Data Warehousing: Inmon Style and Kimball Style

by Leonardo S
The article I chose for this week is titled “Best Practices in Data Warehousing to Support Business Initiatives and Needs”. The article talks about two different styles used in data warehousing and lists when you would use one versus the other. The first style is the “Bill Inmon Style” which uses a top-down approach. In contrast, the “Ralph Kimball Style” uses a bottom-up approach. The article uses a major U.S. retail company as an example. This company uses the Inmon style simply because it is what fits well for that particular business. This style of data warehousing demands that you have a third-normal form relational format for your data. The Kimball style, on the other hand, requires that you use a multidimensional style arrangement. In the case of this retail company, the application neutral aspect of the Inmon style made it an easy pick.

I picked this article mainly because it delved deeper into data warehousing styles. The comparisons of the Inmon and Kimball style in a real world situation made it seem like a really important topic. The company chose to use the Inmon style because it is what worked best for it. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect for everyone, but it does help give an idea why you would choose one over the other.

I enjoyed reading about this topic because it helped me understand a few older concepts that we talked about in class. Third normal form, for instance, was something that was very important to this retail store. Having data in 3NF helped the business get the summarized reports they were looking for. I liked being able to see all these concepts in use by an actual business.


Lawyer, J.; Chowdhury, S. (2004). Best practices in data warehousing to support business initiatives and needs. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2004.

2 thoughts on “Data Warehousing: Inmon Style and Kimball Style

  • November 25, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    It certainly does put things into perspective when we can apply what we learn in the classroom to real world problems. It’s good to know that there are different types of data warehousing that have their own pros and cons. For a business to run efficiently with their stored data, it is good to have choices on how to do that. I suppose since every business is different, there will always be new ways to do data warehousing.

  • November 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you for this article Leaonardo! I did not know that there were different types of data warehousing and specifically I did not know about inmon and kimball styles (to be honest, I thought your title was at first a play on the recently popular Gangam Style haha). As CIS majors potentially going into the DBMS field, that is incredibly useful information to know. One of my buddies applied to an internship position and was asked on normalizing data as part of his interview. Journals like this definitely serve their purpose in capitalizing on the importance of CIS basics that could potentially be the make or break of a job interview, you never know! Thank you again for the share.

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