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Understanding the MicroStrategy architecture

A MicroStrategy system is built around a three-tier or four-tier structure. The diagram below illustrates a four-tier system.

The first tier, at the bottom, consists of two databases: the data warehouse, which contains the information that your users analyze; and the MicroStrategy metadata, which contains information about your MicroStrategy projects. For an introduction to these databases, see Storing information: the data warehouse and Indexing your data: MicroStrategy metadata.
The second tier consists of MicroStrategy Intelligence Server, which executes your reports against the data warehouse. For an introduction to Intelligence Server, see Processing your data: Intelligence Server.

If MicroStrategy Developer users connect via a two-tier project source (also called a direct connection), they can access the data warehouse without Intelligence Server. For more information on two-tier project sources, see Tying it all together: projects and project sources.

The third tier in this system is MicroStrategy Web or Mobile Server, which delivers the reports to a client. For an introduction to MicroStrategy Web, see Administering MicroStrategy Web and Mobile.
The last tier is the MicroStrategy Web client or MicroStrategy Mobile app, which provides documents and reports to the users.

In a three-tier system, Developer is the last tier.

For a more complete discussion of business intelligence architecture, see the first chapter of the MicroStrategy Project Design Guide.