FAQs

Simba Technologies is the leading supplier of standards-based data access and analytics solutions. We hope that we are able to answer your questions below. If you cannot find the answer, please contact us at support@simba.com.

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General FAQ

  • Why work with Simba?

    Simba is a world leader in standards based data connectivity, with hundreds of the top ISVs and Database vendors choosing Simba as their data connect partner! We are the Data Access and Analytics experts.

  • Can't I just build a driver myself or use an open source one?

    Sure you can, but ask your self these questions! Does it support all OS’s that my customers use, is it ODBC 3.5.2 compliant, is it really my core competency, is it tested with all the Clients that I need to connect to from Excel to Tableau and more.

  • What are the biggest issues when developing my own driver?

    It really comes down to support across a wide variety of variables. From OS Support (32-bit and 64-bit coverage on Windows, Linux, MacOS, AIX, Solaris SPARC, Solaris x86, HP-UX PA-RISC, HP-UX IA64), to which Driver Manager do I need to think about?

  • Will Simba’s Solutions work with end user applications?

    Simba has been around since the beginning of ODBC, and has worked with hundreds of ISVs and data warehouse vendors connecting their data to the growing number of applications. There are thousands of applications out there ranging from Microsoft Office and SQL Server to data visualization tools like Tableau, Qliktech or Spotfire. It’s important to choose a technology partner that is proven in the market, and has the domain experience to truly help.

  • What about MDX, where does that fit?

    Simba is the undisputed expert when it comes to MDX connectivity solutions, as we provide technology to over 50% of the MDX based solutions in the market today. If you want to do advanced analytics on your data (Big, relational or other), connect with us and we will show you how.

  • How about JDBC or ADO.NET?

    As soon as you release an ODBC driver, it is likely your customer will ask for JDBC, OLEDB or ADO.NET that very same day. Simba’s SDK has support for all those interfaces and the same proven support, so we got you covered!

MDX Oracle OLAP ODBO Edition

  • What versions of the Oracle database does Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP support?

    Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP supports Oracle 11gR1.07 and later. Oracle “OLAP D Patch,” 9147749, is required for production servers running 11.1.0.7, while Oracle “OLAP A Patch,” 9219338, is required for production servers running 11.2.0.1. (Evaluation on unpatched servers is ok, but the OLAP patch provides a number of performance enhancements.)

  • What versions of Microsoft Excel does Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP support?

    Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP supports Microsoft Excel 2013, 2010 (both 32-bit and 64-bit), Excel 2007 and Excel 2003.

  • Does Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP work with other MDX-based applications like Business Objects and Cognos?

    In addition to Microsoft Excel, Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP supports arcplan Enterprise 7, MicroStrategy and SAP BusinessObjects Voyager.

    We invite you to contact us with priority suggestions for support for other client-based BI software.

  • Does Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP work with Microsoft SharePoint Excel Services?

    Yes, you can install Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP on your SharePoint server(s). See the whitepaper Using Microsoft Excel and Oracle OLAP with SharePoint Excel Services on the documentation web page for this product.

  • How can I purchase Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP?

    Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP is licensed directly by Simba Technologies and its partners.

    Contact us for pricing and licensing information.

  • How much does Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP cost?

    Contact us for pricing and licensing information.

  • I’m an Oracle sales representative. How can I access Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP for demonstrations?

    Contact us today for more information on demos and pricing models.

  • Does Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP support value-based hierarchies?

    Yes, Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP supports value-based hierarchies.

  • Does Excel support ragged (skip level) hierarchies?

    It does with some minor modification of your cube. This is described in the Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP User Manual.

  • Does Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP support write-back?

    What-if Analysis (write back) is a new feature in Microsoft Excel 2010. Prior releases did not support it. Support for this feature will be added in a future release of the product.

  • Is there an API for Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP that is accessible via Visual Basic or another language?

