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OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) | Applications, Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) Tutorial: In this tutorial, we are going to learn about the applications of OLAP, types of OLAP, Advantages and Disadvantages of OLAP.
Submitted by Harshita Jain, on November 22, 2019

OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) is a technology for discovery of data which includes capabilities like prediction, report viewing and complex analytical calculations. It also allows users to easily extract the data to analyze it from different points of view.

OLAP could be a class of software package that permits users to investigate data from multiple information systems at a similar time.

It is a technology that allows analysts to extract read and consider and examine business knowledge from completely different points of view.

Analysts need to group aggregate and join data. OLAP data can be pre-calculated and pre-aggregated which makes analysis faster.

OLAP Applications

Typical applications of OLAP embody business news for sales, marketing, management news, business method management (BPM), budgeting and prognostication, money news and similar areas, with new applications arising, like agriculture.

The term OLAP was created as a small modification of the normal info term OLTP (Online dealing Processing).

Two leading OLAP merchandise square measure Titan Solution's Essbase and Oracle's categorical Server.

OLAP merchandise square measure usually designed for multiple-user environments, with the price of the package, supported the number of users.

Types of OLAP systems

There are 3 main types of OLAP servers are as following,

1) Relational OLAP (ROLAP) – Star Schema based –

The ROLAP relies on the premise that knowledge needn't keep multidimensionally to viewed multidimensionally, which it's doable to use the well-proven relative database technology to handle multidimensionality of data. In ROLAP knowledge is keep in an exceedingly electronic information service. In essence, every action of slicing and dicing is such as adding a "WHERE" clause in the SQL statement. ROLAP can handle large amounts of data. ROLAP will leverage functionalities inherent within the electronic information service.

Advantages of ROLAP model:

  • High data efficiency: It offers high data efficiency because query performance and access language are optimized particularly for the multidimensional data analysis.
  • Scalability: This type of OLAP system offers scalability for managing large volumes of data, and even when the data is steadily increasing.

Drawbacks of ROLAP model:

  • Demand for higher resources: ROLAP needs a high utilization of manpower, software, and hardware resources.
  • Aggregately data limitations: ROLAP tools use SQL for all calculations of aggregate data. However, there are no set limits to the for handling computations.
  • Slow query performance: Query performance in this model is slow when compared with MOLAP.

2) Multidimensional OLAP (MOLAP) – Cube based –

MOLAP stores information on disks in a specialized dimensional array structure. OLAP is performed on that counting on the random access capability of the arrays. Arrays component square measure determined by dimension instances, and also the truth information or measured price related to every cell is typically kept within the corresponding array component. In MOLAP, the dimensional array is typically kept in an exceedingly linear allocation in step with nested traversal of the axes in some predetermined order.

But not like ROLAP, wherever solely records with non-zero facts square measure keep, all array parts square measure outlined in MOLAP and as a result, the arrays have a tendency to distribute, with empty parts occupying a bigger a part of it. Since each storage and retrieval prices square measure vital whereas assessing on-line performance potency, MOLAP systems generally embody provision like advanced compartmentalization and hashing to find information whereas playacting queries for handling distributed arrays. MOLAP cubes square measure quick information retrieval, best for slicing and dicing and it will perform the advanced calculation. All calculation square measure pre-generated once the cube is formed.

3) Hybrid OLAP (HOLAP) –

HOLAP could be a combination of ROLAP and MOLAP. HOLAP servers permit storing the big knowledge volumes of detail knowledge. On the one hand, HOLAP leverages the larger quantifiability of ROLAP. On the opposite hand, HOLAP leverages the cube technology for quicker performance and summary-type information. Cubes are smaller than MOLAP since detail knowledge is unbroken within the electronic information service. The info are wont to stores knowledge within the most practical method attainable.

Benefits of Hybrid OLAP:

  • This quite OLAP helps to economize the space, and it conjointly remains compact which helps to avoid problems associated with access speed and convenience.
  • Hybrid HOLAP uses cube technology that permits quicker performance for every type of knowledge.
  • ROLAP is instantly updated and HOLAP users have access to the present period instantly updated knowledge. MOLAP brings cleansing and conversion {of knowledge|of knowledge|of information} thereby rising data relevancy. This brings the better of each world.

Drawbacks of Hybrid OLAP:

  • Greater quality level: the key disadvantage in HOLAP systems is that it supports each ROLAP and MOLAP tools and applications. Thus, it's sophisticated.
  • Potential overlaps: There are higher probabilities of overlapping particularly into their functionalities.

Some other types of OLAP

  1. Web OLAP (WOLAP):
    It is a Web browser-based technology. In traditional OLAP application is accessible by the client/server but this OLAP application is accessible by the web browser. It is a three-tier architecture that consists of client, middleware and database server. The most appealing features of this style of OLAP was the considerably lower investment involved on the client-side and enhanced accessibility to connect to the data. A Web-based application requires no deployment on the client machine. All that is required is a Web browser and a network connection to the intranet or Internet.
  2. Desktop OLAP (DOLAP):
    DOLAP stands for desktop analytical processing. In that user can download the data from the source and work with the dataset, or on their desktop. Functionality is limited compared to other OLAP applications. It has a cheaper cost.
  3. Mobile OLAP (MOLAP):
    MOLAP is a wireless functionality or mobile devices. Users are work and access the data through mobile devices.
  4. Spatial OLAP (SOLAP):
    Merge capabilities of both Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and OLAP into the single user interface, SOLAP egress. SOLAP is created because the data come in the form of alphanumeric, image, and vector. This provides the easy and quick exploration of data that resides on a spatial database.

Advantages of OLAP

  • OLAP may be a platform for all sorts of business includes designing, budgeting, reporting, and analysis.
  • Information associated calculations area unit is consistent in an OLAP cube. this can be a vital profit.
  • Quickly produce and analyze "What if" situations.
  • Easily search OLAP information for broad or specific terms.
  • OLAP provides the building blocks for business modeling tools, data processing tools, performance news tools.
  • It allows users to try and do slice and dice cube information all by numerous dimensions, measures, and filters.
  • It is sweet for analyzing statistics.
  • Finding some clusters and outliers is straightforward with OLAP.
  • It may be a powerful image online analytical method system that provides quicker response times.

Disadvantages of OLAP

  • OLAP needs organizing information into a star or snowflake schema. These schemas area unit sophisticated to implement and administer.
  • You cannot have a sizable amount of dimensions during a single OLAP cube.
  • Transactional information can't be accessed with the OLAP system.
  • Any modification in associate OLAP cube desires a full update of the cube. this can be a long method.

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