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Getting the Most Out of Your Essbase Cubes

Author: Eric Russo | | March 18, 2020

Planning and optimization are highly underrated, yet essential, elements of enterprise databases. This is particularly true for EPM databases like Oracle Essbase, that contain information about the financial health of your business.

What’s the difference between a well-designed and a poorly designed database? It can mean the difference between getting timely, insightful responses to your queries and getting outdated answers that leave your organization falling further and further behind.

Of course, database planning and optimization aren’t easy—if they were, everyone would be doing it. The best way to get the most from your Essbase cubes is to join forces with a knowledgeable Essbase partner.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can optimize your use of Essbase cubes, using our recent work as an example.

What is an Essbase Cube?

Essbase is an OLAP (online analytical processing) system, which means that it’s intended to quickly answer “big picture” queries about the information stored within your enterprise.

In Essbase, the term “cube” is another word for a multidimensional database. The use of the word “cube” refers to the fact that the database has several dimensions. In other words, you can slice and dice the cube in various ways by analyzing different dimensions at a time, forming “cross-sections” that offer new perspectives on the data.

For example, you might have an Essbase cube that stores financial information about your e-commerce store. Essbase users can drill up or down into this cube, as well as pivot to different dimensions, in order to reveal hidden insights while enjoying fast response times.

Optimizing Essbase Cubes During an Essbase Cloud Migration

Getting the best performance from your Essbase cubes is always a highly important concern. If you don’t have the in-house technical chops to achieve this yourself, the best way to optimize your Essbase deployment is by working with a skilled, experienced Oracle managed services provider like Datavail.

In a recent case study, Datavail helped one of our clients—a financial services giant with 10,000 employees across the United States—migrate from Essbase on-premise to the cloud. The rapidly approaching end-of-life date for Essbase left the client wondering about what its next steps would be in regards to its Essbase deployment.

Ultimately, the client decided not only to upgrade Essbase, but also to perform a cloud migration. This presented a golden opportunity to optimize the client’s Essbase cubes at the same time as they were being migrated into the cloud.

During a cloud migration, your choice of migration partner should ask you questions such as:

  • What type of Essbase cubes do you have, and how big are they?
  • How do you use these cubes?
  • How often do the data and the metadata change?
  • How often is the data loaded into the cubes?

By asking these and other questions, Datavail helped the client realize the most important areas of its Essbase system that should be prioritized during the cloud migration. In addition, Datavail helped reduce several inefficiencies with the client’s Essbase system, such as eliminating the unnecessary replication of certain cubes. This saved time for both Datavail and the client during the migration, making an already complicated project less complex.

Automating Changes to Essbase Cubes

Your organization’s business processes are constantly making changes to the data in your Essbase cubes. Depending on the frequency of these changes, you may need to automate some or all of these business processes.

Before moving to the cloud, the client in our case study was using multiple techniques to automate its changes to Essbase cubes. This included the MaxL multidimensional database access language, the Essbase Studio software, and a variety of Perl scripts.

During the migration, Datavail helped the client improve this scattered automation landscape by making it smoother and more seamless. For example, the client needed to clear and rebuild the dimensions and data of one of its Essbase cubes on a nightly basis. Datavail replaced the client’s calls to a Perl API with a new MaxL command from an Oracle cloud utility – a better fit for the new cloud environment.

Final Thoughts

Optimizing the performance of your Essbase cubes is an essential component of your application strategy. With the end-of-life date for Essbase on-premise coming up in 2021, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your organization’s approach, including a possible Essbase cloud migration.

Learn more about Essbase 19c by downloading our white paper, “Essbase 19c On-Prem & Cloud: What You Need to Know.”

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