Enterprises have been storing multidimensional data, using a star or snowflake schema, in relational databases for many years. Over time, relational database vendors have added optimizations that enhance query performance on these schemas. During the 1990s many special-purpose databases were developed that could handle added calculational complexity and that generally performed better than relational engines. DB2® has added a number of features that make it more competitive with these special-purpose databases. In this paper, we define meta-data extensions that allow designers of multidimensional schemas to describe the structure of those schemas to multidimensional query and analysis tools. The SQL extensions include a “cube” object that returns row sets that are “slices” of the cube. We also describe Web services for OLAP that provide meta-data for multidimensional data, as well as XML (Extensible Markup Language) query results.
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