InetSoft Product Information: Using InetSoft's BI Software to Access Multidimensional Databases

The multidimensional database is another way to provide data for OLAP operations. Taking the place of tables in relational databases, multidimensional databases organize data into cubes that contain measures and dimensions. This technology is often referred as MOLAP. The primary benefit of using MOLAP is enhanced performance because of pre-aggregation.

MOLAP has no industry standard query language, although a few popular mechanisms exist. The Data Modeler uses these technologies to access meta¬data from MOLAP databases and present it uniformly. Because the meta data from a MOLAP database contains all of the information needed for the InetSoft data modeler engine, models for multidimensional databases are automatically created by the Data Modeler.

Multidimensional databases are most commonly provided by a part of a relational database. Both the Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services and Oracle OLAP server are OLAP add-ons. ESSbase is a specialized multidimensional database that is also marketed as an IBM OLAP server as an add-on to the DB2 database server.

For supported OLAP databases, the New Data Source wizard will ask if an OLAP domain should be created at the last step. A ‘Yes’ answer will instruct the Data Modeler to create a special node called ‘Domain’ under the data source. ‘Domain’ captures all cubes inside the multidimensional database that define the dimensions and measures.

MS SQL Server Analysis Service

In order to use a Microsoft SQL Server OLAP domain, it is necessary to create a SQL Server JDBC data source. The OLAP domain uses Microsoft Analysis Services for the OLAP server.

For Microsoft SQL Server 2000, the following JAR files must be included in the system classpath:

  • msbase.jar
  • mssqlserver.jar
  • msutil.jar

For Microsoft SQL Server 2005, the following JAR file must be included in the system classpath:

  • sqljdbc.jar

Oracle OLAP Server

In order to use an Oracle OLAP domain, it is necessary to create an Oracle JDBC data source. The following files, which can be downloaded from the Oracle website for Oracle 10g, must be included in the system classpath:

  • ojdbc14.jar
  • nls_charset12.jar
  • collections.jar
  • olap_api.jar
  • xmlparserv2.jar

DB2 OLAP Server

In order to use an Essbase OLAP data source, it is necessary to create a DB2 JDBC data source. The ess_japi.jar file from the Essbase Enterprise Server installation must be included in the system classpath.

There so many traditional BI and reporting software vendors out there, but we have found this gap that we have talked about before. Not all needs were being served very well. Operational users were still the most underserved group. In order to serve this group of people, we didn’t spend a lot of time analyzing the different BI vendors and looking for their weaknesses. We just found in general they tended to lack some fundamental capabilities. So we focused on these to drive our own development.

We came up with an “ICE” approach. “ICE” stands for “I” for integration, “C” for collaboration, and “E” for exploration. Those aspects are the ones we found typically lacking in both groups of vendors in different ways." - Luke Liang, CEO, InetSoft