Database Life Cycle Stages

By Saifuddin Abdullah

Database is any software package created and implemented for managing data files in an organized and digital format. The purpose of any database software is to effectively manage and handle large sets of data and, for this reason, its development and implementation is carefully observed and documented so as to avoid any malfunctioning during its operational period. This observation and documentation process of a database program is formally known as database lifecycle, which consists of five major stages. These stages of database lifecycle represent the phases through which this program is actually planned, developed, evaluated and implemented in practical environments. Moreover, if a problem (or a loophole) is detected at any stage, the lifecycle is rolled-back (or restarted) to eliminate it, to produce an effective database software.


The first stage of a database development lifecycle involves collection of necessary information, and preparation of a theoretical framework regarding the requirements for which the database program is developed. It is in this stage that a developer plans a platform over which the database program is to be designed, allocates a budget associated with the process, and settles a timeline in which the process of development and implementation is to be completed.


The analysis stage involves critical evaluation of the database development planning carried out beforehand. In this stage, more than one developer (or a team of developers) assesses the plan of database development against the elements like cost, time-period, development platform (like programming languages), and forecasted development results, to analyze the effectiveness associated with the planned database program. In simple terms; this phase involves analyzing the plan and finding any loopholes that exist within the database development plan.


A database program (after careful planning and analysis) is designed or developed in this third stage of database lifecycle. It is in this stage that all the logical design parameters of database operations are finalized, and the program development is carried out under a specified time period. Upon the completion of this design stage, a complete database software package is made available, with all the technical limitations and loopholes addressed in the previous two stages. Furthermore, this finalized version of the database program is usually checked for its operational effectiveness (in the design/development stage) before its taken into the next stage of implementation.


In this stage, the developed program is implemented over the given set of data values (information) and its operational parameters are finally brought into action over pre-defined tasks. This means that, in the implementation stage, the developed database program starts working as user-controlled software, aimed to manage a pre-existing pool of data for the desired tasks.


The fifth stage of maintenance is usually a prolonged stage, representing the entire period which is allocated for testing, managing, troubleshooting and maintaining the features of developed database program. This stage normally begins right after the implementation of a database program, and lasts until any considerable problem occurs with the database, requiring it to be re-designed or re-planned for another cycle of implementation.