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Difference between Operational Data Store (ODS) and InfoCube

Updated Aug 18, 2023

In this article, we will learn about the key differences between Operational Data Store (ODS) and InfoCube (IC) in SAP BW (Business Warehouse).

ODS and Data Warehousing

An Operational Data Store (ODS) is a data store designed for storing data at a granular level with overwriting capability. Data in ODS is organized in two-dimensional tables.

  • ODS serves as an intermediate storage area for operational data within the data warehouse. It contains highly granular data and is based on flat tables.
  • ODS objects are used to upload control data for update or transfer routines, providing an option for data retrieval.

InfoCube and Multidimensional Data

InfoCube is based on multidimensional modeling, allowing reporting on different dimensions. Data is stored in an aggregated form without overwriting capability, enabling multidimensional reporting and analysis.

  • InfoCube is a multidimensional data container for analysis and reporting. It follows a star schema with a fact table and associated dimension tables.
  • Common dimensions in InfoCubes include unit and time. They consist of various types like basic and remote InfoCubes.

Key Differences ODS vs IC

  • ODS is used for consolidating data and typically contains detailed data.
  • InfoCubes are optimized for reporting, offering performance-enhancing options like aggregates and compression.
  • ODS allows overwriting or adding single records, while InfoCubes only add records without replacing them.
  • InfoCubes supports reporting and analysis on multiple dimensions.
  • ODS can have up to 16 info objects as key fields, while InfoCubes have a star schema structure with fact and dimension tables.


In summary, ODS and InfoCube serve distinct purposes within data warehousing. ODS is suited for operational data storage and detail reporting, while InfoCube facilitates multidimensional analysis and reporting based on aggregated data.