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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Need help with Database Terms/Concepts

    I feel embarrassed to ask, but I could use some help with getting *good* definitions for some database concepts.

    (I thought I knew all of these, but the more I Google, the more I realize there seem to be 10,000 different definitions?!)


    1.) What is the difference between a "Data Warehouse" and "OLPT"??


    2.) What is the difference between "Business Intelligence (BI)" and "Decision Support Systems (DSS)"??


    3.) What is "Informatics" and how is it different than a "Data Warehouse" and "Business Intelligence (BI)" and "Decision Support Systems (DSS)"??


    After reading online all afternoon, the lines between DW and Data Marts and BI and DSS and Executive Support Systems and Informatics is VERY BLURRY...

    Thanks,


    Debbie

    P.S. I understand the concept of a Data Warehouse and how it differs from a traditional Relational Database.

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    SitePoint Wizard
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    A data warehouse is a large store of data that gets examined for trends, correlations, relationships. emphasis on the large and the store.

    see this for difference to OLTP http://datawarehouse4u.info/OLTP-vs-OLAP.html

    "Business Intelligence (BI)" and "Decision Support Systems (DSS)- same thing, I think. It/they provide useful data to support your business, let you see what is going on with trends.

    Informatics, is how do you handle data and analyse it. So it's not a data warehouse (that holds the data you want to analyse)

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr John View Post
    A data warehouse is a large store of data that gets examined for trends, correlations, relationships. emphasis on the large and the store.

    see this for difference to OLTP http://datawarehouse4u.info/OLTP-vs-OLAP.html
    So that links supports my suspicions in that "OLAP" and "Data Warehouse" as synonymous, right?

    (It seems like OLAP vs OLTP is one "perspective" or "view" of databases, and "Data Warehouse" vs "Relational Database" is another comparison/view/perspective.

    While it appears that OLAP is another name for Data Warehouse, I guess each term is used in different contexts...)


    "Business Intelligence (BI)" and "Decision Support Systems (DSS)- same thing, I think. It/they provide useful data to support your business, let you see what is going on with trends.
    That is the best I can tell, although "BI" is one of the most voluminous terms out there in IT?!


    Informatics, is how do you handle data and analyse it. So it's not a data warehouse (that holds the data you want to analyse)
    I read up on "Informatics" and came up with something like this for work...

    "Health Informatics is the discipline of using Information Systems to gather, manage, process, and store medical information in the care and treatment of patients. It touches areas including claims processing, managed health care, medical diagnosis, treat, wellness and many others. Health Care Informatics ultimately strives to reduce health care costs will maximizing patient treatment, recovery, and well-being."

    (I came up with a better definition but it is back on my desk at work!!)



    Debbie

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    SitePoint Wizard
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    For informatics - imagine you have a database with 10,000,000 rows for sales across the country, and you wish to find trends within this mass of data. Informatics is the science / theory of how do you create a database and a query find this sort of thing. It's more a way of how do you tackle this problem

    OLAP vs OLTP
    OLAP is the analyse (the A) of a huge mass of data in a big data warehouse. 100s of millions of rows of data might get analysed

    OLTP is the insert of one or two lines of data at a time, or a query to find the available items of a given type, the database might only be a couple of thousand rows. An online shop, or your supermarket use OLTP. The database is updated a little bit at a time, every second, or dozens of times per second. You buy a camera, your details and the single item bought are added at that moment.

    A data warehouse might only get updated once a week, but the update could be a couple of million rows being added in one go. It could be all the sales that week in all Walmarts across the country being added. Not your individual sale as it happens.

    OLAP is NOT another name for a data warehouse, it is a technique for analysing tens of millions of rows of data and extracting useful info from the data warehouse. So they do go together. From this useful info you decide what the company will do - will we sell red, blue and black widgets, or just blue and black widgets. What sort of person buys red widgets and why are they only sold in one state and nowhere else? Do we continue to make red widgets???

    The decision support bit is let's present this info on widget sales country wide, in ways that we can spot trends, and help the company make a decision. This is business information, it supports a company wide decision. You or I just want to know the cost of that one camera and the postage of it. But the company needs a wider picture than where I bought this one or that one on thursday.

    Does that help?

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr John View Post
    For informatics - imagine you have a database with 10,000,000 rows for sales across the country, and you wish to find trends within this mass of data. Informatics is the science / theory of how do you create a database and a query find this sort of thing. It's more a way of how do you tackle this problem
    It is embarrassing that I've spent all these decades working with computers and I had never heard the term "Informatics" before until starting a new contract this past week?!


