Introducing Essbase

In This Section:

Introduction

Essbase Product Components

Key Features

Introduction

Oracle Essbase products provide companies the ability to deliver critical business information to the right people when they need it. With Essbase, companies quickly leverage and integrate data from multiple existing data sources and distribute filtered information to end-user communities in the format that best meets the users’ needs. Users interact and intuitively explore data in real time and along familiar business dimensions, enabling them to perform speed-of-thought analytics.

Essbase Product Components

Essbase products incorporate powerful architectural features to handle a wide range of analytic applications across large multiuser environments. Figure 1, High-level Information Flow Between Product Components provides a high-level view of the information flow between the three tiers of the Essbase architecture. The client tier (on the left) includes Essbase Server clients, such as Oracle Hyperion Smart View for Office, Fusion Edition and Administration Services Console. The middle tier (in the center) includes services, such as Oracle Hyperion Provider Services and Oracle Essbase Administration Services. The database tier (on the right) is made up of Essbase Servers. Communication between the client and middle tiers, and the middle and database tiers, is through HTTP. Communication between the client and database tiers is through TCP/IP or HTTP. Communication between data sources and the metadata catalog with the middle and database tiers is through ODBC and JDBC drivers.

Figure 1. High-level Information Flow Between Product Components

This image illustrates the information flow between the three tiers of the Essbase architecture, as described in the text preceding the image.

Essbase

Essbase—a multi-threaded OLAP database software that takes advantage of symmetric multiprocessing hardware platforms—is based on Web-deployable, thin-client architecture. The server acts as a shared resource, handling all data storage, caching, calculations, and data security. The Essbase Server client needs only to retrieve and view data that resides on a server.

All Essbase application components, including database outlines and calculation scripts, application control, and multidimensional database information, reside on a server. With Essbase, you can configure server disk storage to span multiple disk drives, enabling you to store large databases. Essbase requires a server to run a multi-threaded operating system so a server can efficiently manage simultaneous requests. A server also runs a server agent process that acts as a traffic coordinator for all user requests to applications.

Aggregate storage databases provide an alternative to block storage databases and enable dramatic increases in database dimensionality. Using aggregate storage, Essbase serves a wide range of analytic needs—financial analysis, planning, budgeting, sales analysis, marketing analysis, supply-chain analysis, profitability analytics—all from a single analytic infrastructure.

MaxL—a multidimensional database access language that is part of Essbase Server—provides a flexible way to automate Essbase administration and maintenance tasks.

For information on system requirements, see the Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management System Certification Matrix (http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/ias/files/fusion_certification.html).

To install and configure Essbase, see the Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management System Installation and Configuration Guide.

Sample Essbase Applications

Essbase provides a set of sample applications and associated databases that you can use to learn about Essbase features, and which are the basis for many of the examples given in this document.

Sample applications are installed with Essbase Server.

To use the sample applications, see Setting Up Sample Applications.

Administration Services

Administration Services—the database and system administrators’ interface to Essbase—provides a single-point-of-access console to multiple Essbase Servers. Using Administration Services, you can design, develop, maintain, and manage multiple Essbase 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.

Essbase Studio

Oracle Essbase Studio simplifies cube construction by delivering a single environment for performing tasks related to data modeling, cube designing, and analytic application construction. With a wizard-driven user interface, Essbase Studio supports modeling of the various data source types from which Essbase applications are typically built.

A single common metadata repository, or catalog, captures all metadata related to all Essbase applications built in the enterprise and allows the reuse of metadata at the lowest level of granularity. The catalog makes Essbase Studio inherently aware of the common metadata that is shared across the various applications enterprise wide.

Essbase Studio supports several drill-through options: relational databases, custom SQL, URLs (including Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and Oracle Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management, Fusion Edition URLs), and Java methods. Essbase Studio also supports lineage tracking through a rich graphical view of metadata relationships, allowing users to follow application lineages to their metadata components and through to the data sources from which they were sourced.

Spreadsheet Add-in

Spreadsheet Add-in integrates Essbase with Microsoft Excel. Spreadsheet Add-in adds the Essbase menu to Excel, which provides enhanced commands such as Connect, Pivot, Drill-down, and Calculate. Users can access and analyze data on Essbase Server with mouse clicks and dragging operations. Spreadsheet Add-in enables multiple users to access and update data on an Essbase Server simultaneously.

Visual Explorer

Oracle Essbase Visual Explorer provides a query and analysis interface for creating interactive summaries and reports about the data in an Essbase database. You can choose to visualize data in various graphical formats, including bars, lines, Gantt bars, shapes, colors, and tables.

Visual Explorer is installed with and accessed from Spreadsheet Add-in.

Data Mining

Data Mining reveals hidden relationships and patterns in your data, enabling you to make better business decisions. Using Data Mining, you can plug in various data mining algorithms, build models, and apply them to existing Essbase applications and databases.

See Mining an Essbase Database.

Integration Services

Oracle Essbase Integration Services—an optional product component—provides a metadata-driven environment to bridge the gap between data stored in Essbase databases and detailed data stored in relational databases. The Hybrid Analysis feature gives business users more detail for decision-making and IT managers more modularity in designing and maintaining large-scale analytic applications. Hybrid Analysis allows portions of Essbase databases to be stored in a relational database. This relational-stored data is mapped to the appropriate Essbase hierarchies.

Provider Services

Provider Services is a middle-tier data-source provider to Essbase for Java API, Smart View, and XMLA clients. Provider Services supports highly concurrent analytical scenarios and provides scalability and reliability in a distributed Web-enabled enterprise environment.

