Microsoft's release last week of technology from its Israeli acquisition, Panorama, will change the face of the OLAP (on-line analytical processing) industry, analysts claim.
The software release, OLE DB for OLAP, is an application programming interface (API) formerly code-named Tensor, which is based on the server software Microsoft acquired from Panorama earlier this year.
Microsoft's aim is to provide the industry with a standard API to enable all OLAP clients and servers to communicate with each other and to hook into third-party data sources.
The move is significant because the supplier that controls the API has a great measure of control over the direction of the industry. Microsoft is positioning itself to become the market leader in this space, which is predicted to boom over the next three years, especially in its coveted enterprise market.
Karen Green, product manager for SQL Server at Microsoft, said: "Microsoft has introduced a set of standard APIs that access OLAP data sources. This addresses the industry's desire to have APIs that make it easier and cheaper to integrate products. The support announced already by leading players in the OLAP market will ensure that OLE DB for OLAP will play a significant role in the way applications access OLAP data industry-wide."
Nigel Pendse, an analyst at consultancy Business Intelligence, welcomed the move, predicting it would spark a major boom in the sector, because it would be the first open API of substance for this market.
The OLE DB specification is available now at www.microsoft.com/data/oledb, and Microsoft has started shipping a software developers kit.
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