barcode vb.net 2010 Snapshot Considerations in Software

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Snapshot Considerations
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Despite the difficulties it presents in an ad hoc query environment, the snapshot fact table design can be a powerful tool. It may be useful to provide both transaction and snapshot representations of the same process; like two sides of the same coin, these models provide different and valuable perspectives of the same activities. The snapshot need not be limited to containing facts for balances or levels; these may be supplemented with other facts, most of which will be fully additive. Careful attention must be paid to the impact of slowly changing dimensions when it comes to snapshots. Schema designers and ETL developers must be cognizant of these impacts.
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Pairing Transaction and Snapshot Designs
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Transaction versus snapshot is not an either/or decision. The snapshot and transaction models reflect two aspects of the same process. The transaction model allows detailed analysis of the process activities, placing them in a rich dimensional context. The snapshot model sacrifices some detail, but allows flexible and powerful analysis of the effect of the transactions. Each provides a different but important form of analysis, and many implementations will include both. In the case of the banking example, the transaction model from Figure 11-1 allows a close study of banking activities. Transactions can be studied by type, branch, teller, primary account holder, and so forth. Each of these dimensions includes a wide variety of attributes that can be used to further shed light on the activities that make up the account management process. The snapshot model in Figure 11-2 provides a different, but equally important, view of this process, allowing analysis of balances across a slightly smaller set of dimensions. Since the snapshot samples the day-end balance, dimensions associated with individual transactions are not included. These include the transaction type, teller, branch where the transaction took place, and degenerate dimension identifying a specific transaction. When a design will include both a transaction fact table and a periodic snapshot, the snapshot can and should be designed to use the transaction fact table as its data source. This eliminates what would otherwise be duplicative ETL processing of the source data, both for the transactions as well as for the associated dimensions. It also ensures that dimensional data will be identified and loaded consistently. TIP Transaction and snapshot models tend to complement each other nicely. If both are to be built, design the snapshot to use the transaction star as its data source. Notice that it is not usually possible to do the reverse construct transactions from snapshots. If you have any doubts about this assertion, refer back to Figure 11-3. You will see, for example, that there is a group of days during which a particular account has the same balance: February 3 6. It is not possible to tell from the snapshot whether there was
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Is a Snapshot an Aggregate
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Students of dimensional design often ask if the snapshot model can be considered an aggregate of the transaction model. The answer is both yes and no. Clearly, a snapshot can be created using the transactional data as its source. For some periods, it may be necessary to factor in several transactions. In this sense, the snapshot is an aggregate. The term aggregate, however, is reserved for a particular form of summarization one that contains exactly the same facts as the original star. This concept will be explored in full detail in 15. In the case of a snapshot, the facts are decidedly different from the transaction star. In this sense, the snapshot is not a pure aggregate; it more closely fits the definition of a derived table, as described in 14. From a purely pragmatic perspective, then, you may call a snapshot whatever you like. It certainly aggregates data, and you can think of it as a summary or aggregate if you like. If you do, be sure not to confuse its capabilities with those of the aggregate stars described in 15, which answer exactly the same questions as their source stars.
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