Database & Data Integrity Testing

In the era of information technology, almost all the organization needs the database to store and manage their large pool of data and information, in an organized manner, to carry out or perform certain specific multiple operations, with the ease.

A database is the pool of collected data and information interrelated to each other and stored in an organized manner, so as to access, retrieve, manage and update it, easily. A most common type of database, used by the organization is the relational database, where data are structured in such a way that they may be rearrange or reassemble in various ways, to gain multiple views of the data, based on the need and the requirement, without affecting the other existing data.

Data Integrity, it is the property of a database, which ensures the accuracy and consistency of the data. It reflects the quality of the data, being stored in a database.

What is meant by the Data & Database integrity testing?

Testing the integrity of a database refers to the evaluation of all sorts of processes, operations and methods, used in accessing, managing and updating the database, whereas data integrity testing focuses on the accuracy and consistency of the stored data, so that these data produces out expected or desired results.

The basic purpose behind testing the database integrity is to assess that how correctly and consistently the data is accessed, processed and updated or manipulated, using certain methods. Further, it is used to validate that the data is not corrupted, lost, modified, added, etc. unexpectedly, while accessing the database.

Necessity of Database & Data Integrity testing

The need of testing a database may be described through following given requirements:

  • To ensure the correct data mapping between the front end (application program) and back end(database), such that all the operations performed at the front end must be correctly and consistently reflected in the database and vice-versa.
  • To ensure the ACID (Accuracy, Consistency, Integrity, Durability) property of the database.
  • To ensure the data integrity such that changes in the data after the CRUD operation, should be reflected correctly and consistently everywhere, wherever the data is stored or present, in any form.
  • Constantly increasing size of the data, increases the complexity of the database, thereby increases the complexities of schemas, triggers, relational constraints, stored procedures. Therefore, it is necessary to check these complex elements of a objects, to ensure that hassle free database operation.

How to test the integrity of a Database?

The integrity of a database may evaluated by testing the different types of integrity, present in a database, as given below

  • Domain Integrity:It ensures that all the fields or columns used in the database are declared and defined under a specific and valid domain. Therefore, it may be tested using null, default and invalid value, like if the age column is accepting the integer value (including negative number), or whether the column is accepting the default value, even after not providing any value, etc.
  • Entity Integrity:It mainly concerns with the non-duplication of the records and ensures that each row of a table has a non-null primary key, where each of these keys should be unique and different to each other. It may be tested by providing similar/duplicate or the null values.
  • Referential Integrity:It ensures the relationship between the multiple tables of the database by maintaining a foreign key, where a specific column is shared among the tables, so as to interrelate them. It may be tested by deleting the child row or the parent row in a table.

How the data integrity is tested?

The data integrity of a database may be tested by carrying out the following activities:

  • If the blank or null value is being able to save or retrieve from the database.
  • If the entered values are getting saved in the database, successfully.
  • Checking the compatibility of the data with the old obsolete hardware and software.
  • If the data present in the database table can be modified or not.

Further, the results of the data integrity may be enhanced by making use of the specific automated tools, as it will be preferable to constantly test the database and data integrity, after some specific period of time, regularly, keeping in view of the volatile nature of the database. These automated tools helps in reducing the efforts and time required in frequently and regularly testing the database & data integrity.

In view of the above, it may be stated that testing the integrity of the data, is the only proven method to ensure the consistency, completeness and accuracy of the data, throughout the life cycle.