Difference Between OLAP and OLTP


Both OLTP and OLAP are two of the common systems for the management of data. OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) is a category of systems that manages transaction processing. OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) as the name suggests, is a compilation of ways to query multi-dimensional databases. OLAP is a BI (Business intelligence) tool. BI refers to computer-based methods for identifying and extracting useful information from business data.

What is OLAP?

OLAP is a class of systems, which provide answers to multi-dimensional queries. Typically OLAP is used for marketing, budgeting, forecasting and similar applications. It goes without saying that the databases used for OLAP are configured for complex and ad-hoc queries with a quick performance in mind. Typically a matrix is used to display the output of an OLAP. The dimensions of the query come from the number of rows/columns. They often use methods of aggregation on multiple tables to obtain summaries. For example, it can be used to find out about the sales of this year in Wal-Mart compared to last year? What is the prediction on the sales in the next quarter? What can be said about the trend by looking at the percentage change?

What is OLTP?

OLTP is a category of systems that are dedicated for managing applications that are oriented towards transactions. They facilitate data entry and retrieval for transaction processing. Here, a transaction may refer to computer or database transaction or business commercial transactions. OLTP systems are typically able to respond to user requests immediately. For example, ATM (Automatic Teller Machines) is an example of commercial transaction processing. Recent OLTP systems are able to span more than one company and may work over a network. For large applications running OLTP-oriented databases, it may be required to use Transaction Management software systems such as CICS. Decentralized OLTP databases systems distribute the transactions to be processed to multiple computers on a network. Typically, SOA (Service-oriented architecture) and Web services contain OLTP systems.

What is the difference between OLAP and OLTP?

In general, OLTP systems provide source data to data warehouses, and OLAP systems help analyze that data. In other words, OLTP are the original source of data and OLAP data actually comes from various OLTP databases. OLTP systems are used for running the basic business tasks of the organization, whereas OLAP systems are used for planning and problem solving purposes. That means OLTP reveals a snapshot of the current business processes as opposed to OLAP systems giving a multi-dimensional view of various activities. Inserts and updates to OLTP are short and quick and are typically initiated by the end users, while the same for OLAP systems are periodical long-running batch jobs. Similarly, queries to the OLTP systems are very simple and often provide simple results sets containing very few records. But, queries to OLAP systems are complex aggregated queries. Processing speeds of OLTP systems are very fast compared to OLAP speeds. Typically, OLTP systems have relatively smaller space requirements than OLAP systems because they contain historical data and aggregation structures in addition to the regular data.