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Is PowerPivot plugin for Excel DOLAP?

    Question

  • Folks,

    Can someone clarify something for me...

    Is the PowerPivot add-on/plug-in for Excel a Desktop OLAP (DOLAP) tool?

    I am talking strictly about a client-based file with PowerPivot tables being analysed in Excel 2010 or 2013 at a desktop. NOT PowerPivot in SharePoint.

    And since we're on the subject of DOLAP. what about PowerView in Excel 2013? I am working on an assignment for comparing different OLAP tools available on the market, so pointing to any credible references would be a plus.

    Regards,
    P.

    Friday, December 27, 2013 8:22 PM

Answers

  • I don't believe there is an exact definition of DOLAP that is standard across the industry. The Power Pivot add-in for Excel is a stand-alone offering that doesn't require a connection to server or other database in order to work. The SharePoint offering allows you to publish your model to share with others and schedule refreshes.  You don't build a Power Pivot model in SharePoint; you still have to build it in Excel first.  An Excel file containing a Power Pivot model is still a .xlsx file with the Power Pivot database stored internally. It uses the xVelocity in-memory columnstore engine (next generation of Vertipaq) to provide good data compression, in-memory caching and highly parallel data scanning and aggregation algorithms. 

    I believe some other DOLAP offerings allow users to download a copy of an OLAP database for offline/desktop use.  This is different from Power Pivot since you can build the model on your desktop.

    Here is a summary of Power Pivot from TechNet. Here is more info on xVelocity.

    Power View is a data visualization tool.  It can read from Power Pivot models or SSAS tabular models.  It is offered as an add-in to Excel 2013 or as a component in SharePoint. The Excel version adds Power View reports as tabs (like worksheets) in your workbook. I have some sample Power View reports on my blog: Most popular names in Power View, Infographic Vs. Power View. You can download them and play around with them if you have the Power Pivot and Power View add-ins for Excel. Microsoft also has several examples on MSDN/TechNet.


    Sunday, December 29, 2013 3:01 AM

All replies

  • I don't believe there is an exact definition of DOLAP that is standard across the industry. The Power Pivot add-in for Excel is a stand-alone offering that doesn't require a connection to server or other database in order to work. The SharePoint offering allows you to publish your model to share with others and schedule refreshes.  You don't build a Power Pivot model in SharePoint; you still have to build it in Excel first.  An Excel file containing a Power Pivot model is still a .xlsx file with the Power Pivot database stored internally. It uses the xVelocity in-memory columnstore engine (next generation of Vertipaq) to provide good data compression, in-memory caching and highly parallel data scanning and aggregation algorithms. 

    I believe some other DOLAP offerings allow users to download a copy of an OLAP database for offline/desktop use.  This is different from Power Pivot since you can build the model on your desktop.

    Here is a summary of Power Pivot from TechNet. Here is more info on xVelocity.

    Power View is a data visualization tool.  It can read from Power Pivot models or SSAS tabular models.  It is offered as an add-in to Excel 2013 or as a component in SharePoint. The Excel version adds Power View reports as tabs (like worksheets) in your workbook. I have some sample Power View reports on my blog: Most popular names in Power View, Infographic Vs. Power View. You can download them and play around with them if you have the Power Pivot and Power View add-ins for Excel. Microsoft also has several examples on MSDN/TechNet.


    Sunday, December 29, 2013 3:01 AM
  • Hi Megan,

    Very informative! Thanks a lot for your answer.

    One thing I know, though is that PowerView also works with SSAS Multi Dimensional instances since an update has been released for SP1.

    One more thing: Is there any place I can find a concise datasheet of PowerPivot characteristics, in terms of available features and limitations?

    Thanks again!

    Regards,

    P.

    Sunday, December 29, 2013 11:03 AM
  • Hi pmdci,

    As far as I know Power View for SSAS Multidimensional only works on SharePoint and not in Excel yet.

    Regarding a concise datasheet for PowerPivot I think the most comprehensive is actually the SQL Server Feature catalogue:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc645993(v=SQL.110).aspx

    The parts "PowerPivot for SharePoint" and "BI Semantic Model (Tabular)" could be relevant for you.

    Regards,

    Julian

    Sunday, December 29, 2013 12:37 PM
  • Hi Julian,

    Spot on! you're right about PowerView only working in PowerView for SharePoint (forgot about that).

    Thanks for the data-sheet article. Is there any similar article or whitepaper that shows the features an limitations based on performance metrics? I mean, like benchmarks?

    Regards,

    P.

    Sunday, December 29, 2013 2:24 PM