Friday, May 8, 2015

New OlapUnderground Utility - The Essbase Outline Viewer

Have you ever wanted your users to see an Essbase database outline structure, but had trouble giving them access to Essbase Administrative Services ("EAS") for fear that they may have access to change things they shouldn't change?  Maybe you didn't want to give them EAS and have to deal with the version of Java installed on their machine?  We have the solution to your problems.  After a bit of fits and starts, we have finally released the OlapUnderground Essbase Outline Viewer!

The OlapUnderground Essbase Outline Viewer is a read-only user interface built specifically to view the contents of an Essbase outline.  It is built in Microsoft .NET technology and should run on any Windows-based computer without any special downloads.  It also uses the MaxL outline xml format and, as your Hyperion administrators can create and distribute the outline xml file, end users do not need an Essbase login to view the outline.

Here is a screenshot of the Outline Viewer:

Click image to see it full-size

You can download the Essbase Outline Viewer from our website at http://www.appliedolap.com/resources/downloads/essbase-outline-viewer.  Let us know what you think!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Next Generation Outline Extractor - New Version Available

Today we released a new version of the Next Generation Outline Extractor, version 2.0.3.769.  Here are the release notes from this new version:

Version 2.0.3.769 supports the following Essbase versions:

9.3.1
9.3.1.1
9.3.1.2
9.3.3
11.1.1
11.1.1.1
11.1.1.2
11.1.1.3
11.1.1.4
11.1.2
11.1.2.1
11.1.2.1.102
11.1.2.1.103
11.1.2.1.104
11.1.2.1.105
11.1.2.1.106
11.1.2.2
11.1.2.2.102
11.1.2.2.103
11.1.2.2.104
11.1.2.3
11.1.2.3.001
11.1.2.3.002
11.1.2.3.003
11.1.2.3.500
11.1.2.3.501
11.1.2.3.502
11.1.2.3.505
11.1.2.4

Issues resolved in version 2.0.3.769:

2015.02.15 - Issue 1355 - All Writers - Add functionality to replace all line feeds, carriage returns, tabs, and extraneous spaces in formulas

2015.02.13 - Issue 1354 - RelationalWriter - Changed the default database name from dodeca to extractor

2015.02.13 - Issue 1353 - RelationalWriter - Added CONSOLIDATION_TYPE_SYMBOL, SHARE_FLAG_SYMBOL, TIME_BALANCE, TIME_BALANCE_SYMBOL, TIME_BALANCE_SKIP, TIME_BALANCE_SKIP_SYMBOL, EXPENSE_FLAG, EXPENSE_FLAG_SYMBOL, TWO_PASS_FLAG, and TWO_PASS_FLAG_SYMBOL columns to the CACHED_OUTLINE_MEMBERS table

2015.02.13 - Issue 1352 - RelationalWriter - Added Server, Application, and Cube columns to the CACHED_OUTLINE_VERSIONS table

2015.02.13 - Issue 1351 - Fixed issue with LoadFileWriter where UDA column headers were incorrectly written in the form UDAS0,DimName instead of UDA0,DimName

In addition, a number of fixes, etc, were put into 2.0.2 and earlier releases and those releases went unannounced.  Those updates included the following items:

  1. There is no longer a default .properties file for the Extractor.  This will force a user to specify a .properties file.  (2.0.2.601)
  2. Removed the "/" character as a switch for command line arguments as it causes problems in Linux. (2.0.2.605)
  3. Fixed issue when combining MaxL input with relational output where a "not supported" error message would appear due to certain properties were not being read correctly from the XML file (2.0.2.601)
  4. Command line operations resulted in an error due to an improper attempt to interact with the GUI progress bar. (2.0.2.601)
  5. Shared members attributes where not be properly written resulting in a delimiter/column count mismatch. (2.0.2.625)
  6. Added encoding options where a user can choose between UTF-8 and ANSI encodings.  The Extractor will attempt to detect encoding from selected outline and, if the detected outline encoding is different from the user selected outline encoding, a warning message appears.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ephemeral Port Issue with Essbase Has Been Fixed!

The issue that has plagued a number of Essbase customers over the years related to running out of available ports has finally been fixed!

