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Difference between OLAP and OLTP with Comparison Chart

Updated Jan 15, 2020

This article throws light on the definitions of OLAP and OLTP. OLAP stands for online analytical processing and OLTP stands for online transaction processing. It also helps readers know about the difference between olap and oltp and examples pertaining to the same.


Head to Head Comparison

Basis of Differentiation OLTP OLAP
Process Oltp refers to an online transactional system. These systems are used for the management of database modifications. Olap systems are useful for online analysis and data retrieval processes.
Characteristic Comprises of numerous short online transactions. Comprises of large quantities of data.
Functionality The oltp system is used for online database modifications. Olap systems are designed to function as online database query management systems.
Method Oltp makes use of traditional DBMS. Olap makes use of a data warehouse to perform.
Query Queries information to update, insert and delete data from a given database. Mostly queries the select operations.
Tables Oltp databases contain normalized databases. The tables contained by olap databases are not normalized.
Source The data sources in oltp systems comprise of OLTP and their transactions. The sources of data in olap systems comprise of different OLTP databases.
Data Integrity OLTP databases have to maintain the data integrity constraints. As OLAP databases do not get modified frequently, data integrity does not serve to be an issue in them.  
Response time The response time of oltp systems is in milliseconds. The response time of olap systems is in seconds to minutes
Data quality The data available in OLTP databases/ processes is always organized and detailed. The data available in olap processes may not be organized at all times.
Utility These systems are useful for controlling and running different types of fundamental business tasks. Olap systems are very helpful with planning, decision support and problem-solving.
Operations Permits both read/write operations. Olap systems are used for read operations and rarely write.
Target audience Oltp caters via market orientated processes. Olap takes care of customer orientated processes.
Type of query The queries in oltp systems are simple and standardized. The queries pertaining to olap systems involve aggregations that are generally complex in nature.
Back-up An oltp system provides complete backup of all data in combination with incremental backups. Olap systems require timely backup only. The need for back-up in their case is not as important as in the case of oltp systems.
Database design DB design is mostly application oriented. For instance, the design changes with different industry verticals like banking, airlines, retail, etc.  DB design is generally subject oriented. For instances, database design changes comprising of subjects like purchasing, sales, marketing, etc.  
User type Oltp is useful for data critical users of the likes of clerks, Data Base and DBA professionals. Useful for most data knowledge users of the kinds of workers, managers, CEOs, etc.  
Objective Oltps are designed for taking care of real time business operations. Olap systems are designed for the analysis of business measures in terms of category and attributes.  
Performance metric In oltp, transaction throughput serves to be the key performance metric. Query throughput serves as the main performance metric in olap systems.  
Number of users Thousands of users can access oltp databases. Only hundreds of users are capable of using olap databases.
Productivity Helps in increasing the productivity and self-service capabilities of users. Increases the efficiency and productivity of business analysts.
Challenges Historically, data warehouses have been built as costly, development projects. OLAP cubes are not the same as open SQL server data warehouses. Given this, the knowledge and experience of trained professionals is required for the management of OLAP servers.
Process Oltp systems offer fast results for the sake of daily used data. Olap systems ensure that the response provided to queries is always quicker.  
Basic trait Oltps are easy to build and maintain. Allows users to create views with the aid of spreadsheets.
Style An oltp is designed for low data redundancy, fast response time, and is normalized. As a data warehouse is built uniquely it is capable of integrating different data sources for the cause of building consolidated databases.

What is OLAP?

Online Analytical Processing or OLAP refers to a specific category of software tools that come in handy for analyzing data for the cause of facilitating business decisions. As per olap definition, OLAP based systems are equipped to help users analyze database specific information from different, and more than one, database systems at any given point of time. The primary objective of integrating OLAP systems is data analysis rather than data processing

OLAP Example

The main example of an OLAP system can be attributed to any data warehousing system. The primary usage of OLAP can be explained as:

  • Company XYZ may want to compare its sale of computers in the month of November with that in December. Thereafter, it may want to compare the results with similar sales figure results belonging to another location; the data for which has to be extracted from a separate olap database.
  • Amazon India keeps analyzing the purchase habits of its customers to showcase a personalized homepage containing products that are likely to interest them and influence future purchases.

Advantage & Disadvantage of using OLAP services


  • The primary benefit of OLAP lies in its consistency of computations and accuracy of information.
  • An olap system offers a singular platform for taking care of all kinds of business analytical needs. These include and are not limited to planning, analysis, budgeting and forecasting.
  • OLAP systems apply security restrictions with great convenience on objects and users. This is done with a view of complying with laid-down regulations as well as protecting sensitive data.


  • The overall implementation, management and maintenance of olap systems is dependent on IT professionals. This is because traditional OLAP tools need cumbersome modeling procedures to perform fitfully.
  • OLAP tools require consistent and seamless cooperation between people belonging to various departments for their effective performance. This may not be possible at all times.

What is OLTP?

Online transaction processing or OLTP systems are designed to support transaction-oriented applications related to 3-tier architecture. Data processing, rather than data analysis, is the primary objective of installing oltp systems in an any organization. The oltp definition will be incomplete without mentioning that such systems are very useful for administering day to day transactions of small and big companies alike.

OLTP Example

An ATM center is a sound example of an oltp system. To cite an instance, assume that two joint holders of a single account choose to reach different ATMs at precisely the same time. They wish to withdraw the entire permissible amount present in their account. OLTP systems are well-optimized for transactional accuracy and superiority. As data analysis is not a primary objective for them, the account holder who performs the authentication process before the other gets the money. The oltp system in place at the ATM will also ensure that the amount so withdrawn is not more than the total amount deposited in the account.

Some other instance of oltp systems are:

  1. Online banking
  2. Sending of text-based messages
  3. Booking of flight tickets online
  4. Adding products to a shopping cart
  5. Order entries, etc.

Advantage & Disadvantage of using OLTP services


  1. Oltp systems are capable of administering the day-to-day transactions of organizations.
  2. They widen and increase the customer base of organizations by making individual processes more simplified.


  1. In case of a hardware failure in the OLTP system, the online transactions will get affected very severely and adversely.
  2. An oltp system helps multiple users’ access, use and alter the same data at any specific point of time. This may lead to unprecedented issues and complications.


  • Online Analytical Processing or OLAP is a set of software tools used for the analysis of data stored in databases.
  • OLTP definition refers to online transaction processing acting as a support for transaction-oriented applications when applied to 3-tier architecture.
  • OLAP offers a singular platform for different business analysis needs including forecasting, planning, budgeting and analysis.
  • OLTP systems come in handy for administering day to day transactions of organizations.
  • Olaps are characterized by big volumes of data while oltp systems comprise of numerous short online transactions.
  • Data warehouses are created uniquely for integrating different data sources for the cause of developing consolidated databases.

In case you have any other basis of distinction for oltp vs olap then do drop a line in the Comments section below. We will wait to hear from you.