Integrating Relational Databases with Essbase Studio
Because relational databases can store several terabytes of data, they offer nearly unlimited scalability. Multidimensional databases, generally smaller than relational databases, offer sophisticated analytic capabilities. By integrating a relational database with an Essbase database, you leverage the scalability of the relational database with the conceptual power of the multidimensional database.
By default, when Essbase Studio creates an Essbase outline, it loads all member levels specified in the metaoutline into a multidimensional database. You can, however, set Essbase Studio to build to a specified member level (Hybrid Analysis) or build only to the dimension level (Advanced Relational Access). Building down to a specified level produces a smaller multidimensional database and a smaller Essbase outline.
A source relational database can be integrated with an Essbase database by using XOLAP (extended online analytic processing). This is a variation on the role of OLAP in business intelligence. Specifically, XOLAP is an Essbase multidimensional database that stores only the outline metadata and retrieves data from a relational database at query time. XOLAP thus integrates with an Essbase database, leveraging the scalability of the relational database with the more sophisticated analytic capabilities of a multidimensional database.