Online Analytical Processing. OLAP was designed to change the way people use databases
for reporting. Instead of running reports against a production system, first a data warehouse
is created, usually using a star schema
. This reporting warehouse has been optimized
to improve the speed in executing queries
, whereas most production, transactional systems are built for very fast inserts and updates.
Some OLAP reporting tools are Microstrategy, Brio, Cognos and even SAS.
See also DSS.