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What is Essbase

Answering the question "What is Essbase?" might seem a bit confusing to an inexperienced user. That's why the experts at DB Serv have put together a detailed and simple guide for you. In this guide, you'll learn about the concepts, advantages, disadvantages, and capabilities of this Oracle Corporation product. 

Essbase, short for Extended Spreadsheet Database, is a multidimensional database management system (MDBMS) that falls into object-oriented databases. This system models information as objects, their classes, methods, and attributes. To some extent, it's akin to Excel pivot tables with columns and rows forming horizontal and vertical axes, much like a coordinate system. You create a third axis by adding a common value for a column and a row. This results in a three-dimensional cube-like structure, hence why Essbase is also referred to as a "cubical" database.

Another way to define it is as follows: Oracle Essbase is a tool (app) for storing data with the ability to organize it at several levels of detail. Additionally, it provides robust data analysis capabilities, forecasting business scenarios, budgeting, financial reporting, and more. In Essbase, all metrics, parameters, and other data are formed into cross-sectional groups and defined by dimensions, which are hierarchical groups of elements. 

In this context, a dimension is a hierarchical representation of descriptors, similar to the hierarchy of products retailers use to categorize their inventory. Users can select any point in a dimension and immediately access data values. Since the tool is multidimensional, users can also drill down and pivot dimensions to create new cross-sections and conduct more in-depth data analysis. 

To better grasp the concept of "what is Oracle Essbase," it's also worthwhile to acquaint oneself with OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) technology. OLAP is used for Business Intelligence (BI) apps and provides robust support for analytical tasks. Thus, Oracle Essbase can be defined as an OLAP server with a high level of data processing capability, enabling multidimensional analytics across various analytics and the capability to make forecasts for business development and collect data for reporting on any parameters. 

Pros of Oracle Essbase 

Like any app, Essbase has its strengths and weaknesses. Let's begin by looking at the advantages it offers to its users: 

   ✅ Handling a wide range of sources: Essbase stores and helps process data from your organization's local and cloud sources. Thus, you obtain the most comprehensive information by selecting any parameter or cross-sectional data group.
   ✅ High forecast accuracy: Thanks to thorough data collection, calculation scenarios, and business rules supported by mathematical formulas, the accuracy of forecasts for various solutions is enhanced.
   ✅ Simple scaling process: MDBMS allows data caching, categorization, and segmentation across multiple platforms using various Oracle processing services.
   ✅ Easy business scenario modeling: What is Essbase? It's an app with a simple and user-friendly interface for users and administrators, making it easy to model complex hierarchies. It also enables the rapid deployment of multiple corporate apps for collaboration among different company departments. All of this streamlines the development and testing processes for new promotion and budgeting ideas.
   ✅ Comprehensive data processing: The app provides retrospective and predictive analysis, gathering information about your business operations from various sources. Thanks to this, you can identify weaknesses, prevent unprofitable investments, and maximize the efficiency and profitability of your company.
   ✅ Quick transition from Excel to Essbase Cloud Service (EssCS): It takes only a few seconds to create business models ready for operation and transfer electronic tables from one app to another. Additionally, EssCS is accessible from mobile devices, making it easier for remote employees to access the system.

Cons of Oracle Essbase

Among the drawbacks that you may encounter when using Oracle Essbase solution, we have identified the following: 

   ➡️ Complex learning curve: The app stands out for its complexity in mastering due to the use of multiple scripting languages. you may need a qualified professional to implement this solution and train your employees.
   ➡️ Lack of visualization features: The app presents data in standard electronic tables, charts, and diagrams without the option to modify visuals or adjust colors.
   ➡️ Script calculation performance: Under heavy loads, the performance of MDBMS may lag, resulting in data processing operations taking more time.
   ➡️ Complexity of technical maintenance: It's worth noting that the service is characterized as highly stable. Nevertheless, like any digital tool, it requires technical support and updates when necessary. However, configuring and maintaining the system to ensure stable operation demands specialized technical skills.

