates. If you’ve already been using Access, choose File – New to create a new database. 
  • Choose your template. There are paid and free versions available. You may need to pay for a template to get the features you need. 
  • Name your database and choose the folder you want to store it in. 
  • Hit create and start customizing your database to your needs. 

Certainly, this is a very broad description of how to create a sales database, but it gives you an idea of the steps to take. Whether you need assistance or you want to have a database built for you, contact Arkware for a consultation.

 

How to Make an Inventory Database in Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access makes it easy to build an inventory database to keep track of your inventory numbers. Thankfully, there are prebuilt inventory databases to take advantage of. Templates save time and money, but it’s possible that you might not find what you need. If this is the case, you can purchase a premium template or hire a database company like Arkware to build one for you. 

If you’d like to try and build your own inventory database, here are the steps to follow. 

Consider the needs of your business. 

Before creating a database, think about what it will need to be useful for your business. Consider who will be using the database and plan accordingly. This means you’ll need to brainstorm what aspects of inventory are most important such as part or product names, quantities, vendors, locations, etc. 

Also determine how to implement your inventory database, such as by using an SaaS or cloud product. You’ll also want to consider how your MS database will interact with other programs. Your IT staff should be able to provide this information to you. 

Create your database.  

Once Microsoft Access is installed on your computer, you can get to work creating your database. You can create your own database or choose a template like the Goods web database that lets you manage inventory, ship effectively and cut costs. If this template fits your needs, you can save a lot of time using it. All you have to do is enter the following: 

  • Company information
  • Employee information
  • Products, categories and suppliers
  • Inventory levels
  • Orders 

If you plan on creating your own database, start with a blank database. You can add fields, tables or application parts like ‘units ordered’ or ‘units received.’ You can also create queries, forms, reports or macros. Once the database is set up, you’ll need to move data into your database by entering, pasting or importing the information. 

Fine tune your database to fit your needs.

Whether you use a template or build a database from scratch, you’ll need to fine tune it according to your notes. Link or establish relationships between the fields and determine which values you’ll need to have returned when using the database. Also create a way to store these values. This will help you avoid duplicate data in multiple fields. 

The final step is to populate your inventory database with information. You might also want to use additional technologies to structure queries for databases. If you decide to do this, we recommend delegating this work to a database expert. This way, you can ensure everything is set up appropriately. 

Schedule a Consultation with Arkware

Arkware can help you build an inventory database that will help your business run efficiently. Contact us today for a consultation and let’s chat about your new database and what you hope to see from it. 

 

World Backup Day: How and When Should You Backup Your Database?

World Backup Day is celebrated every year on March 31st. This day is meant to educate people on the importance of backing up their files and encourage them to practice this regularly. Here at Arkware, we couldn’t agree more! We hate to see our clients lose valuable data due to unforeseen disasters or database corruption. 

Let’s look at some key statistics to be aware of and the importance of backing up your computers. 

Why Should You Backup? 

Losing your files is more common than you think. Most of us assume that our data is always being backed up and stored somewhere, but this isn’t necessarily true. A simple oversight could destroy all of your important data! Consider the following: 

  • 30% of people have never backed up 
  • 1 in 10 computers are infected with viruses every month
  • 29% of disasters are caused by accident 
  • 31% of PC users have lost all their files due to events beyond their control 
  • 93% of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year 

How and When Should You Backup Your Database? 

For the purpose of this article, we’re going to talk about backing up your database. But we do encourage you to backup all of your files, including personal photos and videos. 

There are two main ways to backup your files: to an external hard drive or somewhere on the internet. Because databases are large files that need frequent backups, you’ll likely find it best to use the cloud. 

A backup copy of your full database is the safest and fastest way to recover from corruption or other issues. How often you backup your database depends on several factors, though we generally recommend backing up every 24 hours and during a time when no one is on the database. 

Here are the times when you should absolutely backup your database: 

  • When there are design changes 
  • When there are large amounts of data changes
  • When there is more than one user updating the data 
  • When an action query is performed to delete records or make changes 

What is the Purpose of Frequent Backups? 

Database backups will help your business stay proactive. The data you have collected over the years helps your business run efficiently – and you don’t want it to be compromised. Unfortunately, database corruption is very real and happens all the time. This is why nightly backups should be an integral part of your prevention and recovery strategy. 

To learn more about how and when to backup your database, contact Arkware for a consultation. We have personalized solutions for all of our clients!

 

How Does Database Corruption Happen?

A corrupt database is a database that has lost some of its data or functionality. Seeing a corruption message is extremely concerning, especially if you don’t backup your files often. Fortunately, there are many ways to repair a database without losing valuable information. Once your database is repaired, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect this from happening again.

Let’s learn more about how database corruption occurs and what you can do to protect your data and information.

Hardware Failure 

Most causes of database corruption are related to hardware failure. A computer stores everything on its hard disk drive. If this drive fails or crashes for any reason, everything on the disk becomes inaccessible. Some of the most common causes for hardware failure include computer viruses, abrupt system shutdowns, internal bugs and human error.

Software Problems

Sometimes, the problem lies within the software itself. If you have a corrupted SQL database, there could be a problem with SQL server or changes in the server account. Viruses and malware can also affect the SQL database. However, it’s usually corruption in the MDF files (primary database files) that is the problem. Manually repairing the database is possible, but if these don’t work, you’ll need a database repair expert like Arkware.

Poor Database Design 

It’s also possible to experience database corruption when your database has a poor design. If you’re having trouble with your database, consider who built it for you. If it wasn’t a database expert like Arkware, it’s possible it has issues like:

  • Little to no normalization

  • Improper selection of primary keys

  • No domains or naming standards

  • Poor or missing documentation

  • Improper storage or reference data

Human Errors 

The more users you have on your database, the more opportunities there are for corruption. Some of the most common sources of human error corruption are accidental data deletion, storing the SQL database in a compressed folder, upgrading software from an older to newer version or adding invalid data. Not installing the proper updates can also cause problems.

Arkware Can Help with Your Database Challenges 

If your database is corrupted, contact Arkware for a consultation. We can determine the reason for the corruption and the best ways to repair your database. We can also talk about a more reliable backup strategy and perhaps a new database that is built to your company’s needs and budget. Contact us today to learn more about repairing your corrupted database.