Originally posted by warba
Could someone explain for me the difference between an olap cube and a pivot table ? Are they not both the same type of mechanism for representing/viewing multi-dimentional data ?
Not really. OLAP databases organize the data into dimensions and levels (rather than rows and columns) within the server, summarizing first, then sending the summary values to your computer. Excel saves the info from the database locally in files called OLAP cubes, which then becomes the source for a PivotTable. Thus, you can think of OLAP cubes as an intermediary between the original data and the resulting PivotTable. BTW, the PivotTable operates differently with OLAP data and Excel lists (or non-OLAP databases).
old, slow, and confused
but at least I'm inconsistent!
So ... this sounds like ... if you have a huge database and you want summaries it sounds like the OLAP method is better (faster) as it does the summarizing (sum, count, etc.) on the server side rather than dragging all the data across the network to the local machine before doing any summary math?