OLAP Council Releases Open Standard for Interoperability

Endorsement by both Council Members and Other Leading Software and Platform Vendors Ensures Successful Adoption

BOSTON, January 26, 1998—The OLAP Council, a nonprofit consortium of industry leaders in the OLAP market, today released the general availability of the first open standard for OLAP interoperability, Multi-Dimensional Application Programmers Interface (MDAPI) specification version 2.0. This is the first platform independent, product independent interoperability standard for OLAP. MDAPI version 2.0 is also optimized for interactive analysis and is well suited for corporate developers using high-level tools to develop custom applications. The MDAPI combines the technical experience of companies that have competed with each other and intimately understand the needs of the OLAP market.

The MDAPI is platform independent at the server, client, thin client and communication layers. With both COM and JAVA object interfaces, the MDAPI supports the heterogeneous computing environments customers require -- Windows NT servers, any Windows client, Unix, OS/2, Macintosh and any JAVA Virtual Machine. It also enables client and server interaction via any customer standard such as DCOM, CORBA, JAVA, etc. The MDAPI is packaged as JAVA libraries and COM objects and is accessible via low-end development languages like C++ and JAVA and high-end development tools i.e., Visual Basic and JAVA Script. Therefore the MDAPI simplifies the incorporation of OLAP data access and analysis into any application.

"We see the announcement of the OLAP Council's MDAPI 2.0 as a significant development in the OLAP space, said Don MacTavish, senior research analyst, META Group. "From both the client and server side, this is a move toward a much more open environment. There is a great need for an API that addresses the scalability of enterprise OLAP applications. A robust, truly open API will put an end to proprietary, closed environments in the OLAP market."

"This version of the MDAPI establishes a truly open standard of interoperability for products in the OLAP market," said Larry Barbetta, OLAP Council acting chairman. "We are pleased to have the support and endorsement of major OLAP vendors on both the client and server side, and the support and endorsement of other platform providers, ISVs and consultants/system integrators. This represents a very important milestone in the OLAP Council's evolution and exemplifies the Council’s focus on meeting the technical needs of OLAP customers."

"As a recognized leader in the open systems market, Sun is pleased to support the OLAP Council's efforts to provide a standard for cross-platform, cross-vendor OLAP interoperability," said Mark Tolliver, VP of Market Development at Sun Microsystems.

"Netscape is pleased to support the OLAP council’s MDAPI as a key open standard for interoperability," said Marty Cagan, vice president of platform and tools at Netscape. "Because MDAPI supports the heterogenous computing environment that customers require, it is ideal for developing applications that link people and businesses together over the Internet, Intranets, and Extranets."

The MDAPI version 2.0 is available today at http://www.olapcouncil.org, or for a nominal fee a printed copy may be ordered. For more information, please check the OLAP Council Web site or contact the OLAP Council at 503-533-2106. The published specification will include a test case of a client/server and windows-based implementation as well as viewable object oriented diagrams.

The OLAP Council was founded to provide education about OLAP technology for business intelligence applications and to help position OLAP within a broader IT architecture. The Council's mission is focused on establishing guidelines for OLAP interoperability and data navigation.

The OLAP Council, established in January 1995, is made up of industry leaders in the OLAP market, and now includes twelve general members —Arbor Software Corp. of Sunnyvale, Calif.; Business Objects, Inc. of Paris, France and Cupertino, Calif.; Cognos of Burlington, Mass. and Ottawa, Ont.; IBM Decision Support Solutions of San Jose, Calif.; Kenan Technologies of Cambridge, Mass.; Management Science Associates, Inc of Pittsburgh; NCR of San Diego, Calif.; Oracle Corporation of Waltham, Mass.; Pilot Software of Cambridge, Mass.; Gentia/Planning Sciences International Ltd. of London; PLATINUM technology, Inc of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.; and Applix/TM1 Software of Warren, N.J. Criteria for Council membership, in addition to payment of annual dues, includes support for the Council's fundamental tenets of on-line analytical processing.

For information about membership in the OLAP Council, call the OLAP Council at (503) 533-2106, or send email to admin@olapcouncil.org.

1997 OLAP Council, all rights reserved.