REVIEW - The Data Warehouse Toolkit - The Complete Guide to Dimensional Modeling


The Data Warehouse Toolkit

The Complete Guide to Dimensional Modeling


Ralph Kimball, Margy Ross



John Wiley & Sons (2002)




David Ross


February 2004



an emphasis on addressing real business issues

My day job revolves around the building of Data Warehouses and Data Mining environments and I regularly recommend Ralph Kimball's numerous books on the topic to colleagues and clients. This particular book, an update of the 1996 edition, is no exception. This time around there is less emphasis on selling the concept of dimensional modelling (now the accepted way to build warehouses) and more on how to do it.

The books takes an interesting approach: after first discussing the basics of why and how create a dimensional model, it then uses cases studies from various industry sectors to explore the intricacies of the techniques and issues which arise during implementation. The temptation to focus on your own speciality should be avoided since each provides new insights. For instance, the handling of multiple time zones is covered in the section on transportation, while fact-less fact tables are covered in the education chapter. Throughout there is an emphasis on addressing real business issues, with numerous example schemas to support the text.

There are a few chapters relating to concept and benefits of data warehousing, how to implement a warehouse and future directions. While these provide useful context (the first chapter being an excellent introduction to the field), this is principally a book about dimensional modelling and as such I can strongly recommend it.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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