Several front-end clients can be used to connect to the ActivePivot OLAP server:
- Excel, which connects to ActivePivot through MDX queries wrapped in XMLA. The connection takes place as an OLAP-Excel communication.
- ActivePivotLive (part of the ActivePivot platform), which connects to the server via MDX queries enhanced with ActivePivot internal communication methods. The connection takes place between the OLAP platform components.
- Any client supporting MDX queries or ActivePivot’s internal communication methods. The connection takes place between the external client and the OLAP platform.
OLAP-Excel: Excel as a front OLAP Client
Using ActivePivot as an OLAP-Excel friendly solution (with Excel as your front end), you can gain real time insight into dynamic data and reach timely operational decisions using a familiar environment. The optimized communication between Excel and the ActivePivot OLAP server enables running complex, data-intensive calculations with minimal wait time. MDX queries that involve millions of records are executed as a single query, providing fast performance and improved user experience also when analyzing large data volumes.
One limitation of Excel as an OLAP client is that it lacks real-time OLAP functionality. This is resolved by an ActivePivot plugin that provides continuous query functionality. This means your analysis in Excel is continuously updated as data changes on the server, without having to actively refresh your views.
Additional Excel limitations for OLAP-Excel users include saving analysis as Bookmarks, as well as limited collaboration capabilities, preventing you from sharing your views with other users. These limitations are resolved by the ActiveUI client.