Designing Snowflake Schema

Snowflake Schema:

A snowflake schema is a term that describes a star schema structure normalized through the use of outrigger tables. i.e dimension table hierarchies are broken into simpler tables.

In Star Schema example we had 4 dimensions like location, product, time, organization and a fact table (sales).

In Snowflake schema, the example diagram shown below has 4 dimension tables, 4 lookup tables and 1 fact table. The reason is that hierarchies(category, branch, state, and month) are being broken out of the dimension tables(PRODUCT, ORGANIZATION, LOCATION, and TIME) respectively and shown separately. In OLAP, this Snowflake schema approach increases the number of joins and poor performance in retrieval of data. In few organizations, they try to normalize the dimension tables to save space. Since dimension tables hold less space, Snowflake schema approach may be avoided.

Example of Snowflake Schema:

Example of Snowflake Schema


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