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Oracle Essbase Cloud is Here

Author: Bobby Ellis | | April 19, 2017

We, at Datavail, are very excited about the recent release of Essbase Cloud Service (ECS) – a long-anticipated release in the Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC). We want to talk a little bit about this release, starting with what Essbase is, what Essbase Cloud Service is, the benefits of ECS, and how Datavail can help you make the move to Oracle’s latest product offering.

Are you ready to dive in? Let’s go!

What is Essbase?

Essbase stands for Extended Spreadsheet Database. It is a multidimensional database system developed by Hyperion and purchased by Oracle. Multidimensional databases are fundamentally different from relational databases, though developments in both database technologies has resulted in some convergence of the two.

Essbase retrieves, stores and processes data in multidimensional arrays and maintains an index referencing the location of a specific multidimensional array within the overall database. This arrangement of data is a distinguishing characteristic of multidimensional databases as compared to their relational counterparts. The multidimensional arrays are commonly referred to as blocks and an entire database is commonly referred to as a cube. The foregoing generally describes a block storage option (BSO) database, which was the only type of Essbase database until the introduction of aggregate storage option (ASO) databases. More recently, a hybrid option has been introduced, which option seeks to combine the respective strengths of BSO and ASO databases.

Essbase has long been popular with finance and accounting departments; historically, this was largely due to the BSO ability to store aggregated values, enabling nimble reporting and analysis. Essbase’s powerful calculation engine made it a natural fit for use in budgeting and forecasting, making it relatively easy to perform scenario analysis under varying assumptions. The loading of actual data from source financial systems further expanded these benefits by enabling actual vs. budget/forecast analytics.

In addition to its use as a stand-alone database, Essbase has served as the primary data storage medium for Oracle Hyperion Planning since its release. The role of Essbase in Oracle’s EPM strategy has expanded with the rollout of Oracle’s Cloud EPM offerings, where Essbase is now also used to store data for Oracle Financial Close Cloud Suite (FCCS) in addition to both the basic and enterprise versions of the Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS).

Data residing in an Essbase database can be accessed via a variety of reporting and analysis tools including:

  • Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE)
  • Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS)
  • Oracle Hyperion Financial Reporting
  • Oracle Hyperion Smart View for Office

What is Essbase Cloud Service?

As of early 2017, Essbase Cloud Service (EssCS) is available as part of the Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC), a suite of analytics software solutions which also includes Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS), and Data Visualization Cloud Service (DVCS).

EssCS makes your multidimensional databases accessible through a wide variety of mobile devices. It makes it easier to accommodate work teams accessing the system from all over the world. And it is infinitely elastic, allowing your databases and dimensions to grow over time without having to suddenly provision new server resources.

Oracle says EssCS is “scalability on demand to support the ebb and flow of the business cycle from recurring data refreshes to month end processes and the lulls in between.”

With EssCS, contextual help features are accessible from every screen, with text and multimedia tutorials that are continuously updated based on frequently asked questions.

Why Essbase Cloud Service?

To end users, primarily accustomed to interacting with Essbase via the Smart View for Office add-in or Financial Reporting, Essbase in the cloud looks just like Essbase on-premises, meaning users do not require retraining. Power users and administrators will benefit from a streamlined cube build/maintenance process that can be done right from Excel thanks to the OAC Smart View extension.

Additional features of OAC include:

Own the Environment without Owning the Hardware. With OAC, you can have as many applications as you want and as many users as you want. Unlike other cloud services, OAC allows your admin to control the timing of patches and upgrades so they can be scheduled during off hours or even rolled back if needed.

Flexible. Capacity can be scaled up or down to keep pace with demand and the streamlined user interface components makes it easier to create, update and deploy cubes to meet changing business requirements.

Sandboxes support scenario analysis by giving users private data sets where they can test alternate assumptions; these private data sets can easily be merged back into the main cube — or deleted.

Scenario Management in EssCS makes collaboration much easier, with ownership and assignment controls and ability to create workflows and approval processes.

Making the Move to Oracle EssCS

EssCS is part of the Oracle Analytics Cloud, which is available in Standard and Enterprise versions. Utilities are available to facilitate migration from an on-premises Essbase deployment to OAC.

Datavail recommends that you do a formal assessment before migrating your Essbase database to the Oracle cloud. There are licensing considerations to be evaluated and negotiated and a functional fit assessment should be conducted to ensure EssCS is the right platform for your specific use case. Datavail can help with this assessment and offer guidance on every step in the process, from licensing through migration.

Beyond migrating to EssCS, Datavail assists our clients in all facets of both on-premises and Cloud EPM and BI solutions, including:

  • Building a robust reporting and analytics framework leveraging cloud-based reporting solutions like BICS and EPRCS.
  • Configuring and streamlining the integration of data from multiple source systems.
  • Developing a strategic roadmap for cloud adoption based on your organization’s specific needs.
  • Customized training from one of Oracle’s top Oracle Analytics / EPM Partners.
  • Provide full EPM support through our 24×7 managed services model.

For more information on Oracle Essbase Cloud Service, please contact Datavail today.

Datavail is a specialized IT services company focused on Data Management with solutions in BI/DW, analytics, database administration, custom application development, and enterprise applications. We provide both professional and managed services delivered via our global delivery model, focused on Microsoft, Oracle and other leading technologies.

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