Glossary of Terms

Thu, 07/25/2013 - 11:21 -- bertop

This page is designed to clarify the various terminology related to the Data Warehouse.  By clicking on each term below, you may expand it to find its definition.

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  • What is Enterprise Performance Management?

    Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) is a methodology for measuring, monitoring, and analyzing the performance of a business. There are many definitions of EPM; however, the primary components include budgeting, planning, reporting, performance measurement, and profitability analysis.

    Oracle Corporation has positioned several of its acquired and homegrown business analysis software tools under the EPM umbrella. Collectively, Oracle has branded this extensive suite of software offerings as Oracle EPM.

  • What is a Data Warehouse?

    A data warehouse or enterprise data warehouse (DW, DWH, or EDW) is a database used for reporting and data analysis. It is a central repository of data that is created by integrating data from one or more disparate sources. Data warehouses store current as well as historical data.

  • What is a Data Mart?

    Data warehouses are subdivided into data marts. Data marts store subsets of data from a warehouse.

  • What is a Star Schema?

    In computing, the star schema (also called star-join schema) is the simplest style of data mart schema. The star schema consists of one or more fact tables referencing any number of dimension tables. The star schema is an important special case of the snowflake schema, and is more effective for handling simpler queries.

    The star schema gets its name from the logical model's resemblance to a star with a fact table at its center and the dimension tables surrounding it representing the star's points.

  • What is Interactive Reporting and how does it help us access the data within our Data Warehouse?

    Interactive Reporting -- a component of Oracle EPM -- is an all-in-one query, reporting, and analysis tool that serves as the front-end for RPI’s data warehouse. In RPI’s data warehouse environment, end-users will gain access to warehoused data by opening and processing Interactive Reporting documents.

    In the past, Interactive Reporting was known throughout the business intelligence (BI) software industry as Brio Query; along with the name change, ownership of the software changed throughout the years -- from Brio Technologies, to Hyperion Solutions, and now, Oracle Corporation.

  • What is the difference between a fact table and a dimension table?

    In data warehousing, a dimension table is one of the set of companion tables to a fact table.

    The fact table contains business facts (or measures), and foreign keys that are linked to candidate keys (normally primary keys) in the dimension tables.

    A fact table consists of the measurements, metrics, or facts of a business process and tend to be numerical values.  For instance, GPA (grade point average) is a measurable fact from a fact table that can only be defined by the Student Name dimension in a companion dimension table, which are linked by the Student Identification Number key.  Another example would be the Total Dollar Sales fact being defined by the Store Address dimension, which are linked by the Store Number key.

    Contrary to fact tables, dimension tables contain descriptive attributes (or fields) that are typically textual fields (or discrete numbers that behave like text). These attributes are designed to serve two critical purposes: query constraining and/or filtering, and query result set labeling.  Dimensions within the dimension table define the facts within the fact tables by explaining them in terms of "who, what, where, when, why, and how."