Data Warehousing

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By brobertann
Words 1530
Pages 7
Data warehousing: what is it, why do we want to do it, how is it done? How do data warehouses compare with operational databases? What do we want to consider when doing so, and what are our options in terms of implementation?

In this article, I discuss data warehouses: what they are, how they compare to operational databases, and how they are designed, implemented and maintained.

An operational database is one which is used by the enterprise to run its day to day operations. They are created to support fast transaction processing, with frequent updates. Speed is key to operational databases. They typically are used by clerical staff, and are on the order of megabytes of data to gigabytes. Database consistency is very important to operational databases, and consistency checks and constraints are rigidly enforced. They contain the most current set of data applicable to running enterprise operations. These are our sales and inventory databases.

A data warehouse differs from this in many ways. They are used by management for making decisions, watching trends, and running reports. They are typically used offline, have few users and are very large: gigabytes to terabytes. They contain historical data, are read only, and are added to but rarely or never updated (the rows in the database are not changed, I mean). The data in the data warehouse is time sensitive – each row is the warehouse is timestamped so that trending of data versus time can be done. The kinds of queries that are run against data warehouses are complex, containing many WHERE, JOIN and UNION clauses. These are decision support databases that are used to make strategic decisions about the enterprise.

Organizations make data warehouses in order to gain insight into trends, anomalies and exceptions in enterprise data that affect the business strategically. This kind of analysis and…...

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