Ralph Kimball (born 1944) 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. His methodology, also known as dimensional modeling or the Kimball methodology, has become the de facto standard in the area of decision support.

He is the principal author of the best-selling[1] books The Data Warehouse Toolkit,[2] The Data Warehouse Lifecycle Toolkit, The Data Warehouse ETL Toolkit and The Kimball Group Reader, published by Wiley and Sons.


After receiving a Ph.D.[1] 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. Red Brick Systems was acquired by Informix, which is now owned by IBM.[3] 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.

Ralph Kimball Associates incorporated in 1992 to provide data warehouse consulting and education.

The Kimball Group, founded by Kimball,[1] formalized existing long-term relationships between Ralph Kimball Associates, DecisionWorks Consulting, and InfoDynamics LLC.