Data Management/Data Warehousing Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing data management and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

  • P

    primary key (primary keyword)

    A primary key, also called a primary keyword, is a column in a relational database table that's distinctive for each record.

  • Q

    query

    A query is a question or a request for information expressed in a formal manner. In computer science, a query is essentially the same thing, the only difference is the answer or retrieved information comes from a database.

  • R

    raw data (source data or atomic data)

    Raw data (sometimes called source data, atomic data or primary data) is data that has not been processed for use.

  • RDBMS (relational database management system)

    A relational database management system (RDBMS) is a collection of programs and capabilities that enable IT teams and others to create, update, administer and otherwise interact with a relational database.

  • relational database

    A relational database is a collection of information that organizes data points with defined relationships for easy access.

  • RFM analysis (recency, frequency, monetary)

    RFM analysis is a marketing technique used to quantitatively rank and group customers based on the recency, frequency and monetary total of their recent transactions to identify the best customers and perform targeted marketing campaigns.

  • S

    schema

    In computer programming, a schema (pronounced SKEE-mah) is the organization or structure for a database, while in artificial intelligence (AI) a schema is a formal expression of an inference rule.

  • semantic technology

    Semantic technology is a set of methods and tools that provide advanced means for categorizing and processing data, as well as for discovering relationships within varied data sets.

  • snowflaking (snowflake schema)

    In data warehousing, snowflaking is a form of dimensional modeling where dimensions are stored in multiple related dimension tables. 

  • sparsity and density

    Sparsity and density are terms used to describe the percentage of cells in a database table that are not populated and populated, respectively. The sum of the sparsity and density should equal 100%.

  • spatial data

    Spatial data is any type of data that directly or indirectly references a specific geographical area or location.

  • SQL Server buffer pool

    An SQL Server buffer pool, also called an SQL Server buffer cache, is a place in system memory that is used for caching table and index data pages as they are modified or read from disk. 

  • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

    SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a SQL Server subsystem that enables the creation of graphical, mobile and printed reports using SQL Server and other data sources.

  • SQL-on-Hadoop

    SQL-on-Hadoop is a class of analytical application tools that combine established SQL-style querying with newer Hadoop data framework elements.

  • star schema

    A star schema is a database organizational structure optimized for use in a data warehouse or business intelligence that uses a single large fact table to store transactional or measured data, and one or more smaller dimensional tables that store attributes about the data.

  • stream processing

    Stream processing is a data management technique that involves ingesting a continuous data stream to quickly analyze, filter, transform or enhance the data in real time.

  • Structured Query Language (SQL)

    Structured Query Language (SQL) is a standardized programming language that is used to manage relational databases and perform various operations on the data in them.

  • T

    T-SQL (Transact-SQL)

    T-SQL (Transact-SQL) is a set of programming extensions from Sybase and Microsoft that add several features to the Structured Query Language (SQL), including transaction control, exception and error handling, row processing and declared variables.

  • TensorFlow

    TensorFlow is an open source framework developed by Google researchers to run machine learning, deep learning and other statistical and predictive analytics workloads.

  • transcription error

    A transcription error is a specific type of data entry error that is commonly made by human operators or by optical character recognition (OCR) programs.

  • tree structure

    A tree data structure is an algorithm for placing and locating files (called records or keys) in a database.

  • U

    U-SQL

    U-SQL is a Microsoft query language that combines a declarative SQL-like syntax with C# programming, enabling it to be used to process both structured and unstructured data in big data environments.

  • USA Patriot Act

    The USA Patriot Act is a law enacted in 2001, granting new and extended data-collection abilities to federal agencies in an effort to combat terrorism after the September 11 attacks.

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