This issue, which often manifested itself with errors in the Essbase error 10420xx range, was caused by how the Essbase Java API communicated with the server. In essence, whenever a piece of information was needed, the Essbase Java API grabbed a port from the pool of available ports, did its business, and then released the port back to the pool. That doesn’t sound bad, but the problem occurs due to how Windows handles this pool of ports. Windows will put the port into a timeout status for a period of time before it makes the port available for reuse and the default timeout in Windows is 4 minutes! Further, the size of the available pool of ports is only about 16,000 ports in the later versions of Windows. That may sound like a lot of ports, but the speed of modern computers makes it possible, and even likely, that certain operations, such as the outline APIs, that call Essbase many, many times to get information would be subject to this issue. Frankly, we see this issue quite often with both VB and the Java Essbase Outline Extractors.

We brought this issue to the attention of the Java API team and assisted them by testing a prerelease version of the Java API jars. I am happy to report the fix was released with Essbase 11.1.2.3.502. In addition, there is a new essbase.properties setting that allows you to turn the optimization on or off:

olap.system.socketoptimization=false

It is our understanding that this optimization is turned on by default. I also checked the default essbase.properties files shipped with both Essbase 11.1.2.3.502 and 11.1.2.4 and did not see that setting in those files. It may be one of those settings that is there in case it messes something else up. The work of our own Jay Zuercher in our labs and searching Oracle Support seems to have confirmed that thought. There is apparently an issue where EIS drill-through reports don't work in Smart View if socket optimization is turned on. It is documented in Oracle Support Doc ID 1959533.1.

There is also another undocumented essbase.properties setting:

olap.server.socketIdleTime

According to Oracle development, this value defaults to 300 ms but there should be little need to ever change it. The only reason it is there is to tune socket optimization in case more than 2 sockets are used per Java API session.

Jay also tested the 11.1.2.4 version in our labs with the Next Generation Outline Extractor. With the default settings, one large test outline we have, "BigBad", with about 120,000 members in it, extracted in 1 minute and 50 seconds.  With socket optimization turned off, the same outline was only about 25% complete after 2 hours.   In summary, this fix will be very useful for a lot of Oracle customers.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Essbase VB API is Officially Dead

It is with a sad heart that bring you the news that, as of Essbase 11.1.2.4, the Essbase VB API is officially dead.  I cut my teeth in Essbase working with that API way back in the mid-1990's, but the writing had been on the wall for some time.  Microsoft stopped supporting VB years ago, so it was only a matter of time before this time would come.  That being said, I haven't used the VB API for any new Essbase work since about 2001; the Essbase Java API is alive and growing so my efforts have been there.

Here is the official notification:













You can read the notification yourself in the Essbase 11.1.2.4 Readme.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

File Encoding in the Next Generation Outline Extractor

We had a couple of issues reported with the output of the Next Generation Outline Extractor where the exported file did not work properly as a load file. After some investigation, we found that the file encoding was incorrect. We were encoding the files using the Unicode/UTF-8 format. We chose this encoding so that we could write all characters in all languages, but we did not consider that UTF-8 is only valid for loading Unicode databases in Essbase.

To resolve this issue, we decided to add a configuration to the Next Generation Outline Extractor to allow users to select the file encoding. Here is a screenshot showing the new configuration setting.



As of yesterday, December 8, 2014, the updated Next Generation Outline Extractor is available on our website. The first version to feature this functionality is version 2.0.2.692. Version 2.0.2.692 is available for all Essbase versions from Essbase 9.3.1 forward. We are also happy to announce that his version of the Next Generation Outline Extractor is the first version to support the recently released Essbase 11.1.2.3.505.

If you encounter any issues with the Next Generation Outline Extractor, please don't hesitate to contact our support team at support@appliedolap.com.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Are you ready for Windows 10? Dodeca Is Ready!

Microsoft recently released its first preview version of their next desktop operating system, Windows 10. In our business, we have seen many large companies just migrate to Windows 7 and the general consensus seems to be that Windows 8 is a 'consumer' operating system. In other words, it will be a while before you have to think about Windows 10, but it is our business to be thinking about this now. We have the Windows 10 preview downloaded and installed in our labs. We made a very smart decision years ago when we decided to write the Dodeca client layer in .NET technology because it works in Windows 10 unchanged!

We are ready. Will you be ready?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Kscope15 Abstract deadline is Wednesday, October 15!

Kscope15 abstract submission will close in just a few days and the ODTUG content teams want you!

I am sure there are many of you who have never done a presentation at a conference and may not feel comfortable speaking in public. Well, I have a secret for you, despite the fact that I won the Best Speaker Award at Kscope14, I share your discomfort with speaking. What works for me, however, is that I only speak about topics that I know very well. Do you have some area of expertise that you know really well? If you do, please share it! It will be fun and all of your peers who learn something new, from you, will appreciate it!

With that, take the next step and click here to submit session!