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Table of contents
What is OLTP(Online Transaction Processing)?
Pros of OLTP
Cons of OLTP
What is OLAP(Online Analytical Processing)?
Pros of OLAP
Cons of OLAP
Difference between OLTP AND OLAP
Frequently Asked Questions
Key Takeaways
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Difference between OLTP and OLAP

Author Divyansh Jain
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DBMS - Database management systems
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OLTP and OLAP are terminologies that appear similar but relate to distinct types of systems. In real-time, online transaction processing (OLTP) collects, stores, and processes data from transactions. Online analytical processing (OLAP) analyses collected historical data from OLTP systems using complicated queries.

These terms are frequently mistaken for one another, so we will see the significant distinctions and similarities between them in this article.

difference between oltp and olap

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What is OLTP(Online Transaction Processing)?

In a three-tier design, online transaction processing enables transaction-oriented applications. OLTP manages an organization's day-to-day operations. OLTP stands for Online Transaction Processing. The primary goal of an OLTP system is to record the latest Update, Insertion, and Deletion while performing a transaction. 

Since OLTP queries are simpler and shorter, they take less time to process and take up less space.

  • The OLTP database is routinely updated. 
  • It is possible that an OLTP transaction will fail in the midst, compromising data integrity. 
  • As a result, it must take great care to ensure data integrity. The tables of an OLTP database must be normalized (3NF).

Example: There are a lot of uses of OLTP in real-time like: 

  • Online banking Transactions.
  • The ACID characteristics are handled by OLTP during data transactions via the application.
  • Used for shopping carts, orders, and text messages in vast applications.

Also See, joins in dbms

Pros of OLTP

  • Larger databases can be supported via OLTP.
  • It is simple to partition data for data manipulation.
  • A minimal number of records are required. 
  • We require OLTP in order to employ the system's commonly performed activities.
  • The tasks include inserting, updating, or deleting data.
  • OLTP provides precise revenue and expense forecasting.
  • The timely updating of all transactions provides a strong foundation for a sustainable business/organisation.

Cons of OLTP

  • OLTP systems do not have adequate mechanisms for sending products to customers.
  • Because of OLTP, the database is far more vulnerable to hackers and intruders.
  • In B2B(Business to Business) transactions, there is a risk that both buyers and suppliers will miss the system's efficiency benefits.
  • A server failure may result in the loss of massive volumes of data from the database.
  • If the OLTP system experiences hardware issues, online transactions suffer greatly.
  • OLTP systems enable several users to view and modify the same data at the same time, which frequently results in an unprecedented situation.
  • If the server lags for a few seconds, a large number of transactions may be impacted.

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What is OLAP(Online Analytical Processing)?

OLAP stands for Online Analytical Processing. The term "online analytical processing" refers to a set of software tools that are used to analyze data in order to make business decisions. OLAP provides a platform for extracting information from a database that is retrieved from several database systems at the same time.

The OLAP database holds historical data that was entered by OLTP. It enables the user to examine several summaries of multidimensional data. OLAP allows you to pull information from a huge Database and analyze it for decision-making purposes.

  • OLAP also enables users to run complicated queries in order to retrieve multidimensional data. 
  • Even if a transaction fails in the middle of an OLTP transaction, data integrity is not compromised since the user is retrieving data from a huge database to analyze using an OLAP system. 
  • Simply re-run the query to extract the data for further analysis.
  • Since OLAP transactions are lengthy, they take a long time to process and take up a lot of space. 
  • OLAP transactions are less frequent than OLTP transactions. OLAP database tables may not be normalized.


Example: Any sort of Data warehouse system is considered an OLAP system. The following are some examples of OLAP applications: 

  • OTT platform’s content-based recommendation engine.
  • Spotify analyzed user tracks to create a customized homepage for their songs and playlists.

Pros of OLAP

  • OLAP serves as the foundation for business modeling tools, data mining tools, and performance reporting systems.
  • Users can slice and dice cube data using a variety of dimensions, measurements, and filters.
  • It's useful for evaluating time series.
  • OLAP makes it simple to identify clusters and outliers.
  • It is a strong online analytical process visualization solution that delivers faster response times.
  • OLAP is a corporate platform that combines planning, analyzing, budgeting, and reporting.
  • One of the crucial advantages of an OLAP cube is that information and calculations are consistent in it.
  • Search the OLAP database for broad or particular terms with ease.

Cons of OLAP

  • A single OLAP cube cannot have a high number of dimensions.
  • The OLAP system cannot access transactional data.
  • Any change to an OLAP cube demands a complete update of the cube. This is a lengthy procedure.
  • Because traditional OLAP systems require a complex modeling approach, implementation and maintenance are the duty of IT professionals which sometimes become hectic.
  • To be efficient, OLAP technologies require collaboration between people from multiple departments, which is not always achievable.

Let's now discuss the difference between them: 

Also See, Multiple Granularity in DBMS

Difference between OLTP AND OLAP

Here are the important differences between OLTP and OLAP:

Parameters OLTP OLAP
General It is an online transactional system that manages database changes. It is a system for retrieving and analyzing data online.
Time In OLTP, the transaction processing time is significantly less. In OLAP, the processing time is considerably longer due to the presence of a large database.
Focus On Inserting, Updating, and Deleting information from the database. Extract data for analysis to aid decision-making.
Normalization The OLTP database's tables are normalized (3NF). The OLAP database's tables are not normalized.
Data The original sources of data are OLTP and its transactions. Various OLTP databases are used as data sources for OLAP.
Integrity Data integrity constraints must be maintained in an OLTP database. The OLAP database is not frequently changed. As a result, data integrity is unaffected.
Transaction Short transactions are common in OLTP. OLAP has long transactions.
Queries Simple queries. Complex queries. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

1 ) What is ETL?

Data from one or even more OLTP databases are imported into OLAP systems via the extract, transform, load (ETL) process (ETL). Users can use an ETL tool to collect data from several sources and deliver it to an endpoint, such as an OLAP data warehouse, where analytics and business intelligence tools can query it for insights.

2 ) How to choose between OLTP and OLAP?

The best system for your situation is determined by your goals. Do you require a centralized platform for business insights? OLAP can assist you in extracting value from massive amounts of data. Do you need to keep track of daily transactions? OLTP is intended to process huge numbers of transactions per second in a timely manner.

3 ) What is an OLAP Cube?

An OLAP Cube is at the heart of the OLAP idea. The OLAP cube is a data structure designed for fast data processing, which allows you to analyze, query, and report on multidimensional data efficiently.

Key Takeaways

So, In order to summarise the article, we learned that OLTP refers to an online data modification system, whereas OLAP refers to an online historical multidimensional data recovery system that retrieves data for analysis to aid in decision making. Which one to utilize depends on the user's needs as both serve various functions. Hope you learned something. But the knowledge never stops, so to better understand the Database management system, you can go through many articles on our platform. Don't stop here, Ninja; check out the Top 100 SQL Problems to get hands-on experience with frequently asked interview questions and land your dream job.

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