A Call to Arms: Revisiting Database Design


Good database design is crucial to obtain a sound, consistent database, and - in turn - good database design methodologies are the best way to achieve the right design. These methodologies are taught to most Computer Science undergraduates, as part of any Introduction to Database class. They can be considered part of the canon, and indeed, the overall approach to database design has been unchanged for years. Moreover, none of the major database research assessments identify database design as a strategic research direction. Should we conclude that database design is a solved problem? Our thesis is that database design remains a critical unsolved problem. Hence, it should be the subject of more research. Our starting point is the observation that traditional database design is not used in practice - and if it were used it would result in designs that are not well adapted to current environments. In short, database design has failed to keep up with the times. In this paper, we put forth arguments to support our viewpoint, analyze the root causes of this situation and suggest some avenues of research.

SIGMOD Record 40 (3), 2011