We are currently building a customer data warehouse. One of the business users wants to be able to update customer information real-time into the warehouse. Every data warehouse bone in my body screams "No!" Would you recommend online updates to a data warehouse in any situation?
Sid Adelman's Answer: Listen to your bones. Trying to make a data warehouse perform operational functions (that's what real-time updating is) will lead to failure. The data warehouse is for decision support, not for operational processing. Besides, the business user should not be making architectural decisions about where data is updated.
Larissa Moss's Answer: I agree with you that real-time updates to a data warehouse is a No-No. However, it sounds to me as though you are building a CRM (customer relationship management) system or a customer- focused ODS (operational data store) rather than a data warehouse. The primary focus of CRM is to integrate customer and product information and it often serves as the "point of entry" for customer related data. An ODS is an extension to the operational environment and real-time updates are not uncommon, because an ODS does not store historical snapshots but only represents the "current" integrated picture of selected operational data.
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