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Last Updated: Dec 29, 2023

OLAP Guidelines

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Introduction

Welcome Ninjas! Are you ready to explore the realm of OLAP guidelines? In this article, we will look at the concept of OLAP guidelines and its 12 rules for establishing OLAP. OLAP stands for Online Analytical Processing. It empowers businesses to examine large datasets and derive insightful conclusions. However, it might be difficult to create scalable and effective OLAP systems without the right principles.

OLAP Guidelines

In this article, we will discuss the OLAP guidelines including Codd's rule, and its benefits. We will also see some real-world use cases and pros and cons of using OLAP guidelines. By following these guidelines, you will be able to design OLAP systems. Which, in turn provides accurate, meaningful, and timely analysis of your data. So, without any further ado, let's get started!

OLAP Guidelines

OLAP stands for Online Analytical Processing. It is a class of software that enables users to extract and analyze business data from various angles. It is used for analyzing and processing large volumes of data from multiple dimensions.

Online Analytical Processing

Talking about the OLAP guidelines in terms of design, development, and application, OLAP systems are governed by a set of recommended practices. These guiding principles are known as OLAP guidelines. The recommendations mentioned here address a wide range of topics. It includes characteristics like scalabilityuser interfaces, data integrityperformance optimization, and dimensional modeling.

These OLAP guidelines are designed to assist users and developers in creating OLAP systems. It helps to provide accurate and insightful data analysis.

Also see, Recursive Relationship in DBMS

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Benefits of Following OLAP Guidelines

Let’s look at the key benefits of following OLAP guidelines:

  • OLAP guidelines promote data integrity and consistency.
     
  • They include approaches for query performance optimization and improving response time.
     
  • OLAP guidelines promote scalable design practices. It enables our OLAP systems to handle increasing data volumes and user loads.
     
  • OLAP guidelines promote using consistent methods for creating dimensions and hierarchies.
     
  • It focuses on creating user-friendly interfaces and intuitive navigation systems.

Codd's Rules 

The term OLAP was first introduced by Dr. E.F. Codd in 1993, who pioneered Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS). Codd's principles for OLAP technology are called Codd's 12 rules. These guidelines outline the features and capabilities of OLAP systems. To assure the efficiency and upholding to fundamental principles of OLAP technology, they serve as recommendations for designing and implementing the technology.

Below are the twelve rules defined by Codd that OLAP technology must support:

Codd's Rules
  1. Multidimensional Conceptual View: The Multidimensional Conceptual View in OLAP involves representing data in a multidimensional format. It should offer a suitable multidimensional business model. It can address the requirements and business concerns.
     
  2. Transparency: It is a component of an open system that accepts several types of data sources. Additionally, the end user should not worry about the specifics of data conversions or access.
     
  3. Accessibility: Only the necessary information should be accessible to carry out the specific task. Users should have access to a single, consistent picture of the data.
     
  4. Consistent Reporting Performance: The capacity of an OLAP system to continuously deliver quick and dependable response times while generating reports and querying data is known as consistent reporting performance. As the number of dimensions rises, OLAP performance shouldn't be affected.
     
  5. Client/Server Architecture: In a client/server architecture, client devices (such as computers or mobile devices) ask a centralised server for services or resources. The OLAP tool should utilize a client-server architecture. This architecture ensures improved performance and flexibility.
     
  6. Generic Dimensionality: All data dimensions should have the same operational capabilities. It must also share a consistent underlying structure. It provide a versatile and adaptable approach to data analysis.
     
  7. Dynamic Sparse Matrix Handling: The management and manipulation of sparse matrices in computer tasks is known as dynamic sparse matrix handling. It involves effectively handling and manipulating sparse matrices.
     
  8. Multi-user support: Multiuser support means ‘able to be used by more than one person simultaneously.’ It should be able to support several concurrent users, as well as their separate views or slices of a shared database.
     
  9. Unrestricted Cross-Dimensional Operations: In a multi-dimensional data model, it refers to the capacity to carry out computations or operations across various dimensions.
     
  10. Intuitive Data Manipulation: Users should be able to perform a simple drag and drop operation when it is sufficient. They shouldn't have to rely on menus or go through complex multi-step procedures.
     
  11. Flexible Reporting: Flexible reporting is an important way for moving forward with business approaches. Business users can arrange columns, rows, and cells. They can organize them in a way that simplifies information manipulation, analysis, and synthesis.
     
  12. Unlimited Dimensions and Aggregation Levels: The capacity of an OLAP system to continuously deliver quick and dependable response times while generating reports and querying data is known as consistent reporting performance. It supports a minimum of 15 and preferably 20 dimensions.

Real-World Use Cases

Lets us look at the various Real-world use case of OLAP guidelines:

Real-World Use Cases
  • Inventory Management: OLAP systems can be used for inventory management tasks. These task include analyzing inventory and predicting demand.
     
  • Healthcare Field: The guidelines can be used in healthcare analytics. It can help analyze patient data, medical records, and healthcare details of a patient.
     
  • Educational Sector: OLAP systems are used in educational institutions. It can be used for storing and analyzing student performance data. Institutions can track educational outcomes and assess the effectiveness of teaching methodologies.
     
  • Data Analysis: OLAP can analyze business data from various perspectives. Organizations gather and store data from different sources like websites, apps, smart meters, and internal systems.
     
  • Fraud Prevention: Analyzing large amounts of data helps detect and prevent fraud, manage risks, and improve security. This data includes financial transactions, customer behavior, and network logs. Organizations can analyze this data to spot fraud, lower risks, and improve security.

Best Practices for OLAP System Maintenance

Let us have a look at common best practices for OLAP system maintenance:

  • Designing the Data Model: An OLAP system can perform much better with a well-designed data model. It makes the system scalable and flexible to handle large amount of data significantly.
     
