OLAP Database and Data Warehousing

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OLAP Database and Data Warehousing

Post  Vale on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:13 pm

Hi,

I'm new to database design. Recently, I've been working on expanding my knowledge of OLAP and Data warehousing. With that said, I'm a bit confused on the two terminologies. It seems everyone has their own definition and it's conflicting.

For example, I have a test database that has dimension tables and fact tables structured in a snowflake schema. I assumed this was an example data warehouse. However, I was told it's actually an OLAP database and NOT a data warehouse.

To me, OLAP refers to data in a multidimensional cube where end users can query. It's the last layer that comes after the data warehouse. So, in the bigger picture, you have your OLTP database feeding data to a data warehouse via ETL systems. Then you have data warehouse data feeding OLAP cubes via another ETL system. The end user is querying the cube and not the warehouse or the OLTP.

So, is it possible to have a OLAP database with dim/fact tables and not be a data warehouse? Or am I confusing something here?


Thanks for any help on the question. I'm looking forward to reading more on the subject from Kimbel group's books when they get here on Monday!

Vale

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Re: OLAP Database and Data Warehousing

Post  ngalemmo on Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:56 pm

The term OLAP was coined by Edgar Codd. He used it to refer to on-line interactive analytics by any means. So, even an Excel spreadsheet can be considered an OLAP environment. There is no requirement as to how it is implemented.
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