I've read that one of the advantages of star schema over snowflake schema is that the end users understand its table structure better. My question is why should we care that an end user would understand the physical table structure when there are access tools that can "translate" it for him/her to a simple meaningful structure?
Douglas Hackney's Answer: The "translation" you mention at best consists of presenting the user with a single table view of a joined group of snowflake tables. While presenting a nice picture to the users, the resulting query performance can vary dramatically, something that users do not like. For instance, a simple query against the base dimension table can provide sub-second response, but a query that involves multiple joined snowflakes can take hours. From the user perspective, there is no difference in the question they asked; they are both against the single entity. Users will not support nor fund systems that provide non-linear, non-consistent response.
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