Oracle renames OLAP Services

Using a name that smells like the one Microsoft Corp. chose when it shipped SQL Server 2000 last summer, Oracle Corp. on Tuesday announced that its combined OLAP (online analytical processing) tools and data mining technology will be dubbed Advanced Analytic Services in the forthcoming 9i database.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft's handle, Analysis Services, was announced shortly before the company formally launched SQL Server 2000. Microsoft renamed it Analysis Services when it added the data mining functionality because it included more than OLAP.

Previously, Oracle, in Redwood Shores, Calif., called this functionality 9i OLAP Services. Microsoft used the moniker OLAP Services in SQL Server 7.0.

"Oracle is trying to build momentum for 9i and correcting a naming problem in the database," said Mike Schiff, vice president of e-business and business intelligence at market research firm Current Analysis, Sterling, Va.

Schiff issued a report earlier this month suggesting that Oracle rename OLAP Services so as not to appear that it was copying Microsoft and, in essence, was behind the operating system giant in the business intelligence skirmish.

"I'm sure they didn't want to come out with OLAP Services in the 9i database," Schiff continued. "So they're renaming it, and trying to one-up Microsoft."

Naming schemas aside, Oracle and Microsoft are not the only companies pulling OLAP and data mining capabilities into the core database engine.

IBM, in Armonk, N.Y., has also pulled OLAP tools and data mining technology directly into its DB2 database over the last several months. In late March, Big Blue pulled Intelligent Miner Scoring services, which enable real-time data mining capabilities, into its database engine.

Integrating the OLAP technology with data mining tools creates a single repository for storing within the core database engine, thereby increasing the speed and effective ness of analysis, according to Jagdish Mirani, senior director of data warehousing product marketing at Oracle, in Redwood Shores, Calif.

"If my analytics and insight are delivered faster, I can make better decisions more quickly," Mirani added.

Oracle has hinted for some time that it would bring its OLAP Express product into the database, and with the 9i database, the company said it would embed Express-like functionality, according to Schiff.

"They're not likely to kill Express anytime soon, because there are a lot of people who use it," he said.

The 9i database is slated to ship in the first half of this year, and Mirani maintained that Oracle will deliver on time.

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