XML for Analysis

No BI API started more auspiciously than the Microsoft and Hyperion lead work on XMLA – XML for Analytics. The idea was to take Microsofts OLE/DB for OLAP and de-proprietarize it by using XML and Web Services as the means for defining BI OLAP Services. As the OLAP Report points out – this was bringing together two competitive BI firms in a positive co-operative venture. When SAS Institute joined the venture in April 2002, the API started to have a “cant miss” look and feel.

Well what a difference a year or two makes. Go to each of the principal players websites and there is a dearth of information on the status of XMLA. Microsoft appears to have the most active development work – with a recent posting of XMLA 1.1 SDK and at least two dozen technical notes and papers. But Redmond may be pre-occupied with getting Yukon/SQL Server 2005 out the door. Hyperion does reference XMLA but only in passing or again in deep technical notes. Ditto for SAS. The last posting at the industry standards organization, XMLA.org, was in 2002 year end.

However, we have found some encouraging pickups from smaller players, like Digital Aspects and Report Portal both of which are doing interesting things with XMLA – speeding up performance and delivering all in a browser OLAP analytics using XMLA.

But the three major player seem to have slowed down on XMLA. We would appreciate hearing from any anyone having insights on the status and progress of XMLA API.