Archive for the ‘DW and BI’ Category

What is ODS (Operational Data Store) and how it differs from Data Warehouse (DW)

December 17, 2014 1 comment

I see lot of people discussing about ODS, and citing their own definitions and ideas about it. Some people also use the name as a synonym for a Data Warehouse or Factory Database. Thus, at times it becomes very difficult to tell or convince people while you are designing or architecting a DW/BI solution.

So, I thought to give some time to explain what actually an ODS is.

Simple definition: An Operational Data Store (ODS) is a module in the Data Warehouse that contains the most latest snapshot of Operational Data. It is designed to contain atomic or low-level data with limited history for “Real Time” or “Near Real Time” (NRT) reporting on frequent basis.

Detailed definifion:

– An ODS is basically a database that is used for being an interim area for a data warehouse (DW), it sits between the legacy systems environment and the DW.

– It works with a Data Warehouse (DW) but unlike a DW, an ODS does not contain Static data. Instead, an ODS contains data which is dynamically and constantly updated through the various course of the Business Actions and Operations.

– It is specifically designed so that it can Quickly perform simpler queries on smaller sets of data.

– This is in contrast to the structure of DW wherein it needs to perform complex queries on large sets of data.

– As the Data ages in ODS it passes out of the DW environment as it is.

–> Where does ODS fits in a DW/BI Architecture?


–> Classes of ODS (Types):

Bill Inmon defines 5 classes of ODS shown in image below:

Class-1 ODS would simply involve Direct Replication of Operational Data (without Transformations), being very Quick.

– Whereas Class-5 ODS would involve high Integration and Aggregation of data (highly Transformed), being a very time-consuming process.