Chapter 6. Specialty Databases and Data Warehousing

In This Chapter

  • Looking into multidimensional databases

  • Weighing the benefits of specialty data stores

  • Using appliances designed for your data warehousing needs

  • Checking out some specialty database products

Relational databases have become the steady, general-purpose champion of the data-management world. The straightforward table-row-column structure, not all that different (at least, conceptually) from a basic spreadsheet, is a flexible method by which you can organize data for many different purposes.

That's the good news.

The not-so-good news is that the flexibility comes with a price. Specifically, in some areas of data management (not many, but some), the table-row-column structure, also known as a horizontal storage manager, is inefficient and performs poorly — at least, until you enhance (or, in some cases, overhaul) the relational database management system (RDBMS) to handle these out-of-the-ordinary missions.

One of these areas is multidimensional analysis, a way of looking at data as facts organized by dimensions. (I cover all this stuff in the section "The idea behind multidimensional databases," later in this chapter.) As Chapter 5 points out, RDBMS products have been augmented with specialized, enhanced multi-table query optimization so that they can handle data more efficiently in a multidimensional manner.

Multidimensional Databases

This isn't the first time in recent history that new types of database products have emerged ...

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