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A data warehouse is the main repository of the organization's historical data, its corporate memory .

For example, an organization would use the information that's stored in its data warehouse to find out what day of the week they sold the most widgets in May 1992, or how employee sick leave the week before the winter break differed between California and New York from 2001-2005. In other words, the data warehouse 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 on the information without slowing down the operational systems. While operational systems are optimized for simplicity and speed of modification (online transaction processing, or OLTP) through heavy use of database normalization and an entity-relationship model, the data warehouse is optimized for reporting and analysis (on line analytical processing, or OLAP). Frequently data in data warehouses is heavily denormalised, summarised and/or stored in a dimensionbased model but this is not always required to achieve acceptable query response times. More formally, Bill Inmon (one of the earliest and most influential practitioners) defined a data warehouse as follows: Subject-oriented, meaning that the data in the database is organized so that all the data elements relating to the same real-world event or object are linked together; Time-variant, meaning that the changes to the data in the database are tracked and recorded so that reports can be produced showing changes over time; Non-volatile, meaning that data in the database is never over-written or deleted, once committed, the data is static, read-only, but retained for future reporting; Integrated, meaning that the database contains data from most or all of an organization's operational applications, and that this data is made consistent History of data warehousing

Advantages of data warehouse:

There are several advantages of data warehousing. When companies have a problem that requires necessary changes in their transaction, they need the information and the transaction processing to make a decision. Time reduction "The warehouse has enabled employee to shift their time from collecting information to analyzing it and that helps the company make better business decisions" A data warehouse turns raw information into a useful analytical tool for business decision-making. Most companies want to get the information or transaction processing quickly in order to make a decision-making. If companies are still using traditional online transaction processing systems, it will take longer time to get the information that needed. As a result, the decision-making will be made longer, and the companies will lose time and money . Data warehouse also makes the transaction processing easier. Efficiency In order to minimize inconsistent reports and provide the capability for data sharing, the companies should provide a database technology that is required to write and maintain queries and reports. A data warehouse provides, in one central repository, all the metrics necessary to support decision-making throughout the queries and reports. Queries and reports make the management processing be efficient.

Complete Documentation A typical data warehouse objective is to store all the information including history. This objective comes with its own challenges. Historical data is seldom kept on the operational systems; and, even if it is kept, rarely is found in three or five years of history in one file. There are some reasons why companies need data warehouse to store historical data. Data Integration Another primary goal for all data warehouses is to integrate data, because it is a primary deficiency in current decision support. Another reason to integrate data is that the data content in one file is at a different level of granularity than that in another file or that the same data in one file is updated at a different time period than that in another file.