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OLAP systems have been traditionally categorized using the following taxonomy.
'MOLAP' is the 'classic' form of OLAP and is sometimes referred to as just OLAP. MOLAP stores this data in an optimized multi-dimensional array storage, rather than in a relational database. Therefore it requires the pre-computation and storage of information in the cube - the operation known as processing.
ROLAP works directly with relational databases. The base data and the dimension tables are stored as relational tables and new tables are created to hold the aggregated information. Depends on a specialized schema design.This methodology relies on manipulating the data stored in the relational database to give the appearance of traditional OLAP's slicing and dicing functionality. In essence, each action of slicing and dicing is equivalent to adding a "WHERE" clause in the SQL statement.
There is no clear agreement across the industry as to what constitutes "Hybrid OLAP", except that a database will divide data between relational and specialized storage. For example, for some vendors, a HOLAP database will use relational tables to hold the larger quantities of detailed data, and use specialized storage for at least some aspects of the smaller quantities of more-aggregate or less-detailed data.
Each type has certain benefits, although there is disagreement about the specifics of the benefits between providers.
The following acronyms are also sometimes used, although they are not as widespread as the ones above: