A New Multidimensional Design Method Based on Meta Model Assistance

A New Multidimensional Design Method Based on Meta Model Assistance

Nazih Selmoune (Department of Computer Science, USTHB, Algiers, Algeria) and Zaia Alimazighi (Department of Computer Science, USTHB, Algiers, Algeria)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/IJKBO.2017010101
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Data warehouses have become over the last two decades an essential element in the area of economic intelligence. Although the basic concepts related to this technology are now more standardized (multidimensional model, OLAP technology...), the design method issue remains in discussion, since no proposed method does seem attractive enough to be used rigorously in the real case studies. Indeed, most of the 'Data Warehouse projects' simply follow some design guidelines from the most informal methods. In this paper the authors propose an approach based on the use of the sources metadata to provide help in the multidimensional design. Their approach falls into the category of supply-driven methods, and attempts to cover the various stages of the lifecycle of data warehouses design. The proposed method is associated with a MultiDimensional Design Assistance environment (M2DA) to support the automatic and semi-automatic steps, providing the expected forms of assistance, and managing the interaction with the designer.
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We can assimilate the problematic of designing a data warehouse to a transformation system which has two main inputs: (1) a dataset usually structured according to a model (for example relational model), which we call the source model, and (2) a set of decision-making needs expressed formally or informally. As output, the system must produce a multidimensional model (star schema, snowflake or facts constellation), which we call the target model. Thus, the role of a multidimensional design method is to specify a set of steps, if possible automated, dealing with the inputs to produce the target model.

Several works have been proposed in the context of multidimensional design methods, which can be classified into three categories (Romero & Abelló, 2009):

  • Supply-oriented methods;

  • Requirements-oriented methods;

  • Hybrid methods.

The main criterion for this classification -cited in the majority of the papers in the field-, is how they deal with the two inputs of the transformation system. We present below these three categories, focusing on a few representative methods for each category, in order to point the basic fundamentals of each category. Then, we will discuss their advantages and drawbacks.

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