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OLTP     ETL    OLAP      What does it all mean?

Business Intelligence Glossary of Common Terms

OLTP (On Line Transaction Processing) - Operational systems through which business transactions are created and maintained.  Example: a Sales Order Processing System. Schema - A description of the structure of a database or a defined part of a database.
ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) - Used to describe the process of moving data from OLTP systems into a Data Warehouse environment. Metadata - Data that describes the data in a data warehouse. Example: metadata will identify (among other things) the source of an employee number within a Human Resources Data Mart.
OLAP (On Line Analytical Processing) - Systems for analyzing data in order to make business decisions. Fact Table - A central table in a data warehouse that contains data from specific business transactions, such as product sales.
Data Warehouse - A collection of data organized to meet business decision-making needs. Dimension - Data associated with a fact that can be used for summarizing at one or more levels. Example: a date can be used to sumarize product sales by day, week, month, quarter, year, etc.
Data Mart - A collection of data organized to meet the decision-making needs of a specific work group. Conformed Dimension - A dimension that is the same for multiple fact tables.
Drill Down/Up - A means of navigating through multiple levels of data -- from most summarized (up) to most detailed (down). Cube - A set of data that is organized and summarized into a multi-dimensional structure.
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