OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) is a Microsoft published specification and an industry standard for multi-dimensional data processing. ODBO is the API that Microsoft Excel uses to speak with multi-dimensional data sources. Excel’s Pivot Table functionality only works via ODBO and the MDX language. With Excel being a standard in spreadsheets, many OLAP vendors have added ODBO functionality to their data sources in order to gain better acceptance by their customers.
ODBO is the most widely supported, multi-dimensional Application Programming Interface (API) to date. Platform specific to Microsoft Windows, ODBO was specifically designed for Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) systems by Microsoft as an extension to Object Linking and Embedding Database (OLE DB). ODBO uses Microsoft’s Component Object Model (COM), and as such, it is somewhat complex and it is limited to the Windows platform.
ODBO permits independent software vendors (ISVs) and corporate developers to create a single set of standard interfaces that allow all OLAP clients to access multi-dimensional data, regardless of vendor or data source. ODBO is currently supported by a wide spectrum of server and client tools.
Essentially, ODBO extends the ability of OLE DB to access multi-dimensional (OLAP) data stores, allowing users to perform sophisticated data analysis through fast, consistent, interactive access to a variety of data, both relational and multi-dimensional.
Standard toolkits such as Simba Technologies’ SimbaProvider SDK allow companies to quickly add ODBO functionality to their products without having to learn the intricate details of COM, ODBO, and MDX.