Revamped HyperRoll Accelerates OLAP, Relational Performance

Company announces a supercharged release of its eponymous OLAP and relational database acceleration technology

The last time OLAP enhancement specialist HyperRoll Inc. made headlines, it was for suing OLAP and business performance management (BPM) specialist Hyperion Solutions Corp.

Last week, however, HyperRoll proved that it has aspirations beyond intellectual property litigation, announcing version 4.2 of its popular OLAP and relational-database acceleration technology.

New in HyperRoll 4.2 is support for the Linux operating system, as well as expanded support for database platforms.

As in previous versions, HyperRoll also claims that its updated OLAP accelerator delivers even better performance and scalability.

HyperRoll has carved out a niche for itself as a provider of high-performance OLAP software for Essbase and Oracle’s Express OLAP platform. The company declines to disclose how its technology works, but it’s believed to address the problem of storing sparse dimensions in OLAP cubes.

Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis, has used an example from the retail space to help explain this concept: “Not every store sells every product in every color every day. But in an OLAP cube, you have to think about that, which requires extra time and extra processing power." HyperRoll, Schiff said, provides query and aggregation algorithms that help accelerate this activity.

HyperRoll isn’t your average niche vendor, either. Earlier this year, the company—or rather HyperRoll Israel, the U.S.-based vendor’s parent company—filed suit against Hyperion, charging the latter with violating two of its patents covering data aggregation. HyperRoll also claimed that Hyperion had violated a U.S. trademark act (the Lanham Act) because of claims it made while promoting the aggregate storage option in its Essbase 7X OLAP server.

Essbase 7X, of course, is what prompted HyperRoll to sue in the first place. It provides a free implementation of the same data-aggregation and query-enhancement technology for which HyperRoll—by many accounts—charges a not-insignificant sum. Ever since Hyperion delivered Essbase 7X last September, HyperRoll has labored to demonstrate the superiority of its own technology, first launching a $25,000 “Challenge” last November, then in January filing suit against the BI giant. With HyperRoll 4.2, the company is at it again, claiming that the revamped product’s new query and aggregation algorithms provide significant improvements in both speed and scalability. As a result, HyperRoll officials claim, existing customers can cut query time in half (or even more)—and realize a ten-fold reduction in storage requirements.

“HyperRoll's product strategy is focused on three key elements: maintaining performance leadership, reducing customer operating costs, and expanding HyperRoll's addressable market, all of which we've achieved with HyperRoll 4.2," said Michael Bealmear, HyperRoll CEO, in a statement. “HyperRoll 4.2 also delivers on our commitment to provide our install[ed] base with regular upgrades that offer real performance enhancements and address their evolving technical environments, while protecting their investment in HyperRoll technology."

Elsewhere, HyperRoll 4.2 supports IBM’s DB2 (versions 7.1, 8.1, and 8.2), IBM DB2 OLAP 8.2, Microsoft SQL Server 2000, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, and Red Hat Linux 2.3 and 3.0—in addition to Hyperion’s Essbase and Oracle 10g. What’s more, HyperRoll—taking a cue from an old Pashtun adage (i.e., “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”)—also announced a technology partnership with BI powerhouse Cognos Inc., expanding its product’s reach to include the company’s ReportNet reporting solution. (HyperRoll already has a similar relationship with Hyperion competitor Business Objects SA.) The company also ensured itself of free publicity by announcing the partnership—and its HyperRoll 4.2 release—at Cognos’ annual Forum user confab.

Considered in toto, says Current Analysis’ Schiff, the HyperRoll 4.2 improvements constitute an important deliverable for that company.

“It serves to further reduce the company’s dependency on selling its offering to complement Hyperion Essbase in order to improve Essbase performance,” Schiff points out. But while its HyperRoll 4.2 announcement is a good start, he says, the company needs to do more to emphasize the data-source diversity of its flagship product. “HyperRoll needs to further publicize its ability to work with products other than Hyperion Essbase. HyperRoll has long supported relational databases but, in part due to the company’s name, it is often considered a Hyperion [Essbase-centric] solution.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.