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RE: Large databases

From: Lyndon Tiu <>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 10:51:44 -0800
Message-ID: <>

Normalization is relative. Depends who you talk to and what you are trying to do. Normalization is necessary but only up to a point.

When you said the normalized database performed faster, how do you know it will perform slower if not normalized, did you test it?

Also, Normalization is not a one step process, you can normalize up to first normal form only or second normal form only.

After designing my database, the first thing the Access DBA said was: "I have a book about designing databases and a chapter about normalization. You should read it." and then he showed me his ER Diagram with neat little 4 column tables. The funny thing is, the tables have 4 columns not because of normalization but because he would only put a max of 4 columns worth of information in a table. As in:

Person pk
Person full name
Person DOB
Person sex

Lyndon Tiu


> I would suspect some fault application design if they were
> joining 13 tables. That is not normally necessary.
> Nomalized databases, in my experience, are faster than
> most people think or expect, including me.
> One such example from several years ago was an application
> we built from the ground up, including the schema design.
> The app had to accept packets over an X25 link, adjudicate
> a pharmacy claim and send the results back to the pharmacy.
> The allowable time for an end to end transaction was 9 seconds.
> IIRC, it usually ran in less than 2 seconds.
> That database was for the most part normalized, or as normalized
> as we were able to make it. It was our first project with an
> There was one table we couldn't quite figure out how to normalize
> properly. The code that accessed that table was ridiculously
> complex,
> and would have been significantly simpler had we normalized.
> There always seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence proclaiming
> that normalization cannot be used to create a performant
> database,
> but there never seems to be any numbers to back it up.
> The closest I've seen is Gurry and Corrigan's references to
> putting
> all code lookup tables into a single table to speed up a system.
> ( )
> At that, it was a minor infraction of normalization.
> Maybe this would make a good project?
> Jared
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Received on Fri Apr 18 2003 - 13:51:44 CDT

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