Database design and hosting solution

I'm trying to prepare to build a database driven .net application and I have hit a roadblock early on due to my lack of knowledge on this topic. Searching around didn't yield anything so here I am asking for help.

I'm receiving weekly data in xml format that will be added to a database and then reports generated using that data. I have a limited license on the xml files so only I can download them and I need to get the results to my end users as well. As far as I can see, I have 2 options:

  • Feed the data from the xml files into a web hosted database and then have each user connect to the database.
  • Upload the xml data to a server, have each user download it and keep a local copy of their own database. I'm thinking this will invalidate my license to the original data.

Things / questions of note:

  • The database holds weekly sports historical data for about the last 10 years.
  • I need to limit access to the database to only subscribed users.
  • I'll need to decide how the database will be built.
  • I need to decide what kind of hosting I'll need.

As you can see, quite an ambitious project for someone new to this. I haven't asked any specific questions so far:

  • What kind of hosting solutions shall I look for?
  • Should I use SQL? (Complete newbie on this subject)
  • Should I use clickonce and then host the application?
  • Do you have any book or tutorial recommendations that would cover a project like this?
  • Do I need a script to feed the xml into the database if I go that route? Will that script reside on the server and do it automatically even if I'm not there to instigate it?

I hope the general topic isn't too vague. I tried to actually ask specific questions on it and I'm aware I don't have any code to show as it's just in the early stages of thinking.


The question is a bit vague since you are early on in the decision-making process. However, I do believe that I can offer some help in directing your thinking as you proceed. I think in the situation you are describing, one key thing you should consider is to host your data via JSON/WCF/REST. If you look into these technologies, you will see that there are different ways you can offer your data based upon your developing requirements. For example, how are you going to do authentication? Are you going to allow third-party clients?

What you really don't want to do is allow direct database access, even for authenticated users. Instead, put something in front of it. If you are working in the .NET space, look into all of the different things WCF offers and pick one based upon what fits best. Once you pick that, then you will know what you need for hosting and deployment. Even if you are going to provide the clients as well as the server, this is still a good way to protect your data and provide a way to expand your offering in the future.

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