Earlier in a previous section of this chapter, we grouped the architectural components as building blocks in the three distinct areas of data acquisition, data storage, and information delivery. In each of these broad areas of the data warehouse, the architectural components serve specific purposes.
Now we want to associate the components as forming a framework to condition and enable the flow of data from beginning to end. As you know very well, data that finally reaches the end-user as useful strategic information begins as disparate data elements in the various data sources. This collection of data from the various sources moves to the staging area. What happens next? The extracted data goes through a detailed preparation process in the staging area before it is sent forward to the data warehouse to be properly stored. From the data warehouse storage, data transformed into useful information is retrieved by the users or delivered to the user desktops as required. In a basic sense, what then is data warehousing? Do you agree that data warehousing just means taking all the necessary source data, preparing it, storing it in suitable formats, and then delivering useful information to the end-users?
Please look at Figure 7-2. This figure shows the flow of data from beginning to end and also highlights the architectural components enabling the flow of data as the data moves along.
Let us now follow the flow ...