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Physical Database Design

Chapters 5 to 7 covered the conceptual and the logical design phases of database development. You learned about entity relationship diagrams, data modeling practice, schema conversion, and normalization. This chapter extends your database design skills by explaining the process to achieve an efficient implementation of your table design.

To become proficient in physical database design, you need to understand the process and environment. This chapter describes the process of physical database design including the inputs, outputs, and objectives along with two critical parts of the environment, file structures and query optimization. Most of the choices in physical database design relate to characteristics of file structures and query optimization decisions.

After understanding the process and environment, you are ready to perform physical database design. In performing physical database design, you should provide detailed inputs and make choices to balance the needs of retrieval and update applications. This chapter describes the complexity of table profiles and application profiles and their importance for physical design decisions. Index selection is the most important choice of physical database design. This chapter describes trade-offs in index selection and provides index selection rules that you can apply to moderate-size databases. In addition to index selection, this chapter presents denormalization, record formatting, and parallel processing as techniques to improve database performance.

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