Oracle Analytics and Essbase in the Cloud

Thomas Thuresson

October 4th, 2017

Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) is Oracle’s first Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering in the EPM space and this is where you’ll find Essbase in the Cloud.  The main differences between a PaaS and a Software as a Service (SaaS), such as ePBCS, is that you “own” the platform and have server level access and control. Maintenance, such as backups and patches and upgrades, is controlled by the customer. Patches are released by Oracle on a regular basis, but you decide when to apply them.

The other EPM cloud offerings (PBCS, FCCS, ePBCS, ARCS, EPRCS, PCMCS, etc.) are sold on a per-user basis whereas OAC is sold by Compute Node (OCPU): a CPU and Memory combination.

For example: 2 OCPU is equivalent to 2 CPUs with 30GB RAM. You can pay a fixed fee per month per OCPU or use a metered service, where you pay by the hour when using the system.

OAC currently comes in two editions, Standard and Enterprise.

  1. Standard Edition includes Essbase, Data Visualization Cloud Service (DVCS), Data Visualization Desktop and SmartView
  2. Enterprise Edition adds BICS (BI Cloud Service), Essbase features such as sandboxing and partitions and Oracle Day by Day, Oracle’s new intelligent mobile app

Also, currently in the words is a Data Lake edition that will add Big Data Analytics functionality.

Customers can choose what capabilities to enable…

For example, you might only enable Essbase and allocate all processing power to Essbase, or you might enable both Essbase and Data Visualization.

Oracle has also improved the Essbase engine in OAC and the design allows for higher concurrency and better performance.

The Hybrid option is now the default and the calculation limitations of the on-prem hybrid are gone.

Some new cloud-only features include sandboxing, scenario management, a new web-based admin interface and a Smartview Excel add-in for designing cubes, aptly named Cube Designer.

With the cube designer, you can now, within minutes, spin up a cube based on a data file, such as a csv or Excel file. In the on-prem world, this would have taken hours if not days to manually build.

There is also the option to design and build a cube from a structured spreadsheet template.

New utilities make things easier

Oracle is providing some new utilities to make migrating applications and cubes from on-prem to the cloud easy.

  • A new downloadable LCM utility for extracting all artifacts of on-prem applications that you can then upload to the cloud.
  • A tool, called DBXTool, that will generate a structured Excel template for use with the Cube Designer add-in
  • The new Essbase Command Line Interface (EssCLI): you can use it to selectively upload files such as rules and calc files and the LCM extract.

Why move?

Why would you want to move to Essbase in the Cloud? Let me give you a few use cases:

  • Your existing on-prem Essbase environment is old, needs upgrading and is costly to maintain
  • You’ve implemented PBCS or ePBCS and need additional stand-alone Essbase applications outside of the PBCS framework and limitations
  • You have departments who use Excel for advanced analysis. Moving them to Essbase in the cloud will enable them, even more, analytics capabilities, improve performance, enable collaboration and secure their data.
  • You want to expose state of the art data visualization capabilities in your company, making sure that everyone is using the same definitions of measures, KPIs and hierarchies.

In the next blog post, I will expand on some of the case studies.

Thomas Thuresson

About Thomas Thuresson

Thomas Thuresson has over 15 years of experience in all phases of design, development, and implementation of performance management and business intelligence applications. He has exceptional problem solving and architecting skills with a solid technical background. He is a specialist in data integration using FDM/FDMEE and ODI, in Hyperion Planning, Essbase and Essbase Studio and in reporting solutions with FR, OBIEE and other tools. Thomas is also a certified Essbase consultant with a minor in DRM and HFM.

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