Sheffield based database development and web consultancy

Database development in Sheffield

Meadowlark Technology began database development in Sheffield thirty years ago, developing contact management and scientific databases, and we still believe that a well designed database can be the key to a successful business. Our extensive experience of this field has not, in any way diminished this belief. Some of our experiences of developing small databases can be found here.

Why databases are even more important today

Organisations are under more and more pressure to achieve more with less. They are overwhelmed with ever more abundant information, and this needs careful management, at the same time they have increasing costs, and fewer staff. Meanwhile there is stiff competition out there in some form or other who are snapping at their heels if they do not deliver. Coincidentally these same organisations will have computers that are chronically underutilised. Computers that might only answer emails or perform the odd calculation. In this scenario there may be desperate need for a better I.T. provision

Staff often attempt to address these issues by implementing their own systems using a software tool they understand, something like Microsoft Excel. However spreadsheets are poor at managing most structured data, and no spreadsheet can manage an organisations data in the way that a well designed database can.

Why is a spreadsheet system not the solution?

Spreadsheets generally work best with data that has no extensive grouping or structure. Databases are designed to handle data that is intrinsically grouped. For a comprehensive discussion on the implications of this, this article:Excel is no database . might be of interest. But is it possible to convert a spreadsheet with database aspirations into a fully fledged database?. This article:converting Excel to a database .may be of interest to you. Another requirement of an industrial strength database is that of security. A database must be secure from unwanted prying eyes. Excel based systems and even some delivered database systems often fail to implement adequate security measures. At least in a database system, security can easily be implemented as it features in most databases by default. If data security is your concern, this article may be of interest to you article:Database security.

Our database development credentials

For decades we have developed bespoke databases for some of the best known organisations in the UK.

We are told our work is excellent, and our customers have no hesitation in returning to us for further work.

If you have not heard of us, it could be that some of our customers would rather not allow their competitors access to our services. We have been told this on more than one occasion.

Our database work can be split into a number of database development categories

Cloud computing and what it means

There may be a gradual migration of databases from the users/customers P.C.s to cloud servers where database services are provided for a yearly fee.

The data would no longer be held by the user and safeguarded by them, it would be entrusted to a third party.

The user would access their database from a P.C. connected to the web, possibly from anywhere. Needless to say this would mean that a reliable and fast broadband connection would no longer be an option for any user wanting database access.

Though there are some benefits to this type of cloud service, the user would have to put great faith in the service provider who must be trusted to safeguard the data that is in their custody.

It is just possible that the data the user is entrusting to the service provider has value to some other third party that the user had never grasped. The user would need to agree to or forbid the sharing of the this cloud based data.

Indeed your trusted data might be appropriated from a server without anyones permission. This is the risk of open systems.

As a consequence of these new business models, many servers will be phased out and shut down. Backup repositories will be destroyed, and their data wiped, and software and hardware companies will have to make fundamental changes to the way they operate. At the very least businesses will have to establish carefully worded contracts with their service providers.

The term used to describe this upheaval in the I.T. industry is cloud computing.

This has enormous implications for the way software is used. Potentially it may save users money. It may - at the very least- raise a minefield of security and intellectual property issues for two reasons. Who in this new cloudy world has legal right to the data, and what legally can be done with it? The issue is complicated by the nature of cloud computing which is intrinsically multi-national. If a company adopts a cloud solution, the data is subject to the laws of the country in which the data is hosted, (are you really sure where it is hosted?).

More than that if a cloud provider proves that they cannot be trusted with your data, what recompense are you entitled to?