Unix ROLAP relational on-line analytical processing leader Information Advantage Inc doesn’t plan to be privately-held for very much longer. It’s looking for the right market conditions to kick-off an initial public offering, mindful of a Windows NT Server release of its DecisionSuite software that’s set to hit the streets 12 months from now which will […]
Unix ROLAP relational on-line analytical processing leader Information Advantage Inc doesn’t plan to be privately-held for very much longer. It’s looking for the right market conditions to kick-off an initial public offering, mindful of a Windows NT Server release of its DecisionSuite software that’s set to hit the streets 12 months from now which will put it into direct competition with Microstrategy Inc for the first time. Currently its nearest rival from a technology point of view, Vienna, Virginia-based Microstrategy is essentially an NT play with an average install price of around $20,000, while Minneapolis, Minnesota company Information Advantage is a $160,000-a-time Unix shop for users with typically more than 100Gb data and large numbers of users. That’s not really NT’s space yet, argues Information Advantage. Both companies use so-called Flash Cube technology which enables users to pluck data from relational tables using metadata information and perform OLAP calculations outside of the database itself. A new cube is generated for each new report and means data is only held in memory while the report is being processed. the configuration also enables large numbers of users to be supported. Other configurations suit different purposes. The reporting tools crowd such as Brio Technology and Cognos Software use small desktop-based multidimensional hypercubes which are supported by batch updates but offer limited data stores and little data sharing capabilities. Arbor Software keeps a hypercube stored on the same server as the database, which provides support for large numbers of users but requires batch updating and is still limited by size. It is most suitable for warehouses with less than 50Gb data. In any case 90% of Arbor customers are processing general ledger data, Information Advantage claims. Still other ROLAPERs use complex SQL to write database tables.
Information Advantage is about to introduce version 5.6 of DecisionSuite, which includes a slew of enhanced web functionality for the company’s WebOLAP browser-based architecture. 5.6 offers intranet users direct access to OLAP reports from browser-based hyperlinks without having to go through an application. In addition new wizards can register OLAP reports with a company’s intranet search engine metadata, enabling users to pull up OLAP reports using conventional search tool queries which are registered and processed by the server. The company has also added pay-per-view metering and auto-prompt security enabling it to begin charging for its software per- report rather than per-user. It is also offering high-level web APIs it says will enable MIS developers and ISVs to integrate the OLAP services with any web site. Its Windows client APIs are very low-level. New report features include support for 3D rotating graphics, retail graphics, temporal and B-tree analytic cache and metering administrative tools. One of Information Advantage’s big boasts is that WebOLAP and Windows-based clients run against the same DecisionSuite Server operating on the back-end data warehouse and that clients can access multiple databases on different servers at the same time. Only one company, UK-based Planning Sciences International’s Gentia technology offers similar functionality, Information Advantage claims. It’s currently doing more work supporting ActiveX widgets on its Windows clients than Java components and applets and is still waiting for Java to mature into a fixed target. The seven year- old company has 180 employees. 50% of its business is done on Oracle data warehouses. It thinks OLAP and data mining products will converge over the next two years.