RittmanMead BI Forum 2011 – Day I

John Minkjan kicks of Day I of the RittmanMead BI Forum. He’s subject is Oracle BI EE on mobile devices. Very appropriate to the discussion last night during Oracle’s Keynote. Mobile is hot and the audience is very eager to see Oracle BI EE in action on Mobile Devices (Ipad / Galaxy Tab). Before going to the demonstration, John shows us a lot of things you should bare in mind when developing mobile applications. I will not go into the XXX-details or better DDDD.

Oracle BI EE on mobile is not only about nice and fancy dashboards but also about:

  • Equipment
  • Antenna’s
  • Environment
  • Security
  • Usage
  • Cost
  • Health
  • Type (Wifi, Bluetooth, Cellular)
  • Content Control
  • Operating System
  • Device
  • Patching

You have to think about dashboards which are firstly built for a laptop/desktop. Now you should redesign to fit the dashboard into the device. You could use some kind of landing page to navigate to the different dashboards, depending on where you are coming from.

Next up is Adam Bloom. Adam is opening the lid on Oracle BI 11g security. He has a lot to open!! First he shows us the architecture of a Weblogic deployment. The best thing is try to use the Fusion Middleware (FMW) Security. Although 10g  Security via Init Blocks is supported you should make a choice between the two. Another thing is you should stick to whatever is certified, because of the limitations of the Oracle Platform Security Services (OPSS).

Adam also demystified some of the GUID issues. There are some issues when you login with the weblogic-user in different RPD’s. When you set the following parameter; FMW_UPDATE_ROLE_AND_USER_REF_GUIDS in the NQSConfig-file to ‘YES’, the problem is solved. You refresh the GUID’s only when you are moving the indentity stores to a new server. Also when a RPD hasn’t been used on a server yet.

Unfortunately this topic is so new and so complex, some other subjects could not be covered. We shortly addressed configuration and logging but according to Adam; “There are no bugs, only bad configuration”.

On to Andreas Nobbmann, who is going to; “Script for a Jester’s tear” referring to a song of Marillion. Andreas is scripting fanatic and he warns us not to exaggerate the scripting. Scripting could make your life easier and can be used for;

  • repeating tasks
  • deployment
  • configuration
  • backups
  • starting / stopping / status

Downside of scripting is the lack of logging.

Andreas cover various elements of scripting:

If it comes to migrating security check here.

After lunch, Mike Brooks did his ‘Warts and All’-presentation about his real-life experiences when implementing Oracle BI 11g. It turns out that a major release like Oracle 11g is, is not that easy. Not even for experienced people like Mike, supported by the RittmanMead guys. Over at Play.com, they tried to do a one week POC. Based on advice and documentation plans could be made, but due to later experiences the had to switch plans every once and a while.

Implementing the BI part of Oracle BI 11g is no rocket science, but the Weblogic Server is a whole new ballgame. That needs additional skills and training.

Now follows a panel discussion about the following subject; “Was it worth the wait”, My personal opinion is; Yes!! Of course we have been waiting very long and of coures not everything is running as smoothly as we would like it to. On the other hand, the product looks fantastic and it gives us a lot of new opportunities, both technically as well as functionally. I guess we should focus on the good things and let Oracle work on the rest to improve the product.

A few highlights of the discussion;

  • focus on security issues instead of improved BI capabilities
  • sexy Front-end
  • early access, release dates
  • data lineage
  • versioning
  • MUD
  • charting like BI Publisher
  • Oracle OLAP vs Essbase
  • Essbase (Front-end Yes!!, Back-end No!!)
  • Stability
  • Integrated

Was it worth the wait or was worth the technical change? In the end, I guess it was a cautious yes.

Michael Wilcke finished the day with a presentation about why the Oracle BI Server is the ultimate choice for a BICC. BI is a circular process which never stops. When BI stops it is finished. Michael features on two subjects;

  • Business versus IT
  • Process and Organization

There is ‘always’ tension between business and IT. The Oracle BI Server offers the ability to separate these two (logical sql versus physical sql). This way you can de-couple the Front-end from the Back-end.

Requirement engineering can be done via prototyping in Excel and de-coupling. The requirement process is all about understanding the user instead of believing you know what he/she wants. You should define, establish and review. Top-down DWH vs. Bottom-up DWH.

In the end it turned out that Michael did a great job. He was elected by the audience as the Best Speaker. Therefor Mr. Wilcke went home with the most prestigious Brighton #biforum Best Speaker Award. Congratulations Michael.

