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Essbase Cloud vs. On-Premise: What’s the Difference?

Author: Tom Hoblitzell | | March 12, 2020

Oracle Essbase has long been a powerful tool for finance teams, helping them rapidly get answers to complex business queries. Yet with the advent of the cloud, Essbase users now have two versions of the software to choose from: the more modern cloud and the traditional on-premise deployment model.

The decision between Essbase cloud and on-premise may not be a clear-cut one. In this article, we’ll discuss the most important differences between Essbase Cloud and on-premise.

Essbase Cloud vs. On-Premise: Ecosystem

Essbase 19c, the latest cloud version of the Essbase software, is available from Oracle as a standalone product only.

Prior versions of Essbase cloud software, such as Essbase 12c, were available through Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC), Oracle’s suite of cloud-based analytics tools. This meant that Oracle customers who wanted to access Essbase in the cloud had to purchase the entire OAC suite.

However, last summer at the Kscope19, Oracle announced that Essbase cloud software would soon be spun off as its own product, Essbase 19c. The announcement also revealed that Essbase 19c in the cloud would use Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), with a release date before the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, Essbase on-premise came bundled as part of Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), up until the Essbase 12c version of the software.

In another announcement at Kscope19, however, Oracle revealed that it would soon rebrand OBIEE as Oracle Analytics Server. OAS will play host to Essbase on-premise for Essbase 19c and future versions.

Essbase Cloud vs. On-Premise: Features

The cloud and on-premise versions of Essbase are largely at feature parity. Essbase on-premise customers don’t need to worry that Oracle will make Essbase a cloud exclusive any time soon.

However, it’s also clear that Oracle believes that the future of its software products lies firmly in the cloud. New features and functionality are rolled out to Oracle cloud software before they reach the on-premise version several months later.

In particular, the source code of Essbase was entirely rewritten in between on-premise and the cloud. The cloud version of Essbase can realize significant performance improvements over its on-premise equivalent.

Essbase in the cloud also includes a few more extra features than Essbase on-premise. For example, users can create “sandboxes” for modeling different scenarios that can later be deployed in production. Other Essbase cloud-only features include idle cube detection and deeper feature integration with Oracle’s Smart View interface for Microsoft Office.

Essbase Cloud vs. On-Premise: Support and Maintenance

The client in our case study was paying hundreds of thousands of dollars every month in maintenance fees while using the on-premise version of Essbase. Switching to the cloud version of Essbase 12c helped the client dramatically lower their IT expenses by moving to an Oracle-managed deployment.

At Kscope19, Oracle announced that Essbase 19c (both on-premise and in the cloud) would move to a “customer-managed” model, in which the user is responsible for things like backups and patches. Yet despite this fact, Essbase cloud and on-premise will still be different in terms of their support and maintenance obligations.

Users of Oracle cloud software, including Essbase, don’t have to run their own servers or worry about issues such as crashes and downtime. Oracle assumes the ultimate responsibility for behind-the-scenes support and maintenance tasks, letting you focus less on IT drudgery and more on getting full use of the Essbase software.

The Bottom Line

This article has mentioned just a few points of difference between Essbase cloud and on-premise, including their feature sets, their support and maintenance obligations, and their positions within the Oracle ecosystem.

We’ve hardly mentioned the general benefits of cloud software that are available for Essbase as well: improved scalability, more flexible work practices, and reduced IT spending, just to name a few.

Unless you have a compelling reason to stick with Essbase on-premise (and there are a few), the question of Essbase cloud software should be less a matter of “if,” and more a matter of “when.”

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