Data Warehouse Maintenance, Evolution and Versioning

Data Warehouse Maintenance, Evolution and Versioning

Johann Eder (University of Klagenfurt, Austria) and Karl Wiggisser (University of Klagenfurt, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-852-0.ch301
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Data Warehouses typically are building blocks of decision support systems in companies and public administration. The data contained in a data warehouse is analyzed by means of OnLine Analytical Processing tools, which provide sophisticated features for aggregating and comparing data. Decision support applications depend on the reliability and accuracy of the contained data. Typically, a data warehouse does not only comprise the current snapshot data but also historical data to enable, for instance, analysis over several years. And, as we live in a changing world, one criterion for the reliability and accuracy of the results of such long period queries is their comparability. Whereas data warehouse systems are well prepared for changes in the transactional data, they are, surprisingly, not able to deal with changes in the master data. Nonetheless, such changes do frequently occur. The crucial point for supporting changes is, first of all, being aware of their existence. Second, once you know that a change took place, it is important to know which change (i.e., knowing about differences between versions and relations between the elements of different versions). For data warehouses this means that changes are identified and represented, validity of data and structures are recorded and this knowledge is used for computing correct results for OLAP queries. This chapter is intended to motivate the need for powerful maintenance mechanisms for data warehouse cubes. It presents some basic terms and definitions for the common understanding and introduces the different aspects of data warehouse maintenance. Furthermore, several approaches addressing the problem are presented and classified by their capabilities.

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