MicroStrategy uses optimized SQL to query the relational database directly to answer users’ questions. Users can therefore ask any question that is supported by the data in their warehouse and then analyze the results until they find their precise answer. The disadvantage to this relational OLAP (ROLAP) methodology is that accessing huge fact tables can be potentially time-consuming. Multidimensional OLAP (MOLAP) was considered by some to be the answer to this problem. However, it is not scalable for large projects because of the difficulty of maintaining every possible combination of aggregates as the number of attributes and the amount of data increases. MicroStrategy’s solution is the use of aggregate tables to provide quicker access to frequently-asked data while still retaining the power to answer any user query.
Some advantages of aggregate tables are as follows:
In summary, the MicroStrategy SQL Engine in combination with aggregate tables and caching can produce results at about the same speed as MOLAP. But the ability to answer questions on the fly is still retained, and the solution is scalable for large databases, unlike MOLAP.
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