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Difference between OLTP and OLAP | Compare OLTP vs OLAP

This page compares OLTP vs OLAP and mentions difference between OLTP and OLAP.

OLTP stands for Online Transaction Processing and OLAP stands for Online Analytical Processing. The OLTP systems have day to day transaction data which keeps changing e.g. R/3 or other database.

The best example of OLTP system is ATM machine as shown in the figure-1 below. In ATM, transactions happen everyday and data will be stored in the system called OLTP. From the OLTP, the data is sent to OLAP system. From data stored in the OLAP, we will create the reports.

OLTP and OLAP Example

OLTP vs OLAP example

OLTP system collects the data from day to day transactions in ATM machine. Hence it contains current or present transactional data. OLTP will be sending these information to the OLAP system. The OLAP system does not contain present data but it contains historical or old data. OLAP data is being analyzed in order to generate reports.

Generally in a business organization, the activities are divided into two parts viz. online transaction processing and online analytical processing. The daily activities are collected and created which falls under OLTP. These activities are stored in the database known as data warehouse. Hence it contains old or historical data. These systems are known as OLAP.

The data stored in the OLAP systems are used for analysis purpose. OLAP systems are explored in data mining domain for various applications. The input to OLAP systems come from OLTP systems. Following table summarize difference between OLTP and OLAP systems.


Features OLTP OLAP
Full form Online Transaction Processing Online Analytical Processing
Characterization large number of short transactions onlie low volume of transactions
Statements used Insert, Update, Delete Select
Database type Normalized, (should be fast) De-normalized
Number of tables More Less
Number of Indices or Indexes Limited More
Type of system or source of data Source System (data origination point, OLTPs are main source of data) Target System (data to OLAP comes from OLTP databases)
Used by whom? End users Business Analysis
Function day to day transaction data analyzed data/reporting
Queries simple, which returns in few records complex, which involves aggregations
Processing speed or latency Usually very fast It depends on amount of data, can be few seconds to hours
Space Small Large due to aggregate data structures and historical data

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