"History repeating itself. MS doing to MSAS what Oracle did to Express Server . So with MS abandoning AS and MDX, will Oracle (through Essbase) be the main sponsor and supporter of MDX going forward? Oh the irony."
Ironic? Certainly.. I was actually there at the initial XML for Analysis Advisory Council meeting when Microsoft announced to the world that MDX would be the foundation of the XML/A standard. It had already been discussed with Hyperion but, as it was 9/11, yes, that 9/11, I was the only "Hyperion" representative in the room as the entire Hyperion team was grounded by the terrorist attacks. In the past 9 years, it has now come full circle that Oracle, apparently, will be the standard-bearer for MDX.
Maybe it is my good fortune, then, that I haven't worked extensively with MDX, not that I didn't have the opportunity. I remember exactly when I got my first copy of the precursor to Analysis Services. I was at my first Arbor Dimensions conference in Santa Clara in the fall of 1996. I remember being invited to a private Arbor executives party at the hotel and hearing the rumor about Microsoft buying an Israeli company that was an Arbor competitor. Little did anyone at the party know that I had an alpha version of the software in my computer bag. But, you know what? I never installed it. I am a loyal Essbase fan to the core and, despite the fact that the consulting firm I worked for at the time actually wrote most of the interface that Microsoft shipped, it just wasn't my cup of tea.
Over the years, a number of our competitors went off and re-wrote their interfaces to use XML/A so they could expose their products to other databases. When they did that, they were forced to stop supporting some of the features that make Essbase magic. You don't hear about most of them anymore. Proclarity anyone? Purchased by Microsoft and now on the trash heap. Temtec? Acquired by IBM where, apparently, software goes to die (remember Lotus 1-2-3? Alphablox?); Clarity recently joined them at IBM which means, strategically, their days in the Essbase world are numbered.
If you read through the comments at the end of the blog post referenced above, it looks like Microsoft is positioning Excel PowerPivot to be the ultimate BI user interface.. That is great for spreadsheet jockeys, but will lose many, many users who don't want, or need, to look through the raw data for their summarizations.
After reading all of this, I am thankful for a few things. I am thankful we:
- Are exclusively focused on Essbase and that Essbase is very well tied in with the Oracle Fusion strategy and will continue to grow.
- Invested heavily in Dodeca.
- Focused Dodeca on the end user.