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Oracle Essbase is an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) Server that provides an environment for deploying pre-packaged applications or developing custom analytic and enterprise performance management applications. Oracle Essbase, along with Oracle BI Suite Enterprise Edition Plus, is part of the Oracle BI Foundation.
With a rapid application development environment, Oracle Essbase enables business users to quickly model complex business scenarios. Aside from its high scalability, a key strength of Oracle Essbase lies in its ability to allow users to "write back" to an application's data repository under security. This makes it ideal for developing forward looking applications such as forecasting, scenario modeling, and "what if" type analysis.
With Oracle Essbase, organizations define a dimensional view of their business—and provide business users with new levels of self-sufficiency to access, navigate, and gain actionable insight into critical business issues. All of this through the various end-user tools for Oracle Essbase. For example, Oracle Hyperion Smart View for Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook), and Oracle BI Suite Enterprise Edition Plus, including Dashboards, Answers, Hyperion Interactive Reporting, Hyperion Web Analysis, Hyperion Financial Reporting, are some of the various Oracle tools that enable users to interact with an Oracle Essbase application.
Oracle Essbase provides adaptable data storage mechanisms for specific types of analytic and performance management applications, thereby ensuring sub-second response times regardless of the complexity of the analytics. For example, Block data storage option (BSO) enables driver-based scenario modeling, forecasting, and predictive analytic applications. Aggregate data storage option (ASO) is optimized for massive sparse data sets, supporting thousands of concurrent business users performing sophisticated analyses at the speed of thought.
With the release of Oracle Essbase 11 there is now stronger integration with the both Oracle Fusion Middleware technologies as well as Oracle Database 11g.
Using Runtime Substitution Variables in Calculation Scripts
Similar to substitution variables, a runtime substitution variable can be included in a calculation script wherever substitution variables are allowed.
Optimizing Name Lookup and Insertion During Dimension Build and Outline Editing
A new hashtable implementation optimizes the performance of name lookup and insertion when building dimensions and editing outlines.
To configure the hashtable, use the ESTIMATEDHASHSIZE configuration setting.
Unique Names for Shared Members
In grid clients (for example, Oracle Hyperion Smart View for Office), shared members can be differentiated from their base members if you specify for them to be displayed with a qualified name (for example, [Parent].[Child]). Shared members can be displayed with qualified names even if you have not set the outline to enable duplicate member names. Additionally, you can type qualified member names into the grid client for shared members.
Customizing Teradata TPT-API Load Settings When using the Teradata TPT-API for data load, you can customize settings that provide greater flexibility while loading data through the TPT-API.
New Calculation Functions
@CREATEBLOCK—Creates a block for a sparse member name or a sparse member combination and sets dense values in the newly created block to #MISSING.
@INTERSECT—Returns the intersection of members that appear in two specified lists of members.
@ISMBRUDA—Returns TRUE if the specified user-defined attribute (UDA) exists for the specified member at calculation time.
@ISRANGENONEMPTY—Returns TRUE if the specified user-defined attribute (UDA) exists for the specified member at calculation time.
@MEMBERAT—Returns the specified member in a list of members.
@RANGEFIRSTVAL—Returns the first value, in a range of the specified mbrList, that satisfies the criterion specified in the first function parameter.
@RANGELASTVAL—Returns the last value, in a range of the specified mbrList, that satisfies the criterion specified in the first function parameter.
Calculation Function Changes
The @NAME calculation function has a new, optional argument, UNIQUE, which tells @NAME to return a unique member name
New Calculation Command
SET RUNTIMESUBVARS—Declares runtime substitution variables that are used in a calculation script.
New Configuration Settings
ENABLERTSVLOGGING—Determines whether Oracle Essbase logs runtime substitution variables that are used in a calculation script.
ESTIMATEDHASHSIZE—Specifies, in millions, the estimated number of member name and alias name strings that are loaded into memory.
