Oracle BI is a platform with modules for developing and deploying dashboards, formatted reporting, ad hoc reporting and analysis. The vendor continues to deliver expanded capabilities such as more advanced visualizations and self-service in its data visualization module. Oracle BI is provided on-premises and as Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) in the cloud.
The origins of Oracle date back to 1977 when the company Software Development Laboratories (SDL) was founded in the United States. SDL later changed its name to Oracle. The company’s strategic focus was on developing the relational database management system (RDBMS) called Oracle.
Today, Oracle is a global provider of enterprise cloud computing, offering software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service and data as a service capabilities. With over 400,000 customers and deployments, Oracle has a comprehensive stack of cloud applications, platform services and engineered systems. In the BI area, Oracle offers various products on-premises and as cloud versions. On-premises, its offerings include Oracle BI and Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management, while Oracle BI’s cloud-based counterpart is Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC).
Oracle has a long history in the BI space. The journey of the current portfolio started when the company acquired several software vendors between 2005 and 2007. These included TimesTen (an in-memory database vendor), Siebel (BI, CRM and metadata management) and Hyperion Solutions (BI front ends, multidimensional database and financial consolidation). Those acquired products were complemented with in-house developed modules such as Oracle BI Publisher and offered as on-premises software.
In 2014, the vendor changed its release strategy to “Cloud First” and introduced Oracle BI Cloud Service, the predecessor of OAC, which extends the on-premises Oracle BI suite in the area of data loading and modeling, and includes the Essbase Cloud module. Oracle’s cloud portfolio today includes Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud, Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) and Oracle Analytics Cloud.
Oracle BI is a multi-tiered client-server architecture with well-thought-out caching capabilities. The central back-end component of Oracle BI is the Oracle BI Server. This ROLAP server provides a semantic metadata layer with query, security, dimensional modeling and caching for the front-end tools it serves. Oracle BI Server offers a set of predefined connectors to relational and multidimensional sources, and supports multidimensional databases by fitting the cubes into the ROLAP schemas.
Recent versions have brought support for new data sources as well as improvements for existing connectors such as Essbase, Microsoft Analysis Services and SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW). For larger and more complex data integration requirements, customers can also purchase Oracle Data Integrator (ODI), the strategic data integration platform.
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