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Oracle Warehouse Builder: Better Late than Never?

Written By: M. Reed
Published On: April 4 2000

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Event Summary

"REDWOOD SHORES, Calif., Mar. 6, 2000 - Oracle announced the immediate availability of Oracle Warehouse Builder, an extensible and easy-to-use data warehouse design and deployment framework. As part of Oracle's Intelligent WebHouse Initiative, Oracle Warehouse Builder automates much of the work that goes into creating a powerful, single data store for e-business analysis, specifically with its ability to integrate historical data with the massive, daily influxes of online data from web sites. The product, already in production at nearly 20 beta sites worldwide, is available for purchase tomorrow."

The Oracle Warehouse Builder framework eliminates the previous time-consuming and error-prone methods for deploying data warehouses, data marts, and e-business applications, even when integrating ERP data from multiple vendors such as Oracle and SAP. These previous methods included hand coding the software and stitching together point solutions. Oracle Warehouse Builder enables customers to deploy even terabyte-sized data warehouses quickly, an essential benefit in today's cutthroat business environment.

"With Oracle Warehouse Builder, Honeywell is building a data warehouse infrastructure that top management will use daily to spot inefficiencies that affect the bottom line. For example, we can find out if an order is being held up on the manufacturing floor or in shipping, and then take the needed steps to get the order out and revenue booked," said Jason Haugland, consultant for Honeywell. "Because of the great data integration features in Oracle Warehouse Builder, we can easily pull flat-file data from our legacy system into our warehouse. The product also interfaces extremely well with Oracle8i, allowing us to create specific features such as materialized views and dimension capabilities, which we use to build high-level aggregate summaries directly into the database."

"Oracle Warehouse Builder integrates the areas that were previously addressed by separate tools into one common environment. Functions include modeling and design, data extraction, movement and loading, aggregation, metadata management and integration of analysis tools are all part of Oracle Warehouse Builder's easy-to-use and easy-to-implement framework."

Market Impact

Oracle has publicly stated that being late to market was caused by "lengthy beta testing". In reality, Oracle has had problems meeting release dates, and difficulty integrating the various technologies involved. They have also stated that data quality management software provided by the acquisition of Carleton Software will not be integrated for "a few months." The tool does currently have modeling software, tools for generating PL-SQL (Oracle's proprietary stored procedure language), a workflow manager, and gateway software for data access.

Whether this product is too late to market to meet customers' needs remains to be seen. Doubtless, Oracle will throw their considerable marketing muscle into the fray to try to offset the delay.

User Recommendations

Customers evaluating complete data warehouse solutions should consider Oracle's Warehouse Builder on a long list of candidates, along with offerings from Informatica, Ardent Software (now part of Informix), and Computer Associates, among others. Oracle has stated that the key attraction is that "the product offers warehouse design, warehouse administration, and metadata management capabilities all in one suite."

Given that the product has just been released into general availability, the full functionality of the product is unknown. Oracle can throw a wide array of resources at the product to ensure its success, so it should not be ignored.

Customers should also evaluate "best-of-breed" solutions which combine warehouse design tools such as CA/Erwin, administration tools such as Embarcadero's DBArtisan, and metadata management facilities such as CA/Platinum Open Enterprise Edition Repository. Complete solutions from a single vendor may not comprise the best answer to a customer's problem.

 
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