What is Data Cube- Advantages; Operations

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Jan 19, 2023

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A data cube is a multi-dimensional data structure that stores the data in a tabular form. The data cube can be used to store any information, from a single column to multiple columns or dimensions.

Each cell in a data cube represents a value that can be calculated using other values stored in other cells of the same dimension. Data cubes are used by companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon to handle vast amounts of data. These companies have millions of users. They need ways to store all this data and make it available for quick retrieval.

Data cubes are used to store large amounts of related data. A single record or row in a database table contains one piece of information. Conversely, a single record or row in a data cube contains multiple pieces of information related to each other through their common attributes.

What is Data Cube?

A data cube is a multidimensional data structure that represents large amounts of data. It consists of a set of measures, dimensions, and hierarchies, which are related to each other in a specific way.

A measure is a numerical value that can be aggregated into groups. In a relational database, you can create a table and define your measures as columns. In an OLAP database, you typically have predefined measures such as Sales Amount or Profit (in thousands).

A dimension is a set of attributes that uniquely identify members of a group. For example, in the analysis of sales by customer location, Customer Location would be one dimension, and Sales Amount would be another.

Hierarchies are ways to arrange related dimensions in order from most specific to most general. Suppose we want to analyze sales by customer location (e.g., North America). In that case, we can use the country as the lowest level and the continent as the highest level of the hierarchy for analysis (e.g., Europe vs. Africa vs. Asia).

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What is Data Cube in Data Warehouse?

Data cubes are a type of OLAP (online analytical processing) cubes that store data in a multi-dimensional structure. The data is stored in the form of dimensions and measures, organized into cells. Dimensional modelling is an important practice for business intelligence and data warehousing professionals to use when creating a data warehouse.

Data cubes can be created using a programming language like SQL (Structured Query Language). However, this is only sometimes practical or possible due to the complexity of the data warehouse and its size. For example, the amount of time required to programmatically create a dimensional model with 500 dimensions and 30 measures would be prohibitively long.

Most business intelligence professionals use tools like Microsoft Excel or PowerPivot for Microsoft Office 365 to build their data cubes manually or semi-automatically. This allows them to quickly create unique views of their data. They do not have to write complex code or execute complex queries that could take hours or days to run on large datasets.

What are the Operations on Data Cube?

Data cubes are a valuable data structure that can store and compute aggregated data. They are used for large-scale analytics and for answering ad hoc queries. Data cubes consist of a set of measures defined on one or more dimensions.

Five basic operations can be performed on data cubes:


Roll-up is a form of aggregation that combines data from multiple dimensions into a single row. For example, you can roll-up sales data by region, country, and city to show total sales for each region. You can also roll-up product category data by year, month, and day to show total sales for each product category.

When you roll up data in a cube, the source dimension values must be preserved for the new fact table value. For example, if you roll up sales data by country and city, both country and city values should be preserved in the new fact table value.


Drill-down is the process of moving from a high-level view of the cube to a lower-level view. This is done by using dimensions as filters in the slicer pane. Drill-down can be used to show more detailed information about a particular record, or it can be used to navigate across multiple records.


A slice is a subset of rows and columns.

In an OLAP cube, each measure is a column, and each dimension is a row. A slice returns only those measures that intersect with the selected dimensions.

For example, if you select Year, Quarter, and State as dimensions, you would get three slices: one for all years, one for Q1-Q3 only, and one for all states.


A dice operation is a special type of discrete cube operation that creates a new cube by combining two cells from two existing cubes using either an inner join or an outer join. In other words, it performs a set-based calculation on multiple cuboids and treats each row from one cuboid as the key and each row from another cuboid as its value.


Pivot is a data summarization operation that takes a multi-dimensional dataset and reduces it into a table with rows and columns. The result is called a pivot table or just a pivot. A pivot table is useful for analyzing large amounts of data, especially when you want to see the same information in different ways.

Advantages of Data Cube

A data cube is a new way to organize and analyze data. It means you can create a data matrix in which each cell contains multiple measures of the same variable. Data cubes are useful for visualizing complex data, for example, sales by customer, product, and region.

Data cubes have many advantages over traditional methods of analysis:

1. Faster analysis

Data cubes are much faster than conventional databases because they don't need to query the database every time they need information. Instead, they use pre-calculated aggregates directly from their structure or cache entries created during previous queries. This allows them to respond immediately without waiting for the slow query execution process, often even before the user has finished typing his request!

2. More informative visualizations

With a data cube, you can create many different types of charts and graphs for each dimension. You can also create additional dimensions to display additional information about your data. For example, if you're analyzing sales figures for different product categories, you could display them in a chart that shows how sales have changed over time. You could add a dimension showing how sales have changed by location (North America vs. Europe vs. Asia). This gives you more insight into how each product category performs than just looking at the overall sales figures.

3. Intuitive navigation in large datasets

The navigational model in a data cube provides users with an intuitive way of navigating through large amounts of data. This is especially true if users want to explore relationships between different dimensions in the cube without using complex SQL queries or pivot tables.

4. Faster query processing

Data cubes allow users to run queries on large amounts of data without having to write complex SQL statements or join tables together manually each time they want a new report. This makes it easier for them to find answers quickly and make better-informed decisions about their businesses or industries.

5. Easier sharing with colleagues

It's common for companies to have multiple departments that need access to the same data. For example, a sales department may need access to customer information, while a marketing department needs access to product information. Data cube technology allows all departments to view the same data without creating separate reports or queries each time they need different slices of information. 

This allows you to centralize your organization's data and make it more easily accessible to all employees.

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Wrapping Up

Data science is an ever-evolving field. As the amount of available data grows, so does the need for professionals who can understand and apply it to real-world problems.

Data Cube is a data structure that allows you to store and analyze multidimensional data easily. It’s a very powerful tool, but it can be difficult to learn if you have no experience with it.

Data science certification programs are designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this growing field. Data science is a hot job market right now, and people who have earned data science certifications are in high demand.

If you want to learn more about data cubes, or other aspects of data science, check out the data science online courses by Star Agile. The programs provide an in-depth look at how data science is used across various industries — from healthcare to business intelligence. It can help you can find employment in a variety of fields.

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