Ralph Kimball (born July 18, 1944[1]) is an author on the subject of data warehousing and business intelligence. He is one of the original architects of data warehousing and is known for long-term convictions that data warehouses must be designed to be understandable and fast.[2][3] His bottom-up methodology, also known as dimensional modeling or the Kimball methodology, is one of the two main data warehousing methodologies alongside Bill Inmon.[2][3]

He is the principal author of the best-selling[4] books The Data Warehouse Toolkit (1996),[5] The Data Warehouse Lifecycle Toolkit (1998), The Data Warehouse ETL Toolkit (2004) and The Kimball Group Reader (2015), published by Wiley and Sons.


After receiving a Ph.D.[4] in 1973 from Stanford University in electrical engineering (specializing in man-machine systems), Ralph joined the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). At PARC Ralph was a principal designer of the Xerox Star Workstation, the first commercial product to use mice, icons and windows.

Kimball then became vice president of applications at Metaphor Computer Systems, a decision support software and services provider. He developed the Capsule Facility in 1982. The Capsule was a graphical programming technique which connected icons together in a logical flow, allowing a very visual style of programming for non-programmers. The Capsule was used to build reporting and analysis applications at Metaphor.

Kimball founded Red Brick Systems in 1986, serving as CEO until 1992. The company was acquired by Informix, which is now owned by IBM.[6] Red Brick was known for its relational database optimized for data warehousing. Their claim to fame was the use of bit-map Indexes in order to achieve performance gains that amounted to almost 10 times that of other Database vendors at that time.

Since 1992, Kimball has provided data warehouse consulting and education through various companies such as Ralph Kimball Associates and the Kimball Group.[7][4]

See also



  1. ^ "Kimball, Ralph (1944-....)". Bibliothèque nationale de France. 2022-02-14. Retrieved 2022-07-16.
  2. ^ a b Černiauskas, Julius (2022-04-27). "Opening The Doors To Data Warehouses". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-07-16. There are many ways to construct data warehouses, but the two dominant ones have been proposed by Bill Inmon and Ralph Kimball.
  3. ^ a b KasthuriArachchi, Tharuka (2021-02-14). "Theories of Kimball and Inmon About Data Warehouse Design". Medium. Retrieved 2022-07-16. Bill Inmon and Ralph Kimball are the two pioneers that stated different philosophies in enterprise-wide information gathering, information management, and analytics for decision support.
  4. ^ a b c "Dr. Ralph Kimball and Informatica Host Big Data Best Practices Webinar Industry Leaders and Innovators Share Newly Emerging Best Practices for Big Data". Informatica. 2012-09-28. Archived from the original on 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2015-12-11. Dr. Ralph Kimball, founder of the Kimball Group, is known worldwide as an innovator, writer, educator, speaker and consultant in the field of data warehousing. He has remained steadfast in his long-term conviction that data warehouses must be designed to be understandable and fast. Ralph's books on dimensional design techniques have become the all-time best sellers in data warehousing and he has trained more than 10,000 IT professionals around the globe. Prior to founding Kimball Group, he worked at Metaphor, founded Red Brick Systems and co-invented the Star workstation at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Ralph has his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.
  5. ^ Whitehorn, Mark (2010-03-09). "Inmon vs. Kimball data warehousing: the debate over DW architecture". ComputerWeekly.com. Archived from the original on 2015-10-03. Retrieved 2015-12-11. Indeed, the fact that Inmon wrote a foreword for the first edition of Kimball's book The Data Warehouse Toolkit tells us that they probably take a balanced view.
  6. ^ "IBM Red Brick Warehouse". IBM. 2015-12-11. Archived from the original on 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  7. ^ Hapgood, Fred (2001-08-15). "Data Warehousing: Making Smart Decisions Via Business Intelligence Systems". CIO. Retrieved 2022-07-16. Along with his wife Julie, he now operates Ralph Kimball Associates in Boulder Creek, Calif., which in turn runs Kimball University, "the authoritative source for data warehouse education."