Ideal Car is a rent-a-car business that has now has offices in 30 countries and manages a fleet of more than 6000 cars. You have been hired as a Database Consultant to support their transition to a new web application that would replace their current outdated solution based on Microsoft Access.
The current solution uses a local database in each branch which is accessed by a Microsoft Access application opened by each of the employees in that branch. End of day, week and month reports are being sent per email to headquarters. Despite this operation being automated via scripts, the process is cumbersome and error prone. It is becoming almost impossible to deploy updates to the software solution across the many branches.
There is also the fact that a new account has to be opened for the customers if they visit a different branch of Ideal Car, which is leading to additional time being spent entering the customer’s data in the forms.
For the headquarters business reporting there is currently a different database being used where all the end of day/week/month reports are being loaded from each branch. This database works well except when there are issues and data is not being received in time from one or the other branch which causes errors in the reports.
To address all these issues the company has decided to create a new application using the web browser for the user interface and a centralized database. However, not having the necessary knowledge in-house, they are concerned about how to structure the database, and more than that, about the performance of the database when all the branches will connect simultaneously to the same database.
There is also the issue of the geographical distribution of the branches which raises questions on the accessibility of the central database. What are the available options here? The company’s management has heard about “the cloud” and would like to know more about this option. What does that mean for the database development, security, backup, access time, etc? Does the cloud mean that they have to host the database in several locations? How will the data be synchronized?
Until the application is finalized, which is only expected to happen in 1 year, there will be one SQL developer available at headquarters to provide management with the necessary reporting data.
The database must contain all the necessary data to support the business operations:

  • Record detailed customer data (unique account across all branches)
  • Keep track of the fleet
    o Including the maintenance operations (both scheduled and unexpected breakdowns)
  • Detailed information about the rentals (with options)
  • Information about the invoices and payments
    Your task
    You are required to write a business report for the management of Ideal Car describing the proposed database solution. The report remains an academic submission and should be properly supported with references to the literature as much as possible. The report must include the following sections:

Sample Solution

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