Multidimensional Database


A multidimensional database is a type of database optimized for data warehousing and online analytical processing (OLAP) tasks. It stores data in a multidimensional structure, allowing for efficient querying and analysis of large datasets. This structure enables rapid computing and aggregation of information, providing users with a faster and more intuitive way to analyze and explore data.

Key Takeaways

  1. Multidimensional databases store data in a multidimensional format, making it easier to analyze complex data from multiple perspectives and hierarchies.
  2. These databases utilize a data model known as the “cube” or “OLAP cube,” which optimizes data querying and retrieval, resulting in improved performance for business intelligence and data analysis applications.
  3. Multidimensional databases support advanced analytical functions, such as trend analysis, data mining, and forecasting, making them a valuable tool for decision-making processes in various industries.


The term Multidimensional Database is important because it represents a specialized type of database management system designed for efficient storage and retrieval of data in multiple dimensions.

This enables businesses and organizations to analyze large volumes of complex data, thereby allowing them to uncover hidden patterns, trends, or relationships that may not be readily apparent in traditional relational databases.

Multidimensional databases thrive in scenarios where data analysis is critical, such as in business intelligence, data warehousing, and data analytics applications.

By providing faster and more intuitive decision-making capabilities, this technology fuels data-driven strategies that ultimately enhance operational efficiency, support informed decision-making, and drive overall business growth.


Multidimensional databases serve as a vital component in effectively analyzing and processing large volumes of complex data in various industries, offering a more dynamic and efficient approach than traditional databases. Their key purpose lies in delivering rapid and advanced data query and analysis capabilities, supporting the rapid discovery of patterns, correlations, and trends in complex datasets.

Multidimensional databases, as the name suggests, allow data to be organized and accessed along multiple dimensions or aspects, which is especially useful in applications like data warehousing and business intelligence systems. This unique structure empowers analysts, decision-makers, and data-driven professionals to explore interrelated factors and make well-informed decisions quickly.

The inherent strength of multidimensional databases lies in their ability to smoothly handle vast amounts of data generated from various sources, such as retail sales, financial transactions, IoT devices, and social media channels. By incorporating the concept of data cubes and utilizing hierarchical structures, multidimensional databases offer enhanced analytical processing capabilities through efficient querying, slicing, drilling, and pivoting of data.

This allows users to not only investigate their data from various angles but also drill down into the deeper layers to gain valuable insights. As a result, organizations adopting multidimensional databases can significantly improve their bottom line by streamlining business operations, optimizing resource utilization, and identifying hidden opportunities based on the in-depth analysis of their data.

Examples of Multidimensional Database

A multidimensional database (MDB) is a type of database that is optimized for data warehouse and online analytical processing (OLAP) applications. These databases are designed to handle complex data queries and analysis more efficiently than traditional relational databases. Here are three real-world examples of multidimensional databases:

IBM Cognos TM1: IBM Cognos TM1 is an enterprise-wide multidimensional database and analytics platform that is utilized by businesses for budgeting, forecasting, and analytics purposes. TM1 provides advanced data storage, modeling, and calculation capabilities, allowing organizations to analyze large volumes of complex data and make better informed decisions.

Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS): SSAS is a multidimensional database engine included with Microsoft SQL Server. It is designed to support the development and implementation of OLAP applications for business intelligence and data analysis. SSAS supports both multidimensional and tabular data models, providing powerful data mining and analytics capabilities for businesses using Microsoft technology stack.

Oracle Essbase: Oracle Essbase is another popular multidimensional database platform that has been widely used in various industries for planning, budgeting, and forecasting tasks. Essbase stands for “Extended SpreadSheet DataBase” and is particularly well-suited for managing financial and performance data. The platform allows organizations to quickly analyze vast amounts of data across multiple dimensions, such as time, geography, and business units, empowering them to make more strategic decisions.

FAQ: Multidimensional Database

What is a Multidimensional Database?

A multidimensional database (MDDB) is a type of database that is optimized to handle complex data queries and enable fast retrieval of data. It stores data in a multidimensional structure, allowing the representation of complex relationships and hierarchies within data. MDDBs are commonly used in online analytical processing (OLAP) and data warehousing applications.

How does a Multidimensional Database differ from a Relational Database?

A relational database organizes data in tables with rows and columns, while a multidimensional database stores data in a multidimensional structure, typically as an array with multiple dimensions. The multidimensional structure allows for more efficient storage and retrieval of data, as well as better querying and analysis capabilities. This makes MDDBs particularly suited for handling large volumes of data and complex analytical tasks, whereas relational databases are generally more applicable for transactional processing.

What are some advantages of using a Multidimensional Database?

Some advantages of using a multidimensional database include:
1. Improved query performance: MDDBs are designed for fast data retrieval, enabling users to access and analyze large data sets quickly.
2. Simplified data modeling: With a multidimensional data model, it is easier to represent complex relationships and hierarchies.
3. Enhanced data analysis: The multi-dimensional structure enables users to perform complex analytics and explore data in multiple dimensions.
4. Data aggregation: MDDBs can efficiently store and manage aggregated data, providing insights at various levels of detail.

What are some common use cases for a Multidimensional Database?

Common use cases for a multidimensional database include:
1. Online analytical processing (OLAP): MDDBs are frequently used in OLAP applications to support interactive data analysis and complex queries.
2. Data warehousing: MDDBs can store, manage, and facilitate quick access to large volumes of data in a data warehouse.
3. Business intelligence and reporting: MDDBs provide the ability to analyze and report on multi-dimensional data, making it easier to identify patterns, trends, and insights.
4. Financial analysis and forecasting: MDDBs can be used to model, analyze, and forecast financial data, helping organizations make data-driven decisions.

What languages and tools can be used to work with Multidimensional Databases?

There are several languages and tools used to interact with multidimensional databases, including:
1. SQL (Structured Query Language): An industry-standard language for querying and managing databases, including MDDBs.
2. MDX (Multidimensional Expressions): A language specifically designed for querying and manipulating multidimensional data.
3. XMLA (XML for Analysis): A standard XML-based protocol for accessing and manipulating OLAP and multidimensional data.
4. Analytical tools: Various third-party tools, such as Microsoft Excel, Tableau, and QlikView, can be used to visualize and analyze data stored in a multidimensional database.

Related Technology Terms

  • OLAP (Online Analytical Processing)
  • Data Cube
  • Star Schema
  • Snowflake Schema
  • Dimensional Modeling

Sources for More Information

  • IBM – International Business Machines Corporation is a leading provider of technology products and services, including databases. They have information on multidimensional databases and related technologies.
  • Oracle – Oracle Corporation is a technology company specializing in database management systems and other software products. Their website features information on multidimensional databases and their applications.
  • Microsoft – Microsoft Corporation is a technology company offering a wide range of software solutions, including database management systems. Their website has extensive information on multidimensional databases, such as SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS).
  • ScienceDirect – ScienceDirect is an online platform that provides access to high-quality research articles, including those related to multidimensional databases and other technology topics, from trusted publishers and peer-reviewed journals.

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