    The easiest accessibility would be provided using ADOMD (not ADOMD.NET). This doesn’t preclude use of .NET for applications that might want to connect to MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP, only that they must use the ADOMD interface. So, C++ and C# can use this ODBO provider directly.

  • What software do I need to install?

    Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP uses a stand-alone Windows installer. No separate Oracle client install is needed; an Oracle ‘Instant Client’ is included in the Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP installer.

  • Why did Oracle choose to partner with Simba Technologies?

    Simba Technologies is the de facto independent expert on the MDX query language. Simba is the only company that offers data connectivity solutions for both SQL and MDX.

    Founded in 1991, Simba worked on the ODBC specification, and the OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) and MDX specification with Microsoft. Simba also was a founding member of the XMLA Council, chairing its Interoperability SIG and hosting its InterOp events.

    Simba assisted Hyperion in building its MDX and XMLA interfaces. SAP’s MDX interface is also built upon Simba’s technology. Simba is the only independent company with knowledge and technology encompassing Microsoft’s newest MDX enhancements. More than half of all MDX providers in use today were built using Simba’s MDX technology.

MDX Oracle OLAP XMLA Edition

  • What versions of the Oracle database does Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP support?

    Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP supports Oracle 11gR1.07 and later. Oracle “OLAP D Patch,” 9147749, is required for production servers running 11.1.0.7, while Oracle “OLAP A Patch,” 9219338, is required for production servers running 11.2.0.1. (Evaluation on unpatched servers is ok, but the OLAP patch provides a number of performance enhancements.)

  • Which BI clients does MDX for Oracle OLAP- XMLA edition work with?

    We have tested most extensively with SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for OLAP 4.0 and later. It works with Cognos 10 and Microstrategy 9.2 and later. We support all XMLA interfaces, just ask!

  • How can I purchase Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP?

    Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP is licensed directly by Simba Technologies and its partners.

    Contact us for pricing and licensing information.

  • How much does Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP cost?

    Contact us for pricing and licensing information.

  • I’m an Oracle sales representative. How can I access Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP for demonstrations?

    Contact us today for more information on demos and pricing models.

  • Does Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP support value-based hierarchies?

    Yes, Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP supports value-based hierarchies.

  • Is there an API for Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP that is accessible via Visual Basic or another language?

    It works with ADOMD.Net as a programming interface.

  • What software do I need to install?

    MDX for Oracle OLAP – XMLA Edition is a middle-tier Java-based web application. To deploy this web application, you need to install the following:

    • JBoss
    • Oracle ODBC driver

    Once you have installed this software, you can deploy the MDX for Oracle OLAP – XMLA Edition package to JBoss.

  • Why did Oracle choose to partner with Simba Technologies?

    Simba Technologies is the de facto independent expert on the MDX query language. Simba is the only company that offers data connectivity solutions for both SQL and MDX.

    Founded in 1991, Simba worked on the ODBC specification, and the OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) and MDX specification with Microsoft. Simba also was a founding member of the XMLA Council, chairing its Interoperability SIG and hosting its InterOp events.

    Simba assisted Hyperion in building its MDX and XMLA interfaces. SAP’s MDX interface is also built upon Simba’s technology. Simba is the only independent company with knowledge and technology encompassing Microsoft’s newest MDX enhancements. More than half of all MDX providers in use today were built using Simba’s MDX technology.

SAP BW

  • What is Simba RelationalCube?

    Simba RelationalCube is an ODBC driver for accessing multi-dimensional data sources using SQL.

  • Why should I use Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW?

    Until now, SAP has only provided the API centered on MDX for use with SAP BW. Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW enables you to connect to SAP BW from SQL-based applications.

  • How does Simba RelationalCube work?

    Simba RelationalCube features a dynamic transform engine that creates a virtual star schema from a multi-dimensional data cube. It also translates SQL statements into the required sequence of MDX statements.

  • Does Simba RelationalCube require any maintenance?

    Simba RelationalCube is designed as a streaming driver and does not use any external repository. The only maintenance required is that for your SAP BW instance.

