MicroStrategy and AWS

I was surprised (but pleased) to find that MicroStrategy is now available on the Amazon Web Services Marketplace.  For the past several months I had been watching the business intelligence offerings there but was seeing mostly Jaspersoft, Birt, and a handful of smaller players that I was not familiar with.  Seeing MicroStrategy available, especially the the free reporting suite, means that kicking the tires, spinning out a new instance for a prospect demo, or simply trying out 9.3 in a temporary environment is cheap and easy to do.  I also see MicroStrategy’s embrace of AWS, along with their very early support for Redshift, as signs that MicroStrategy is committed to the cloud architecture, and not just their cloud offering.

I took the MicroStrategy Suite on AWS for a test drive through my AWS account and had it up and running within 30 minutes.  The one trick was realizing that I had to decrypt the key pair I generated so that I could log into the server from remote desktop.  Once I had that in place I had no troubles getting to the machine, activating the server, and then connecting to it from my local 9.3 instance.

Unless I win the $550M PowerBall jackpot tonight I’ll probably terminate the server before the weekend.  In most companies today, to set up a VM like this I would have had to request a ticket for a new VM, haggle with the VM admin over how much memory I was allowed (I like to have at minimum 8 GB for development, and 64 GB for production), and then have to download the MicroStrategy media, move it the machine, unpack it, install it, and then reboot.  Using AWS I didn’t have to haggle with anyone, I opted for the $0.46 / hour and 7.75 GB RAM version, and instantiated the server.  All the necessary ports were open (also a typical hassle) and I was up and running without any hiccups.

SQL Server 2008 comes pre-installed on the image, and the metadata and warehouse tables are all contained in SQL Server.  Even though this was a preconfigured instance I had to run the cubes in order to get the Visual Insight reports to work in the Tutorial.  I also tweaked the memory and report governing settings, but it’s understandable that none of these were pre-configured.

I haven’t tested the mobile piece yet, but the server was fully configured and I doubt that the setup will be different than the initial spinout.  So…again, MicroStrategy goes off and does something, neglects to tout it, and through some luck I stumble upon something they’ve done that is developer / engineer friendly.