MicroStrategy Review

One stop platform for all flavours of BI

What is most valuable?

The OLAP functionality of this product is best in class. The cubes created in MSTR can utilize all cores of the server and thus can be configured to use MPP architecture.

Another feature to highlight here is the latest Big Data Engine; MSTR's BDE is a Yarn based application that embeds right on top of Hadoop FS providing direct access to files in FS without need of any other language - Pig/Impala/Hive. I believe this is the closest a BI tool can embed on top of Hadoop FS.

The last one (not a feature though) which I would like to mention is the SQL that MSTR engine creates to retrieve data from warehouse. The multi-pass SQL is a very effective tool that provides lot of VLDB settings to tweak the SQL in regards to database, load and multiple other factors.

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to automate multiple repetitive tasks in the BI environment using administrative tools provided with this product. This helped the team focus their energies on critical work tasks.

What needs improvement?

Version control is still a major concern in MicroStrategy. I am aware that MSTR is working on it as an enhancement.

License cost is also on the heavier side. Perhaps the desktop version that launched recently, might help ease pressure on budget.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for 7 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are no issues with the stability of the product. It works well even with huge datasets and under heavy workloads.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not an issue. Administrators can make use of clustering feature to balance out loads on MSTR I-Server. MSTR can scale vertically as well as horizontally.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support has improved a lot in terms of response time as well as technical know-how. The trend was observed with the release of major version 10.x.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I have used some other solutions simultaneously and also at previous work places but I have never switched from one tool to another.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is quite vast. Users need to install & configure a lot of components in the MicroStrategy toolkit. Starting from version 10.x, enterprise manager console is embedded in the operations manager console which requires additional configuration.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

License cost is quite pricey with loads of add-on functionalities and tools. Organizations possessing an enterprise-wide vision should be the right customers for this tool.

The new addition - MicroStrategy desktop can be used as a standalone application and can help ease pricing pressure.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did an assessment of Microsoft and MicroStrategy but I realized that both fall into quite different leagues. Microsoft is an ideal fit for low to mid-level companies while MicroStrategy is perfect for huge enterprises. The assessment is a part of market study and will be used for future prospect engagements to position MicroStrategy.

What other advice do I have?

MicroStrategy requires a heavy dose of training and experience to master it. Prepare yourself with an experienced team before jumping into any project.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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