Chapter 10. Business Analysis (OLAP)

In This Chapter

  • Getting a no-hype picture of OLAP

  • Looking into OLAP features

  • Checking out some OLAP vendors

A man walks down the street in Manhattan carrying a data warehouse under his arm. From the other direction, a woman approaches, carrying an OLAP. (Bear with me — this stuff will make sense in a second.)

The man sees a billboard advertising a watch he's had his eye on, and now it's on sale. To catch the ending date for the sale, he keeps his eyes on the billboard while he walks.

The woman notices a crowd of people gathered outside a theater and looks in that direction to see what the commotion is. She too continues walking.

Suddenly, the man and woman collide. Stunned for a moment, the man looks down and then says to the woman, "Hey, you got OLAP in my data warehouse!" The woman recovers from her surprise, looks down, and says to the man, "Hey, you got a data warehouse on my OLAP!"

Together, they both say, "Mmmmm . . . "

If you're at least as old as I am, this scenario should bring back memories of a mid-1980s series of commercials for a certain chocolate-covered peanut-butter-cup candy. If it doesn't sound familiar, check out the retromercials (old, original television commercials) on YouTube. You might see this one.

Step over from TV Land to Data Warehousing Land. Without OLAP, data warehousing would hardly be what it is today. At the same time, the roots of OLAP — or, more precisely, multidimensional business analysis — go back to the 1960s.

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