  • Scheduled Backup: In case of failures or data corruption, regular backups in OLAP systems provide data recovery and business continuity. Also, they support safety and auditing requirements and ensure data integrity.
     
  • Security Measures: Implementing security measures in OLAP system has multiple benefits. It helps protect sensitive data, prevents unauthorized access, and ensures data integrity is maintained.
     
  • Regular Updates: An OLAP system's regular software updates include bug fixes, performance boosts, and security upgrades. These updates support system stability maintenance, enhance functionality, and provide vulnerability protection, ensuring the system runs efficiently and securely.
     
  • Adapt to changes: Adapting the OLAP system to changes helps it perform better and provide more accurate data. This, in turn, improves decision-making and ensures the system stays relevant to the evolving needs of the business. Ultimately, it helps maintain an efficient and effective system that supports the company's ongoing operations.

OLAP Data Modeling Techniques

Let us look at some of the commonly used OLAP data modeling techniques:

Relational OLAP Model (ROLAP)

ROLAP stands for Relational OLAP Model, is one of the OLAP data modeling techniques. These are the servers that are located in between the user front-end tools and a relational back-end server. It is used as the primary data storage and retrieval technology in this kind of OLAP paradigm. ROLAP systems primarily use data from relational databases, where the dimension tables and base data are stored as relational tables. Data analysis with several dimensions is also possible with this methodology.

Star Schema Model

The Star Schema is a widely used data modeling technique in OLAP systems. It divides data into a main fact table and surrounding dimension tables. Foreign key relationships link the dimension tables with the main fact table. The Star Schema is renowned for its clarity, query effectiveness, and readability.

Snowflake Schema Model

The Snowflake schema is considered as a special case of the star schema. The snowflake schema offers several advantages over the star schema, resulting in a more normalised and complicated structure.

Although this normalization lowers data redundancy, it may complicate queries and have a negative impact on performance. When OLAP systems require more accurate and granular data representation, the Snowflake Schema is frequently used.

Multidimensional OLAP Models (MOLAP)

MOLAP model is built on a native logical architecture that supports multidimensional data and operations directly. Positional algorithms are used to access data that is physically stored in multidimensional arrays. Data is arranged into multidimensional cubes using method of data modeling. MOLAP models are known for their high performance and scalability. For interactive data exploration, they offer quick response times.

Hybrid Modelling

The HOLAP Model, also known as the Hybrid OLAP Model, is an application that combines relational and multidimensional techniques.

The best features of MOLAP and ROLAP are combined into one architecture called HOLAP. While aggregations are saved in pre-calculated cubes, HOLAP systems save a greater volume of detailed data in relational tables. HOLAP may drill down from the cube to the relational tables for specified data.

Emerging Trends in OLAP

The future of data analysis and decision-making is emerging OLAP developments. Cloud-based OLAP systems are one of them. Organizations are utilising cloud computing more and more to take advantage of the scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness that cloud platforms provide. Large dataset analysis is made possible for organizations by cloud-based OLAP solutions. These support on-demand growth of their OLAP capabilities, everywhere data access, and more efficient teamwork.

The other important trend which we see is AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) techniques in OLAP systems. By offering powerful predictive and prescriptive analytics, AI and ML technologies improve the data analysis capabilities of OLAP. It is used to create trustworthy, pertinent, intelligent, and dynamic information that can aid in decision-making.

Pros and Cons of OLAP

In this section we will look at the pros and cons of OLAP. So, let’s get started.

Pros of OLAP

Let us look at the pros of the OLAP:

  • OLAP enables fast and interactive analysis of big datasets. Users can explore data from various dimensions.
     
  • It provide data consistency and scalability.
     
  • It quickly produces and analyzes the "What if" situations.
     
  • It provides the building blocks for business modeling tools, performance news tools and data processing tools.
     
  • With OLAP, users can slice and dice cube information. They can do this using different dimensions, measures, and filters.
     
  • It is great for statistical analysis.
     
  • It might be an effective online image analytical method system with faster reaction times.

Cons of OLAP

Let us look at the cons of the OLAP:

  • Information must be arranged for OLAP using a star or snowflake structure. These schemas require complex administration and implementation.
     
  • The cost of implementing an OLAP system, including the hardware, software, and upkeep, can be expensive.
     
  • Large numbers of dimensions are not allowed in a single OLAP cube.
     
  • OLAP system does not allow access to transactional data.

 

Also see, Checkpoint in DBMS

Frequently Asked Questions

What is OLTP?

OLTP is operational system that supports transaction-oriented applications in a three-tiered architecture. It manages an organization's day-to-day operations. It is primarily concerned with query processing and preserving data integrity.

What are the three distinct ways to store OLAP data?

MOLAP, HOLAP, and ROLAP are the three basic forms of OLAP. The primary distinction between these types is the data storage mechanism. MOLAP, for example, is a multi-dimensional storage mode, whereas ROLAP is a relational storage mode.

What are the three OLAP dimensions?

OLAP cubes take things a step further by aggregating data across dimensions. An OLAP cube, for example, may aggregate total sales across three dimensions: city, product, and time.

Conclusion

This article briefly discussed the OLAP guidelines. In this article, we discussed the benefit of OLAP guidelines, Codd’s 12 rules, its use case, along with the pros and cons. You can check out our other blogs to enhance your knowledge:

You can refer to our guided paths on the Coding Ninjas Studio platform. You can check our course to learn more about DSADBMSCompetitive ProgrammingPythonJavaJavaScript, etc.

We hope this blog helped you understand the OLAP guidelines. To practice and improve yourself in the interview, you can also check out Top 100 SQL problemsInterview experienceCoding interview questions, and the Ultimate guide path for interviews.

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