    OLAP vs OLTP
    OLAP is the analyse (the A) of a huge mass of data in a big data warehouse. 100s of millions of rows of data might get analysed

    OLTP is the insert of one or two lines of data at a time, or a query to find the available items of a given type, the database might only be a couple of thousand rows. An online shop, or your supermarket use OLTP. The database is updated a little bit at a time, every second, or dozens of times per second. You buy a camera, your details and the single item bought are added at that moment.

    A data warehouse might only get updated once a week, but the update could be a couple of million rows being added in one go. It could be all the sales that week in all Walmarts across the country being added. Not your individual sale as it happens.
    Yes, that part I understand.


    OLAP is NOT another name for a data warehouse, it is a technique for analysing tens of millions of rows of data and extracting useful info from the data warehouse. So they do go together.
    Okay, but OLTP would never go with a Data Warehouse, right?

    And OLAP would never go with a Relational Database, right?



    The decision support bit is let's present this info on widget sales country wide, in ways that we can spot trends, and help the company make a decision. This is business information, it supports a company wide decision. You or I just want to know the cost of that one camera and the postage of it. But the company needs a wider picture than where I bought this one or that one on thursday.
    I understand that, but how does BI differ from DSS differ from Executive Support Systems (ESS)?

    (Some say ESS and DSS are under BI.)


    Does that help?
    We are getting there!


    Debbie

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    Okay, but OLTP would never go with a Data Warehouse, right?

    And OLAP would never go with a Relational Database, right?
    neither of these rather absolute statements is correct

    to paraphrase woody allen, never is a very long time, especially towards the end

    just because a pickup truck is intended to haul cargo, doesn't mean you can't use it to take your sweetie to the drive-in

    (in fact, if you back it in... oh, never mind)

    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    I was wondering where you were...


    Quote Originally Posted by r937 View Post
    neither of these rather absolute statements is correct

    to paraphrase woody allen, never is a very long time, especially towards the end
    Ha ha!

    So if my comments are not absolutely correct, then can you please explain to me how things really are?


    just because a pickup truck is intended to haul cargo, doesn't mean you can't use it to take your sweetie to the drive-in

    (in fact, if you back it in... oh, never mind)

    Oh, yes, please DO tell me more about your "experiences" in this area, r937...


    Debbie

  8. #8
    SQL Consultant gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    So if my comments are not absolutely correct, then can you please explain to me how things really are?
    you've got the general idea pretty much

    don't be too concerned about labels

    many labels were invented either by companies seeking to advance their own agendas and stand out from the competition, or by TLA-happy industry wonks who like to compartmentalize

    especially in the BI/DSS/DW area -- it's a buzzword minefield

    concentrate more on what you want to build, not what to call it

    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r937 View Post
    you've got the general idea pretty much
    Okay, good.


    don't be too concerned about labels

    many labels were invented either by companies seeking to advance their own agendas and stand out from the competition, or by TLA-happy industry wonks who like to compartmentalize

    especially in the BI/DSS/DW area -- it's a buzzword minefield
    Yeah, that area of IT seems to be "buzzword central".


    concentrate more on what you want to build, not what to call it

    Yeah. I was just trying to refresh my memory for work, because after realizing that I had never heard of "Informatics" I became very embarrassed and wanted to make sure that I understood all of the terms and concepts surrounding that topic.

    Thanks,


    Debbie

    P.S. I'll be waiting for you to get back to me on those "pickup bed" tips you alluded to earlier...

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    FWIW, here is the definition I came up at work...

    INFORMATICS:
    Technology group dealing with the collection, analysis, management and sharing of clinical patient data among various areas within <company> as well as its partners. The emphasis is on using Information Systems to support data-driven medical & business decisions which reduce costs while improving patient care and wellness.
    Thanks,


    Debbie

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Don't get mislead by the clinical patient bit and other medical bits or company bits. It applies to data, just ordinary data. Below is the only bit that matters. It's not some special medical thing.

    INFORMATICS:
    Technology group dealing with the collection, analysis, management and sharing of data.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr John View Post
    Don't get mislead by the clinical patient bit and other medical bits or company bits. It applies to data, just ordinary data. Below is the only bit that matters. It's not some special medical thing.

    INFORMATICS:
    Technology group dealing with the collection, analysis, management and sharing of data.
    Okay, fair enough.

    But to clarify, my definition above should have said "Healthcare Informatics". For that area, I think it was a very accurate definition.


    Debbie


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