UNICODEENABLE—Enables Essbase Server to create Unicode-mode applications and to migrate applications to Unicode mode, without needing to set the Essbase Server to Unicode mode using Oracle Essbase Administration Services, MaxL, or the API.
MaxL Grammar Changes
The execute calculation MaxL statement has new grammar: with runtimesubvars RTSV-LIST. This grammar executes a calculation script with the specified runtime substitution variables, which are specified as a string of key/value pairs.
UNC Path Support
On Windows, you can use Universal/Uniform Naming Convention (UNC) to describe the location of a network resource, such as a shared directory.
For Essbase running on Windows, UNC paths are supported to specify network shared paths for the following Essbase Server application artifacts:
- Tablespace paths for aggregate storage applications
- Disk volume paths for block storage applications
New Calculation Function
The @IRREX calculation function is an extension of the @IRR calculation function, in which the initial guess of 0.07 cannot be changed.
New essbase.cfg Configuration Setting
SSBULKGRIDPROCESSING: Optimizes asymmetric Grid API queries for XOLAP.
Block Storage Parallel Calculation
The number of calculations tasks can be defined by specifying a value for CALCTASKDIMS in the essbase.cfg file.
Block Storage Parallel Restructuring
The number of restructuring threads to use is defined in essbase.cfg using the RESTRUCTURETHREADS configuration setting.
Block Storage Parallel Data Export
The EXPORTTHREADS configuration setting has been enhanced to support block storage parallel data export. (EXPORTTHREADS is used only when executing the PAREXPORT ESSCMD command without specifying the -threads option.)
Block Storage Parallel Data Load
Parallel data load uses multiple parallel pipelines on the server side, and multiple threads on the client-side, to load multiple data files concurrently, thus enabling data loads to be truly optimized to the capabilities of modern servers.
Optimizing Block Storage Parallel Data Load
Parallel data load includes a “throttle” to limit the number of client threads or server pipelines that are used. To control the number of threads or pipelines spawned by a data load request, set the limit using the max_threads grammar in the import data MaxL statement.
Cache Sizes Larger than 4 GB
The 64-bit Essbase Server has been expanded to accommodate larger index, data, and data file cache sizes without setting a scaling factor. The MEMSCALINGFACTOR configuration setting is deprecated. For full database functionality, you must upgrade to the latest client software.
Optimization of Distinct Count Calculations on Aggregate Storage Databases
On aggregate storage databases only, the NonEmptyCount MDX function is optimized so that the calculation of the distinct count for all cells can be performed by scanning the database only once.
Distinct Way to Reference Shared Members in MDX
In previous releases, any reference in an MDX query to such a shared member was assumed to be a reference to the original member, not the shared member. With this release, you can get a unique name for shared members by using the MEMBER_UNIQUE_NAME property in an MDX query.
Changing Essbase Server and Application Log Levels in Administration Services
You can change Essbase log levels at the server and application level in Administration Services Console. See “Changing Log Levels” in the Oracle Essbase Administration Services Online Help.
MDX Property Expressions
In addition to querying for intrinsic and custom properties of a particular member, you can also query for properties of related members, using the PROPERTY_EXPR function within the DIMENSION PROPERTIES section of the query axis.
Throttle Active Transactions
Each allotted server thread for an application may create child threads for tasks such as parallel calculation, parallel data load or export, and parallel restructuring. To control the issue of thread contention, you can use the MAXTOTALACTIVETRANSACTIONS and MAXACTIVEUPDATETRANSACTIONS essbase.cfg settings.
Essbase API Changes
Changed C Main API Structures
- The data structures ESS_DBINFO_T and ESS_DBSTATE_T have expanded fields to accommodate 64-bit long typedefs. This is related to Cache Sizes Larger than 4 GB.
- The supported compilers list for building Essbase API programs has been updated. See the “Supported Compilers” topic in the Oracle Essbase API Reference.
Configuration Setting (essbase.cfg) Changes
New Configuration Settings
MAXACTIVEUPDATETRANSACTIONS. See Throttle Active Transactions.
