The Scientific Journey of Database Systems Research


By Victoria Holt, Data Platform Architect and Senior DBA at Eduserv

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There is a need to tell the continued story of my research, A Study into Best Practices and Procedures used in the Management of Database Systems. The sharing of research is important to help progress the body of knowledge within not only the academic world, but also in a business world frantic with continual change. Research advances steadily with new ideas linking together. These ideas eventually bring improvement and innovation to this fast moving technological age of data. Knowledge of research progress within the field is as important as understanding the intricacies of database management. Although research and operational delivery are at opposite ends of the universe they are a part of the same system.

The research journey takes the researcher down a path that opens your mind to the fantastic world of research developments. Research requires a vast knowledge about the current state of academic investigations, together with knowledge of what research is being undertaken in industry. Microsoft Research along with other organisations play a key part in the database research arena. Database research has brought many changes to database systems.

Database research wins awards

Database research has been in the spotlight in recent years, notably in March 2015 when the A.M. Turing Award was presented to Michael Stonebraker, a pioneer in database systems architecture. The award, the “Noble Prize” for contributions to computing, is named after Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician. It has been granted to a number of influential people over the years, with database contributions from leading people such as

  • Edgar Codd in 1981 for his fundamental and continuing contributions to the theory and practice of database management systems, especially relational databases
  • Jim Gray in 1988 for seminal contributions to database and transaction processing research and technical leadership in system implementation
  • Michael Stonebraker in 2014 for fundamental contributions to the concepts and practices underlying modern database systems

Adding to the body of knowledge

Every research project, however small and seemingly insignificant, adds to the body of knowledge. All research has a story that has to be told through the data collected. Before that can happen formal research methods must set the standards to provide valid, robust, rigorous and precise results. An introduction of my research was shared in a previous TechNet UK Blog article. This research is and continues to be multi-disciplinary, crossing the boundary between academia and the industrial world of database systems. At the start of my research I carried out a large international survey to obtain a benchmark of the usage of best practices and procedures in the database community. The results were published in the journal Information Systems.

Embrace academia

We should embrace research in academia and industry as one unit of knowledge. It is a stepping stone to help businesses deliver database and data services. It is important to share where and how the incredible research journey has been, to fully comprehend where database systems and data fit into the business and IoT world. Data and his scientific journey illustrates this exceptional journey of database systems discovery.

It is necessary to fully understand where we are, before we can improve and innovate in the database management space.

Thanks to @DeepFat for some of the graphics and inspiration

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75e9fdafd1363f99707df358ad30405aVictoria Holt is a Data Platform Architect and Senior DBA at Eduserv specializing in the Microsoft Data Platform responsible for the data platform and driving forward a data driven vision. She is also a database researcher working on a part-time PhD with the Open University looking at the management of database systems. She is involved with helping out at SQL Server community events including SQLBits, the UK SQL Server User Group, SQL Relay and PASS SQL Saturdays over many years.

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