  • What standards does Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW conform to?

    Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW is a full-fledged ODBC driver that conforms to the ODBC 2.5 standard. It includes Simba’s proven SQL-92 compliant SQL engine.

  • How does Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW connect to SAP BW?

    Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW uses the SAP OLAP BAPI and MDX via SAP RFC.

  • Can I use Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW from COM/OLE DB?

    You can use Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW as an OLE DB provider using any standard OLE DB to ODBC bridge.

  • How does Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW present SAP BW metadata?

    Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW uses a combination of SQL’s metadata model (tables, columns, joins) with special stored procedures to return all SAP BW metadata. One SAP BW catalog (group of cubes) is converted into a SQL catalog. One SAP BW cube is converted into a collection of tables.

  • Is Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW secure?

    Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW uses your existing SAP security infrastructure. It is as secure as using SAPGUI.

  • What version of SAP BW does Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW support?

    Simba RelationalCube for SAP BW is supported for SAP BW 3.5 and onward.

SimbaEngine SDK

  • What is SimbaEngine SDK?

    SimbaEngine SDK is a Software Development Kit (SDK) for developing fully-featured, optimized ODBC Drivers, JDBC Drivers, ADO.NET Providers and OLE DB data connectivity for any SQL-enabled or non-SQL data store. SimbaEngine SDK’s documentation provides you with comprehensive information to rapidly develop a prototype data driver, which can then be extended to include additional functionality and optimizations.

  • How do I build an ODBC Driver using SimbaEngine ODBC SDK?

    You can build a prototype ODBC Driver using SimbaEngine ODBC SDK within five days. Use our Quickstart sample driver and one of our “5-Day Guides” for ODBC, JDBC or ADO.NET to accelerate the development process according to the requirements of your data store. You can quickly build a prototype read-only ODBC Driver, then add further functionality to your ODBC Driver. You can continue working with your original prototype ODBC Driver to prepare it for distribution and, if you want, add advanced functionality if necessary.

  • How do I build a JDBC Driver, ADO.NET Provider or OLE DB Provider using SimbaEngine SDK?

    You can build a native JDBC Driver or ADO.NET Provider directly against your data store following SimbaEngine SDK’s comprehensive documentation.

    Alternatively, once you have developed an ODBC Driver using SimbaEngine ODBC SDK, you may choose to simply use the following additional components with the ODBC Driver to create either a JDBC Driver, ADO.NET Provider or OLE DB Provider.

    • Create a JDBC Driver by simply employing our JDBC Client with SimbaServer.
    • Create an OLE DB Driver by simply employing an OLE DB / ODBC Bridge.
    • Create an ADO.NET Data Provider by simply employing the SimbaClient for ADO.NET.
  • How long will it take to build my ODBC Driver with SimbaEngine ODBC SDK?

    Our ODBC SDK enables our customers to develop a proof-of-concept ODBC Driver within five days with the ability to add advanced functionality after that. Building a high-performance, commercial quality ODBC connectivity solution is done quickly and easily using our comprehensive SDK, which includes:

    • A fully-operational ODBC codebase sample driver to quickly and efficiently learn how to code an ODBC Driver;
    • Simba “Quickstart” template to quickly and easily connect SimbaEngine ODBC SDK to your SQL or non-SQL data store, enabling you to quickly create a prototype ODBC Driver;
    • Our extensive, professional, technical documentation, providing all the thorough and comprehensive information needed to support development efforts, including optimization;
    • Simba’s powerful, flexible, multi-user ODBC/SQL processor;
    • Ready to use, high-performance client-to-server networking components, available to quickly and easily extend your solution.
  • What applications can connect to an ODBC driver built using SimbaEngine ODBC SDK?

    Any application with ODBC connectivity will connect to an ODBC driver built with SimbaEngine ODBC SDK. Your ODBC driver will work with all ODBC-based applications, such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, SAP Business Objects Crystal Reports and others.

