News Stay informed about the latest enterprise technology news and product updates.

The different types of operational data stores

What are the differences between an enterprise ODS and an e-business Web-based ODS?

This article originally appeared on the BeyeNETWORK.

For years now, the corporate information factory has recognized the operational data store (ODS) as a major component. The operational data store is the place where there is the possibility of online transaction processing (OLTP) response times. The operational data store is where operational data can be integrated and where both online processing and decision support system (DSS) analytical processing can be combined.

Called by various names such as real-time data warehousing and online data warehousing, the ODS is as ubiquitous as the data warehouse.

However, there is another kind of ODS that occasionally appears in the corporate information factory, and that operational data store is found in the Web processing environment. When an organization has a large Web-based environment, it is common to have an ODS whose sole purpose is the care and feeding of the Web-based e-business environment.

There are then two different kinds of ODSs that are sometimes found in the corporate information factory – an enterprise ODS and an e-business Web-based ODS.

What are the differences between these two different kinds of ODSs?

The first and most obvious difference is that of the architectural positioning of the two different kinds of ODSs. The enterprise operational data store is open to and serves the entire enterprise. Data from all different systems and different networks have access to the enterprise ODS. The e-business ODS has access to only the immediate Web site and traffic and data coming off of the Web. 

As an example of the differences between these two architectural placements, consider the contents of an enterprise ODS. The enterprise operational data store might have such things as:

  • Enterprise customer lists.
  • Enterprise customer profiles.
  • Data used across the enterprise. 

In short, anything found inside the enterprise is subject to being found inside the enterprise ODS. 

Now consider what might be found in the e-business ODS. In the e-business ODS, there might be things such as: 

  • The relation between a cookie and other identifying information about a person using the Web environment.
  • When a person last visited a Web site.
  • The preferences of the person using the e-business Web site, based on past proclivities.
  • Promotions and special offers made to viewers of the Internet.

It is obvious that these types of ODSs are very different, and both serve different needs of the enterprise.


Bill Inmon is universally recognized as the father of the data warehouse. He has more than 36 years of database technology management experience and data warehouse design expertise. He has published more than 40 books and 1,000 articles on data warehousing and data management, and his books have been translated into nine languages. He is known globally for his data warehouse development seminars and has been a keynote speaker for many major computing associations.

Dig Deeper on Operational business intelligence