A data warehouse (or smaller-scale data mart) is a specially prepared repository of data created to support decision making. Data are extracted from source systems, cleaned/scrubbed, transformed, and placed in data stores (Gorla, 2003). A data warehouse has data suppliers who are responsible for delivering data to the ultimate end users of the warehouse, such as analysts, operational personnel, and managers. The data suppliers make data available to end users either through structured query language (SQL) queries or custom-built decision-support applications, including decision support systems (DSS) and executive information systems (EIS).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Data Warehouse Lifecycle Management (DWLM): The creation and ongoing management of a data warehouse throughout its operational life. DWLM delivers enterprise-scale data warehouses that adapt efficiently to change, at lower cost than traditional software development methodologies.
Metadata: Data about data. Metadada includes the attributes of and information about each piece of data that will be contained in the data warehouse.
Online Analytical Processing (OLAP): A database designed to support analytical processing such as decision support.
Business Intelligence: A corporation’s ability to access and employ information usually contained in a data warehouse. With the information, the corporation can analyze and develop insights and understanding that lead to improved and informed business decision making.
Data Mart: A subset of a data warehouse that focuses on one or more specific subject areas. The data usually is extracted from the data warehouse and further denormalized and indexed to support intense usage by targeted customers.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS): A computer system designed to allow users to collect, manage, and analyze large volumes of spatially referenced information and associated attribute data.
Online Transaction Processing (OLTP): A database designed to support transactional processing.
Data Base Management System (DBMS): Computer system software that manages the physical data.
Data Warehouse: A database built to support information access. Typically a data warehouse is fed from one or more transaction databases. The data needs to be cleaned and restructured to support queries, summaries, and analyses.