How to Design and Document a Dimensional Model 459 in Software

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18 How to Design and Document a Dimensional Model 459
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Item Column Data Type Size Column Type
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Description Name of the column Data type of column Column size in bytes Type of column
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Notes Follow standards for the naming of keys, flags, codes, and short vs. long versions of descriptions. Include precision/scale for numeric data. Used for row size estimation and planning growth. Use standard abbreviations: SK (surrogate key), NK (natural key), 1 or 2 (type 1/type 2 dimension), HK (housekeeping column). Also note type 3 pairs and hybrid pairs. May serve as source for help text or data dictionary. Clarifies the content of the attribute: especially useful with flags, codes vs. descriptions, and so on. Source element and transformation rule may be repeated for some multi-source dimensions (once for each source). The rule operates on the source element. Pseudo-code or SQL fragments are used. If processing is complex, requires special lookups, or otherwise requires additional information. Refer to the following table-level processing rules.
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Definition Example Data Source Element(s) Transformation Rule
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Business description of the column One or more example values Source table/column or file/field Indicates rules used to construct the dimension value
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Table 18-4
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Detailed Documentation: Dimension Tables, Column-Level
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Item Sources
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Description Lists source systems
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Notes Sources may be assigned standard abbreviations and will have appeared in the source element field of column-level documentation. For relational sources, describes how source tables are joined together; for other sources, describes the necessary sort/merge/filter processing. For some dimensions, it may be necessary to identify a load strategy. Describe special pre- or post-processing, conditional rules, or complex logic. Use pseudo-code if necessary. This includes a description of who is allowed to see data in the column, and also highlights any data subject to mandated confidentiality. Examples include daily, weekly, or real time.
Relationships
Relationships among source tables or systems Load requirements for the table that could not be defined at the column level Lists any significant security considerations for the table Indicates how often the fact table is updated Number of rows expected upon implementation Estimated number of new rows each year
Processing Rules
Security Requirements Load Interval Initial Rows Annual Growth
Table 18-5
Used for capacity planning.
Detailed Documentation: Dimension Tables, Table-Level
Part VI
Used for capacity planning.
PART VI
Tools and Documentation
If intermediate tables are included in the documentation, process flow diagrams depicting phases of the load may also be useful.
Fact Table Detail
Like the dimension tables, the detailed design specifications for each fact table are made up of two parts. The first part is a spreadsheet-style table with one row for each attribute in the table. Columns provide the documentation elements described in Table 18-6. The second part depicts table-level characteristics described in Table 18-7. When transactions come from multiple sources, it will be necessary to expand on this format. The source element and transformation rules can be repeated, once for each data source. For fact tables such as periodic snapshots and accumulating snapshots, processing logic may be complex. For example, when an accumulating snapshot includes milestones that may be achieved more than once, the logic required to choose which date to use may require multiple passes through the data set. Information like this, which cannot be succinctly conveyed on a row-by-row basis, may be described at the table level using pseudo-code. Table-level specifications provide information that does not pertain to a specific column. This includes information about the relationships between the various source systems, any pseudo-code necessary to indicate how to filter the source data, and other processing logic that cannot be expressed at the column level.
Item Column Data Type Size Column Type
Description Name of the column Data type of column Column size in bytes Type of column
Notes Choose descriptive names and follow standards. Include precision/scale for numeric data. Used for row size estimation and planning growth. Use standard abbreviations such as: FK (foreign key reference to dimension table), Fact, DD (degenerate dimension), and HK (housekeeping column). May serve as source for help text or data dictionary. Clarifies the content of the attribute, especially useful with degenerate dimensions. Source element and transformation rule may be repeated for some multi-source dimensions (once for each source). The rule operates on the source element. For foreign key columns, this includes reference to the natural keys that accompany source data.
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