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Technological Feasibility Study

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

The Data Warehouse Development Life Cycle

The Feasibility Study

Technological Feasibility

Technological feasibility is an analysis process that is always changing, and data warehousing is no exception. Companies have always wanted the ability to store and analyze vast quantities of historical data, but the cost of disk storage was prohibitive. For example, in 1985, a 2 GB IBM 3380 disk drive cost more than $100,000. Given this cost disparity, it is not surprising that end-user requirements for sub-second response times were technologically feasible but prohibitively expensive. Therefore, data continued to be stored on magnetic tape, and end-users were forced to wait overnight for their answers.

Today, a 2 GB disk drive (with faster access speed) can be purchased for less than $300, but it is still not uncommon to see requirements that are not feasible with today’s technology. Ever since Arthur Clark’s movie 2001 made its debut, people have had a misconception about the power of computers. The HAL computer in 2001 gave many viewers the impression of a higher level of computer sophistication than is really possible, and this misconception remains today.

The end-user management for a legal publishing system once stated that they required a display format screen that would replicate the shape of a 8 ˝ by 11 sheet of paper. Another manager wanted to create an OLTP system that was capable of processing 5000 request per second.

While these examples may seem extreme, the savvy warehouse developer must ensure that the end-user community does not hold any misconceptions about the functions of their new data warehouse. It is imperative to clearly state to the end-users what functions their new warehouse can and cannot perform. While the end-user may appreciate that their data warehouse will evolve, becoming increasingly more sophisticated, they must clearly understand what types of analysis will be possible after the initial delivery of the data warehouse.

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