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Normalization (was RE: Large databases)

From: Sarnowski, Chris <>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 14:19:45 -0800
Message-ID: <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lyndon Tiu []
> Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 4:19 PM
> To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L
> Subject: RE: Large databases
> Question to all you practical DBA's out there: Is is slower or faster
> to normalize or not?

Heck, I'll give the fire and brimstone answer (sometimes my feed from the list seems delayed, so I apologize for the long email, if it turns out to be redundant).

Is it slower or faster to clean up a database that has corrupted data because of insert, delete, and update anomalies or not?

Is it slower or faster to reinvent RI in the application rather than having the database take care of it?

The reason for normalization is that SQL is based on set theoretical principles, and nonnormalized tables lead to bad data. A fully normalized database guarantees that certain levels of consistency are met. A nonnormalized database means those levels of consistency can't be guaranteed. End of story.

But "normalized", as several have already mentioned, means "meets the business requirements". There's no such thing as an inherently normalized database - it depends on the data requirements.

I'll leave a little loophole here, by stressing 'nonnormalized' versus 'denormalized'. If you have a well-designed, normalized database, and performance on some critical query sucks, and you can't tune it to go fast enough, and denormalization saves the company, then knock yourself out.

Chris (living in a dream world - none of what I said above applies in the stuff I have to rubber-stamp for our apps because of time constraints or general d*veloper/manager cussedness).

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Author: Sarnowski, Chris

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Received on Wed Apr 16 2003 - 17:19:45 CDT

Original text of this message