Migrating relational databases into object-based and XML databases

Maatuk, Abdelsalam (2009) Migrating relational databases into object-based and XML databases. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

Rapid changes in information technology, the emergence of object-based and WWW applications, and the interest of organisations in securing benefits from new technologies have made information systems re-engineering in general and database migration in particular an active research area. In order to improve the functionality and performance of existing systems, the re-engineering process requires identifying and understanding all of the components of such systems. An underlying database is one of the most important component of information systems. A considerable body of data is stored in relational databases (RDBs), yet they have limitations to support complex structures and user-defined data types provided by relatively recent databases such as object-based and XML databases. Instead of throwing away the large amount of data stored in RDBs, it is more appropriate to enrich and convert such data to be used by new systems. Most researchers into the migration of RDBs into object-based/XML databases have concentrated on schema translation, accessing and publishing RDB data using newer technology, while few have paid attention to the conversion of data, and the preservation of data semantics, e.g., inheritance and integrity constraints. In addition, existing work does not appear to provide a solution for more than one target database. Thus, research on the migration of RDBs is not fully developed. We propose a solution that offers automatic migration of an RDB as a source into the recent database technologies as targets based on available standards such as ODMG 3.0, SQL4 and XML Schema. A canonical data model (CDM) is proposed to bridge the semantic gap between an RDB and the target databases. The CDM preserves and enhances the metadata of existing RDBs to fit in with the essential characteristics of the target databases. The adoption of standards is essential for increased portability, flexibility and constraints preservation. This thesis contributes a solution for migrating RDBs into object-based and XML databases. The solution takes an existing RDB as input, enriches its metadata representation with the required explicit semantics, and constructs an enhanced relational schema representation (RSR). Based on the RSR, a CDM is generated which is enriched with the RDB's constraints and data semantics that may not have been explicitly expressed in the RDB metadata. The CDM so obtained facilitates both schema translation and data conversion. We design sets of rules for translating the CDM into each of the three target schemas, and provide algorithms for converting RDB data into the target formats based on the CDM. A prototype of the solution has been implemented, which generates the three target databases. Experimental study has been conducted to evaluate the prototype. The experimental results show that the target schemas resulting from the prototype and those generated by existing manual mapping techniques were comparable. We have also shown that the source and target databases were equivalent, and demonstrated that the solution, conceptually and practically, is feasible, efficient and correct.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
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Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2009 08:16
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2017 01:09
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3374

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