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What is an Enterprise Data Warehouse?

Author: Chip Hartney (The Datamology Company)

First written: Long ago

Last updated: January 15, 2024


Abstract 1

Definition. 1

Goals. 1



In this article, I share my definition of an enterprise data warehouse (which I believe is commonly agreed upon by industry practitioners).


An enterprise data warehouse (EDW) is a collection of data assets that support a business's enterprise-level decision-making processes.

Traditionally, an EDW is:

        Subject-oriented: Organized by subjects relevant to the business.

        Integrated: Combines data from conflicting and disparate sources into useful data assets.

        Non-volatile: Provides consistent results across system time.

        Time-variant: Represents reality across business time.

I remember this with the unoriginal and admittedly unintuitive acronym of SINT.


The industry-accepted goals of a data warehouse include:

        Data from across the enterprise (and beyond) is integrated into a single version of the truth.

        The data is organized in a subject-oriented manner that is meaningful to the org.

        Data values are captured as they change over time to support time-based analysis.

        The history of the data changes is non-volatile to maintain consistency in reporting.

        Data is maintained at a sufficiently granular form to enable any future reporting needs.

        Data lineage is clear and auditable.

        The architecture is scalable.

        Changes to the data warehouse can be made in an agile manner.

        Metadata is available to aid consumers of the data.