  • What SQL conformance level does SimbaEngine SDK provide?

    ODBC specifies three levels of SQL grammar conformance: Minimum, Core and Extended. Each higher level provides more fully-implemented data definition and data manipulation language support. SimbaEngine SDK fully supports Core DML SQL grammar, as well as many Extended grammars.

  • Does SimbaEngine SDK provide support for dynamic schemas and metadata?

    Unique to SimbaEngine SDK, you can build an interface to derived data, dynamic metadata and “in-memory” data. SimbaEngine SDK is the only toolkit that gathers this information at query time, enabling you to determine and support changes to your schema.

  • Is SimbaEngine SDK client-server enabled?

    Simba’s client-server toolkit provides our universal ODBC and JDBC thin-client drivers, a proprietary network transport layer and a server component. The components are combined with the ODBC Driver code that you develop using our ODBC SDK; no network gateway or client-side programming is required. Our Simba thin-clients greatly reduce configuration issues on the desktop, while providing robust, centralized server-side deployment. Simba’s network transport layer is designed to provide high-performance data access over the LAN, WAN, or Internet.

  • What about my future connectivity requirements?

    Even if you are currently only seeking ODBC connectivity through a native ODBC interface to your proprietary database, you may also want the flexibility to easily and quickly adopt a JDBC Driver, ADO.NET Provider or OLE DB Provider in the future. SimbaEngine SDK is a complete toolkit for building an ODBC Driver to provide both ODBC and JDBC, as well as OLE DB and ADO.NET access to your existing database, enabling you to take full advantage of any of the newer development platforms you may consider. If you choose to migrate to a different database server in the future, you can quickly and efficiently leverage the investment made in your ODBC Driver by reusing your ODBC-enabled shell with a new or upgraded database.

  • How can I take advantage of my existing database's performance strengths?

    You can do this with Simba’s unique Collaborative Query Execution feature, which allows your data store to execute any part of a SQL query.

    Simba SQL Engine’s unique Collaborative Query Execution takes full advantage of your data store’s special processing capabilities and strengths by allowing your data store to execute any part of any SQL query. Simba SQL Engine will not execute the parts of the query that your data store is handling. Instead, Simba SQL Engine will execute the remaining parts of the query and combine into a single result set its own results and the results from your data store. Many non-SQL data stores can perform table filtering or aggregation very quickly, as part of their end-user value. Collaborative Query Execution allows your data store to continue to deliver this high-value performance as part of complete SQL query processing. Pass-down filters and pass-down aggregations are two specific examples of this functionality.

    This feature can be especially valuable if the data store is being accessed across a network connection. With fewer results-set rows returned to Simba SQL Engine, the query processing doesn’t wait for data and the final result set is returned to the user sooner.

    Additionally, if you have support for indexes within your data source, the SimbaEngine SDK can make use of these indexes to speed up the performance of many different types of SQL operations with little additional work.

  • What is the cost of ownership?

    After your ODBC Driver, JDBC Driver, ADO.NET Provider or OLE DB Provider is complete, SimbaEngine SDK continues to save you development time. When you build a data driver using SimbaEngine SDK, you don’t have the headache of rewriting your driver every time specifications change. We provide our customers with updates that add functionality to your data driver. We provide the upgrade path to new versions of the ODBC specification, as well as to other technologies, such as JDBC, OLE DB, XML data streaming and ADO.NET.

  • How can I evaluate SimbaEngine SDK?

    The only true way to effectively evaluate our software is to evaluate it in your environment. We provide you with our complete SimbaEngine SDK Evaluation Software and a dedicated support team to assist you throughout the evaluation effort at no cost. Your development team will work closely with the Simba Technical Support team to ensure that your evaluation criteria are met and your efforts are successful.

    Download a 30-day evaluation  of SimbaEngine SDK.

  • How can I obtain more information about SimbaEngine SDK?

    For more information about SimbaEngine SDK, contact us.

