On Monday, the Olap Council will finally launch its delayed bid to take on Microsoft in the battle to set standards for Olap (online analytical processing).
Version 2.0 of the industry body's Multidimensional Application Programming Interface (MD-API) will attempt to take on Microsoft?s rival specification, OLEDB for Olap, and make it an industry standard.
Microsoft launched OLEDB for Olap to great fanfare at the end of last year (see Newswire 9 September, 1997), when it managed to rally 18 different decision support tool and Olap server vendors behind it to bang the drum. This number has since increased to 26.
But, while the Olap Council had been expected to launch its counter-offensive in mid-November (see Newswire 3 November, 1997), it chose to delay the announcement, so allowing the momentum to slow.
The organisation declined to give reasons for the tardy advent of its specification, but has managed to rally only nine suppliers to support MD-API, including Oracle, Cognos, Infospace, NCR and Pilot.
When it released version 1.0 of the specification a couple of years ago, it managed to win support from only one vendor, Gentia, which has declined to add its name to the list this time because it feels once bitten, twice shy.
But Dave Menninger, Oracle?s senior director of product marketing for Olap and a member of the Council, said: ?We?re releasing an object oriented specification for interoperability between multidimensional products. It?s cross-platform, unlike the Microsoft offering, and supports COM and Java. I think it?ll be hard for Microsoft to be a de facto standard on Unix, if not impossible because it doesn?t cover that space. As a result, it can?t function as a standard except in its own world.?
But, Richard Hamblin, Microsoft?s Olap product manager, said that, while the two organisations had fundamental differences of opinion about the best way to implement Olap interfaces, that did not mean either were invalid.
?Different people will adopt the different specifications for different reasons depending on what they want to use it for. However, we?ve currently got 26 tools vendors implementing OLEDB and we hope more server-side suppliers will adopt it - our intention is to have it become the de facto industry standard like ODBC,? he said.
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