Olap Cubes

Written by Jacey Harmon
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OLAP Cubes are the basis for OLAP, or On Line Analytical Processing, applications. These cubes can store massive amounts of data that can be easily accessed. There are two types of cubes, multidimensional and relational cubes. Multidimensional cubes create and store cubes physically. Relational cubes are virtual cubes that are based on a star schema.

Cubes allow database users to create cross dimensional calculations and the dimensions can usually be pivoted in a report. When talking in the aspect of data cubes, a dimension is data characterized by the ability to sort, group or select data. For example, time periods and sales numbers can be a dimension. Reports can be viewed in a hierarchical structure to control the level of detail display. For example you can break a report down to include a specific department of a company or an entire division.

Benefits to Using OLAP Cubes

OLAP Cubes provide a multi-dimensional view of data reports. In multi-dimensional data analysis, dimensions like sales numbers, store locations and employees may all be represented in a report. The report is shown in a multi-dimensional view for clear visualization of the report. Cubes allow users to access massive amounts of data and receive reports in a matter of minutes.

OLAP Cubes may be able to help a business identify trends that would otherwise be missed. A multi-dimensional report can help spot wasteful spending or a hidden successful product. Reports can be sliced and diced and reported in hierarchical views to allow different aspects to each dimension. This flexibility allows a user to change a report to view different aspects of the data without changing the entire report.

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