Data Warehousing Interview Questions and Answer Part – 1
1) What is Data Warehousing?
A data warehouse is the main repository of an organization’s historical data, its corporate memory. It contains the raw material for management’s decision support system. The critical factor leading to the use of a data warehouse is that a data analyst can perform complex queries and analysis, such as data mining, on the information without slowing down the operational systems. Data warehousing collection of data designed to support management decision making. Data warehouses contain a wide variety of data that present a coherent picture of business conditions at a single point in time. It is a repository of integrated information, available for queries and analysis.
2) What are fundamental stages of Data Warehousing?
Offline Operational Databases – Data warehouses in this initial stage are developed by simply copying the database of an operational system to an off-line server where the processing load of reporting does not impact on the operational system’s performance.
Offline Data Warehouse – Data warehouses in this stage of evolution are updated on a regular time cycle (usually daily, weekly or monthly) from the operational systems and the data is stored in an integrated reporting-oriented data structure.
Real Time Data Warehouse – Data warehouses at this stage are updated on a transaction or event basis, every time an operational system performs a transaction (e.g. an order or a delivery or a booking etc.)
Integrated Data Warehouse – Data warehouses at this stage are used to generate activity or transactions that are passed back into the operational systems for use in the daily activity of the organization.
3) What is Dimensional Modeling?
Dimensional data model concept involves two types of tables and it is different from the 3rd normal form. This concepts uses Facts table which contains the measurements of the business and Dimension table which contains the context(dimension of calculation) of the measurements.
4) What is Fact table?
Fact table contains measurements of business processes also fact table contains the foreign keys for the dimension tables. For example, if your business process is “paper production” then “average production of paper by one machine” or “weekly production of paper” would be considered as measurement of business process.
5) What is Dimension table?
Dimensional table contains textual attributes of measurements stored in the facts tables. Dimensional table is a collection of hierarchies, categories and logic which can be used for user to traverse in hierarchy nodes.
6) What are the Different methods of loading Dimension tables?
There are two different ways to load data in dimension tables.
Conventional (Slow) :
All the constraints and keys are validated against the data before, it is loaded, this way data integrity is maintained.
Direct (Fast) :
All the constraints and keys are disabled before the data is loaded. Once data is loaded, it is validated against all the constraints and keys. If data is found invalid or dirty it is not included in index and all future processes are skipped on this data.
7) What is OLTP?
OLTP is abbreviation of On-Line Transaction Processing. This system is an application that modifies data the instance it receives and has a large number of concurrent users.
8) What is the difference between OLTP and OLAP?
OLTP: Operational data is from original data source of the data
OLAP: Consolidation data is from various source.
OLTP: Snapshot of business processes which does fundamental business tasks
OLAP: Multi-dimensional views of business activities of planning and decision making
Queries and Process Scripts
OLTP: Simple quick running queries ran by users.
OLAP: Complex long running queries by system to update the aggregated data.
OLTP: Normalized small database. Speed will be not an issue due to smaller database and normalization will not degrade performance. This adopts entity relationship(ER) model and an application-oriented database design.
OLAP: De-normalized large database. Speed is issue due to larger database and de-normalizing will improve performance as there will be lesser tables to scan while performing tasks. This adopts star, snowflake or fact constellation mode of subject-oriented database design.
9) Describes the foreign key columns in fact table and dimension table?
Foreign keys of dimension tables are primary keys of entity tables.
Foreign keys of facts tables are primary keys of Dimension tables.
10) What is Data Mining?
Data Mining is the process of analyzing data from different perspectives and summarizing it into useful information.