OLTP (online transactional processing) enables the rapid, accurate data processing behind ATMs and online banking, cash registers and ecommerce, and scores of other services we interact with each day.
OLTP, or online transactional processing, enables the real-time execution of large numbers of database transactions by large numbers of people, typically over the internet.
A database transaction is a change, insertion, deletion, or query of data in a database. OLTP systems (and the database transactions they enable) drive many of the financial transactions we make every day, including online banking and ATM transactions, e-commerce and in-store purchases, and hotel and airline bookings, to name a very few. In each of these cases, the database transaction also remains as a record of the corresponding financial transaction. OLTP can also drive non-financial database exchanges, including password changes and text messages.
In OLTP, the common, defining characteristic of any database transaction is its atomicity (or indivisibility)—a transaction either succeeds as a whole or fails (or is canceled). It cannot remain in a pending or intermediate state.
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In general, OLTP systems do the following:
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OLTP is often confused with online analytical processing, or OLAP. Both have similar acronyms and are online data processing systems, but that's where the similarity ends.
OLTP is optimized for executing online database transactions. OLTP systems are designed for use by frontline workers (e.g., cashiers, bank tellers, part desk clerks) or for customer self-service applications (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, travel reservations).
OLAP, on the other hand, is optimized for conducting complex data analysis. OLAP systems are designed for use by data scientists, business analysts, and knowledge workers, and they support business intelligence (BI), data mining, and other decision support applications.
Not surprisingly, there are several distinct technical differences OLTP and OLAP systems:
It's worth noting OLTP systems often serve as a source of information for OLAP systems. And often, the goal of the analytics performed using OLAP is to improve business strategy and optimize business processes, which can provide a basis for making improvements to the OLTP system.
For a deep dive into the differences between these approaches, check out "OLAP vs. OLTP: What's the Difference?"
Since the inception of the internet and the e-commerce era, OLTP systems have grown ubiquitous. They’re found in nearly every industry or vertical market and in many consumer-facing systems. Everyday examples of OLTP systems include the following:
IBM’s pioneering transaction-oriented application management software quickly became the industry standard during the mainframe era. Today, IBM offers enterprise-class data management solutions that are AI-driven, designed for cloud native architectures and optimized for transactional workloads.
IBM Db2 is a relational, multi-modal database that delivers advanced data management and analytics capabilities for both structured and unstructured data and a broad array of workloads, including OLTP. In essence, Db2 enables enterprises to perform OLAP queries directly on a transactional database that’s optimized for use in production systems, combining the benefits of OLTP and OLAP databases into one high-performing and efficient data store.
IBM Informix is a scalable, embeddable database with self-managing capabilities, optimized for OLTP and Internet of Things (IoT) data. Versatility and ease of use make Informix a preferred solution for a wide range of environments, from enterprise data warehouses to individual application development.
In addition, IBM Cloud Pak for Data enables organizations to integrate data from across their hybrid and multicloud environments into a comprehensive and intelligent platform that modernizes their use of data analytics across the entire organization. This open, extensible, data and AI platform will run anywhere, making data-driven insights available to empower decision-makers and accelerate innovation.
To learn more about how IBM Cloud can provide a foundation for high-performing customer-facing business applications, sign up for a free IBM Cloud account today.