A data warehouse is a database designed to enable business intelligence activities: it exists to help users understand and enhance their organization's performance. It is designed for query and analysis rather than for transaction processing, and usually contains historical data derived from transaction data, but can include data from other sources. Data warehouses separate analysis workload from transaction workload and enable an organization to consolidate data from several sources.
In addition to a relational database, a data warehouse environment can include an extraction, transportation, transformation, and loading (ETL) solution, statistical analysis, reporting, data mining capabilities, client analysis tools, and other applications that manage the process of gathering data, transforming it into useful, actionable information, and delivering it to business users.
To achieve the goal of enhanced business intelligence, the data warehouse works with data collected from multiple sources. The source data may come from internally developed systems, purchased applications, third-party data syndicators and other sources. It may involve transactions, production, marketing, human resources and more. In today's world of big data, the data may be many billions of individual clicks on web sites or the massive data streams from sensors built into complex machinery.