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OLAP Fundamentals

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

The Data Warehouse Development Life Cycle

Online Analytical Processing and Oracle

OLAP Fundamentals

So, if this is a multidimensional database, then what is OLAP? OLAP is a presentation front end that allows end users to choose the dimensions and facts that will be cross-referenced. The data does not necessarily have to come directly from a multidimensional database. The possible data sources for an OLAP application include:

* Multidimensional databases

* Relational databases (via ROLAP tools)

* Spreadsheet data (extracted from any database architecture)

To illustrate, letís take a close look at a simple OLAP application. Note that while the following example may seem overly simplistic, many Oracle shops are using this very technique to deliver OLAP applications to their end users. Excel spreadsheets can hold very large datasets, and in many cases, managers can get their data loaded entirely into their spreadsheet, thereby alleviating the need to create a client/server Oracle application. Instead of using a client/server application, the summary data for a spreadsheet is refreshed from Oracle each day, ensuring that the manager has current data for the OLAP application.

This is an excerpt from "High Performance Data Warehousing", copyright 1997.
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