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Your source for Data Warehousing Design

Data Warehousing

you do not have to spend huge amounts to benefit from data warehousing

A data warehouse is not a single application, but rather a set of related components that together provide a organised set of information gathered, generated and used in operating a business.

Using the latest technology data warehousing is now practically acheivable for the smaller business. We follow the dimensional model proposed by Ralph Kimball, modified for practicality and cost.

Major Components of a data warehouse

Data Sources Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) Data Staging Reporting Database Reporting Applications

Data Sources include organised applications like accounting and stock control systems, CRM Systems, and also departmental and personal systems using Excel and Word documents, and Access databases. Your business probably relies on third party data - for example delivery data from a logistics partner, and reference data such as exchange rates and postcode address data.

Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) takes data from the source systems and present them to the data warehouse Staging area. These tools can remove duplication and clean data, as well as providng log records and reformatting data into a form suitable for input to a relational database. Data loads normally take place in two stages, and initial load with minimal transformations to a Staging area, followed by a transformation process that merges data from multiple cources and re-arranges it along reporting dimensions for the load to the Reporting Data Area

Data Staging is a holding area for data derived from the various sources prior to integration in the reporting database. This enables data to be checked and adjusted using business rules during the final data load, and logs and rejected records are maintained for quality audit purposes.

Reporting Databases hold the data used by all the reporting tools. This includes reference data such as currencies, countries, and other published data as well as organised and integrated data from across the business.

Reporting Tools are the applications that generate and deliver information reports. Reports can vary from simple tables of results to graphical presentations, complex dashboards presenting information on many aspects of the business in a single document and sophisticated dimensional models that allow you to analyse and explore your business from multiple aspects. Reporting tools vary widely in cost and complexity.

Information on the tools we use to develop these components is on the Data Warehousing Tools page.

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