We have now reviewed the basic definitions and features of data warehouses and data marts and completed a significant discussion of them. We have established our position on what the term data warehouse means to us. Now we are ready to examine its components.
When we build an operational system such as order entry, claims processing, or savings account, we put together several components to make up the system. The front-end component consists of the GUI (graphical user interface) to interface with the users for data input. The data storage component includes the database management system, such as Oracle, Informix, or Microsoft SQL Server. The display component is the set of screens and reports for the users. The data interfaces and the network software form the connectivity component. Depending on the information requirements and the framework of our organization, we arrange these components in the most optimum way.
Architecture is the proper arrangement of the components. You build a data warehouse with software and hardware components. To suit the requirements of your organization you arrange these building blocks in a certain way for maximum benefit. You may want to lay special emphasis on one component; you may want to bolster up another component with extra tools and services. All of this depends on your circumstances.
Figure 2-6 shows the basic components of a typical warehouse. You see the Source Data component shown on the left. The Data ...