Technological Feasibility Study
Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting
The Data Warehouse Development Life Cycle
The Feasibility Study
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
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
This is an excerpt from "High Performance
Data Warehousing", copyright 1997.
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