Building the Data Warehouse

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to go from data to information to competitive advantage. In short, data warehousing has unlocked a world of possibility.


One confusing aspect of data warehousing is that it is an architecture, not a technology. This frustrates the technician and the venture capitalist alike because these people want to buy something in a nice clean box. But data warehousing simply does not lend itself to being “boxed up.” The difference between an architecture and a technology is like the difference between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and adobe bricks. If you drive the streets of Santa Fe you know you are there and nowhere else. Each home, each office building, each restaurant has a distinctive look that says “This is Santa Fe.” The look and style that make Santa Fe distinctive are the architecture. Now, that architecture is made up of such things as adobe bricks and exposed beams. There is a whole art to the making of adobe bricks and exposed beams. And it is certainly true that you could not have Santa Fe architecture without having adobe bricks and exposed beams. But adobe bricks and exposed beams by themselves do not make an architecture. They are independent technologies. For example, you have adobe bricks throughout the Southwest and the rest of the world that are not Santa Fe architecture.


Thus it is with architecture and technology, and with data warehousing and databases and other technology. There is the architecture, then there is the underlying technology, and they are two very different things. Unquestionably, there is a relationship between data warehousing and database technology, but they are most certainly not the same. Data warehousing requires the support of many different kinds of technology.

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