Data Warehouse Designer Articles




Selected Ralph Kimball Data Warehouse Designer Articles by Subject Area

You can find a full list of all the articles written or edited by Ralph Kimball at The Kimball Group website. Below is our list of the ones we've found really important.

Clickstream Analysis
Data Warehouse Architecture
ETL and Data Quality
Data Mining
Dimensional Modeling Overview
Dimensional Modeling Techniques
International Data Warehouses

Physical Design

Clickstream Analysis

Clicking With Your Customer                                         January 5, 1999
An initial design for a clickstream data mart

The Special Dimensions of the ClickStream                      January 20, 2000
The high leverage dimensions needed for a successful clickstream data mart

Clickstream Data Mart                                                 December 5, 2001
It's part of the 360-degree customer view. It's being requested more. Are you ready? By Joe Caserta (edited by Ralph Kimball)


Data Warehouse Architecture

The Database Market Splits                                          September, 1995
Data Warehousing gets the data out

Bringing Up Supermarts                                              January, 1998
A step-by-step approach to building a data warehouse from granular data

Brave New Requirements for Data Warehousing                October, 1998
Decentralized incremental development; continuous change; rapid deployment; atomic data: data marts make the data warehouse

The Matrix                                                                 December 7, 1999
A Planning Methodology for the Largest Data Warehouses

The Operational Data Warehouse                                   January, 1998
It needs both a transaction version of data and a periodic snapshot version of data

Relocating the ODS                                                     December, 1997
Moving the operational data store will solve a number of problems


ETL and Data Quality

Backward in Time                                                      September 29, 2000
Stitching late-arriving records into an existing data warehouse

Is Your Data Correct?                                                 December 05, 2000
Simple statistical techniques can help you ensure that users have accurate information at their fingertips

Brace for Incoming                                                      August 31, 2001
Importing external data deserves its own full design and development life cycle. By Warren Thornthwaite (edited by Ralph Kimball)

Doing the Work at Extract Time                                    February 21, 2002
Countering the minimalist approach

The 38 Subsystems of ETL                                                     December 4, 2004
Should have been 'The 39 Steps of ETL', don't you think?.



Data Mining

Digging Into Data Mining                                              October, 1997
Your warehouse is your data mining platform

Preparing for Data Mining                                             November, 1997
Explains how to transform and cleanse your data to make it ready for mining

The Perfect Handoff                                                   December 21, 1999
A recommended interface between the data warehouse and data mining applications


Dimensional Modeling Overview

Is ER Modeling Hazardous to DSS?                                  October, 1995
Don't assume that an ER model is suitable for building a decision support database

A Dimensional Modeling Manifesto                                    August, 1997
Drawing the line between dimensional modeling and ER modeling techniques

There Are No Guarantees                                               August 1, 2000
Entity-relation modeling is far from being a universal solution for data warehouse business rules

Enforcing the Rules                                                       August 18, 2000
Most data warehouses do a poor job of supporting all business rules: We can do better


Dimensional Modeling Techniques

Slowly Changing Dimensions                                             April, 1996
Unlike OLTP systems, data warehouses can track historical data

Monster Dimensions                                                        May, 1996
Design solutions for handling changes in very large dimensions

Factless Fact Tables                                                     September, 1996
Two types of useful fact tables contain no facts at all

Causal Not Casual Dimensions                                          November, 1996
Consider causal dimensions when you want your data warehouse to be more informative

Travelling Through Databases                                          May, 1997
Voyages and Networks

It's Time for Time                                                         July, 1997
The importance of the time dimension in data marts and data warehouses

Data Warehouse Role Models                                          August, 1997
What to do when a single dimension appears several times in the same fact table

Human Resources Data Marts                                         February, 1998
Design guidelines for querying and analysing employee data

Surrogate Keys                                                            May, 1998
Keep control over record identifiers by generating new keys for the data warehouse

Help for Dimensional Modeling                                          August, 1998
Helper tables let you design and manage multi-valued dimensions successfully

Help for Hierarchies                                                       September, 1998
Helper tables handle dimensions with complex hierarchies

What Didn't Happen                                                      February 16,1999
How to ask your data warehouse for records that may not be there

Fundamental Grains                                                        March 30, 1999
Three basic fact table types: transaction, periodic snapshot, accumulating snapshot

The Market Basket Data Mart                                           April 20, 1999
Reorganizing retail data into a dimensional schema for market basket analysis

The Budgeting Chain                                                       June 1, 1999
Dimensional designs budgets, commitments, and actuals

When a Slowly Changing Dimension Speeds Up                   August 3, 1999
Give your SCDs a rest when a dimension starts changing too rapidly

Not So Fast                                                                October 26, 1999
Designing Profitability Data Marts

Mystery Dimensions                                                      March 20, 2000
Making sense of the rogue fields in your fact table

The Keyword Dimension                                                 October 20, 2000
Using Keywords in a data warehouse of historical letters

Fact Tables for Text Document Searching                      November 10, 2000
Using a similarity metric as a measured fact

The Unity Dimension                                                         June 13, 2001
A saner solution for when differing entities share a role.
By Nick Galemmo (edited by Ralph Kimball)

A Trio of Interesting Snowflakes                                          June 29, 2001
Beat three common modeling challenges with extensions of the dimensional mode

Managing Helper Tables                                                 August 10, 2001
A careful look at many-to-many relationships between important dimensions

Managing Your Parents                                               September 18, 2001
Be mindful of reporting needs when designing parent and child fact tables

Wrangling Behavior Tags                                              May 9, 2002
Behavior tags are true 'text facts.' How do we handle them in a data warehouse?

Tricky Time Spans                                                      June 13, 2002
The time dimension isn't nearly as simple as it looks

Better Storytelling                                                       August 10, 2003
Dimensional techniques for binding events (such as steps in a website visit) into stories.  By Jim Stagnitto (edited by Ralph Kimball)

What Changed?                                                       August 12, 2002
Use a multi-valued outrigger table to add expressive power to your dimensions. By Joe Caserta (edited by Ralph Kimball)


International Data Warehouses

Think Globally, Act Locally                                             December, 1998
International warehouse designs; localization; character sets; currencies; calendars

Warehousing Without Borders                                         March 9, 1999
International names and addresses


Physical Design

The Aggregate Navigator                                               November, 1995
How to optimize your data warehouse using aggregates without driving your end users crazy

Aggregate Navigation With Almost No Metadata                  August, 1996
Design Requirements for Aggregate Environments

Aggregate Improvements                                              October 4, 2001
Are you taking full advantage of the ability to presummarize your data?
By Lawrence Corr
(edited by Ralph Kimball)

Lost, Shrunken, And Collapsed                                      January 1, 2002
Why and how to create the three types of aggregates in a dimensional data warehouse. By Lawrence Corr (edited by Ralph Kimball)

Realtime Partitions                                                      February 1, 2002
Build a special extension of each fact table to complement your static data warehouse