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Stable release 184.108.40.206.0 / Mar 2011
Microsoft Windows,Linux, AIX, HP-UX (till 220.127.116.11.0 only), Solaris
Essbase is a multidimensional database management system (MDBMS) that provides a multidimensional database platform upon which to build analytic applications. Essbase, whose name derives from "Extended Spread Sheet dataBASE", began as a product of Arbor Software, which merged with Hyperion Software in 1998. Oracle Corporation acquired Hyperion Solutions Corporation in 2007, as of 2009 it markets Essbase as "Oracle Essbase". Until late 2005IBM also marketed the product — as DB2 OLAP Server. The database researcher E. F. Codd coined the term "on-line analytical processing" (OLAP) in a whitepaper that set out twelve rules for analytic systems (an allusion to his earlier famous set of twelve rules defining the relational model). This whitepaper, published by Computerworld, was somewhat explicit in its reference to Essbase features, and when it was later discovered that Codd had been sponsored by Arbor Software, Computerworld withdrew the paper. In contrast to "on-line transaction processing" (OLTP), OLAP defines a database technology optimized for processing human queries rather than transactions. The results of this orientation was that MDBMS oriented their performance requirements around a different set of benchmarks (Analytic Performance Benchmark, APB-1) than that of RDBMS (Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC)). Hyperion renamed many of its products in 2005, giving Essbase an official name of Hyperion System 9 BI+ Analytic Services, but the new name was largely ignored by practitioners. The Essbase brand was later returned to the official product name for
1 Calculation engine 4 User interface 5 Administrative interface 6 Competitors 7 Export and/or product migration of Essbase 8 See also 9 References 10 External links History and motivation Although Essbase has been categorised[by whom?] as a general-purpose multidimensional database.  In August 2005. it was originally developed to address the scalability issues associated with spreadsheets such asLotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Excel. Indeed. Linux. Voice Over IP (VOIP). Information Age magazine named Essbase as one of the 10 most influential technology innovations of the previous 10 years. the BlackBerry.1 Calculation engine 3 Aggregate storage (Enterprise Analytics) 3.1 Sparsity 1. Editor Kenny MacIver said: "Hyperion Essbase was the multi-dimensional database technology that put online analytical processing on the business intelligence map.virtualization. the patent covering . XML. Google.2 Aggregation 2 Block storage (Essbase Analytics) 2.marketing purposes. Contents [hide] • o o • o • o • • • • • • • 1 History and motivation 1. the Pentium processor and ADSL. but the server software still carried the "Analytic Services" title until it was incorporated into Oracle's Business Intelligenceproduct suite. It has spurred the creation of scores of rival OLAP products – and billions of OLAP cubes". along with Netscape.
For example: Jan Feb Mar Total Quantity 1000 2000 3000 6000 Sales $100 $200 $300 $600 Expenses $80 $160 $240 $480 Profit $20 $40 $60 $120 If a user wants to break down these values by region. A typical spreadsheet may display time intervals along column headings. for example. As further dimensions are added to the system. "Account". "multi-dimensional" refers to the representation of financial data in spreadsheet format. it becomes very difficult to maintain spreadsheets that correctly represent the multi-dimensional values.Essbase uses spreadsheets as a motivating example to illustrate the need for such a system. and "Region" are dimensions. this typically involves the duplication of this table on multiple spreadsheets: North South Total Region Jan Feb Mar Total Jan Feb Mar Total Jan Feb Mar Total Quantity 240 1890 50 2180 Quantity 760 110 2950 3820 Quantity 1000 2000 3000 6000 Sales $24 $189 $5 $218 Sales $76 $11 $295 $382 Sales $100 $200 $300 $600 Expenses $20 $150 $3 $173 Expenses $60 $10 $237 $307 Expenses $80 $160 $240 $480 Profit $4 $39 $2 $45 Profit $16 $1 $58 $75 Profit $20 $40 $60 $120 An alternative representation of this structure would require a three-dimensional spreadsheet grid. In this context. and account names on row headings. giving rise to the idea that "Time". .
Say the above example was extended to add a "Customer" and "Product" dimension: Dimension Number of dimension values Accounts 4 Time 4 Region 3 Customer 10. "Product Family". the number of combinations of "Customer" and "Product" that contain meaningful values will be a tiny subset of the total space. If the software maps each cell as a 64-bit floating point value. then months. may be represented as a hierarchy starting with "Total Time". and breaking down into multiple years. at least conceptually.000) cells. for example. it would need to store 2. developers of multidimensional databases increasingly face technical problems in the physical representation of data. which breaks down into "Sales" and "Expenses". if "Product" represents individual product SKUs. Aggregation OLAP systems generally provide for multiple levels of detail within each dimension by arranging the members of each dimension into one or more hierarchies. analysts may also want to report using aggregations such as "Product Group". A time dimension. In the example above.000 (4 × 4 × 3 × 10.000 Product 5.Multidimensional databases such as Essbase provide a data store for values that exist. in a multi-dimensional "hypercube". .000 If the multidimensional database reserved storage space for every possible value. of course. then quarters. An Accounts dimension may start with "Profit". In practice.000 × 5.2GB). and so on.400. This property of multi-dimensional spaces is referred to as sparsity. Sparsity As the number and size of dimensions increases.000. this equates to a memory requirement of at least 17 gigabytes (exactly 19.
