A New Platform – EPM Conversations

I first attended Kscope in 2010, when it was – serendipitously – held in Washington, D.C., just a short walk from my then apartment. Within a few hours I had met, in person, a number of people with whom I’d develop both friendships and professional relationships over the next several years. The past few months have seen (along with other more severe hardships) almost all the regular, in-person touchpoints in our industry cancelled. Kscope20, Collaborate, Oracle Openworld etc. Many have been replaced with virtual content (special thanks to the hard work of ODTUG staff, volunteers and speakers, who produced an extremely successful Learn From Home Series). This means that I’ve missed the opportunity to catch up with all my old industry friends from all over the world, and the opportunity to meet new ones.

I’ve also been in the ACE Program for over five years now, and the real core of that (to me, at least) is the sharing of information and enabling and participating in an ongoing “conversation” about technology. In the past, I’ve tried to do that via blogging, Twitter, speaking and volunteering for ODTUG. A month or two ago my friend Cameron Lackpour invited me to join him and Celvin Kattookaran in exploring an additional platform – podcasting. Our objective is to talk to interesting people in our industry – software vendors, service providers, people in industry – in a manner that, hopefully, brings to mind the conference post-session hallway / breakfast / lunch / party conversations that we haven’t been able to have this year. Webinars and online sessions are far from redundant, but we feel there’s a personal insight and aspect that gets missed when those are the only form of interaction with our industry peers, and we hope that a casual, conversational format (hence the name – EPM Conversations) can fill some of that void.

We’re not the only recent podcast in this space – Opal Alapat and Anthony Manfredi launched their Performance Management Techcast just a couple of weeks back (perhaps also missing the opportunity to blather about all this stuff at conferences?) – but hopefully there’s room for both of us and plenty more.

Episode 1:  Introduction is available now. You can listen and subscribe via EPMConversations.com, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. Please give it a listen (and get in touch, if you’d like to participate!) and let us know what you think, and who you’d like to hear joining us. Cheers!

Essbase 19c – Pricing Options

Essbase 19c appeared on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace back in September 2019, but that initial release was only available on a “BYOL” (bring your own license) basis. That meant that only customers who already owned – or went out and bought – on premises licenses were able to comply with its license terms. The list price for a single processor on premises Essbase license being  USD138,000 – plus a cool USD30k and change for annual maintenance – this presented a barrier to entry for potential users accustomed to subscription or usage models for cloud systems. It was also a problem for medium sized consulting shops and people like me who had been in the habit of running the local installations permitted under previous license terms for educational purposes. I’m sure I was not alone in making this point frequently and vigorously to Oracle (aka harassing Product Management) and I’m glad to report that an additional Marketplace option has now appeared under which Essbase is licensed on the Universal Credits Model or “UCM”. This means that there are two competing pricing models for Essbase 19c on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. So how do they pencil out?

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Use MDX for Custom ASO Roll-Ups that Respect Ratios and Variances

Snappy title, huh?

This post is a quick note on a powerful but hopefully non-obvious feature of MDX against Essbase, inspired by an interesting thread on the Network54 Essbase board.  That discussion is about implementing custom groupings from the reporting layer – i.e. being able to retrieve roll-ups that don’t exist in the underlying cube.  For example, the ASOsamp.Sample Products dimension looks like this:ASOsamp.Sample Product dimension



Suppose that you want to do some reporting on the total of [Personal Electronics] and [Home Entertainment], for which there is no roll-up in the cube.  MDX can do the summing, of course.  But won’t that mess up any ratio- or variance-type measures, by adding the values for [Personal Electronics] and [Home Entertainment] together?  As it turns out, the answer is ‘not necessarily’. Continue reading

Automatic CALCTASKDIMS and Empty Tasks

Some Old News

One relatively unsung enhancement to Essbase in was a change to CALCTASKDIMS behavior.  Before, CALCTASKDIMS defaulted to a value of 1.  From,  Essbase selects a value for CALCTASKDIMS automatically unless overridden by the user with either the CALCTASKDIMS .cfg file setting or the SET CALCTASKDIMS calculation command.

So why am I blogging about this years after came out?  First, there is a good theoretical reason why the above Essbase ‘enhancement’ might have a seriously negative effect on calculation performance, which can be especially surprising when it occurs following a supposed upgrade.  Second, this actually bit a coworker a few days ago, and it’s always satisfying (for me, if not my coworker) when empirical data and theory coincide.
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