  • What's new for SimbaEngine SDK 9.3?

    New 9.3 Features and Functionalities

    Here are the highlights of new features and functionalities in SimbaEngine SDK 9.3:

    ODBC 3.8 Asynchronous Executions
    Asynchronous execution of connection-level functions is one of the most important features in the latest ODBC 3.8 standard. SimbaEngine SDK now supports asynchronous execution of ODBC functions at both the connection-level and the statement-level. Given the same amount of resources, large applications using drivers built on the SimbaEngine SDK can take advantage of this feature to achieve significantly better performance and responsiveness.

    ODBC 3.8 C Data Type Extensibility
    ODBC drivers are no longer constrained by the C data types defined by the ODBC standards. They can now define their own C data types. The new SimbaEngine SDK release supports the development of such drivers.

    Concurrent Statement Operations
    We have re-engineered the SDK so that more operations at the statement levels can now execute concurrently. This mean better throughput for applications that require concurrency at the statement level. The SDK continues to support full concurrency at the connection level.

    Custom Scalar & Aggregate Functions
    This is one of the popular requests from our customers. The SDK now supports developing drivers which may expose their own custom scalar and aggregate functions not defined by either ODBC or SQL standards.

    Ubuntu & Debian Support
    The SDK has been supporting for CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server since version 8.0. We have now added support for Ubuntu and Debian. This means that you can now develop drivers on one of these two flavors of Linux with your favorite tools and expect the drivers to work on five flavors of Linux that we support.

    Visual Studio 2013 Support
    Besides continuing to support Visual Studio 2010 & 2012, we have added a new Visual Studio 2013 kit on Windows. Whether you are upgrading to the new production kit or evaluating the kit for your driver development, Visual Studio 2013 is supported.

    Much Smaller Windows Kits
    We optimized how the Windows kits are built and packaged. The production kits are now about 35% smaller than the same kits in 9.2. The eval kits are now about 60% smaller. This mean much faster download time. It also means much smaller installation footprints.

    Windows 8, 8.1 & 2012 Support
    All Windows kits are fully tested to work on the latest Windows releases, namely, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 & Windows 2012.

     

     

SimbaProvider SDK

  • What is SimbaProvider SDK?

    SimbaProvider SDK is a Software Development Toolkit (SDK) for building an OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) Provider or a XML for Analysis (XMLA) Provider for your multi-dimensional or star schema relational data store.

    Conventionally, building a data provider from scratch requires senior programmers experienced in ODBO, XMLA, as well as MDX. Building a data provider without an SDK is a long development process, requiring extensive knowledge/programming and testing/debugging with consumer applications.

    SimbaProvider SDK significantly reduces the time and effort and protects your development investment. Using our OLAP SDK, you can have a finished ODBO Provider or XMLA Provider that works in the real world with popular applications at a fraction of the cost and development time. SimbaProvider SDK enables the development of robust 32-bit and 64-bit ODBO Providers and XMLA Providers (Java-based and .NET-based XMLA Providers), ensuring the utmost in interoperability and cross-platform enabled solutions.

  • How do I build an OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) Provider and/or XML for Analysis (XMLA) Provider using SimbaProvider SDK?

    Your first task is to decide on whether you wish to build an OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) Provider or a XML for Analysis (XMLA) Provider. Because SimbaProvider SDK supports both ODBO and XMLA, you only need to develop a single implementation layer that can be used in either type of data provider. Once you have made this decision, simply follow the steps required to develop your ODBO Provider or XMLA Provider, as outlined in our comprehensive documentation, with the assistance of Simba’s support.

  • How long will it take to build an OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) Provider or XML for Analysis (XMLA) Provider using SimbaProvider SDK?

    Our customers can typically develop a production quality, read-only data provider in about six to 12 person-months, depending on the complexity of the underlying data source.

  • What are the technical benefits of SimbaProvider SDK?

