Data Warehouse Implementation

Introduction: Data warehouses contain huge volumes of data. OLAP servers demand that decision support queries be answered in the order of seconds. Therefore, it is crucial for data warehouse systems to support highly efficient cube computation techniques, access methods, and query processing techniques. In this section, we present an overview of methods for the efficient implementation of data warehouse systems.

The compute cube Operator and the Curse of Dimensionality

One approach to cube computation extends SQL so as to include a compute cube operator. The compute cube operator computes aggregates over all subsets of the dimensions specified in the operation. This can require excessive storage space, especially for large numbers of dimensions. We start with an intuitive look at what is involved in the efficient computation of data cubes.

Partial Materialization: Selected Computation of Cuboids

There are three choices for data cube materialization given a base cuboid:

1. No materialization: Do not pre compute any of the “non base” cuboids. This leads to computing expensive multidimensional aggregates on the fly, which can be extremely slow.

2. Full materialization: Pre compute all of the cuboids. The resulting lattice of computed cuboids is referred to as the full cube. This choice typically requires huge amounts of memory space in order to store all of the pre computed cuboids.

3. Partial materialization: Selectively compute a proper subset of the whole set of possible cuboids. Alternatively, we may compute a subset of the cube, which contains only those cells that satisfy some user-specified criterion, such as where the tuple count of each cell is above some threshold. We will use the term sub cube to refer to the latter case, where only some of the cells may be pre computed for various cuboids. Partial materialization represents an interesting trade-off

 The partial materialization of cuboids or sub cubes should consider three factors: (1) identify the subset of cuboids or sub cubes to materialize; (2) exploit the materialized cuboids or sub cubes during query processing; and (3) efficiently update the materialized cuboids or sub cubes during load and refresh.

The selection of the subset of cuboids or sub cubes to materialize should take into account the queries in the workload, their frequencies, and their accessing costs. In addition, it should consider workload characteristics, the cost for incremental updates, and the total storage requirements. The selection must also consider the broad context of physical database design, such as the generation and selection of indices. Several OLAP products have adopted heuristic approaches for cuboid and sub cube selection. A popular approach is to materialize the set of cuboids on which other frequently referenced cuboids are based. Alternatively, we can compute an iceberg cube, which is a data cube that stores only those cube cells whose aggregate value (e.g., count) is above some minimum support threshold.

Another common strategy is to materialize a shell cube. This involves pre computing the cuboids for only a small number of dimensions (such as 3 to 5) of a data cube. Queries on additional combinations of the dimensions can be computed on-the-fly. Because our between storage space and response time.

Once the selected cuboids have been materialized, it is important to take advantage of them during query processing. This involves several issues, such as how to determine the relevant cuboid (s) from among the candidate materialized cuboids, how to use available index structures on the materialized cuboids, and how to transform the OLAP operations onto the selected cuboid(s).

Finally, during load and refresh, the materialized cuboids should be updated efficiently. Parallelism and incremental update techniques for this operation should be explored.

Indexing OLAP Data:To facilitate efficient data accessing, most data warehouse systems support index structures and materialized views (using cuboids). General methods to select cuboids for materialization were discussed in the previous section. In this section, we examine how to index OLAP data by bitmap indexing and join indexing.

The bitmap indexing method is popular in OLAP products because it allows quick searching in data cubes. The bitmap index is an alternative representation of the record ID (RID) list. In the bitmap index for a given attribute, there is a distinct bit vector, Bv, for each value v in the domain of the attribute. If the domain of a given attribute consists of n values, then n bits are needed for each entry in the bitmap index (i.e., there are n bit vectors). If the attribute has the value v for a given row in the data table, then the bit representing that value is set to 1 in the corresponding row of the bitmap index. All other bits for that row are set to 0.