Database Choices

Not many people think of databases when they think of clicking their way to online success, but it’s the duct tape that keeps your e-commerce together. The database stores all information about your operation – product information, transactions, credit cards, the works. The speed, reliability and efficiency of your store depends greatly on the capabilities and the organization of your database and it’s the source of all information displayed on your site.

E-commerce sites are largely dynamic and server driven, displaying content generated specifically for each user based on their settings and using information drawn directly from the database. Your RDBMS, therefore needs to be both robust and also hosted on a server that can process multiple requests quickly and efficiently.
While there are many types of databases for the purposes of running a web store you will most likely narrow your viable choices down to the following relational database management systems:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2000
  • Oracle
  • mySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • Microsoft Access

Of the above options, Oracle is the most expensive usually requiring a specialized installation – and is most used by larger firms with other types of enterprise management software. On the other hand, mySQL and PostgreSQL are open source and free to install on a properly configured server. Apart from the online resources, however, firms will be hard pressed to receive adequate support for these systems for crucial errors.
Microsoft Access, while extremely cheap, is not recommended for e-commerce due to its limited capacity for processing multiple requests at the same time
Softlink Solutions recommends Microsoft SQL Server as a good compromise – robust, powerful and not too pricey for small and medium sized business owners. In addition, SQL Server allows a much more stable development platform for integrating and expanding your store. SQL Server databases integrate seamlessly with ASP and .Net platforms present on Windows servers, making them the easy choice for e-commerce sites wishing to use such technologies to their maximum potential.