Back to basics - A Data Warehouse Dictionary

by Nicolae Guse 16. October 2011 21:19

 One of the things that i've learned so far is that we all talk different dialects, even when we are sharing the same language. One of the strongest challanges that i've meet so far was to make sure that, when we are talking about one concept, we are all talking about the same thing. And this happends beacuse we are different people, we have different ways to learn things, and we have different experiences.

Try to launch a discussion a Data Warehouse developer, a BI Business Analyst, a Project Manager and a BI Director and you will quickly see that, while talking about the same thing, as the Data Warehouse architecture, each of the one's about will understand something different. Therefore, in order to have any kind of progress, you'll have to define a kind of dictionary,  that (very unlikely) every one will agree on.

I have no intention to give by the book definitions as accurate as Kimball or Inmon, which are the parents of the Data Warehouse revolution. Their work should be read and appreciated, since without it, we would have nothing now to discuss about. They had a vision and they've fight about it, when everyone else was in the dark.

What i intend to do is to give definitions more related to the business processes that are generating them, more centered to the real life implementation of these concepts, that we see all around us.



Data Warehouse Dictionary

Starting with Classics - Why

by Nicolae Guse 16. October 2011 21:06

 First of all, let's start with the classic questions:


What does this stand for?

First answer would be " Delusional Writers Hope For Better Pay" . Is this it? Well, tempting, but no. It stands for "Data WareHouse Best Practices". It's a place of gathering and sharing ideas for people passionate about Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence in general. It also about a personal contribution for making the world around a better place.

Who i am and what I’m doing here?

The more generic answer would be that I’m, like you, one of the almost 7 billion people inhabiting this planet :) The more down to earth answer is that my name is Nicolae Guse , 32 years old and counting, and I’m a programmer. And yes, it does sound like an addiction. I’ve been a programmer for the last 10 years, and from those, more than 7 years I’ve spend it working in Business Intelligence, respectively developing Data Warehouse related projects, for one of the largest computer games manufacturers in the world.

During this period, I’ve gathered quite some information about how Data Warehouses should and should not be developed. I’ve also noticed that, like in other programming areas, having a good grasp on the concepts does count much more than actually writing code. Not that i don't like writing code, i actually love it, but I’ve noticed that writing a brilliant piece of code doesn't help you a lot if you don't get the bigger picture, and understand where the system is evolving. Otherwise is just a piece of code. 

I’ve taken the initiative of creating this site in order to share the things I’ve learned so far. The site focus will be more on BI and DWH concepts, and less on the actual technical solutions implemented. And this is because many similar concepts, can have very different technical solutions implemented, according to each company needs, and this is the natural way to go. And here comes the FIRST DISCLAMER:

This site is NOT a Bible for DWH Best Practices. It's a place of sharing DWH experiences and trying to find TOGETHER the best way of doing DWH projects. If you're searching for a Bible, and for eternal truths, then go to church.

What you will find on this site will be a series of articles on DWH topics, based on my experience so far, which is mostly, but not exclusively, related to the Microsoft ecosystem. Which doesn't mean that you're experience on other systems is not welcomed, quite the opposite. As I’ve said, is a place of sharing concepts, and i think that the best solutions are found when people are confronting different experiences in order to solve the same problems. And here comes the SECOND DISCLAMER:

I don't believe in "One ring to rule them all" approach. I think that different problems have different solutions, and that not all software solutions must come from a single vendor, since i don't know a single vendor whose best at doing everything. I consider that in the real world, different BI Solutions like, Microsoft Analysis Services, Oracle Essbase and Business Objects can happily coexist within the same company. If you're such a big fan of the "One ring to rule them all" approach, reading J.R.R Tolkien "Lord of the Rings" might help you reconsider.

And, for the moment, I’ll say it's just about enough with the introduction. I hope you'll enjoy these article series as much as I did when I’ve wrote them.

I hope you will debate them with the same passion as i did when i was debating them with my colleagues and friends during the projects I’ve been involved.

As last words before closing, i owe a big debt of gratitude to the authors of the Rework book, Jason Fried and David Heinmeier Hansson, for providing me the inspiration and energy to go ahead with this adventure. 








The ideas you'll find on this site represent the opinion of their owner. They are not either about or being endorsed by a specific company. This site is a place of sharing ideas and trying to find together best practices on Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence projects.

Some of the technical approaches will be praized, some of them will be criticized, based on the concepts presented by their owners. You shoudn't feel offended if some of the ideas which either you or your company consider best practices, here are being criticized. You should also realize that what some people consider best practices on a particular system and business scenario, can be worst practices on another.  If you don't agree with a particular idea, feel free to comment it in a civilized manner.

Only by crashing different ideas and experiences we will find a better way of doing Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence projects.