Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ACE Alumni

Today, I asked Oracle to move me from Oracle ACE Director status to Oracle ACE Alumni status.  There are a number of reasons why I decided to change status.  When I started answering questions on internet forums years ago, I did it to share what I had learned in order to help others.  The same goes for this blog which I originally started so that I could give better and more complete answers to questions on the forums.

After the Hyperion acquisition by Oracle, I was contacted by Oracle who asked if I would be interested in becoming an "Oracle ACE".  It was an honor.  But over time, things have changed.  As more people found out about the ACE program, more people wanted to become an ACE.  If you have ever monitored the OTN Essbase and Smart View forums, they have become cluttered with copy and paste posts from people obviously trying to increase their points.  As the ACE program grew, it also become harder for the OTN team to manage and now require a formal activity reporting - a time report if you will - to track contributions to the community.  As I am already extremely pressed for time, I decided that tracking my contributions to the community - in exchange for a free pass to Open World, just didn't make sense.

All of that being said, just because I have moved to Oracle ACE Alumni status doesn't mean that I will stop contributing to the community.  My company will continue to provide free downloads and support for the Next Generation (Essbase) Outline Extractor and the Outline Viewer along with free downloads of Drillbridge Community Edition.  And maybe, just maybe, I will finally have time to write some new blog posts (maybe even some posts on some new Dodeca features inspired by our work with Oracle Analytics Cloud / Essbase Cloud!)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Breaking News! Dodeca Spreadsheet Management System Certified on Oracle Analytics Cloud!

Now that the Oracle Analytics Cloud, or "OAC", has been released, we had to get serious about our work with one of the Oracle Analytics Cloud components, the Essbase Cloud Service, or "EssCS" for short.  You would think that we should have been working hard on EssCS for quite some time, but we had been assured by Oracle product management that the Essbase Java API would be available in EssCS.  Of course, Dodeca was built using the Essbase Java API and thus we expected that support for EssCS would be very easy.

We got access to a production version of the EssCS last week and started our work.  As promised by product management, the Essbase Java API is available in EssCS and, believe it or not, we did not need to change a single line of source code in order to support the Essbase Cloud.  We did, however, have to update our build processes to use Java 8 instead of the decrepit Java 6 used in Essbase 11.x.

As far as configuration inside Dodeca itself, the only change we made was that we configured the APSUrl in the Essbase Connection object to point to the Essbase Cloud APS instance.  Note that the URL format has changed in the cloud.  The Java API was accessible in Essbase 9.3.1 through Essbase 11.1.2.4 using the format:

http://<server>:<port>/aps/JAPI

In the cloud, this has changed to:

http://<server>:<port>/essbase/japi

The Essbase Connection configuration looks pretty much the same as the configuration for an on premise connection configuration:








Of course, the Dodeca views look identical when run against an on premise or a cloud server:



In summary, it was trivial to test Dodeca using EssCS.  Every single Essbase functionality that we use in the product, from data grid operations to metadata operations and even report scripts, worked exactly the same as it does against an on premise Essbase cube.  Based on our testing, we are certifying the Dodeca Spreadsheet Management System to work on the Oracle Analytics Cloud.

We have a number of innovations we plan to introduce in the near future aimed to improve the Essbase Cloud experience, so stay tuned.  If you are planning to come to Kscope17 in San Antonio, plan to attend the Dodeca Symposium and you may just be the first to see of these cool new things!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Kudos to the Dodeca Support Team!

Here at Applied OLAP, we have a great support team that we have tasked with doing their best to make sure our customers are happy with their Dodeca software.  On most days, they are answering emails and firing up impromptu support webcasts to help our customers with any questions they have.

Today, we got some great feedback from a customer after a popup support webcast.  Here is an email I received today from Edgardo Rodriguez at Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell (email used with permission):

Hi Tim – just wanted to drop you a quick line on the tech support I received this morning.  Kevin & Rodney were helping me with a headcount report.  Have to tell you – they were great. They helped me leverage some of their code and walked me through the finer points of using it under our scripts – all under an hour!  They also turned me on to using the SQL retrieve as a possible solution (which I will be using shortly).

I appreciate you support more than you know. 

Just thought you should know..