    SimbaProvider SDK provides solutions for the more difficult areas in implementing an ODBO Provider or XMLA Provider, making it easy for you to develop a robust data provider.

    1. Dataset (Rowset) Flattening – Technically optional, Dataset flattening is required in order to work with certain consumer applications. Data flattening requires joining axis info tables and dataset cell information. The flattened dataset provides a quick and easy method for rowset-based consumer applications, such as Microsoft Excel, to display multi-dimensional data.

    2. Asynchronous Execution and Rowset Population Support – Asynchronous Execution and Rowset Population requires the close coordination of several interfaces, (IRowset, ICommand, IAsynchStatus, and IConnectionPointContainer), as well as overall thread safety and thread scheduling/handling. This requires a good design and expert threading experience to implement. Without proper asynchronous execution, applications reading the data may otherwise appear slow and ill-behaved to your end-users. SimbaProvider SDK supports Asynchronous Execution and Rowset Population.

    3. Full Fledged MDX Engine – Simba’s 32-bit and 64-bit MDX 2005 Engines have the ability to parse, resolve and evaluate MDX queries. They support the latest MDX 2005 enhancements to ensure utmost interoperability, including compatibility with the newest applications. The MDX language is otherwise very difficult to implement. Specifically, it is much more complex than SQL. Parsing MDX is very difficult because of its many keywords and ambiguities. SimbaProvider SDK makes implementing MDX functionality easy because it contains a full MDX 2005 Engine and its backed by Simba’s commitment to keeping pace as technologies evolve.

    4. Caching – Many applications access datasets one cell at a time. This is extremely inefficient and caching is highly desirable. Because datasets are multi-dimensional and can be quite large, dataset read-ahead and caching requires sophisticated algorithms to pre-calculate and retrieve those areas of the cube that are most likely to be retrieved next. SimbaProvider SDK implements caching and allows you to custom extend this caching, if desired.

    For additional information, please refer to the Features page.

  • Does Simba offer development services to create an OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) Provider or XML for Analysis (XMLA) Provider?

    Absolutely. Simba can provide consulting expertise throughout the development cycle for your data provider. For more information on the solutions offered by Simba, see our Data Driver Development Services.

  • What is the history of XML for Analysis (XMLA)?

    The XMLA Council – chaired by Hyperion, Microsoft and SAS – was formed in 2001, shortly after the specification was first proposed. The Council is made up of a number of leading Business Intelligence and Business Performance Management software vendors that have announced their support and backing of XMLA. Simba is a member of the XMLA Council and chairs a Special Interest Group (SIG) on MDX Leveling and InterOperability/Conformance. Visit www.xmlforanalysis.com for more information and history on XML for Analysis (XMLA).

  • What is the history OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO)?

    Microsoft recognized a rapid growth in multi-dimensional databases and on-line analytical processing (OLAP) tools. After all, people don’t think in two dimensions. Real world questions like, “How were last year’s monthly revenues broken down by store affected by back-order problems?” are more naturally handled by a multi-dimensional datastore than by a two-dimensional relational model.

    As with all information-based technologies, your customers want to be able to access these multi-dimensional datastores and tools from popular desktop applications. The OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) API has become the defacto standard for accessing multi-dimensional data. Coinciding with the availability of Excel 2010, Microsoft has defined a 64-bit ODBO interface specification as well. Visit www.xmlforanalysis.com for more information and history on OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO).

  • What is the cost of ownership for SimbaProvider SDK?

    After your ODBO Provider or XMLA Provider is complete, SimbaProvider SDK continues to save you development effort in the future. When you build a data provider using SimbaProvider SDK, you do not have to worry about rewriting the data provider every time the ODBO or XMLA specifications change. We provide our customers with timely and regular updates that add functionality to your data provider. We provide the upgrade path to new versions of the ODBO and XMLA specifications.

  • How can I obtain more information about SimbaProvider SDK?

    For more information about SimbaProvider SDK, contact us.