Over the past decade, data warehouses have been the pillar of data ecosystems, especially for corporate businesses. You cannot ignore the importance of data warehouses. Today, there are more possibilities than ever for storing, indexing, and analyzing data. Take a look at this straightforward guide to see some great data warehouse design concepts.
What Is a Data Warehouse?
Before you try to design a data warehouse, make sure you understand the basics. A data warehouse is a central repository that includes commutative and past information from single or multiple sources. Companies can collect and import to a data warehouse from numerous data sources. A data warehouse assists with evaluating data and preserving records.
Best Practices for Data Warehouse Design
If you want to ensure the efficiency of your enterprise data warehouse design, be sure to take advantage of these tips.
Define the Scope of Your Data Warehouse
Before you start designing your data warehouse, consider all the priorities of your end-users. You can outline the project's scope while noting all the limitations and risks of the system. It is vital to set the right expectations for your project by estimating all costs and other expenses. In some cases, you may have to adjust those requirements to ensure the project can meet the completion date. Don't forget to list the deliverables and allocate all duties to the rest of your development team.
Think About Similar Data Warehouse Models
Your data warehouse should have an intangible, theoretical design that can organize your company's data into specific relations, such as attributes and entities. Your data items are known as entities, while the attributes can help you define these entities' exclusivity. Select a model that focuses on your business needs.
The map source data can provide subject-oriented information to the data warehouse schema. You can take those end-user requirements and the source data model to design a data warehouse. Some of those physical implementations of your data model should be based on parameters such as the number of operators, network types, software, disk storage, and computer size.
Identity Your Relevant Data
Based on your business requirements, you should identify crucial data elements. In many situations, make sure to look beyond just end-user requests and needs. Choose those business factors that are crucial to your specific department and relevant to your subject areas. For example, if you want to design a data warehouse for your marketing and sales department, focus on the locations, sales, promotions, clients, and products.
After that, list all the required data fields that should be front and center for the data warehouse operators. For instance, marketing data could yield promotion characteristics, specific regions, and product names. Divide that data into descriptive records (dimensions) and numeric metrics (facts).
Always Narrow Down Your Data Sources
Once all the facts and dimensions are listed, take time to identify those data sources that will feed into the repository. These sources can include delimited files, Excel files, databases, API-based connectors, etc. Use any map dimensions to lookup tables in the operating system. With that information, you can map the facts to transaction tables.
Unfortunately, you cannot map some required data. When that happens, it is due to fields in the source that don't have similar parameters as those in the required data group. For example, the telecom industry groups phone calls by area code. If your data warehouse requires data with a postal code, it can be challenging to map these dimensions, primarily because postal codes can contain several area codes. When you need to translate data, like the above example, it can involve more money and time on your end.
Design the Star Schema
Before creating a star schema (the most widely used schema for data warehouses), think about the relationship between dimension tables and facts. You can use keys that include either multiple or single columns to make a row within an exclusive table. Several columns are known as concatenated or composite keys within the primary key.
Use the surrogate keys to line the facts with the dimension. These keys allow the data warehouse manager to control all the keys in the environment, and even change those keys in the operating system. The surrogate keys also will enable a series of integrators to be included in the dimension table. There are more benefits to using these surrogate keys than just using the primary key.
Over time, your data volumes are highly likely to increase. For that reason, you want to think about scalability when designing your data warehouse. It is essential to minimize any restrictions on your software capacity, system bandwidths, and hardware size.
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