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Q: What is a difference between database and a data warehouse? Why can't we use database as a data warehouse?

A: Roman Bukary, SAP director of market strategy: Today a data warehouse is built on top of a database. A data warehouse is a specialized format of data st orage designed to place all relevant business data within a series of PK-FK (pri mary-foreign key) connected tables for easy querying and analysis. These tables store granular data, as well as some aggregates and indices for rapid response, in this specialized format to enable easy "slice and dice" across multiple repre sented dimensions so that you could ask and get answers to your questions such a s: what is the total volume of all SKUs sold last month, what is the most popula r SKU in a give retail outlet, how do various SKUs contribute to your overall pr ofitability. To create and manage PK-FK, table joins (to answer queries such as who are our top customers who buy the most per week), updates, data integrity (r ow-level locking), baseline security, data administration and so on, data wareho uses rely on underlying databases. So, in fact, you use a database and build a d ata warehouse on top of it just as you would use a database and build a CRM or f inancial application on top. Don Hatcher, vice president of technology strategy for SAS: A data warehouse is one usage of database technology. The difference is in the design of the data mo del. Operational databases are designed to collect and update vast amounts of informa tion from many users, and collect it a little at a time, in many short transacti ons. They are primarily data collectors and are optimized for data collection. Data warehouses are databases that are designed for just the opposite usage. The y are designed for relatively few complex transactions (queries), executed infre quently and seek a large result set that can be surfaced to relatively few users . They are primarily data distributors and are optimized for data distribution. In some cases, you can use the same database engine (DBMS) for both usages, alth ough our research has proven that databases designed specifically for data wareh ousing will outperform those designed for data collection, even after tuning tho se transactional databases for data warehouse performance. Allen Houpt, director of product management for CleverPath solutions at CA: The notion of database in the context is an online transaction processing (OLTP) app lication. The main reason for loading transactional data into a data warehouse i s the need to report information over time. To keep the high efficiency that is required for transactional systems, there is a limited time range that is kept i n the database. Often, also, there is little descriptive information that is kep t in the OLTP database that makes the data less understandable to business users . Basically OLTP are based on events (point in time), whereas the data warehouse is based on information over time.