Online Analytical Processing. OLAP allows users to analyze database information (usually historical data) from multiple database systems at one time. Instead of providing data in a multi-dimensional (row and column) format, OLAP data is multidimensional, thereby facilitating the grouping, summarization and comparison of data in various ways. Such reports include, for example, comparing purchases in Q1 to purchases in Q2 to purchases of a branch in another country in Q1. These reports provide business managers with data required for trend analysis and decision making.
Online Transaction Processing. OLTP allows real-time processing of SQL transactions, in order to support CRM, ERP, and other time-critical applications. OLTP is characterized by high rates of index lookups, single row modifications, and frequent commits.
Because real-time transaction processing is being increasingly carried out on a network, and can include more than one company, OLTP databases use client/Server processing and allow transactions to run on different computer platforms in a network.