OLAP or Online Analytical Processing is software that permits information analytics of several databases at any instant of time. It provides many viewpoints by viewing the extracted business data and is useful when data analysts have to join, aggregate and group data. The OLAP operations in an RDBM system is resource-intensive and delivers speedy analysis since the Online Analytical Processing data can be pre-aggregated and pre-calculated.
In this article let us look at:
OLAP- Online Analytical Processing databases are cubical structures such that viewing and creating reports of the data is as simple as dividing data into OLAP cubes. The cube also known as hypercube has measures or numeric facts in its dimensions. Normally, analysis and operations on data are done in a spreadsheet having a column and row format for data values or 2D data. Online Analytical Processing databases allow multi-dimensional data from multivariate sources to be represented on its cubical structure and allows for orderly and logical operations.
How does Online Analytical Processing work? The data from a data warehouse has multiple formats, data sources and several representations like excel sheet, text files, multimedia files, and so on. Such data is first extracted; then cleaned and transformed using Online Analytical Processing operations on the Online Analytical Processing cube server where it is stored in its pre-aggregated and pre-calculated form for analysis.
The 4 Online Analytical Processing analytical operations are briefly discussed below.
Roll-up is the operation used for aggregation and consolidation of data achieved in 2 ways.
1) Ascending the concept hierarchy which is an orderly grouping system of items in a level.
2) Dimensional Reduction.
Take as an example the following cube diagram
Here the cities of Lost Angles, New Jersey etc are rolled up into the USA country group. The sales figure for these 2 cities are added and rolled up. Thus in the consolidation process, the data from the location hierarchy is rolled up from the city to the group of the country. The roll-up process removes 1 or more dimensions like the Quarter dimension removed here.
The Online Analytical Processing types structural-hierarchy is diagrammatically represented below.
The types of cubes are
Online Analytical Processing features platform can be used for business Online Analytical Processing applications like reporting, planning, analysis, budgeting etc in an orderly, logical Online Analytical Processing cube-consistent form of calculations and information. It can easily search specifically and generally for the Online Analytical Processing database and performs a quick analysis of the search for “What if” scenarios. Online Analytical Processing is the tool for a business model’s having both performance reporting and data mining feature tools and allow dice, slice operations on the data cube using filters, measures and other dimensions. Its advantages of Online Analytical Processing work well with time-series analysis, finding the outliers, clusters etc making it a fast-response visualization tool of the analytics and processing system.
The concept of Online Analytical Processing does have certain disadvantages like the complicated snowflake or star schema required for Online Analytical Processing tools in data organization. One cannot have large numbers of multi-dimensions represented on one Online Analytical Processing cube and there are issues in accessing transactional data. Besides, it is time-consuming to do full-updates of the Online Analytical Processing architecture when any modification is done on the Online Analytical Processing cube.
We have just studied the Online Analytical Processing technology, the concept of the Online Analytical Processing Cube and how it is used for performing the standard 5 operations on an Online Analytical Processing vs OLTP basis on business data allowing analysts to view and extract multi-dimensional data and present different viewpoints of such data. Online Analytical Processing systems also have advantages and disadvantages of Online Analytical Processing with various types catering to a gamut of modern-day servers.
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