Understanding Inmon Versus Kimball
Terms: Ralph Kimball, Bill Inmon, Data Mart, Data Warehouse
As is well documented, for many years there has been a raging debate between two different philosophies of data warehousing – one proposed by Bill Inmon and another proposed by Ralph Kimball. Bill Inmon proposed a centralized data warehouse with very strong structure, and Ralph Kimball, who promoted decentralized data marts. At Software Decisions, we don’t spend that much time on this topic, however, the topic of data warehousing versus data marts is yet another example of a debate which is been more based upon opinion than based upon research. This is pointed out in the paper Which Data Warehouse Architecture is More Successful.
“Considering the importance of the architecture choice, surprisingly little research on the topic exists. The literature tends to either describe the architectures, provide case-study examples, or present survey data about the popularity of the various options. There has been little rigorous, empirical research, and this motivated us to investigate the success of the various architectures.”
Something we found interesting was that according to the article the most common data warehousing/data mart platforms in the survey were provided by Oracle, Microsoft and IBM – none of which are well rated in our Software Selection Packages. Something, which is further interesting, is that the debate on data warehousing has mirrored so many debates in that opinions and marketing initiatives have come before research and evidence. Its curious that we have so many professors in so many universities globally yet so little research into the most contested areas of information technology. This is by no means a comprehensive conclusion, however, the current BI vendors making the most headway towards user adoption are the BI Light vendors, that can connect to many data sources and the BI Heavy software vendors, many of whom offer data warehousing solutions are growing much more slowly.
Ariyachandra, Thilini. Watson, Hugh J. Which Data Warehouse Architecture is More Successful. Business Intelligence Journal. VOL. 11. NO. 1.