OLAP - Definition

What is OLAP

OnLine Analytical Processing (OLAP) has been around in some form since the 60s. But the term was coined in 1993 as the “alternative” to OnLine Transactional Processing (OLTP). How it was coined was a little bit of a scandal. Codd released a whitepaper about the 12 rules of OLAP, a reference to his 12 rules of relational databases. Unfortunately it was later disclosed that Arbor Software, the creators of Essbase, sponsored the whitepaper. In what would now be considered standard operating procedure was apparently too risquee. Computerworld retracted the white paper. 

Today some people consider OLAP an outdated term for old technology. Now, Arbor was ahead of the times in trying to create a new platform category. Essbase was even the first to release support for the million member dimension … we salute you Essbase. But OLAP, and data marts in general, never took off as a corporate standard. The data warehouse remained the single analytics “platform” and Essbase, which merged with Hyperion, eventually became a part of Oracle.