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Data Warehouse Analysis

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

The Data Warehouse Development Life Cycle

Data Warehouse Analysis
Another major difference between analysis for OLTP systems and data warehouse systems lies in the descriptions of the user interface. In a traditional analysis, careful attention is given to the method the end user will implement when interacting with the system. In a data warehouse analysis, developers expect that most, if not all, queries against the warehouse will be ad hoc. As such, data warehouse developers have more interest in specifying the data for the warehouse than for specifying the data access methods.

Do not confuse the analysis of data access methods with the analysis of data query requirements. While you may not care what tool is used to extract queries from your warehouse, you should care very much about what types of queries will be executed against your warehouse. We will discuss this issue later in this chapter.

Another analysis issue comes into play because Oracle warehouse developers know in advance that they are using an Oracle database to implement the warehouse. Oracle, by virtue of being relational, is inherently flexible, and it is relatively easy to drop or add data columns to table structures. A consequence of this reality is that developers can often begin prototyping the data warehouse before a complete analysis of data sources has been completed. To demonstrate this flexibility, consider the following code where we quickly alter our fact table to drop one column and add another:

SQL > alter table fact drop column customer_type;
column dropped
SQL > alter table fact add column total_sale int;
column added.

Of course, the flexibility of the relational architecture is only useful when prototyping the warehouse. The final data items should be carefully considered before the initial rollout of the system because altering a very large table can cause a huge amount of table fragmentation in a production warehouse. To fully appreciate the differences between traditional systems analysis and data warehouse analysis, let’s review the analysis steps for both traditional data processing systems and data warehouses.


This is an excerpt from "High Performance Data Warehousing".
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