and it is possible to load values into any cell interactively. later referred to as Essbase Analytics.000 combinations of Region. The system then arranges data to represent the hypercube into "blocks". Essbase requires the developer to tag dimensions as "dense" or "sparse". plus the size of the index used to look up the appropriate blocks. each block large enough to store every possible combination of Accounts and Time. which aimed to reduce the amount of physical memory required without increasing the time required to look up closely-related values. Essbase has supported two "storage options" which take advantage of sparsity to minimize the amount of physical memory and disk space required to represent large multidimensional spaces. Sparsity is exploited because the system only creates blocks when required. and "Region". Block storage (Essbase Analytics) Since version 7.. Because the database hides this implementation from front-end tools (i. a report that attempts to retrieve data from non-existent cells merely sees "null" values).536MB). this can cause the effective storage requirements to be many hundred times the size of the data being aggregated. It follows that if all these aggregate values are to be stored. "Customer". The number of cells stored is therefore 192000 (4 × 4 × 12000). the full hypercube can be navigated naturally. then only 12. In the example above. say the developer has tagged "Accounts" and "Time" as "dense".e. the amount of space required is proportional to the product of the depth of all aggregating dimensions. For large databases. 12. With the introduction of alternative storage options. Put briefly. If the Customer and Product dimensions are each in fact six "generations" deep. Calculation engine Users can specify calculations in Essbase BSO as: the aggregation of values through dimensional hierarchies. Similarly.000 blocks will be created. The Essbase patent describes the original method. natural aggregations may arrange customers according to geographic location or industry. The number of aggregate values implied by a set of input data can become surprisingly large."Product Line". If there are. for "Customer". and "Product" as "sparse". and space is allocated for every potential cell in that block. say. then 36 (6 × 6) aggregate values are affected by a single data point. requiring under 2 gigabytes of memory (exact 1. etc. Customer and Product that contain data. marketing materials called this the Block Storage Option (Essbase BSO). where each block comprises a multi-dimensional array made up of "dense" dimensions. .
This process can be partially automated. the database may calculate all combinations of the fifth generation of Product with the third generation of Customer). Also. the result is stored against that member just like a data value. Following a data load. the database can materialize one or more aggregate "views". The second method (stored calculations) uses a formula against each calculated dimension member — when Essbase calculates that member. A calculation script must also be executed to trigger the calculation of aggregated values or stored calculations as described above—a built-in calculation script (called the "default calculation") can be used to execute this type of calculation. Aggregate storage (Enterprise Analytics) Although block storage effectively minimizes storage requirements without impacting retrieval time. or calculated dynamically on demand—members must be tagged as "Stored" or "Dynamic Calc." to specify which method is to be used. or by selectively tagging branches of the hierarchy to be subtracted. The third method (dynamic calculation) is specified in exactly the same format as stored calculations. where the . the system does not store such calculated values. the result of this aggregation can be stored in the database. For large databases. stored calculations on dimension members. Essbase ASO does not store any aggregate values. This storage option makes the database behave much more similarly to OLAP databases like SQL Server Analysis Services. but calculates a result when a user accesses a value addressed by that member. but instead calculates them on demand. The fourth method (calculation scripts) uses a procedural programming language specific to the Essbase calculation engine. and these views are then used to generate other aggregate values where possible. where the time required to generate these values may become inconvenient. "dynamically calculated" dimension members. or procedural "calculation scripts" that act on values stored in the database. divided or ignored. it has limitations in its treatment of aggregate data in large applications. Enterprise Analytics. multiplied. named Aggregate Storage Option (Essbase ASO) or more recently. This type of calculation may act upon any data value in the hypercube. motivating the introduction of a second storage engine. and can therefore perform calculations that cannot be expressed as a simple formula. The first method (dimension aggregation) takes place implicitly through addition. made up of one aggregate level from each dimension (for example.
Other user-facing applications with support for Essbase databases include: Hyperion Analyzer (aka Hyperion System 9 BI+ Web Analysis) Hyperion Reports (aka Hyperion System 9 BI+ Financial Reporting) Hyperion Enterprise Reporting Hyperion Intelligence (aka Hyperion System 9 BI+ Interactive Reporting) . and navigate the cube's dimensions ("Zoom in". Hyperion provided a new user interface add-in for Essbase called "SmartView for Microsoft Office". User interface Many users work with Essbase data using as their interface an add-in for Microsoft Excel (previously also Lotus 1-2-3). "Pivot". Microsoft Outlook as well as supplanting the previous add-in for Microsoft Excel. In 2005. so write-back from front-end tools is limited. and the database generates views according to actual usage.administrator specifies the amount of disk space that may be used. or dynamically calculated dimension members. etc. Calculation engine Essbase ASO can specify calculations as: the aggregation of values through dimensional hierarchies. SmartView provides access to Essbase and other System 9 content for Microsoft Powerpoint. With the release of System 9. The add-in adds a menu to the spreadsheet application that can be used to connect to Essbase databases. Hyperion began to offer a visualization tool called Tableau under the name "Hyperion Visual Explorer"  (2005). The first method (dimension aggregation) basically duplicates the algorithm used by Essbase BSO. This approach has a major drawback in that the cube cannot be treated for calculation purposes as a single large hypercube. retrieve data.). The second method (dynamic calculations) evaluates MDX expressions against dimension members. because aggregate values cannot be directly controlled. Microsoft Word. Tableau originated at Stanford University as a government-sponsored research project to investigate new ways for users to interact with relational and OLAP databases. and complex calculations that cannot be expressed as MDX expressions are not possible.
