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Oracle9i OLAP User's Guide
Release 2 (

Part Number A95295-02
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Types of Data Stored in a Data Warehouse

The term data warehouse is used to distinguish a database that is used for business analysis (OLAP) rather than transaction processing (OLTP). While an OLTP database contains current low-level data and is typically optimized for the selection and retrieval of records, a data warehouse typically contains aggregated historical data and is optimized for particular types of analyses, depending upon the client applications.

The contents of your data warehouse depends on the requirements of your users. They should be able to tell you what type of data they want to view and at what levels of aggregation they want to be able to view it.

Your data warehouse will store these types of data:

These types of data are discussed individually.

Historical Data

A data warehouse typically contains several years of historical data. The amount of data that you decide to make available depends on available disk space and the types of analysis that you want to support. This data can come from your transactional database archives or other sources.

Some applications might perform analyses that require data at lower levels than users typically view it. You will need to check with the application builder or the application's documentation for those types of data requirements.

Derived Data

Derived data is generated from existing data using a mathematical operation or a data transformation. It can be created as part of a database maintenance operation or generated at run-time in response to a query.


Metadata is data that describes the data and schema objects, and is used by applications to fetch and compute the data correctly.

OLAP Catalog metadata is designed specifically for use with Oracle OLAP. It is required by the Java-based Oracle OLAP API, and can also be used by SQL-based applications to query the database.