MAXTOTALACTIVETRANSACTIONS. See Throttle Active Transactions.
NUMBLOCKSTOEXTEND: Determines the number of bytes by which data files in block storage databases are extended to accommodate block updates that require additional disk space.
RESTRUCTURETHREADS: Specifies whether parallel restructuring is enabled for a database, and the number of threads to use.
XOLAPMAXINCLAUSESIZE: Sets the maximum number of INLIST items allowed in SQL clauses (for XOLAP databases).
Deprecated Configuration Setting
The MEMSCALINGFACTOR configuration setting is deprecated. The 64-bit Essbase Server has been expanded to accommodate larger cache sizes without setting a scaling factor.
CALCPARALLEL Configuration Setting Enhancement
The maximum number of threads that can be made available for parallel calculation has been increased:
Block storage databases:
- Running on 32-bit platforms: 64
- Running on 64-bit platforms: 128
Aggregate storage databases (running on 32-bit or 64-bit platforms): 128
SET CALCPARALLEL Calculation Command Enhancement
The maximum number of threads that can be made available for parallel calculation has been increased:
- 32-bit platforms: 64
- 64-bit platforms: 128
New MDX Functions
PROPERTY_EXPR function (MDX Property Expressions), for querying properties of ancestor members.
CurrentAxisMember, for use with the PROPERTY_EXPR function.
MaxL Grammar Changes
The query database MaxL statement for aggregate storage databases has a new list aggregate_storage slice_info clause, to display information about data slices and views.
The deploy MaxL statement for deploying cubes from Oracle Essbase Studio has the following new grammar:
- If an Essbase model is enabled for XOLAP, you can, when redeploying the cube, use the outline_in_background grammar.
- When the model being deployed contains single or multiple relational data sources, you can deploy in streaming mode using the use streaming build grammar if you want Essbase Studio to the query the external data source directly (rather than using an ODBC connection).
The import data MaxL statement has a new using max_threads clause, for specifying maximum number of threads to use for a parallel data load.
The alter system and alter application MaxL statements have new set ... message_level clauses, to set the message logging level at the agent and application scopes.
The display system and display application MaxL statements have new message_level clauses, to display the current message level settings.
Communicating with Essbase Using SSL - Essbase supports the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol for all client-to-server and server-to-server communication.
New essbase.cfg Configuration Settings
Logging In to Essbase Using Logical Names- Essbase cluster logical names can be used for login, in the form <name>:<secure>.
Changes to login statements - The HOST-NAME parameter can be an Essbase cluster logical name, if using the APSRESOLVER configuration setting. If using SSL, append :secure to the HOST-NAME parameter; for example: login essexer password on "localhost:secure";
Managing Essbase Security Backup Files- You can manage the number of security backup files (essbase_timestamp.bak) that Essbase maintains; the interval at which the security backup files are created; and whether to switch to the latest, valid security backup file on startup if the essbase.sec file is invalid.
Pre-upgrade Security File Backup- When you upgrade to Essbase 184.108.40.206 from an earlier release, a backup of the security file for the earlier release is created before the security file is upgraded. This pre-upgrade backup file is kept intact and is not subsequently updated by further operations.
New MaxL Statements- The statement 'display system' has new configuration grammar for displaying Essbase configured values set using the essbase.cfg file.
Changed MaxL Grammar- Changes to alter system statement: The 'reconcile' keyword displays discrepancies in application and database information between the security file and the external disk; the 'reconcile force' keyword removes from the essbase.sec security file applications or databases that do not exist on the external disk but that are listed in the security file.
New MDX Functions
MDX Query Execution Management- The essbase.cfg settings QRYGOVEXECBLK and QRYGOVEXECTIME can now also control long-running MDX queries.
EPM System Security Enhancements- When Essbase is configured for Shared Services Aauthentication, user's are no longer stored in the Essbase security file.
For this reason it is no longer needed to perform security synchronization between Essbase and Shared Services. Note that security filters are still stored in the Essbase security file.