Regards

Ed

So, here is a special call-out to our support team.  Way to go!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Essbase Cloud Service Webcast Available Online

Essbase Cloud Service is coming soon and, if you haven't had a chance to learn about it, here is how you can learn about it at your leisure. Oracle had a public webcast about two weeks ago and have made both the webcast and the slides available; you must have an Oracle login to see it. Here is the link to the EssCS webcast:

EssCS Webcast

And here is a link to the slides:

EssCS Webcast Slides

Essbase Cloud Service has some exciting new functionality that you should check out, even if you plan to keep your Essbase installations on-premise.  Over time, I would expect that most, if not all, of the innovations you see will be released in the on-premise version of Essbase.  If I were a betting man, I would guess the timing to be likely near the end of 2017 with the lrelease of "EPM 2017", which is the code name for the next major on-premise release,

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Another Thanksgiving Email

Here is another email we got Wednesday from a Dodeca Excel Add-In for Essbase customer.  This customer has a lot of VBA macros running some automation with Essbase and asked for some assistance.  We told it was as easy as replacing they Essbase function declarations file with our Dodeca Add-In  function declarations file, and then setting the variables that contain the location for the Dodeca-Essbase server.  In other words, replace this file:

With this file:





Easy, right? Here is the email:

I hadn't had a chance to test this massive file out with the latest version of the add-in yet, but was more than pleasantly surprised when I replaced the add-in code for the Dodeca wrapper and the only thing I had to do was change the connection to our new server and the file was live! It's truly drop and go! Thanks so much!!!!



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving (Featuring an Email That I Am Thankful For)


I get tons of email every day and often have hundreds of emails that have to track on a daily basis which explains, in part, my absence from doing recent blog entries.   Most of the emails I track are sales and support relating to Dodeca.  After all, with Dodeca, the buck stops here, right?  I also get some spam in the mix.  Sometimes, there is an email that really makes my day.  Here is one of those types I received this morning:

From: (masked)
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 8:48 AM
To: Applied OLAP Support
Subject: Happy Thanksgiving!

Although we are a smaller Essbase shop at 105 users, our users are strong advocates for Essbase and use it extensively. So, it is great timing to say how thankful I am to you and your teams for developing the Dodeca Essbase Add-In. At the end of the day, it’s the user experience that drives the support for Essbase and your product will excite our user base! [And, it requires little or no support from my team!]

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Wow!  This email really made my day!  To our new customer that sent this email (and who graciously granted me permission to post her words), Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.  We hope this is the first of many Thanksgivings that we work together!


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thoughts/Info on Essbase/EssCS after Oracle Open World 2016

I was at Oracle Open World last week and have some notes to share on the upcoming EssCS (Essbase Cloud Service) product and on Essbase in general.

EssCS will be (Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Oops..  I realized I blew that one when I read Cameron's post on Network54!) Platform as a Service (PaaS) product and will be priced on the number of cores and memory.  I believe there will be a metered and an unmetered pricing as well (metered meaning pay per cycle or some other usage measure).  According to presentations at Open World, which did have safe harbor statements meaning "do not make decisions based on this info as it could change", there will be options for 1, 2, 4, or 16 physical cores ("OCPU's") and 7.5 to 15 Gb of RAM.  In addition, it will be an updated version of Essbase that is not the current on-prem version.  It will feature, among other things:


  • The new Java Agent running in Weblogic that moves security from the essbase.sec file to a relational database.
  • Simplified security
  • ASO / BSO / Hybrid
  • Sandboxing and scenario management - what if's without copying data with workflow for approval to merge into given scenarios
  • Cloud-based UI
  • Ability to specify/create an Essbase cube from Excel 
  • A cube template library ("app store" type of thing)
  • A web-based outline editor (though most editing should be done in Excel)
  • EssCLI (Essbase Command Line Interface) - a sort of EPMAutomate for Essbase
  • The Essbase Java API and a new REST API (which is currently being engineered)

I do not remember hearing any dollar amount for EssCS at Open World.  I expect availability in the next 3 to 6 months though it wouldn't surprise me if it were to slip further.

As far as on-prem Essbase updates, I would expect that the updates we see in EssCS will go on-prem as part of the EPM 2017 on-prem release which Oracle currently believes will be delivered late in 2017 (also subject to safe harbor, etc).

As far as how Oracle is selling Essbase, Essbase is now firmly in the BI organization and is being sold by the BI reps; EPM reps do not generally sell Essbase.  To the Essbase team, EPM is important as they are an internal customer, but EPM is not their only customer.  As such, I saw at least one presentation that promoted the idea of customers writing custom planning applications using Essbase.  While some people I talked with thought that approach muddled the EPM message for customers, I see it as a situation where if they don't compete in the custom market, then someone else will.  As someone who frequently is involved in complex applications where the EPM Planning product may not be a fit, I am thrilled to see that message from Oracle.