What's in this chapter?
Business intelligence (BI) refers to systems and technologies used to gain insights from data. Those systems and technologies have traditionally been built around the concept of taking operational data, typically stored in relational databases, and using it to build a data warehouse. The data in a data warehouse is usually the result of the transformation of the operational data into a form optimized for reporting and analysis, the main business activities on the data in a BI system. Key aspects of BI systems are performance and scalability. The approach to organizing data in BI systems is referred to as Online Analytical Processing, or OLAP. The OLAP approach was created to meet the needs of BI — making sense of a large amount of existing data. This is different than the approach taken by relational databases, referred to as Online Transaction Processing (OLTP), which is optimized for efficient creating and updating of individual transactions.
Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services has grown to be the industry-leading OLAP server based on its capabilities in helping implement the requirements of traditional BI systems. In ...