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    « Speculation Central | Main | AS/400 Data Jail »

    March 05, 2007

    Comments

    John Smith

    So what advice to do you have for a veteran Oracle Express Architect, now that it appears that Oracle will probably abandon their futile efforts to make Oracle OLAP a success...Should I transition in Essbase Or Microsoft Anlaytic Server...Would like to hear your views

    Cobb

    I'd learn MDX, then you can pick between MSAS and Essbase. I prefer Essbase because administratively you can program it like Express and integrate it into various processes. The new Yukon interface (although I haven't seen it) will equally load Essbase and MSAS. Essbase will run on Linux, Unix and in 64 bit.

    On the other hand, chances are that if you have MSAS, the customer will appreciate any analytic apps you build more because they don't often staff up when they get MSSQL. So as an individual developer you'll get more credit. Obviously it's less expensive to deploy.

    The Essbase learning curve is going to be greater but I don't think that would be daunting for an Express programmer. Learning Essbase is going to get you into more different kinds of places than with MSAS. Also remember that Essbase talks to Microsoft Reporting Services too.

    Performance wise the databases themselves perform about equally in quite a few areas, which was really a shock to me. But the difference that gave Essbase a definite edge is its granularity of control. Also, the APIs to Essbase perform a lot faster that the interfaces between MSAS and .NET applications.

    Essbase has a programmable calculation engine which means you can create new functions in Java and embed them, not just 'stored procedures' in MDX.

    On the whole, I have a healthy amount of respect for MSAS. I did some work with it via ProClarity a few years back. It's a good feature set that lends itself well to rapid development of standard BI implementations. It's perfect for the mid-market. But as a developer, I want to know that I can do anything it is possible to do in the largest and most complex environments. Essbase gives me that.

    Cobb

    When I talk about granularity of control, I mean stuff that makes a difference during the production cycle.

    For example, if you have a change to a dimension definition, you can apply that change to Essbase without it necessarily updating indices before the next dimension definition change. So if my dimension definition change requires three passes (from three different files, for example) I won't necessarily rebuild my index three times.

    I can load data independent of its calculation and aggregation. I can determine the order of calculation. I can do partial and multi-pass calculation. I can goal-seek (but not quite as well as Express). I have really, complete control of what calculates and when at all times.

    This is the kind of discrete control that makes all of the difference when applications become complex. For people who want to squeeze performance out of their databases, people with years of experience, this is what you want.

    John Smith

    Thank you for your advice....To learn Essbase would you suggest attending an instructer led class or purchasing a book...What do you believe he best way for doing this would be...Do you have any recommendations for white technical guides or books....There is plenty out there for SSAS, but virtually nothing for Essbase.

    Cobb

    Essbase bootcamp is worth it. You'll be astounded at how much hands on for a week will give you. Beg borrow or steal what you need to get into a course. If you're in the NYC area go for MTG. Tell 'em Michael Bowen sent ya.

    http://www.mtgny.com/traincourses.html

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