Joint effort revs up data analysis

Four technology companies have joined to offer a new level of business intelligence for large government and commercial organizations.

Microsoft Corp., EMC Corp., Knosys Inc., and Unisys Corp. announced Wednesday that they are combining components from each company to deliver high-performance data analysis solutions for large enterprises.

The companies created the world's largest multidimensional Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cube on their respective products, said Steve Murchie, group product manager for SQL Server at Microsoft.

The OLAP cube offers performance and scalability equal to or exceeding mainframe and UNIX/RISC systems, said John Eng, lead product manger for business intelligence at Microsoft. The end-to-end solution serves as a blueprint for businesses wanting to achieve high-performance data analysis solutions with scalability, manageability and rapid return on investment.

Code-named "T3" (or T-cubed), which represents a terabyte of source data in a multidimensional cube, the project enables the integration, management and delivery of large amounts of dispersed data, paving the way for extremely scalable data analysis solutions, Eng said.

T3 models a real-world business scenario, storing 1.2 terabytes of product sales source data into an OLAP cube. When more than 50 users made complex queries at the same time, the system delivered responses in 0.02 seconds to 0.08 seconds, far exceeding the response times offered by other industry solutions — which often took minutes, Eng said.

"It includes not only data, but summary information and can pre-calculate things for faster access," Murchie said. "The scale is beyond what our customers were asking for, but we did it to prove it is do-able," for agencies such as the Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service that must deal with immense amounts of data from disparate sources on a regular basis.

T3 uses the Knosys ProClarity front-end tools, the Microsoft SQL Server 2000 data management and analysis solution; the processing power of a 32-way Unisys e-@ction Enterprise Server ES7000; and an information infrastructure based on an EMC Symmetrix 3830 Enterprise Storage System.

The T3 project has been audited, and results will be posted at Microsoft's {http://www.microsoft.com/sql/techinfo/terabytecube.htm} Enterprise-Scale Business Intelligence page.

The T3 demo is being shown at The Data Warehousing Institute Show in Palm Springs, Calif., Feb. 27-28, and at the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose, Calif., Feb. 26-March 1.

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