What is data warehousing, and how it can be done in Oracle?
Data warehousing is typically done in concert with data mining. Data warehousing is the storage of lots of your company's data. Data mining is taking that data and trying to learn (or mine) useful information that is not readily apparent in the hopes of making good business decisions. Let me give you an example of what all this means. This example was given to me in my college days, and it has been passed around to many, many people.
A supermarket chain decided it wanted to analyze sales patterns. It kept track of what every single customer purchased. It took every customer's purchases and stuffed them into a data warehouse. By mining the purchase data, the supermarket chain was able to find out that a high number of people who bought diapers on a Saturday night also bought beer. Now would you have known that people who bought beer on a Saturday night tended to also by diapers? I wouldn't have. But that's what their data mining told them. So they decided to test the theory. They started putting diapers on display next to the beer aisle. Both diaper and beer sales increased as a result! Through data mining of data that they had warehoused, they were able to make a decision which resulted in increased sales. Data mining has also been used to analyze web surfing patterns and automobile add-on option sales. Did you know that a high number of people who purchased a vehicle with cruise control also got power windows and power locks? So the car companies started to bundle all three options. The applications to data mining (with data warehouses) are endless.
How does this work in Oracle? Oracle is one of the best databases at handling data warehouses. This is because of the sheer volume of data becomes immense in data warehouses and Oracle is good at handling very large databases. Oracle also has offered improvements to help data mining go faster. But after that, Oracle is just a database storing data. It is up to the data mining tools that make the difference.
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