What Is a Data Warehouse?

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data warehouse

A data warehouse is an implementation used to provide decision-support data and aid workers engaged in reporting, query, and analysis. This architectural technology enables organizations to integrate data from a range of sources into common data models. Data warehouses provide insight into operational processes and open new possibilities to leverage data towards making decisions and creating organizational value.

Other Definitions of a Data Warehouse Include:

  • A “storage architecture designed to hold data extracted from transaction systems, operational data stores and external sources.” (Gartner)
  • “Provides clearly defined communications, for a known aggregate set of data, to a well-defined user set, like a travel itinerary.” (Michelle Knight)
  • “A tool that is: (Kelle O’Neal and John Ladley)
    • Structured, processed
    • Schema-on-write
    • Expensive for large data volumes
    • A fixed configuration
    • Mature
    • Made for business pros.”
  • A “stable, read only database that combines information from separate systems into one easy-to-access location.” (MIT)
  • A place “having structured data in rows and columns, requiring security and access controls.” (Harvard Business Review).
  • “A place like a central distribution and storage warehouse, where individual data marts all come together to reside.” ( Forbes)

Businesses Use Data Warehouses to:

  • Support operational function
  • Ensure compliance with requirements
  • Back up business intelligence (BI) activities
  • Meet government regulations
  • Comply with audits
  • Gain insights about the organization, its customers, and its products

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