Long ago, it was code-named "Plato." In the SQL Server 7 release, it was called "OLAP services." Now, in the SQL Server 2000 release, it's called "analysis services." I am, of course, referring to Microsoft Corporation's engine for online analytic processing (OLAP), which is bundled into every license of the SQL Server database at no extra charge. Analysis services shows significant advancements over OLAP Services.

THE HURWITZ TAKE: Although OLAP services was a proof-of-concept release and has been in the field for only about 18 months, it has gained strong adoption as a platform for data marts as well as some adoption for data warehouses. Data mart developers say they are drawn to SQL Server's OLAP services because of its ease-of-use and price-per-performance. It is exactly these two attributes – which are key requirements for business intelligence in mid-market organizations – that have made SQL Server's OLAP services the preferred platform for data marts in the middle market as well as a commonly encountered platform in high-market IT organizations.

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