This is almost an addendum to the last review: a link to just about the first material I ever found online about Essbase. It’s still a remarkably useful primer, at least for Essbase BSO designers, but it goes by the Google-proof name of…

DB2 OLAP Server – Theory and Practices

That’s right kids, until around 2005 Essbase was also resold by IBM as DB2 OLAP Server, and Big Blue was nice enough to publish its own implementation guide under the RedBooks┬ábanner.

This RedBook is a great supplement to the dee-bag, especially if you’ve made it through that particular tome and need a new angle to straighten out your screaming braincells.


Developing Essbase Applications: Advanced Techniques for Finance and IT Professionals

By Cameron Lackpour (Ed.)
Available from

Ten years ago I typed “essbase” into a search engine. It returned Hyperion’s product page, a few marketing seminars, a lonely question on… and that’s it. Where were the mailing lists? The success stories and lessons learned? The livid arguments in-depth discussions? Well that was a long time ago. Today, Google results for “essbase” are healthy. After the Wikipedia article (I wonder who wrote that stuff…) and a couple of Oracle landing pages, you’ll find an active web forum, a fantastic conference, a pair of books, a scattering of blogs… all-in-all, a vibrant and active user community.

Follow many of those links and you’ll see the name Cameron Lackpour. Cameron has been highly active on all these forums since they began, and in recent years has been a major booster for the Hyperion/EPM chapter of the Oracle Data Tools User Groups (ODTUG) and its conference, Kaleidoscope. For this book, “Developing Essbase Applications: Advanced Techniques for Finance and IT Professionals”, Cameron has assembled 12 prominent community members to contribute a total of 11 papers on Essbase development, hacking, reporting, and even administration and project management.

First things first: this book is deep. Really deep – in fact, each chapter really is a stand-alone paper, authored by one of the 12 experts (two for the chapter on managing a implementation and support team). For example, the chapter on Essbase BSO, the “classic” version of Essbase, isn’t just a list of tips for designing and optimizing Essbase databases. It relates this advice to specific features of the Essbase engine, like the calculator cache and bitmap. In other words: it doesn’t just tell you to use “the hourglass” (the often-repeated rule of thumb for ordering dimensions in an Essbase cube), it explains how and why this makes Essbase faster.

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Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve learned to trust my GPS when it suggests re-routing to avoid traffic. This has meant some exciting (if random) adventures through many and varied Southland neighborhoods. On a drive home from Burbank, the GPS directed me to fight my way off the gridlocked freeway, which brought me face to face with the sign pictured here.

Amazingly (to me, anyway), I first started associating that word with cubes and reports, and not ancient Greek deities, over ten years ago! I’ve started several private blogs over that time — leaving myself a trail of breadcrumbs when troubleshooting an infrastructure problem, or documenting some weird/wonderful method for wrangling the Essbase calculator — but somehow always held back from opening them up.

Until now! You lucky people.