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  Business Intelligence > OLTP & OLAP

OLTP databases provide real time accesses to its data which is being updated by other transactions. OLTP databases contrasts earlier databases that allowed updating in batch modes as all updations were provided in one go.
OLAP provides analytical processing capabilities on an OLTP database. This provides a real time analytical view of the database. Historically OLAP suffered since it would slow down OLTP database considerably. However with faster h/w and better algorithms, it’s now practical
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OLTP System
Online Transaction Processing
(Operational System)


OLAP System
Online Analytical Processing
(Data Warehouse)
Source of data
Operational data; OLTPs are the original source
of the data.
Consolidation data; OLAP data comes from the
various OLTP Databases
Purpose of data
To control and run fundamental business tasks
To help with planning, problem solving, and
decision support
What the data
A snapshot of ongoing business processes
Multi-dimensional views of various kinds of
business activities
Inserts and
Short and fast inserts and updates initiated by
end users
Periodic long-running batch jobs refresh the data
Relatively standardized and simple queries
Returning relatively few records
Often complex queries involving aggregations
Typically very fast
Depends on the amount of data involved; batch
data refreshes and complex queries may take
many hours; query speed can be improved by
creating indexes
Can be relatively small if historical data is
Larger due to the existence of aggregation
structures and history data; requires more indexes
than OLTP
Highly normalized with many tables
Typically de-normalized with fewer tables; use of
star and/or snowflake schemas
Backup and
Backup religiously; operational data is critical to run the business,
data loss is likely to entail
significant monetary loss and legal liability
Instead of regular backups, some environments
may consider simply reloading the OLTP data as a
recovery method


The design of a data warehouse database and online analytical processing (OLAP) cubes is fundamentally different than a transactional processing database (OLTP). The data warehouse is specifically designed to facilitate super fast query times and multi-dimensional analysis. The following table summarizes the major differences between OLTP and OLAP system design.


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