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• An OLAP is tool that allows fast analysis of

• It can also be defined as the capability of
manipulating and analyzing data from
multiple perspectives.
• OLAP software provides the ability to analyze
large volumes of information to improve
decision making at all levels of an
OLAP Characteristics

•M u lti- u se r e n v iro n m e n t
•C lie n t- se rv e r a rch ite ctu re
•R a p id re sp o n se to q u e rie s ,
re g a rd le ss o f
D B size a n d co m p le x ity

OLAP Functionalities

OLAP software provides some or all of the following
• Drilling down from high-level summaries to
better understand data relationships.
• Viewing data from different perspectives, called
pivoting or rotation
• Comparisons among different elements
• Exception reports to highlight unusual
situations· Time-series analysis to identify
• Forecasting with a variety of quantitative
• Running model-based what-if simulations to
understand the interactions among the
different parts of the business
• OLTP: On Line Transaction Processing
– Describes processing at operational
• OLAP: On Line Analytical Processing
– Describes processing at warehouse

• Mostly updates • Mostly reads
• Many small • Queries long,
transactions complex
• Mb-Tb of data • Gb-Tb of data
• Raw data • Summarized,
• Clerical users consolidated data
• Up-to-date data • Decision-makers,
• Consistency, analysts as users
Multidimensional Online
Analytical Processing(MOLAP)

• MOLAP is online analytical processing (OLAP) that indexes
directly into a multidimensional database.
• In general, an OLAP application treats data
multidimensionally; the user is able to view different
aspects or facets of data aggregates such as sales by time,
geography, and product model.
• If the data is stored in a relational data base, it can be viewed
multidimensionally, but only by successively accessing and
processing a table for each dimension or aspect of a data
aggregate. MOLAP processes data that is already stored in
a multidimensonal array in which all possible combinations
of data are reflected, each in a cell that can be accessed
directly. For this reason, MOLAP is, for most uses, faster
and more user-responsive than relational online analytical
processing (ROLAP), the main alternative to MOLAP. There
is also hybrid OLAP (HOLAP), which combines some
features from both ROLAP and MOLAP.

This is the more traditional way of OLAP analysis.
In MOLAP, data is stored in a multidimensional
cube. The storage is not in the relational database,
but in proprietary formats.
• Advantages:
• Excellent performance: MOLAP cubes are built for fast
data retrieval, and is optimal for slicing and dicing

• Can perform complex calculations: All calculations
have been pre-generated when the cube is
created. Hence, complex calculations are not only
doable, but they return quickly.
• The advantages of this mode is that it provides
excellent query performance and the cubes are built
for fast data retrieval.
• All calculations are pre-generated when the cube is

• Limited in the amount of data it can handle:

Because all calculations are performed when
the cube is built, it is not possible to include a
large amount of data in the cube itself. This
is not to say that the data in the cube cannot
be derived from a large amount of data.
Indeed, this is possible. But in this case, only
summary-level information will be included in
the cube itself.
• Requires additional investment: Cube
technology are often proprietary and do not
already exist in the organization. Therefore, to
adopt MOLAP technology, chances are
additional investments in human and
capital resources are needed.
• The disadvantages of this model are that it
can handle only a limited amount of data.
• Since all calculations have been pre-
built when the cube was created, the
cube cannot be derived from a large
volume of data. This deficiency can be
bypassed by including only summary level
calculations while constructing the cube.
• This model also requires huge additional
investment as cube technology is
proprietary and the knowledge base may
not exist in the organization.  
ROLAP stands for Relational OLAP, an implementation
based on relational DBMSs.
This methodology relies on manipulating the data
stored in the relational database to give the
appearance of traditional OLAP's slicing and dicing
functionality. In essence, each action of slicing and
dicing is equivalent to adding a "WHERE" clause in
the SQL statement.

ROLAP tools access the data in a relational database

and generate SQL queries to calculate information at
the appropriate level when an end user requests it.
With ROLAP, it is possible to create additional
database tables (summary tables or aggregations)
which summarize the data at any desired
combination of dimensions.
• The underlying data in this model is stored in
relational databases. Since the data is stored in
relational databases this model gives the
appearance of traditional OLAP’s slicing and
dicing functionality. The advantages of this
model is it can handle a large amount of data
and can leverage all the functionalities of the
relational database. The disadvantages are that
the performance is slow and each ROLAP report
is an SQL query with all the limitations of the
genre. It is also limited by SQL functionalities.
ROLAP vendors have tried to mitigate this
problem by building into the tool out-of-the-box
complex functions as well as providing the
users with an ability to define their own
Advantages of ROLAP

• ROLAP is considered to be more scalable in handling

large data volumes.
• With a variety of data loading tools available, and the
ability to fine tune the ETL code to the particular
data model, load times are generally much
shorter than with the automated MOLAP loads.
• The data is stored in a standard relational database
and can be accessed by any SQL reporting tool
• ROLAP tools are better at handling non-
aggregatable facts (e.g. textual descriptions).
MOLAP tools tend to suffer from slow performance
when querying these elements.
• query results are filtered depending on preset criteria
applied, for example, to a given user or group of
users (SQL WHERE clause).
• Can handle large amounts of data: The data size
limitation of ROLAP technology is the limitation on
data size of the underlying relational database. In
Disadvantages of ROLAP

• The loading of aggregate tables must be managed by

custom ETL code. The ROLAP tools do not help
with this task. This means additional development
time and more code to support.
• When the step of creating aggregate tables is skipped,
the query performance then suffers because the
larger detailed tables must be queried. This can be
partially remedied by adding additional aggregate
tables, however it is still not practical to create
aggregate tables for all combinations of
• Once ROLAP tools rely on SQL for all of the
computations, they are not suitable when the
model is heavy on calculations which don't
translate well into SQL. Examples of such models

Choice for faster
response & more
P e rfo rm a n ce

complex queries
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Pilot Software
• Essbase is a multidimensional database
management system (MDBMS) that provides a
multidimensional database platform upon
which to build analytic applications. Essbase,
whose name derives from "Extended Spread
Sheet dataBASE", began as a product of Arbor
Software, which merged with Hyperion Software
in 1998. Oracle Corporation acquired Hyperion
Solutions Corporation in 2007, as of
2009[update] it markets Essbase as "Oracle