Product Reviews


Analytics simplified and cubed.

PowerOLAP bills itself as a straightforward, fast, and affordable OLAP alternative (darned if I can find pricing information on their Web site, though; some VAR sites suggest you're looking at upwards of $1,000 per seat). I took a look at their 3.0 release (they've announced 4.0, but 3.0 is still what you can download to test out). As with most applications, there are things to like and things to dislike here.

On the plus side, the PowerOLAP engine does seem to be reasonably fast and flexible. It's also well-integrated with Excel, and once you've constructed cubes, business users should have no problem manipulating the data.

However, I'm less a fan of the initial setup process. Apparently, your administrative users or developers must define cubes by inputting the metadata into the PowerOLAP interface, rather than by working interactively with a relational database. There is a facility for importing metadata from text files, but this is less convenient than the sort of automatic extraction and tight integration with data sources that you'll get from some other OLAP products.

The 4.0 release adds a number of intriguing features, including OLE DB for OLAP compatability—which should make it much easier to define cubes in a product such as SQL Server Analysis Services and then work with them through PowerOLAP. There are also strong real-time ties to various accounting and ERP systems and various performance improvements. The PowerOLAP connectivity story is also strong, including automatic links between the native relational data and cubes, synchronization between servers, and a Web Services interface to allow OLAP analysis in the browser.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.


  • Microsoft Resumes Rerelease of Windows 10 Version 1809

    Microsoft on Wednesday once more resumed its general rollout of the Windows 10 version 1809 upgrade, also known as the "October 2018 Update."

  • Microsoft Ups Its Windows 10 App Compatibility Assurances

    Microsoft gave assurances this week that organizations adopting Windows 10 likely won't face application compatibility issues.

  • SharePoint Online Users To Get 'Modern' UI Push in April

    Microsoft plans to alter some of the tenant-level blocking capabilities that may have been set up by organizations and deliver its so-called "modern" user interface (UI) to Lists and Libraries for SharePoint Online users, starting in April.

  • How To Use PowerShell Splatting

    Despite its weird name, splatting can be a really handy technique if you create a lot of PowerShell scripts.

comments powered by Disqus
Most   Popular

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.