IBM has developed a metadata product that will help enterprises that use a variety of third-party reporting tools access data from its DB2 database.
The product, called Cube Views and due this week, serves as a bridge between third-party reporting and data modeling tools, making it easier for the tools to share information with one another, said IBM officials, in Armonk, N.Y.
Cube Views uses algorithms to automate the creation of OLAP (online analytical processing) metadata at the database level so that metadata can be shared among applications that access the database.
It aggregates the data into cubelike four-dimensional charts, allowing users to access the data from different perspectives. Cube Views returns answers to queries as XML-based Web services.
Fifteen business intelligence vendors—including Brio Software Inc., Crystal Decisions Inc., Cognos Inc., MicroStrategy Inc., Informatica Corp. and Business Objects S.A.—have announced support for Cube Views.
CheckFree Corp. uses Cognos PowerPlay and Impromptu reporting tools as well as Crystal Decisions Crystal Reports and Computer Associates International Inc.s Erwin modeling tool. According to Robert Catterall, director of strategic technology for CheckFrees Electronic Commerce division, the company builds metadata with each tool.
Catterall said he plans to evaluate Cube Views to see if it will yield the productivity improvements of up to 70 percent that IBM claims. "If the metadatas done once at the DBMS level and we dont have to build it for every tool we use, that would be a benefit," said Catterall, in Norcross, Ga.
Handling OLAP at the database level should also yield productivity and performance improvements, according to Catterall.
"The business intelligence work would be done at the DBMS level, but wed still use the tools we use now," Catterall said. "It should improve our performance. The more bang we can get for our data warehousing hardware and software buck, the better."
Cube Views will be available June 27. Its an add-on to DB2, priced at $7,500 per CPU.