Essbase

Oracle Essbase is one of the biggest products in the OLAP market, and is one of the big pillars in the Oracle BI product line. Its had a storied history going back several companies ago.

As its been pulled into the OBIEE lineup, the version number was updated and as of Q1 2012 its now up to 11.1.2.Its traditional a tool that used either as a straight backend reporting tool for data storage and manipulation, or as a budgeting and forecasting product. The multidimensional framework works well for taking account ledgers, for example, and pushing out actual/budgeted/forecasted version of data. Historically, it was part of Hyperion, which was a big product in a CFO office. As a result, its often used as a month end close or monthly reporting tool for the accounting department. Data can be consolidated into the cubes. Reporting against accounting and financial data directly can slow the system down, and often times the canned reports there don’t offer a deep enough or wide enough view of the organization to provide value. For a front-end for budgeting, often times Hyperion Planning is coupled to allow the planning modeling, with Essbase on the back end.

While it is most often used with Oracle front end products, its also used as a reporting cube for other BI tools as well, including Microstrategy and Business Objects. Of course, the Excel add-in is also popular. Although supported, it may take some connection and modeling tweaking to work from a performance standpoint, as it’s a multidimensional framework whereas software like MSTR are build more around the ROLAP structure.

Recently Oracle has merged this technology in with the Exalytics appliances, running this alongside Times Ten into a merging of hardware and software. According to some initial specs, with the compressions it can analyze up to 10 TB of data in-memory.As far as direct competitors, the biggest is probably IBM’s TM1 in-memory OLAP solution, although Analysis Services from Microsoft is also a consideration, although less so on the budgeting end. This solution is expensive of course, and the software is still available for a basic server installation.

As far as direct competitors, the biggest is probably IBM’s TM1 in-memory OLAP solution, although Analysis Services from Microsoft is also a consideration, although less so on the budgeting end.

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