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Arbor eases OLAP integration

Arbor Software says its Integration Server simplifies linking its OLAP software to data warehouse applications.

Arbor Software is making it easier to link its online analytical processing software to other applications for building data warehouses.

Next week, Arbor will announce Arbor Integration Server, an add-on to the company's Essbase OLAP Server and a bundle of tools that data warehouse builders can use to create connections between Essbase and relational databases.

Essbase lets users perform multidimensional analysis on data to spot trends and patterns.

OLAP tools let users quickly analyze shared corporate data organized in multiple dimensions, not just the two-dimensional horizontal and vertical categories of simple spreadsheets. That allows data to be viewed, for example, as "sales by region" or in more complicated, but informative combinations, as "sales by quarter, by sales representative, by product line, by region."

The Integration Server package includes three tools: OLAP Architect, a graphical tool that lets administrators map relational database tables in Essbase's multidimensional database; OLAP Builder lets users then assemble Architect mappings into analytic applications; and OLAP Integration Services synchronizes analytic applications with underlying relational databases to keep data updated.

Integration Server runs on Windows NT, IBM AIX, and Sun Solaris operating systems. The server can link to databases including IBM DB2, Informix, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and Sybase.

Now in beta testing, Integration Server is slated to ship later this year, priced at $20,000 per Essbase server supported.

The OLAP market is due for a shakeup, say analysts, due to Microsoft's planned release of its own OLAP server in the second half of this year.

The company is including an OLAP server, code-named Plato, as part of SQL Server 7.0, an update of its database server now entering a final round of beta testing.

Microsoft plans to bundle Plato with SQL Server at no additional charge. The company has not released SQL Server 7.0 pricing.