It seems as though every dimensional modeler in the world loves to take a pot shot at the entity-relationship (ER) model. It also seems that the same dimensional modelers would benefit from a chat with Yogi Berra, who said: "In theory there is not much difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is." There is another saying, "Don't knock it 'til you've tried it."

This article is about analytical modeling. It will reexamine the concept of data design for analytical systems such as the data warehouse. It will take a close look at dimensional modeling and define its proper role and context. It will position ER modeling, dimensional modeling and other forms of modeling into a general framework. It will openly ask some questions. Is dimensional modeling the end-all and be-all of data warehousing? Or, is dimensional modeling one of the great con jobs in data management history?

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