Feeds

The great migration debate: Essbase to Analysis Services

Moving Cubes

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

New hybrid storage solutions

There may be multiple political/managerial reasons behind a decision to move from Hyperion's Essbase to Microsoft's Analysis Services – not least of which might be the recent purchase of Hyperion by Oracle.

Whatever the reason, from a developer's viewpoint, moving a set of multi-dimensional databases from one engine to another is non-trivial. What are your options?

At the risk of teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, moving a cube isn't really about the data, it's about the meta data. The raw data is typically held in a relational database somewhere and the cube is refreshed from that data source every night.

In a migration project we have to move the cube structure, which is essentially no more than a metadata description of how the users think about the data and how they want to see and analyse it.

It takes a great deal of effort to understand what users want: many hours are spent in listening and discussion to extract subtleties of meaning. This is followed by further long hours encapsulating this into the measures, dimensions, and hierarchies that will form the cube design, along with any data manipulations that require the use of built-in and custom-built functions. It is all of this that needs to be ported between engines.

And there is more. Essbase and Analysis Services differ in their capabilities. A five-year-old Essbase cube will have been built within the hardware and software constraints of the time. These may well have placed huge restrictions on the fundamental cube design, restricting factors like granularity and dimensional complexity. In the current version of Analysis Services, on modern hardware, these constraints may no longer exist. In an ideal world, your migration should take advantage of the improvements made over the last five years.

Porting a simple cube with few measures and dimensions doesn't present much of a problem, but most cubes in commerce are relatively complex and a manual conversion can easily take three to four person-months per cube. One reason it takes so long is that a person with Essbase skills does not typically possess Analysis Services skills as well. While good practice in cube design is a transferable skill, Essbase developers will probably have to learn the idiosyncrasies of Analysis Services (both good and bad) and discover the new features that can be used to advantage when porting cubes.

Security for virtualized datacentres

Next page: CubePort

More from The Register

next story
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.