Seagate Pushes to Finish Front End for SQL Server 2000

As development continues on its Crystal Analysis product, Seagate Software (www.seagate.com) is aiming to have an OLAP front-end for SQL Server 2000 available by the time Microsoft Corp.’s (www.microsoft.com) next-generation database is released.

OLAP is becoming an increasingly vital component of the SQL Server environment. SQL Server 7.0 brought OLAP to the platform for the first time in the form of Microsoft’s Plato OLAP engine. SQL Server 2000 will feature an integrated data mining feature that effectively augments its business intelligence portfolio.

Data mining sifts through business information and helps organizations identify previously unknown relationships between seemingly disparate data objects in multidimensional data stores. On top of its robust analytic capabilities, a tool like Seagate’s Crystal Analysis also lets users drill through multidimensional data to access relational SQL Server data.

In late May, Seagate issued the first beta of its Crystal Analysis product for the SQL Server 2000 beta. By integrating with Seagate’s business intelligence (BI) portfolio -- Seagate Crystal Reports, Seagate Info and Seagate Holos -- and by leveraging the native OLAP capabilities of SQL Server 2000, company officials say the new Crystal Analysis is enhanced for ad hoc query, multidimensional data analysis, and reporting in OLAP environments.

According to Don Petersen, business development manager for business intelligence at Microsoft, the addition of Seagate Crystal Analysis as an analytic front-end for SQL Server 2000 will benefit customers.

"Seagate Software is known for its enterprise reporting and analysis capabilities, and Microsoft is pleased that their technology is available to all SQL Server 2000 customers," Petersen says. "With Seagate Software's dedication to seamless integration with SQL Server 2000, organizations will benefit from a cost-effective and proven business intelligence solution."

With Crystal Analysis’ support for Office Pivot Tables and OLE DB for OLAP, users can build OLAP cubes on-the-fly. Crystal Analysis also allows users to create reports and OLAP views of data for slicing and dicing.

Seagate took the wraps off the Crystal Analysis beta after an announcement concerning the re-branding of its bread-and-butter BI tools -- Crystal Reports, Holos, and Info -- under the "Crystal" name. According to Mike Schiff, director of data warehousing strategies at Current Analysis Inc. (www.currentanalysis.com), Seagate Software’s Crystal branding effort could be a prelude to its ultimate divestiture from parent company Seagate Technology.

"The branding allows the disk-drive business to retain its Seagate association, while permitting the software side to leverage the powerful and respected Crystal name," Schiff explains. "Whether or not it foreshadows a Seagate divestiture of Seagate Software, it is still a powerful tactic and we expect that all of the of the Seagate Software offerings will soon be rebranded to fall under the Crystal umbrella."