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    Why is the snowflake schema a good data warehouse design?

    Levene, Mark and Loizou, George (2003) Why is the snowflake schema a good data warehouse design? Information Systems 28 (3), pp. 225-240. ISSN 0306-4379.


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    Database design for data warehouses is based on the notion of the snowflake schema and its important special case, the star schema. The snowflake schema represents a dimensional model which is composed of a central fact table and a set of constituent dimension tables which can be further broken up into subdimension tables. We formalise the concept of a snowflake schema in terms of an acyclic database schema whose join tree satisfies certain structural properties. We then define a normal form for snowflake schemas which captures its intuitive meaning with respect to a set of functional and inclusion dependencies. We show that snowflake schemas in this normal form are independent as well as separable when the relation schemas are pairwise incomparable. This implies that relations in the data warehouse can be updated independently of each other as long as referential integrity is maintained. In addition, we show that a data warehouse in snowflake normal form can be queried by joining the relation over the fact table with the relations over its dimension and subdimension tables. We also examine an information-theoretic interpretation of the snowflake schema and show that the redundancy of the primary key of the fact table is zero.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Data warehouse design, Star and snowflake schema, Independent and separable database schema, Acyclic database schema
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Knowledge Lab
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2005
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:28


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