What Future for ProClarity Analytics?
So PerformancePoint Services within SharePoint 2010 has brought across more views and features from the ProClarity Analytics Server (PAS) application, including the trademark Decomposition Tree in a new stylish Silverlight front end great!
But what about the remaining ProClarity features and views? Can you continue to run PAS after upgrading/moving to SharePoint 2010? When does support for PAS retire? Can any existing PAS views/reports be migrated over to PerformancePoint Services 2010?
All of the above, burning questions in my head and through much resourcing, and conversations with Microsoft PPS Product Team and Technical Advisory Service, I thought I would consolidate and share the information I have and the deductions I made from it…
ProClarity Corp was acquired in 2006 by Microsoft to help accelerate Microsoft’s position in the Business Intelligence space.
The ProClarity Suite of products comprises the following:
|ProClarity Analytics Server (PAS)||Server component which stores authored reports/dashboards, controls connections to data sources and renders dashboards.|
|ProClarity Dashboard Server||Additional server component to store and control the dashboard design and layout.|
|ProClarity Dashboard Studio||Client tool used to author dashboard designs and import views from PAS.|
|KPI Designer||Add on to PAS which allows authors to create KPIs directly in PAS using a wizard driven environment.|
|ProClarity Desktop||Rich client desktop authoring tool.|
|ProClarity Web Professional||Thin client web based authoring tool.|
|ProClarity SharePoint Viewer||A SharePoint web part for displaying views direct from PAS.|
Microsoft Support for the ProClarity Suite
There is a firm support timeframe for version 6.3 of the ProClarity suite of software available at the Microsoft Support Website. This basically provides clear dates for end of support:
Mainstream Support Retires: 10/07/2012
Extended Support Retires: 10/07/2017
Support for ProClarity in a SharePoint 2010 Farm
ProClarity is a separate product from SharePoint and PerformancePoint Services, with an entirely different architecture. So much so, that ProClarity remains a 32-bit application only, whereas its posh offspring is now 64-bit only.
However, IIS7 supports a mix of 32-bit & 64-bit web applications on the same Web Server, and Microsoft supports having ProClarity installed on your SP2010 Web Servers – but is this wise?
In my view, if you wish to keep ProClarity Analytics Server running alongside your SharePoint 2010 Farm in order to access the features and richer designer plus your existing PAS content, you should keep PAS running on its own WFE server and well away from your SharePoint WFEs. My reasons for this are as follows:
1. Microsoft advises this
2. Treat ProClarity as if it were another substantial SharePoint Service Application. It will consume resources, so scale out, and place this on its own server.
3. There are a number of configuration changes required to get the 32-bit ProClarity web server to run alongside your 64-bit SharePoint web applications. Obviously you do not need to make risky changes to your farm if this thing gets pushed out to its own server.
Migration Path for PAS Content
There is currently no migration path for PAS content to PerformancePoint 2010. There are also no publicised plans to create this migration path. Therefore, when mainstream support expires in 2012, you would be left with a set of views/reports/dashboards with only an unsupported product to view them through and maintain them, and with no way of moving them off here other than manually recreating in PerformancePoint where possible.
In light of the above, my advice would be to only persist with installing/configuring ProClarity alongside your SharePoint 2010 farm if you already have legacy ProClarity dashboards/views and you wish to continue to support these.
I would advise against using ProClarity because of a business need to use a view which doesn’t exist in PerformancePoint. It is likely that the view can be created using one of the other tools at your disposal e.g. Visio Services, SSRS, Excel Services…
If you do continue to use and create ProClarity views, just be aware that in under two years time, you could be unsupported and with no way of escaping it!