Smart View

Smart View provides a common Microsoft Office interface for Essbase, Oracle Hyperion Financial Management, Fusion Edition, Oracle Hyperion Planning, Fusion Edition, and Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Workspace, Fusion Edition data. Using Smart View, you can view, import, manipulate, distribute, and share data in Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint interfaces.

Application Programming Interface (API)

Essbase API—the developers’ interface to Essbase—enables you to create customized applications. The Oracle Essbase API Reference provides a complete listing of API functions.

Developer Products

Essbase developer products enable the rapid creation, management, and deployment of tailored enterprise analytic applications, whether or not users have programming knowledge.

The products (for example, Application Builder and Oracle's Hyperion® Application Builder for .NET) provide a comprehensive set of application programming interfaces, drag-and-drop components, and services.

Smart Search Command Line Utility

Oracle Hyperion Smart Search Command Line Utility integrates with leading enterprise search solutions such as Google Search Appliance and Oracle Secure Enterprise Search to provide a familiar search interface. Using simple business terminology, users can obtain structured information from Essbase applications and databases. Information that has been filtered according to user privileges is delivered in data grids and live links in Smart View. Oracle Hyperion Smart Search Command Line Utility greatly enhances the way in which users can quickly get to information contained within Oracle applications.

Lifecycle Management

Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management System Lifecycle Management provides a consistent way for Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management System products to migrate an application, a repository, or individual artifacts across product environments and operating systems. Generally, the Lifecycle Management interface in Oracle's Hyperion® Shared Services Console is consistent for all EPM System products that support Lifecycle Management. However, EPM System products display different artifact listings and export and import options in the Lifecycle Management interface.

Lifecycle Management features:

  • Viewing applications and folders

  • Searching for artifacts

  • Migrating directly from one application to another

  • Migrating to and from the file system

  • Saving and loading migration definition files

  • Viewing selected artifacts

  • Auditing migrations

  • Viewing the status of migrations

  • Importing and exporting individual artifacts for quick changes on the file system

In addition to providing the Lifecycle Management interface in Shared Services Console, there is a command-line utility called Lifecycle Management Utility that provides an alternate way to migrate artifacts from source to destination. The Lifecycle Management Utility can be used with a third-party scheduling service such as Windows Task Scheduler or Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Lastly, there is a Lifecycle Management Application Programming Interface (API) that enables users to customize and extend the Lifecycle Management functionality.

For detailed information about Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management System Lifecycle Management, see the Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management System Lifecycle Management Guide.

Key Features

Integration with Existing Infrastructure

Essbase products integrate with your existing business intelligence infrastructure. Essbase products meet the enterprise analytic demands of users for critical business information with a minimum of information technology (IT) overhead, and therefore enable organizations to realize maximum return on their existing IT investments:

  • Provides an extensible architecture

  • Supports a comprehensive range of data sources, hardware and operating system platforms, access interfaces, and development languages

  • Enables analytic applications to be deployed across a local or wide area network and across an intranet or Internet

Data Integration

Essbase products enable organizations to leverage data in their data warehouses, legacy systems, online transaction processing (OLTP) systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, e-business systems, customer relationship management (CRM) applications, Web log files and other external data sources. For database integration, Integration Services provides a suite of graphical tools, data integration services, and a metadata catalog that tie into relational databases or data warehouse environments.

Ease of Server and Database Administration

Essbase products provide a cross-platform administration console. The console gives you detailed control over the Essbase environment:

  • You can manage multiple servers and databases.

  • You can use MaxL, a syntactical language command shell with a PERL extension module, to automate batch maintenance.

Mission Critical Applications in Web-based Environments

A middle-tier framework extends the power of Essbase products by creating a Web-enabled, distributed platform for Essbase applications, hence serving the analysis needs of large numbers of users in Web-based environments. Provider Services provides clustering and failover support, extending the scalability and reliability of the platform, and supports mission-critical applications in a 24 x 7 environment.

Powerful Querying

Large communities of business users can interact with data in real time to quickly analyze business performance. Using Essbase products, you can organize and present data along familiar business dimensions, enabling users to view and explore the data intuitively and turn it into actionable information.

Calculations

Essbase includes powerful calculation features for demanding analytic requirements. A rich library of functions makes it easy to define advanced and sophisticated business logic and relationships. Essbase gives users the flexibility to build, customize, and extend the calculator through custom-defined macros and functions, as well as the ability to span calculations across databases. On multiprocessor systems, a DBA can configure a single calculation request to use multiple threads to accomplish the calculation, providing enhanced calculation speed.

Aggregate storage databases provide an alternative to block storage databases and enable dramatic improvements in database aggregation time for certain types of applications.

Write-Back and Security

Essbase provides unique multi-user read and write capabilities, including data update and multi-user recalculation. Business users with front-end tools can write data back to a server and recalculate the data on a server using calculation scripts—key functionality to support sophisticated modeling and planning applications.

The robust, multilevel security model provides server-, database-, and cell-level security. Full control of data access, views, and write capabilities are managed through administration. EPM System security allows you to integrate with a variety of external user directories including LDAP-enabled directories such as Oracle Internet Directory and Microsoft Active Directory, and relational databases.

Ease of Development

Essbase offers many key advantages to help users develop effective multidimensional applications. Users can:

  • Design and manage applications using a graphical interface to control most server functions.

  • Quickly add dimensions, change calculations, and modify hierarchies to reflect new business developments. In addition, the dynamic dimension builder automatically defines and dynamically loads large amounts of data, including data from spreadsheets, flat files, and supported relational database tables directly into a database.

  • Define key calculations without having to write a program.

  • Define security for individuals and groups and customize views and retrieval procedures for each user without writing a program.