Business Intelligence – Oracle

Archive for July 20th, 2007

Hyperion Essbase Analytic Server – First Impressions

Posted by Venkatakrishnan J on July 20, 2007

Hyperion Essbase (as it was formerly called) is one of the market leaders in the MOLAP space. Prior to the acquisition there have been many cases wherein Oracle competed head on head with Hyperion Essbase using Oracle OLAP. Both of these products have their own advantages. In this article let’s try to understand the working of Hyperion Essbase vis-à-vis Oracle OLAP.

Hyperion System 9 BI was the latest and last offering from Hyperion before the acquisition. There have been quite a few name changes for many of the well-known products like Essbase, Brio etc. Also, there were quite a few changes in the architecture front. System 9 is based on a 3-tier architecture. In System 9 Hyperion Essbase has been re-branded as the analytic server. There are 4 components that form the entire MOLAP engine. These components are as follows

  1. Analytic Services
  2. Analytic Administration Services
  3. Analytic Integration Services
  4. Analytic Provider Services

One must realize that even though Essbase (I will stick with this name to refer to all the above 4) is a MOLAP engine, it’s considered as a database in itself. It’s more like a multi-dimensional database. It is one of the fundamental components of Hyperion Planning and Financial Management.

Following would be installation sequence that one would have to follow to get this up and running.

1.                  Install License Server

2.                  Install Shared Services

3.                  Install Analytic Services

4.                  Install Analytic Administration Services

5.                  Install Analytic Integration Services

6.                  Install Analytic Provider Services

7.                  Install the Excel Add in which is under BI + Analytic Services Client

After the installation one would have to startup the analytic server and the integration server. Following is the architecture diagram for the analytic server

Architecture

 

Let us try to understand the 4 components in detail.

Analytic Server:        

This is where the MOLAP cube is stored. The server acts as a shared resource handling all data storage, calculatioo, sorting etc. It also contains the Outlines (just assume that outline is a file that stores the dimension and measure specifications), rules (one can define rules for data load) etc.

            Analytic server has 2 kinds of storage

ü      Block Storage (Easy to use and implement but does not scale)

ü      Aggregate Storage (Has certain limitations but can scale)

 Analytic Administration Services:     

            Analytic Administration Services—the database and system administrators’ interface to Analytic Services—provides a single-point-of-access console to multiple Analytic Servers. Using Analytic Administration Services you can design, develop, maintain, and manage multiple Analytic Servers, applications, and databases. You can preview data from within the console, without having to open a client application such as Spreadsheet Add-in. You can also use custom Java plug-ins to leverage and extend key functionality.

 Analytic Integration Services: 

            This is a very important component wherein one designs the dimensions and fact tables if one wants to leverage different data sources like Oracle, DB2, SQL Server etc. It basically uses ODBC to connect to different data sources. It also provides a drill through feature wherein one can drill down from the database (MDB) to relational database.

 Analytic Provider Services:

            This is for enabling clustering of the database (essbase cube) across multiple machines.

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