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Immutable Database: What it is, How it Works, Requirements & Challenges (2022)

What is Immutable Data?

Immutable data refers to information stored within a database where any change or deletion cannot take place. It allows storing previous data points in contrast to mutable databases where information is overwritten with new additions. It is advantageous in the event of any data audit as tracking specific parts is more convenient with immutable data. By definition, “An immutable database stores all immutable data and is built with a reliable, decentralized, and secure infrastructure accessible only to parties involved.”

How Does an Immutable Database Work?

Unlike the functioning of a mutable database, an immutable database creates logs for all information. Whenever a new data entry is made, separate logs are created for the addition. No rewriting is taking place, and data can be traced back to different points when needed. There is no data loss that users had previously stored within the database.

Why Do You Need an Immutable Database?

  1. Fast recovery of data: In an immutable database, all information gets stored via logs, and every new entry requires the creation of a new log. The available history allows one to trace data easily and recover it without hassle. It allows for maintaining a record of all data additions and previous data, which is convenient when recovering information from past points is needed.
  1. Quick regulations and audits: The availability of data history is convenient for audits or other regulatory purposes. There is more transparency available through an immutable database which is advantageous for monitoring all changes and identifying if any fault has taken place or if there has been any malicious data entry.
  1. Tamperproof for data security: The immutable database infrastructure is highly reliable and secure. Its append-only design makes it easy to identify if any malicious user is trying to attack the system. It is highly beneficial for organizations that are constantly generating high data volumes. In such instances, it may not be possible to monitor data transactions continually; hence, there is a greater need for a more secure database system.
  1. Easy to collaborate work: With an immutable database, there is more room for collaboration between team members or different departments. It allows all members to work together, keep track of all new information stored in a database, and even trace previous data points for particular requirements, which is beneficial for various data version control needs. Users can grant access only to those actively involved with data that needs to be stored.

 

What are the Requirements for Creating an Immutable Database?

Organizations will require infrastructure that enables quick data flows and storage to create an immutable database. Immutable databases are a form of decentralized database systems, so there will be a need to acquire technology that can be spread out but still accessible by all involved parties. There is also a need to integrate security measures that will allow for authentication and prevent external or malicious parties from breaking into the system.

Challenges of an Immutable Database

  1. Complex: Since immutable data only allows for data addition, a history of the previous information is created. While this can be profitable, the system needs to account for every transaction made earlier. The process of storing these entries can be complex as there is no room for any deletion to take place.
  1. Higher requirements for storage: The infrastructure of an immutable database needs to be built so that users can conveniently store high volumes of data. It means that there will be a greater need for technological parts, which can be expensive for organizations.
  1. Data compliance: An immutable database only creates new logs for fresh data entries. Its append-only design does not allow any deletion. However, some data regulations require information to be deleted if a user requests it. Instances like this make it challenging for organizations to use an immutable database.

Endnote

An immutable database is a beneficial system that organizations can use to store and monitor high volumes of data. Its history creation allows for quick recovery when any data is needed. But when setting up an immutable database, there are also a few challenges to keep in mind. Organizations will need to build and configure systems in a way that will be most suitable for operational needs.

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