Database Software At Image Stream Overview Of Different Database Types Used At The Company And Their Strengths And Weaknesses

1019 words - 4 pages

Database Software at ImageStreamWith a headquarters in Indiana and customers, partners and employees worldwide, ImageStream generates and maintains massive stores of data. Unlike small businesses or organizations with few customers or less need for automation, the demands of data maintenance dictate that ImageStream make storage and retrieval of data simple and uniform both inside and outside its physical and virtual offices, partner and customer locations. The company relies on a few command database standards and several custom developed tools to support this mission.A Database Management System stores, modifies, and extract information from a database. Organizations use many different types of database management systems, from small, proprietary database management systems like the ones powering popular accounting programs like Quickbooks or Quicken to massive relational databases powered by Oracle, dBase or Postgres. This paper highlights three databases and database management systems that ImageStream uses to support its day-to-day operations: a Microsoft FoxPro-based accounting and manufacturing system, a Microsoft Access-based central scheduling database, and a Postgres-based technical support and warranty database.Access Database: Central SchedulingImageStream uses the central scheduling features of Microsoft Outlook. Since the company does not run Microsoft Windows or Exchange Server on its servers, the standard central scheduling features of Outlook would normally be disabled. With software from a Norwegian company, ImageStream uses a back-end Microsoft Access database to store central appointments and display them using an Outlook plug-in. The plug-in acts as an abstraction layer, converting Outlook data to the company's Access database format as well as retrieving and displaying the contents of the database in a standard Outlook calendar. This central scheduling feature allows employees to maintain their own individual calendars and view the company schedule and appointments for all employees. This company-wide calendar provides ImageStream the benefits of this part of Microsoft Exchange Server without having to purchase a Windows or Exchange Server license.However, the database has its limitations. Unlike Exchange Server, this plug-in has no Web component, making the software useful only to people who have access to ImageStream's internal network. Since the database only outputs information to Outlook, employees who run Linux full-time cannot use the central schedule on their machines. In general, the employees who do not run Windows at any time rarely need the central schedule because of the nature of their jobs. However, the lack of a Web component does create difficulties for outside employees or employees that travel extensively. They must maintain VPN software or work with employees in the office to access the calendar. The added costs and accommodations required to support these employees do not yet outweigh the costs of...

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