What Is A Data Warehouse
What is a data warehouse? Data warehouses have grown in popularity in the last decades. These information storing centers were developed because there was not yet a way to perform data analysis and the management of information with an operational system. These systems were not able to minimize data redundancy or perform data integration. They also could not analyze data and were not very good at reporting what analyses were found with the data. This was because no system had yet been created to deal with such large amounts of data yet. Prior to the 1980’s, data kept in operational systems was usually managed manually as it had been before electronic data. It was perhaps kept electronically, but sifting through it and categorizing or analyzing this data had to be performed with people.
In order to know what is a data warehouse, it may be important to contrast it with the database. So what is a database? A database is, to the outside observer, nearly the same as a data warehouse – both are places where data is stored. However, there are several key differences. The database is a place where electronic data is stored. This data can be updated and managed using a database management program of some sort. The primary purpose of a database is that it makes the information it holds organized so that it can be accessed with ease from possibly several different programs, so that it can be managed with ease, and so that it can be updated. Databases are designed to hold current or relevant information, not older information that is outdated or no longer useful. There are different types of databases as well. Some databases are bibliographic, others are full-text, some are numeric, and others hold images, to name a few. These different kinds of databases are useful for different projects or applications. It is important to have a database that is relevant for the project at hand, but part of what makes a database is the fact that it can usually be accessed in a few different ways by a few different programs.
What is a data warehouse and how does it differ from a database? Data warehouses are very different from databases and serve a distinct purpose that the database does not. The data warehouse deals with specific subjects, which is often the case with databases as well. Data warehouses, like databases, will deal with specific subjects of data related to the business or other organization for which they hold data. A data warehouse, unlike a database, is integrated. It takes information from many sources across various departments and brings them to the same places. Data warehouses have a single definition for the objects they hold. While in other databases there may be more than one definition, the data warehouse will use a tool called name conflict resolution to weed out the incorrect similar items. This makes the data integrated.
Perhaps the most important differences between databases and data warehouses are that data warehouses are nonvolatile, time-variant, and can be used for management decision making based on historical data and facts. That the data warehouses are nonvolatile means that the information, once it is in the data warehouse, does not change. Many databases change often to reflect more current information. However, data warehouses do not change the information. They are time-variant, which goes along with the fact that they are nonvolatile. Because everything in the data warehouse is classified not just by its type but also its location in time, data warehouse information can be tracked over long periods of time. Management can look at trends in data and this can help their decision-making for future directions for the company or organization.
In order to access the data in a data warehouse after it has been placed there, the data goes through a data mart. What is a data mart? A data mart is essentially a part of the data warehouse that is accessible to users. Data marts are usually divided into subcategories so that specific sets of users or parts of the company team can have access to the information that is relevant to them. This helps the data be more relevant to their jobs and needs. It is helpful to have a team of good data warehouse leads, or for a smaller company a single good lead. This individual or group of individuals help to make the distinctions between what informations will go into one data mart or another and why, as well as help to maintain the organization and relevance of the data warehouse itself. Data warehouse lead jobs are a growing job field and are extremely important to the functioning of a good data warehouse.
Data warehouse leads can be useful as well for setting up a data warehouse tutorial for users who will have to know a little about the warehouse. Data warehouse tutorials are useful also for individuals who may be interested in becoming data warehouse leads in the future or working with data warehouses in any way.
Data warehouses are useful tools for businesses or organizations with large amounts of data that need to be distributed to different parts of an organization. They are also useful for organizations that need to see their data laid out in terms of the time when it was gathered in order to make important managerial decisions. For a new business, leaders should ask themselves what is a data warehouse and how can it help us in the future.