OLAP Vs OLTP – What’s The Difference?

By | May 30, 2017

Let us understand what are OLAP databases and what are OLTP databases. Get complete guide on OLAP Vs OLTP databases with an explanation here.

Complete Guide on OLAP Vs OLTP with Explanations and Examples

What is a Data-Warehouse?

A data warehouse is primarily a relational database that is designed for reporting and data analysis. It is also commonly known as Enterprise Data Warehouse. Every RDBMS must comply the Codd’s Rules.

It is a subject-oriented, time variant, integrated and nonvolatile collection of data to support management’s decision-making abilities. A data warehouse is an inevitable part of business intelligence. Get to know more about data warehouse on Wikipedia.

A data warehouse can primarily be of two types viz. OLTP database and OLAP database. Let us try to have a look at the differences between OLTP and OLAP databases.

OLTP and OLAP are the techniques of data warehousing. You must know what is the difference between DBMS and RDBMS before you go ahead. Now, compare OLAP vs OLTP with the following explanation.

What is an OLTP database?

OLTP is an abbreviation for Online Transactional Processing systems. It is an information system which is essentially used to handle transaction management applications like data entry applications, retail sales application, financial transaction systems, the point of sales terminals, etc.

The OLTP databases usually work on very short but numerous insert, update and delete queries. They generally have 3NF normalization. A real time example could be an ATM machine. Such systems are concurrently updated by thousands or even millions of end users.

OLTP systems usually have a huge number of transactions at regular intervals and it is basically the business processing engine. The data entered using OLTP system is stored in OLTP databases or the data warehouse.

What is an OLAP database?

OLAP is an abbreviation for Online Analytical Processing systems. Unlike OLTP databases, OLAP databases are used for complex SQL queries and fetch data for analysis. They’re queried with multidimensional queries.

OLAP consists of three basic analytical operations viz. Slice and Dice, Drill Down and Drill Up. These operations are generally performed on a well-defined hierarchy.

The OLAP systems comparatively have very fewer queries and are used for business intelligence. It helps to fetch company data and analyze useful information by representing them using various visualizations such as geo-maps, pivot tables, pie charts, vertical tables, line charts, crosstabs, bar charts and much more.


The OLAP systems help with planning, decision-making, business intelligence, predictive analytics and much more. There are different types of OLAP databases such as:

  • Multidimensional OLAP (MOLAP)
  • Hybrid OLAP (HOLAP)
  • Relational OLAP (ROLAP)
  • Real-time OLAP (ROLAP)
  • Web-based OLAP (WOLAP)
  • Desktop-based OLAP (DOLAP)

Let us now see the difference between OLAP and OLTP in tabular form and it will help you compare OLAP and OLTP databases.


OLAP Vs OLTP Databases in Tabular Points

1.OLTP is an abbreviation for Online Transaction Processing.OLAP is an abbreviation for Online Analytical Processing.
2.In short, OLTP is a business processing engine or the back-end engine.In short, OLAP is the reporting engine or the front-end engine.
3.The OLTP involves a huge number of transactions.The OLAP includes a relatively lower number or absolutely zero online transactions.
4.Every OLTP system includes the operational data which indicated that they’re from the origin of the data source.OLAP is basically a consolidated data on top of the OLTP systems.
5.OLTP databases are usually organized using 3NF normalization and are highly normalized.OLAP databases include Star Schema, Snowflake Schema, fact-constellation schema, etc and are denormalized usually.
6.OLTP systems contain only current or transactional data.OLAP systems contain historical data and the operational data is batched into OLAP systems at regular intervals.
7.An OLTP database uses a much smaller disk space comparatively as it contains only operational data.OLAP databases, as they contain historical data usually consume a very large amount of disk space.
8.OLTP databases are usually queried with simple Sequel queries to retrieve, store and update data.OLAP databases are queried with complex Sequel queries for analysis of the data.
9.OLTP databases make use of Entity-Relationship models.OLAP databases make use of dimensional models.
10.OLTP systems are used for insert, update and delete operations and other fundamental business tasks primarily.OLAP databases are used for business planning, business intelligence, problem-solving and decision support tasks.
11.OLTP systems do not use table indexes.OLAP systems use table indexes for fast retrieval of data.
12.The data stored in OLTP databases are heterogeneous and generally spread across multiple tables.The data stored in OLAP databases are homogenous as they’re stored in subject-oriented data marts.
13.OLTP systems are generally faster as compared to OLAP systems.Since there is a huge data for analysis, OLAP systems are usually slower comparatively.
14.OLTP databases are useful in running the business operations.OLAP databases are useful in business analysis and business intelligence.

Let us know if you have any thoughts on the OLAP vs OLTP and their differences. Please mention them in the comment section below.

One thought on “OLAP Vs OLTP – What’s The Difference?

  1. Subhasmita Kar

    In short, OLTP is used to store live data and then after some time, the data is transferred using a batch job into OLAP systems.


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