EssCS will be Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) 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.