Chapter 6. Delivering Fact Tables

Fact tables hold the measurements of an enterprise. The relationship between fact tables and measurements is extremely simple. If a measurement exists, it can be modeled as a fact table row. If a fact table row exists, it is a measurement. What is a measurement? A common definition of a measurement is an amount determined by observation with an instrument or a scale.

In dimensional modeling, we deliberately build our databases around the numerical measurements of the enterprise. Fact tables contain measurements, and dimension tables contain the context surrounding measurements. This simple view of the world has proven again and again to be intuitive and understandable to the end users of our data warehouses. This is why we package and deliver data warehouse content through dimensional models.

Note

PROCESS CHECK Planning & Design:

Requirements/Realities → Architecture → Implementation → Test/Release

Data Flow: Extract → Clean → Conform → Deliver

Chapter 5 describes how to build the dimension tables of the data warehouse. It might seem odd to start with the dimension tables, given that measurements and therefore fact tables are really what end users want to see. But dimension tables are the entry points to fact table data. Facts make no sense unless interpreted by dimensions. Since Chapter 5 does a complete job of describing dimensions, we find this chapter to be simpler in some ways.

The Basic Structure of a Fact Table

Every fact table is defined by the ...

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