Jul 11, 2009

OLAP And OLTP

OLAP and OLTP are two of the most common words in the world of database. However the differences between the two are not well understood. OLTP and OLAP refer to Online Transaction Processing and Online Analytical Processing respectively. The word "online" is common to both and highlights that both the systems are capable to carry out certain things almost instantaneously.

The OLTP systems are used to register the transactions occurring in real time. In a retail shop the buying information needs to be instantaneously recorded by the salesman during any purchase of goods. OLTP systems allow such transactions to be carried out within a very short span of time. Hence to process any kinds of transactions OLTP systems are used.

It is not worth anymore to merely store the transaction data. We need to carry out various operations on those data to get the real picture of various aspects of the business. Reports generated based on these data are crucial part of the Decision Support System(DSS). However such complex operations on large volume of transaction data makes the report generation very slow and puts extra load on the OLTP system in use. So to overcome these limitations OLAP are used. OLAP enables data to be stored in multidimensional forms which is often called OLAP cube. OLAP cube ensures very fast retrieval or analysis of data.

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