What's Wrong with the (Database) Picture?

Wednesday, October 4, 2000 - 17:30
TH 331
Fabian Pascal

Most of what is being said, written about, or done in database management (or whatever is left of it) by vendors, the trade press and "experts" is irrelevant, misleading, or outright wrong. While this is to a degree true of computing in general, in the database field the problems are so acute that, claims to the contrary notwithstanding, technology is actually regressing! This is due to the persistent failure by both DBMS vendors and database users, including DBAs, application developers and managers, to educate themselves and rely on a sound foundation in their respective practices. Indeed, it is lack of proper education that makes fads and accelerating obsolescence acceptable in the first place!

This presentation demonstrates some of the prevalent flaws and fallacies and their costly consequences. It offers a unique opportunity to test yourself on your ability to see through the former and avoid the latter in the following areas:

"Unstructured" data and complex data types
Business rules and integrity enforcement
Normalization (and "denormalization")
Entity subtypes and supertypes
Data hierarchies and recursive queries
Quota queries
Missing information


Fabian Pascal has a national and international reputation as an independent database industry analyst, consultant, author and lecturer specializing in relational technology. He was affiliated with Codd & Date and for more than 13 years held various analytical and management positions in the private and public sectors, has taught and lectured at the business and academic levels, and advised vendor and user organizations on database technology, strategy and implementation. Clients include IBM, Census Bureau, CIA, Apple, Borland, Cognos, UCSF, IRS. He is co-founder and editor of DATABASE DEBUNKINGS (www.firstsql.com/dbdebunk/), a web site dedicated to dispelling prevailing fallacies and misconceptions in the database industry, where C.J. Date is a senior contributor. He has contributed extensively to most trade publications, including Database Programming and Design, DBMS, DataBased Advisor, Byte, Infoworld and Computerworld. His third book, PRACTICAL ISSUES IN DATABASE MANAGEMENT - A GUIDE FOR THE THINKING PRACTITIONER (Addison Wesley, June 2000), serves as text for a seminar bearing the same name (http//www.firstsql.com/dbdebunk/fp1s.htm). He can be reached at dbdebunk@firstsql.com.