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Welcome to the exciting world of Essbase Analytics known as the Aggregate Storage Option (ASO).

Well, now you’re ready to take everything one step further. You see, the BSO architecture used by Essbase is the original database architecture as the behind the scenes method of data storage in an Essbase database. The ASO method is entirely different.

What is ASO

ASO is Essbase’s alternative to the sometimes cumbersome BSO method of storing data in an Essbase database. In fact, it is BSO that is exactly what makes Essbase a superior OLAP analytical tool but it is also the BSO that can occasionally be a detriment to the level of system performance demanded in today’s business world.

In a BSO database, all data is stored, except for dynamically calculated members. All data consolidations and parent-child relationships in the database outline are stored as well. While the block storage method is quite efficient from a data to size ratio perspective, a BSO database can require large amounts of overhead to deliver the retrieval performance demanded by the business customer.

The ASO database efficiently stores not only zero level data, but can also store aggregated hierarchical data with the understandings that stored hierarchies can only have the no-consolidation (~) or the addition (+) operator assigned to them and the no-consolidation (~) operator can only be used underneath Label Only members. Outline member consolidations are performed on the fly using dynamic calculations and only at the time of the request for data. This is the main reason why ASO is a valuable option worth consideration when building an Essbase system for your customer.

Because of the simplified levels of data stored in the ASO database, a more simplified method of storing the physical data on the disk can also be used. It is this simplified storage method which can help result in higher performance for the customer.

Your choice of one database type over the other will always depend on balancing the customer’s needs with the server’s physical capabilities, along with the volume of data. These factors must be given equal consideration.

Creating an aggregate storage Application|Database

Believe it or not, creating an ASO Essbase application and database is as easy as creating a BSO application and database. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Right-click on the server name in your EAS console for the server on which you want to create your ASO application.
  2. Select Create application | Using aggregate storage as shown in the following screenshot:
  3. Essbase ASO (Aggregate Storage Option)

  4. Click on Using aggregate storage and that’s it. The rest of the steps are easy to follow and basically the same as for a BSO application.

To create an ASO application and database, you follow virtually the same steps as you do to create a BSO application and database. However, there are some important differences, and here we list a few:

  • A BSO database outline can be converted into an Aggregate Storage database outline, but an Aggregate Storage database outline cannot be converted into a Block Storage database outline.
    Steps to convert a BSO application into an ASO application:
    1. Open the BSO outline that you wish to convert, select the Essbase database and click on the File | Wizards | Aggregate Storage Outline Conversion option. You will see the first screen Select Source Outline. The source of the outline can be in a file system or on the Essbase Server. In this case, we have selected the OTL from the Essbase Server and then click Next as shown in the following screenshot:
    2. In the Next screen, the conversion wizard will verify the conversion and display a message that the conversion has completed successfully. Click Next.
    3. Here, Essbase prompts you to select the destination of the ASO outline. If you have not yet created an ASO application, you can click on the Create Aggregate Storage Application on the bottom-right corner of the screen as shown in the next screenshot:

      Enter the Application and the Database name and click on OK. Your new ASO application is created, now click on Finish. Your BSO application is now converted into an ASO application. You may still need to tweak the ASO application settings and outline members to be the best fit for your needs.

  • In an ASO database, all dimensions are Sparse so there is no need to try to determine the best Dense/Sparse settings as you would do with a BSO database.
  • Although Essbase recommends that you only have one Essbase database in an Essbase application, you can create more than one database per application when you are using the BSO. When you create an ASO application, Essbase will only allow one database per application.

There is quite a bit to know about ASO but have no fear, with all that you know about Essbase and how to design and build an Essbase system, it will seem easy for you.

Keep reading for more valuable information on the ASO for things like, when it is a good time to use ASO, or how do you query ASO databases effectively, or even what are the differences between ASO and BSO. If you understand the differences, you can then understand the benefits.


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