Bill Inmon vs. Ralph Kimball




Data Warehousing > Concepts > Bill Inmon vs. Ralph Kimball

In the data warehousing field, we often hear about discussions on where a person / organization's philosophy falls into Bill Inmon's camp or into Ralph Kimball's camp. We describe below the difference between the two.

Bill Inmon's paradigm: Data warehouse is one part of the overall business intelligence system. An enterprise has one data warehouse, and data marts source their information from the data warehouse. In the data warehouse, information is stored in 3rd normal form.

Ralph Kimball's paradigm: Data warehouse is the conglomerate of all data marts within the enterprise. Information is always stored in the dimensional model.

There is no right or wrong between these two ideas, as they represent different data warehousing philosophies. In reality, the data warehouse systems in most enterprises are closer to Ralph Kimball's idea. This is because most data warehouses started out as a departmental effort, and hence they originated as a data mart. Only when more data marts are built later do they evolve into a data warehouse.





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