What are some basic ways of improving BI performance?

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If you mean the speed at which reports and other types of business intelligence data get to the users, there are several ways to improve that. 

The first option is to aggregate your data; that automatically produces better performance. In addition, you can scale back the amount of data you let users query and analyze. For example, even though you have 10 years of historical data in your data warehouse, only two years might be used for day-to-day analysis, with archived tables for the data from the other eight years. 

A popular approach these days is to use columnar databases vs. traditional databases with a row orientation.  Columnar software typically indexes and compresses data, which can significantly increase performance. 

In-memory analytics is another BI trend that leverages a system's memory cache to load, index and compress data, giving users access to high volumes of data with nearly instant response rates on queries. Those are some of the most common ways of improving BI performance.

This was first published in April 2011

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