February 28, 2021
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Using Vertical and Horizontal Table Structures in Oracle

  • By Vlad Kofman
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Vertical Table Grouping

The variations of vertical data storage can include custom algorithms for aggregation of logical data rows. What this means is that more then on id column can be used to group properties. For example:

123 1 name Vlad
123 1 phone 555-555-5555
123 2 machine Dell 560
123 2 ISP Verizon
234 1 name Mariya
234 1 phone 555-456-8392
234 1 email m@mail.com
243 2 machine Dell 1750

When a custom report is generated, it can be split easily into pages or sections based on the second "grouping" column. Therefore, a Vertical Table above can become this report:

Report 1  
  Page 1  
Name Phone  
Vlad 555-555-5555  
Page 2  
Machine: Dell 560
ISP: Verizon


Report 2  
  Page 1  
Name Phone Email
Mariya 555-456-8392 m@mail.com
Page 2  
Machine: Dell 1750

Note how different reports and pages have a diverse number of entries in them.


In this article, I have shown you different ways to persist data in a database table. The benefits and flexibility offered by a vertical data layout are often negated by its shortcomings. But, its flexibility is often the only way to design data organization. On the other hand, horizontal tables are better suited for data normalization and are a traditional way to persist data in RBMS. It will be up to software and database architects to decide what type of database table design is the right choice for a specific application need.

About the Author

Vlad Kofman works on enterprise-scale projects for the major Wall Street firms. He has also worked on defense contracts for the U.S. government. His main interests are object-oriented programming methodologies, UI, and design patterns.

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This article was originally published on March 24, 2008

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