OLAP and Power BI Integration | Is It a Good Idea?

OLAP and Power BI Integration
18 Jul 2022


Data analysis is more efficient with OLAP systems than with relational databases like MySQL or DB2. Furthermore, effective data analysis can assist businesses in identifying cost-cutting opportunities as well as other aspects that contribute to operational efficiency. With the growing importance of data, more businesses are combining OLAP and Power BI to improve decision-making. Essentially, integrating OLAP and Power BI improves your capacity to analyze data and spot trends and opportunities, giving you a competitive advantage.

What is OLAP?

A data processing system is referred to as Online Analytical Processing (OLAP). It collects information from relational databases, organizes it, and allows for multidimensional data analysis. Different users can query, report on, and evaluate data in real-time using such a system.

For example, in a hospital context, you can run a query to see which drugs were utilized in the ER in July. The data can then be compared to previous months’ data.

Budgeting, revenue forecasting, and trend analysis are all made easier by OLAP, which can help hospitals find cost-cutting options.

Understanding the Operation of OLAP Systems

The collecting of data from diverse relational datasets is required for the analytical procedures conducted by OLAP systems. Data is gathered and kept in data warehouses after it has been acquired. The information is then sorted and grouped into data cubes. This data format overcomes the constraints of relational databases, which cannot adequately show vast amounts of data or do real-time analysis.

Data can be categorized by dimensions such as period and income in OLAP data cubes. An OLAP cube is a hierarchical extension of a single table with additional layers. OLAP cubes, in essence, assist in categorizing enormous amounts of data for speedy analysis.

Data Mining and OLAP

OLAP and data mining are both related but not identical. Data aggregation and analysis are made easier with OLAP.  Data mining, on the other hand, makes use of existing databases to find new patterns in data sets and make predictions. OLAP and data mining are complementary. 

Data Models of OLAP

MOLAP, ROLAP, and HOLAP are the three data models that makeup OLAP. The key areas where these data models differ are in the method and storage of the data. To enhance our comprehension of OLAP in data warehousing, this essay compares various models.

The three primary OLAP kinds are MOLAP, HOLAP, and ROLAP. The data storage mode primarily distinguishes these kinds. For instance, ROLAP is a relational storage mode, but MOLAP is a multi-dimensional storage mode. HOLAP combines relational and multi-dimensional components.

What is MOLAP?

Multi-dimensional Online Analytical Processing is referred to as MOLAP. Multi-dimensional databases (MDDBs) are employed in this form of analytical processing to store data. Later, this information is used for analysis. Data that has already been computed and created make up MOLAP. Data from MDDBs is stored in data cubes that have previously been computed. As a result, data querying is faster. 

There are three primary parts to the MOLAP architecture

The data layer contains a database server:

  • MOLAP server: This is made up of the application layer’s MOLAP engine.
  • The client desktop in the presentation layer serves as the front-end tool in most cases.
  • Data from the databases in the data layer is gathered by the MOLAP engine in the application layer. The multi-dimensional databases are then loaded with data cubes. Data will be transferred in a proprietary format from the MDDBs to the client desktop in the display layer when the user issues a query. Users can now view data in various dimensions thanks to this.

What is ROLAP?

Relational Online Analytical Processing is known as ROLAP. Data storage for this kind of analytical processing takes place in a relational database. The data is organized in rows and columns in this database. End-users are shown data in a multi-dimensional format.

A ROLAP model is composed of three key parts

The data layer contains a database server. Data that has been loaded into the ROLAP server makes up this.

  • ROLAP engine: The ROLAP engine is part of the application layer’s ROLAP server.
  • Front-end device: The client desktop that is present in the presentation layer is this.

The ROLAP server will get data from the RDBMS server in response to a complicated user query. Data cubes will then be generated dynamically by the ROLAP engine. Data will be displayed to the user in multiple dimensions.

ROLAP offers a dynamic multi-dimensional perspective as opposed to MOLAP’s static multi-dimensional view. This explains why it performs more slowly than MOLAP.

What is HOLAP?

A server that can support ROLAP and MOLAP makes up the HOLAP model. It has a complicated architecture that needs regular upkeep. The relational database and the multi-dimensional database are both used in HOLAP model queries. The front-user tool displays data either directly from the database management system or indirectly through the MOLAP.

OLAP and Power BI Integration

Power BI joins disparate data sources into a single, scalable platform. Its key feature is its ability to visualize data interactively. Users can visualize data as graphs, bar charts, and pie charts instead of the snowflake or star design. It also accurately and consistently integrates all of your data sources.

Finally, combining OLAP and Power BI systems aids analysis and information exchange. As a result, it becomes easier to make smart, actionable judgments. This connectivity makes it easier to respond quickly to real-time data changes in any industry.

Related Reading:

How to Outsource Power BI Development Without Losing Time and Money?

Power BI Vs. Tableau | Which Is the Best Data Visualization Tool?

Categories: Power BI