Essbase Excel Client Install Files is 3Gb+, what an headache ?

I love Oracle to death but on some things, it bugs me. I have been trying to get somewhere with Oracle for about a month, and the issue surrounds the installation of the Excel 2007 Essbase client (not the SmartView client though). Here’s the story…

For the past 12 years we have use Essbase on Excel, users are required to download the Essbase Client for Excel. The installation up to System 9 version 9.3 is normally around 50Mb or less. That’s a reasonable size for users to download and install.

However, with the new Oracle EPM 11.1.1 and you’ll be surprised to know that you’ll now need to tell an average “Joe the Plumber” user that he/she needs to download 1.9Gb of zip files (5 of them) and then unzip it to his/her disk drive of 3.5Gb  !!!! And then…

The user will probably need an IT person to help to get through the installation (similar to a full installation of Oracle EPM onto a server but with less components selected to install). The process will take probably an hour. My first thought of this is “are you guys nuts?”. How can I explain to my users that by upgrading to EPM, in order to use the Excel client, they just went from a 50Mb to a 3.5Gb install? That’s a 7000% increase in size.

At first glance, from e-delivery you’ll think of downloading the Oracle Essbase Client Release which is 280Mb. Cool, right? Wrong.

In reality, in order for you to be able to install the Excel Essbase Client, you’ll need the EPM Installer 342Mb also. Now if you try to install the installer, along with the 280Mb you downloaded earlier, you’ll realize the common components are missing. Therefore, in order to get the installer fully working, you’ll now need to download the EPM Foundation Services Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 for a total of 2,643Mb.

Of course if you don’t like that, you can get away with the Essbase Client 9.3, an earlier version that would work fine on Excel 2003 but is a little buggy on Excel 2007. Not to mention you will not have full functionality of EPM 11.1.

OK and the response I hear several times from support was that there’s a lot of new feature in EPM 11.1 that warrants the giant installation. Another reason is Oracle’s strategy to have one common installer for the entire EPM. Now I think the unified installer is a good concept because we all remembered how tough it was in installing System 9. You need to have the right files and then installing them in certain order. The unified installer maks it much easier. However, in this particular scenario, my arguments are:

1. That’s probably true but I am not seeing a big list of benefits for the Essbase Client, and therefore the installation size should reflect that;

2. If you look at the SmartView client, it’s only 57Mb (see below). So it is possible to have a thinner client for SmartView so why not Excel as well?;

3.  If it’s doable for the last 10+ years, surely it’s do-able for EPM 11.1, or am I missing something?

Anyway, I am hoping the Essbase development team would look at this issue and make reasonable adjustments. My suggestion would be to make the Essbase Client Release package to install any common components that’s needed. That way, the installation file size could be down to 622Mb (342Mb + 280Mb), that’s much smaller than 3Gb right?

As I have tried to remove folders that are not required for the Excel Client install, I was able to reduce it down to 2.6Gb. That’s still pretty huge but at least it’s 900Mb less. The interim solution is to zip and make our own distribution as oppose to asking for users to download 5 files, then unzip it to various locations, before the installation process.

Stay tuned, I am still trying to figure out a better way to handle this…



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