Online analytical processing (OLAP)

Online analytical processing (OLAP)

History of the term OLAP 

In 1985, E. F. Codd coined the term online transaction processing (OLTP) and proposed 12 rules that define an OLTP database. His terminology and criteria became widely accepted as the standard for database used to manage the day-to-day operations (transactions) of a company. In 1993, Codd came up with the term online analytical procession (OLAP) and again proposed 12 criteria to define an OLAP database. This time, his criteria did not gain wide acceptance, but the term OLAP did – many people thought it was the perfect term to describe databases designed to facilitate performing analysis. In 1996, Microsoft acquired OLAP technology.


Online analytical processing (OLAP) is a technique for aggregating data to enable business users to dig into transactional data to solve business problems. OLAP Services offered a Cube Creation Wizard to design cube schemas, a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in to manage the services, and Pivot Table Services for client-side OLAP.


Benefit of an OLAP cube over a relational database


OLAP tools add the following three benefits to a relational database:

  • Consistently fast response
  • Metadata-based queries
  • Spreadsheet-style formulas