What is a Data Mart?

The Definition, Advantages and Disadvantages

A data mart is a subset of a data warehouse.

It is really similar to a data warehouse but limited in scope and purpose and is usually aligned with one department, function, application or business unit.

It could also be defined as a single domain aggregation used for reporting, analysis and decision support. A single domain or subject could be Customer or Supplier.

A mart could be extracted from a data warehouse or could feed a data warehouse.

Example of Use

An example application would be where the marketing department what to some predictive analysis on which sales locations would be best at selling a new line of products.


  1. When you don’t have the full data warehousing expertise available to your company.
  2. It is faster to implement as you are only concentrating on a subset of the data you need for application area.

  1. You can readily end up with a ‘bowl of spaghetti’ with many disparate and unrelated marts. This becomes a nightmare to maintain.
  2. They have limited value as they can’t see the organization as a whole and the reporting and analysis potential is limited.

Return to Top of What is a Data Mart?

Return to Data Warehouse Basics

Return to What is Business Intelligence?