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Online Analytical Processing. OLAP was designed to change the way people use databases for reporting. Instead of running reports against a production system, first a data warehouse is created, usually using a star schema. This reporting warehouse has been optimized to improve the speed in executing queries, whereas most production, transactional systems are built for very fast inserts and updates.

Some OLAP reporting tools are Microstrategy, Brio, Cognos and even SAS.

See also DSS.