Allocations on Aggregate Storage Databases- It is now possible to perform allocations within an ASO cube. A new MaxL statement 'execute allocation'
is provided for this.
Custom Calculations on Aggregate Storage Databases- It is now possible to perform custom calculations in an ASO cube. A new MaxL statement ' execute calculation is provided for this.
Dynamic Write-back to Blocks During Calculation- A new function @XWRITE is available for writing data to blocks in the same database or in a remote database. The syntax is similar to @XREF.
Alias Table Enhancements- Essbase supports 32 alias tables for block storage and aggregate storage databases.
Increased Length for User, Group, and Filter Names- Essbase now supports 256 characters for user, group, and filter names.
Conversion of Block Storage Outlines to Unicode-mode Aggregate Storage Outlines- Support for conversion to Unicode aggregate storage outline
IPv6 Support- Essbase supports the IPv6 internet protocol on Microsoft Windows 2008 and all UNIX platforms.
OCI Support- The EAS Data Prep editor now support using the Oracle OCI interface in addition to ODBC. In Essbase Studio, it is now possible to specify Oracle OCI as a loading interface.
Dataload Error Debugging Improvements- Essbase offers improved dataload error messages for debugging purposes, and records causing errors are
included in the log files.
Increased Limit for MDX Query Size- Essbase supports MDX queries that exceed the 232 query limit.
User Names with Leading Special Characters- User names can contain any characters defined within the code page referenced by the ESSLANG variable. For example, you will now be able to create a user such as '$Hypadmin'.
MaxL Shell Error Handling Improvements- The MaxL Shell IfError command can detect syntactical errors, nested script errors, and lack-of-permission errors. The MaxL Shell Exit command can accept a non-zero argument to return an exit status to the parent shell.
Exception Messages in Calculation Scripts- Essbase can exit calculations immediately under specified logical conditions. You can use the new @RETURN function to exit the calculation with customized error messages and levels.
Essbase Failover Support with OPMN- Essbase supports clustering of Essbase servers to provide active-passive failover with write-back capability. Active-passive Essbase failover clusters use the service failover functionality of the Oracle Process Manager and Notification (OPMN) Server.
MaxL Support in Java API- Java API support for executing MaxL statements.
Calculations with Varying Attributes- New calculation functions and command have been added to improve calculation of databases that use varying attributes:
Single Environment to Build and Maintain Oracle Essbase Cubes- Oracle Essbase Studio provides a single interface for performing tasks related to data source modeling, cube design, and construction of analytic applications. See Oracle Essbase Studio
New Installation and ConfigurationOracle Essbase is now integrated into the EPM System Installer, to streamline the installation of all EPM products within one tool.
Lifecycle Management- Provides a consistent, repeatable way to move Oracle Essbase cubes, applications, or individual artifacts between development, test and production environments. Also supports auditing and application comparisons.
Varying Attributes- Support for storing data in attributes that vary over one or more dimensions, and calculate measures over the varying attributes.
Typed Measures- extends the analytical capabilities of Oracle Essbase beyond numerical data to support for two new data types: text measures and date measures. Applications can now use text and dates as measures in multidimensional reporting. Oracle Essbase applications can now support analysis based on text or date measures.
Backing Up and Restoring Block Storage Option (BSO) Databases- enables administrators to back up and restore databases more efficiently.
Transaction Logging and Replay- a backed-up database can be restored to a specified post-backup state by replaying transactions related to data loads, data updates, and calculation (procedural)_scripts.
Clearing Data from Specific Regions of Aggregate Storage (ASO) Databases- clear data from a specific region and retain the data located in other regions, such as historical data.
Environment Variables Used in the Calculation Scripts and Formulas of Block Storage Option (BSO) Applications- supports use system environment variables as placeholders for user-specific system settings in calculation scripts and outline member formulas
New Calculation Functions- The following calculation functions are new in this release:
Online training for Oracle Essbase is available in various formats:
To view online training for a particular version, click on the link below.