Viva La Database Notes

I originally titled this post “The best little Hyperion Essbase feature you’re not using” but thought better of it. So, database notes. Have you ever wondered what that little Notes button in the Excel add-in does? Or rather, what it did (since even yours truly has finally made the official jump to Smart View)?

Essbase Excel add-in Database Note dialog

Essbase Excel add-in Database Note dialog

It is basically a facility for letting the Hyperion administrator set a “message of the day” on a per database basis. This message can be set manually from EAS, set via automation from MaxL, and of course, updated via the Java API. Since 99% of the cubes I am used to maintaining are wrapped with automation, the notes are a a great place to put some information about the automation process, even if I’m the only one that is going to refer to it. I honestly don’t know of any environments where even a significant portion of users is aware of or uses this feature, but I am sure there are some.

Just off the top of my head, here’s some ideas for information that can be put in the database notes:

  • Last cube refresh time
  • Rejected record stats (such as those generated by the Rejected Record Summary tool)
  • Automation stats (duration, errors, etc)
  • Next cube refresh time
  • Notes about business process calendar/schedule
  • Link to cube status information website
  • Timestamp/version information from file(s) used to load the cube
  • Indicate date of archival for an “archive” cube

As an example, I created an automation routine once that depended on files from various divisions. Each division was on its own schedule, which was denoted by an integer, typically between one and 40. It was useful to me to know which was the most recent file loaded in. I programmed the notes to contain this information, as well as some rejected record stats. So, on a day to day basis I didn’t need to refer to the notes very often, but when things went a little haywire, it was a great first place to be able to check for information before having to dig in further.

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