Visual Basic and Java. Siebel Applied OLAP Dodeca CXO-Cockpit Reporting Suite Analytics) The previous offerings from Hyperion acquired new names as given below: Hyperion's previous offerings Hyperion System 9 BI+ offerings Hyperion Essbase ASO Enterprise Analytics Hyperion Essbase BSO Essbase Analytics Hyperion Analyzer Web Analysis Hyperion Reports Financial Reporting Hyperion Intelligence Interactive Reporting Hyperion SQR Production Reporting Hyperion Metrics Builder Enterprise Metrics APIs are available for C. In 2007. Administrative interface A number of standard interfaces can administer of Essbase applications: ESSCMD. . and embedded scripting support is available for Perl. the original command line interface for administration commands. The standardised XML for Analysis protocol can query Essbase data sources using the MDXlanguage. Oracle Corporation began bundling Hyperion BI tools into Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Plus. Hyperion SQR (aka Hyperion System 9 BI+ Production Reporting) Alphablox Arcplan dynaSight (aka Arcplan Enterprise) Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition (aka OBIEE.
Essbase Application Manager. and Essbase Integration Server for maintaining the structure and content of Essbase databases based on data models derived from relational or file-based data sources. calc scripts. This product performs an object-to-object translation that make up an Essbase cube.3. 2. Export and/or product migration of Essbase As of 2009 two options can export Essbase cubes into other formats: 1. MaxL. It can extract from any platform version of Essbase. The output is a simple text file that can be pulled indirectly into other OLAP products. IBM Cognos (ROLAP). Inc. a "multi-dimensional database access language" which provides both a superset of ESSCMD commands. Solaris. including Oracle/Hyperion Essbase on Windows. etc. etc. . Access. among other uses. except for Oracle OLAP which may only use Oracle relational sourcing. a commercial conversion application. substitution variables. analytics products to that of Essbase (HOLAP/MOLAP) on the market. CubePort. Oracle OLAP (ROLAP/MOLAP). export of the outline. text Files. the currentlysupported GUI administration client. such as synchronizing outlines. and MicroStrategy (ROLAP).) or nonrelational data sourcing (Excel. compatible with versions of Essbase before 7. Also note that of the above competitors. rudimentary. IBM DB/2 OLAP. though it does not directly create any new objects. (MOLAP. Unix. including: outline. HP UX. the original Microsoft Windows GUI administration Essbase Administration Services. and security model. data loading (load rules). converts Essbase cubes to the Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services product. Competitors There are several significant competitors among the OLAP. AIX. but with a syntax more akin to SQL. 9. including Essbase. IBM DB/2. among them Microsoft SQL Server Microsoft Analysis Services. IBM/Cognos/Applix TM1 (MOLAP). client. HOLAP. later renamed Analytic Administration Services. supported and distributed free of charge by Applied OLAP. all use heterogenous relational (Microsoft SQL Server. OlapUnderground Outline Extractor performs a pure. report scripts to MDX queries.0. TeraData. member formulas. Oracle. and then back to 'Essbase Administration Services' in v. CSV Files. as well as support for MDX queries. The Outline Extractor is now maintained. ROLAP). or AS/400 Showcase Essbase.) to feed the cubes (facts and dimensional data).1.
 ^ http://www-306. S B Codd.1.htm 1. United States Patent 5.724 assigned to Arbor Software Corporation.ibm.359.com/docs/cd/E12825_01/nav/portal_3.com/docs/cd/E10530_01/doc/index.cfm ^ a b Earle. F. 3.See also OLAP Oracle OLAP Business Intelligence Data Warehousing Hyperion Planning Comparison of OLAP Servers References v11. 6.archive. ^ http://www.htm v9. C T Salley (1993-07-26). 2.org/web/20070927190115/http://www.3.oracle. "Providing OLAP to User-Analysts: An IT Mandate".3 documentation: * http://download.com/software/data/db2/db2olap/ ^ Codd.1 documentation: * http://download.1.regdeveloper. . Computerworld. Robert J.com/2007/01/26/olap_speed/ ^ http://web. Essbase Database Administrator's Guide.hyperion. 5. 4. (1992) "Method and apparatus for storing and retrieving multi-dimensional data in computer memory". ^ Hyperion Solutions Corporation (2006).com/company/news/news_ releases/press_release_2005_000512.oracle.. E.
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