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The Case for OLAP

Online analytical processing (OLAP) refers to a category of business applications that are used to store and analyze large, relatively complex data sources in business disciplines such as sales and marketing analysis, budgeting, resource planning, performance measurement, and other types of business reporting. Although OLAP is not a new concept, it is still not widely understood.

Many organizations have anywhere from hundreds of megabytes to upward of several terabytes of related data, yet these organizations use software applications that are not optimized for analyzing this amount of data, or they don’t use the data analysis software they have to their full benefit. It is impossible to load several hundred thousand records into a single Excel workbook or tens of gigabytes of data into a single Access database. Likewise, organizations might have dozens or even hundreds of employees entering data into a single database at the same time. When very large databases are being used by dozens or hundreds of both data-entry workers and data-analysis workers at the same time, the database systems’ resources can be stretched to their operational limits, bringing entire systems to a standstill.


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