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Cognos plugs query tool for Plato

Cognos releases a beta version of Aristotle, its client side query tool designed to work tightly with Microsoft's new OLAP server, Plato.

Cognos wants Aristotle and Plato to be best buds.

Cognos, in Ottawa, Canada, released this week a beta version of Aristotle, its client side query tool designed to work tightly with Microsoft's new online analytical processing [OLAP] server, code named Plato.

Aristotle is a scaled down version of Cognos's popular PowerPlay query tool. While PowerPlay is designed for the high end of the market, Aristotle will target the middle tier with similar functionality but less calculating power then PowerPlay.

Cognos is hoping it can carve a niche for itself at the top of the market because it licensed Aristotle from Panorama Software system, the same Israeli company that Microsoft turned to for the OLAP technology used in Plato.

But don't expect other makers of business analysis tools like IQ Software to lag far behind. Henry Morris, analyst at International Data Corporation in Framingham, Massachusetts, said more tools built to SQL Server's OLAP application programming interface should be forthcoming and Cognos will need to find ways to differentiate itself.

Microsoft released the final beta version of SQL Server 7.0 yesterday to some 50,000 users. The latest version of the database server contains the OLAP server. It is to be released for general use in the fall. Cognos said Aristotle will be released at the same time.

The beta version of Aristotle is available for free. But users who buy it for $99 will get a free upgrade for the final product which is expected to be more than $99.