Types of Storage Options in Oracle Essbase

Essbase employs two types of databases: Block Storage Option (BSO) and Aggregate Storage Option (ASO). They are both capable of efficient management and optimization, catering to your data storage and retrieval needs. Each has its own advantages and functionalities. Let's explore both storage types to delve into the details of "what is Essbase" and how it handles your information.

Block Storage Option

BSO features fewer dimensions than ASO but excels at showcasing various business models and performing complex calculations for smaller data volumes. Accounts and Time dimensions offer valuable functions such as dynamic time series, time balancing, and variance reports. 

In BSO, data is processed using business rules and calculation scripts built on mathematical formulas. This makes it easy to manipulate whole numbers and perform various calculations. There are three types of data storage sections in BSO:

   1. Replicated
   2. Transparent
   3. Linked

Key characteristics of Block Storage Option: 

   ➡️ Suitable for handling small data volumes.

   ➡️ Utilizes a block structure for simplified storage.
   ➡️ Facilitates financial expense calculations and data processing based on specified numbers.
   ➡️ Enables rapid data retrieval at specific data points.
   ➡️ Suitable for apps with infrequently changing information.

A notable advantage is that BSO imposes no restrictions on the number of databases available within a single app. However, it's essential to monitor and maintain performance stability, which may lead to increased costs.

Aggregate Storage Option

ASO is used for rapidly adding data from large Essbase structures and storing them collectively, thus supporting a significantly larger number of dimensions. This results in a substantial reduction in the time required for aggregating information and distributing it across various dimensions. ASO includes only the Transparent section.

When using this storage type, you can create one database for one app and no more. You also cannot share data but only store it. Nonetheless, ASO offers several significant advantages, including: 

   ✅ Handling large datasets and data volumes.
   ✅ Storing information through a method similar to image raster compression.
   ✅ Optimization for quick query performance and aggregation.
   ✅ Suitability for apps with frequently changing data and complex computational formulas.

ASO is better suited for data collection and storage, while BSO is geared towards computational operations. There are also hybrid types that combine elements of both storage options. You can choose the optimal solution based on your business needs and the datasets you work with. 

Oracle Essbase: Key Features for Your Business

Essbase offers a range of capabilities to ease data management and perform analytical tasks for business users. Among the essential functions are: 

   ✅ What-If Analysis: This feature aids in conducting an in-depth analysis of business ideas, predicting company performance, testing various models and development scenarios, and creating analytical apps. It comprehensively answers "What if we do this?" by processing data from all sources and granting access to work processes through a unified user interface.
   ✅ Analytical Calculation Engine: Essbase boasts over a hundred ready-to-use mathematical functions, enabling your business analysts to swiftly derive new calculations and effectively handle statistical data. It also lets you create and preserve new formulas using the MDX (Multidimensional Expressions) query language.
   ✅ Complex Hierarchy Modeling: This function allows you to create, utilize, and store various hierarchical relationships that represent intricate business structures. For instance, product hierarchies, financial plans, organizational operation schemes, etc. It also aids in developing and generating reports based on multidimensional models, enhancing data comprehension.
   ✅ Open, Scalable, and Secure: Essbase provides a wide array of tools for deployment and supports thousands of users simultaneously. Additionally, the service seamlessly integrates with other Oracle products, ensuring you have access to current and reliable data. You can also create multiple instances for collaborative use within your organization.


Now that you know what is Oracle Essbase, you can consider how it can benefit your business. This multidimensional database helps forecast, model various business scenarios, conduct analytics, and generate reports for different departments within your company. It's ideally suited for financial, banking, and IT enterprises and finds applications in retail, healthcare, insurance, and education.

Using Essbase empowers you to test business assumptions and development models of varying complexity locally and in the cloud. You'll make more informed and accurate decisions based on the results you obtain, ultimately contributing to your company's success. 

Interested in learning more about Essbase? As Oracle's Silver Partner, DB Serv specialists are ready to provide expert consultations starting today! 

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