Tuesday, February 28, 2012

APS New Feature: Essbase Web Services

APS appears to have a significant new feature, Essbase Web Services.  Here is an excerpt from the readme file posted on the Oracle website:

Essbase Web Services

Web services are self-contained, modular applications that one can describe, publish, locate, and invoke over a network. Web services allow access to regular applications using a Web browser. Web services use XML to code and decode data, and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) to transport it.
Essbase Web Services will expose Essbase user and administrative functionality in a services-oriented (SOA) environment via Provider Services, and allow Essbase to be easily integrated with both Oracle and third-party applications.

The APS Admin Guide also posted at the Oracle site has information on the Essbase Web Services and what you can do with them.  It appears you can query data and metadata along with performing some admin tasks.  One thing that looks useful immediately is the ability to execute a Maxl statement via a web service.  This would eliminate the need to install the Essbase client just to run Maxl statements; I have one customer who could benefit greatly from this functionality today.

Hopefully I will get a chance to play with these soon and post some sample code.  On the other hand, ten years ago I wrote web services to retrieve Essbase grid data into Dodeca and they are *very* fast, so I don't see myself working very hard on those particular APIs.

Essbase Patch Set; Full Update Version Still To Come?

There is a patch set out for Essbase which is apparently in connection with the release of the Exalytics system.  According to the docs, however, it appears there may be a full update on the way as well.  This is from the Essbase readme file:

About this Patch

This Readme file describes the defects fixed in this patch set (PS) and the requirements and instructions for applying this PS.

Who should apply this patch: This PS contains defect fixes and changes that are specific to the Oracle Exalytics In-Memory machine. You should install this PS only in the following circumstances:
  • You are installing Essbase on the Exalytics In-Memory Machine, or
  • There is an urgent need for a defect fix that is included in this PS
Customers considering this PS for a platform other than the Exalytics In-Memory Machine should carefully review the list of fixed defects. If there is not a truly urgent need for a defect fix included in this PS, Oracle recommends customers install the upcoming Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) release, which will contain an update, instead of this patch set. To check the availability of the EPM release prior to installing this PS, visit the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud (https://edelivery.oracle.com).

Another note in the readme leads me to believe the Essbase VB API lives!  There is a defect fixed in this patch that is described as "API. Update version of esb32.bas file."  It looks like we need to get to work on the Outline Extractor and other OlapUnderground tools.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wow! More Than 1 Million Rows of Data per Minute!

As we continue to work on Dodeca, we continue to stretch the limit.  Today was certainly evidence of that. Dodeca already has the most powerful relational/spreadsheet technology available in the world, but our development team is not yet satisfied.  Instead, they are working on making it even better.  Specifically, they have implemented a cursored retrieval that will allow the Dodeca client to request a specified number of rows on each trip to the server.

To test this functionality, our dev team created some very large retrieves.  The SQL itself was fairly simple in that it returned only 7 columns of data and joined only 2 tables.  The performance we saw, however, was outstanding.  In tests conducted on a debug build of Dodeca, they saw over 1,030,000 rows of data, or a total of over 7,200,000 cells of data, retrieved from SQL Server and filled into a worksheet in about 37 seconds.  That means Dodeca is processing nearly 195,000 cells per second!

Many people ask me, "Why would you want to retrieve 1,000,000 rows of data into a spreadsheet?"   Well, we have customers who retrieve massive amounts of data.  We believe that, as a software provider, it isn't our place to second-guess why a customer wants to do something like that.  Instead, we focus on allowing customers the freedom to do their business their way; Dodeca just makes it faster and easier.  At 195,000 cells per second, I would call it really fast!  How would you like to see performance like that when you do an Essbase drill-through?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Smart View Dialog Positions

There was a question on the Network54 Essbase Board today about the member selection dialog in Smart View rendering off the screen.  It seems like I may have read something about this issue and a possible solution, so I decided to spend a few minutes investigating it..

The problem occurs when you have multiple monitors hooked up to your computer, open Smart View, connect to an Essbase database, open the Member Selection dialog and then move it onto your second monitor.  Smart View remembers where you moved the dialog and will display it there the next time you open the dialog.  The problem is, if you no longer have your second monitor attached, the dialog will display off-screen.

I took a look at the registry and found there is a DialogPositions setting in the registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Hyperion Solutions\HyperionSmartView\Options.

I found that you can close Excel/Smart View, delete the DialogPositions parameter from the registry, and restart Excel and the Member Select dialog will again be displayed centered on the main monitor.

You can make this easier for end users by creating a registration entries file.  On my machine, I created a text file and named it ResetSmartViewDialogs.reg.  In this file, I added the following lines:


[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Hyperion Solutions\HyperionSmartView\Options]


To run the file, just double-click on it and you will be warned about the changes to be made to the registry. Simply confirm that you want the entries to be made and the offending DialogPositions setting will be removed.