Normalization in DB2

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Normalization is a process in database design that helps organize and optimize the structure of a database. It minimizes data redundancy, improves data integrity, and ensures efficient query performance. In DB2, a popular relational database management system, normalization is essential for creating well-structured databases. In this tutorial, we will explore the concept of normalization and its different levels, known as normal forms. We will discuss the steps involved in achieving normalization and provide examples to illustrate the process.

The Levels of Normalization

Normalization is divided into several levels, called normal forms. The most commonly used normal forms are:

  1. First Normal Form (1NF): In this form, data is organized into tables, and each attribute holds only atomic values. There should be no repeating groups or arrays within a table.
  2. Second Normal Form (2NF): 2NF builds on 1NF by ensuring that each non-key attribute is fully dependent on the primary key. It eliminates partial dependencies.
  3. Third Normal Form (3NF): 3NF further refines the design by removing transitive dependencies between non-key attributes. Each non-key attribute should depend only on the primary key and not on other non-key attributes.
  4. Higher Normal Forms: Beyond 3NF, there are additional normal forms like Boyce-Codd Normal Form (BCNF), Fourth Normal Form (4NF), and Fifth Normal Form (5NF), which address more complex dependency scenarios.

Steps to Achieve Normalization

Follow these steps to achieve normalization in DB2:

  1. Analyze the requirements: Understand the data and its relationships. Identify the entities and attributes that need to be stored.
  2. Create an initial table: Design a preliminary table structure based on the identified entities and their attributes.
  3. Identify the primary key: Determine the primary key for each table. It should uniquely identify each record.
  4. Eliminate redundant data: Identify any repeating groups or duplicated information and create separate tables to store them.
  5. Address partial dependencies: Ensure that each non-key attribute is fully dependent on the primary key. If necessary, split the table to eliminate partial dependencies.
  6. Resolve transitive dependencies: Remove any transitive dependencies between non-key attributes. Create separate tables if needed to achieve this.
  7. Refine the design: Review the table structure, relationships, and dependencies to ensure the database is in the desired normal form. Make adjustments as necessary.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Failing to analyze and understand the data requirements properly.
  • Not identifying and defining appropriate primary keys.
  • Over-normalizing the database, which can lead to complex queries and reduced performance.
  • Ignoring transitive dependencies and partial dependencies, resulting in data anomalies.
  • Not revisiting the database design and making adjustments as the requirements evolve.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q: Can a table be in multiple normal forms simultaneously?

    A: Yes, it is possible for a table to satisfy multiple normal forms at the same time. Each normal form represents a specific level of normalization, and a table can adhere to the rules of multiple normal forms.

  2. Q: Are there cases where denormalization is preferred over normalization?

    A: Yes, denormalization is sometimes used to improve query performance by reducing the number of joins and simplifying complex queries. However, it should be done judiciously, considering the trade-offs between query performance and data integrity.

  3. Q: What are the benefits of normalization?

    A: Normalization provides benefits such as minimized data redundancy, improved data integrity, increased flexibility in making changes, better query performance, and simplified database maintenance.

  4. Q: Can a table have multiple primary keys?

    A: No, a table can have only one primary key. However, the primary key can be composed of multiple columns, known as a composite primary key.

  5. Q: Can normalization eliminate all data anomalies?

    A: Normalization can eliminate most data anomalies, but it may not completely eliminate all anomalies. It is important to carefully design and validate the database to ensure data integrity.


In this tutorial, we explored the concept of normalization in DB2, a crucial process for designing well-structured and optimized databases. We discussed the different levels of normalization, including First Normal Form (1NF), Second Normal Form (2NF), Third Normal Form (3NF), and higher normal forms. We also outlined the steps involved in achieving normalization, such as analyzing requirements, designing tables, identifying primary keys, eliminating redundancy, and resolving dependencies. Additionally, we highlighted common mistakes to avoid and provided answers to frequently asked questions related to normalization in DB2. By applying normalization techniques, you can create efficient databases that ensure data integrity and facilitate effective data management.