It was a very interesting day. I think the speakers of this day have taken this event to a higher level (again!)

Security issues when upgrading a Web Catalog from 10g to 11g

I blogged about upgrading from Oracle BI EE 10g to Oracle BI EE 11g R1 earlier. Although this is a very straight forward process, you could end up with some security issues.

Picture the following. You are an administrator user with the appropriate security roles to act as an (Presentation Server) Administrator. You are able to login and manage the Weblogic Console and the Enterprise Manager. When you log into the upgraded Web Catalog you are not able to see the Administration-link.

There already a lot of good blogpost about the new Oracle BI 11g security setup. Just to name a few;

When upgradin a WebCatlog you could be forced to do a work-around  for the security, thanks to René Kuipers. The workaround is as follows;

  • Do the upgrade according to the documentation
  • Make a backup via the Catalog Manager or upgrade a second time so you have a copy of the Web Catalog
  • Throw away the user folders via the Catalog Manager
  • Login again into the Web Catalog via; http://localhost:9704/analytics (a new user folder should be created)
  • If necessary you could move the reports from the backup to the online Web Catalog

It’s a workaround and could be very time-consuming when you have to upgrade a Catalog with a lot of users. Hopefully this issue will be solved in a future release.

Installing Oracle BI 11g R1 – Windows Server 2008 R2 64bit

Recently I did an installation on a Windows Server 2008 R2 64bit. Reading through the documentation made me realize that it’s not possible to do a ‘Enterprise Install’. Check the following part in the manual:

1.4.3 Software Only Install

The Software Only Install type installs the Oracle Business Intelligence software binary files in an Oracle home for later configuration as part of a Fusion Middleware deployment. This install type is required to install Oracle Business Intelligence on an AIX operating system or with a 64-bit JVM, such as on a supported 64-bit operating system.”

Th following could be a guideline to install Oracle BI 11g on Windows Server 2008 R2 64bit:

Install RCU –> rcuHome\BIN\rcu.bat
Install JDK 64bit
Install Weblogic generic –> via the Command Line java -jar wls1033_generic.jar
Install Oracle BI11g –> ‘Software Only’
Run config.bat to configure Oracle BI11g –>C:\Oracle\Middleware\Oracle_BI1\bin\config.bat

Of course you need to check the manual for additional info. Next to that you have to perform a ‘Software Only’ install on 32bit machine to be able to use your client tools.

Check My Oracle Support for more details.

Deploy Custom content folder location in WLS

In an earlier post I ended up with problems with custom folders in Oracle BI 11g R1. It turned out that I had to make some additional steps to deploy a custom folder in the Weblogic Server. Thanks to the documentation of the SampleApp I was able to make this work.

I have been working on a demo. Therefore I have created an index site with links to custom images and custom documentation. When I migrated this demo from 10g to 11g, I had to copy the images and documents manually. This seemed not to be enough. I ended up with some red crosses.

You have to take the following steps to deploy custom folders to the Weblogic Server.

Login to the Weblogic Server
Navigate to te Deployments
Click on ‘Lock & Edit’ in the left pane to enable the ‘Install’-button


click ‘Install’

Navigate to ‘<MIDDLEWARE_HOME>\instances\instance1\bifoundation\OracleBIPresentationServicesComponent\coreapplication_obips1’

select ‘analyticsRes’
click ‘Next’

select ‘Install this deployment as an application’ (default)
click ‘Next’

Select ‘Deployment targets’
Choose ‘bi_server1’
click ‘Next’

Under ‘Source accessibility’

Choose ‘I will make the deployment accessible from the following location’
click ‘Finish’

Check the ‘Deployments’ to see whether the ‘analyticsRes’ is available.

click on ‘Activate Changes’

start the deployment; ‘analyticsRes’

Now I am able to add the required images and documents in custom folders just by referencing to the  ‘analyticsRes’- folder, eg.; ‘/analyticsRes/Documents/’

Upgrading from 10g to 11g (Repository and Webcat)

When I had installed the Oracle BI 11g R1 version, I thought it would be nice to see what happened when I migrate a simple 10g Repository and Catalog to 11g.

Migrating from 10g to 11g seems very straight forward.

Navigate to <MIDDLEWARE_HOME>\Oracle_BI1\bin\ and start ‘ua.bat’

You are presented with the following screens fill in the required values according to your site’s needs;

click ‘Next’

Choose to upgrade the RPD and the Presentation Catalog.

click ‘Next’

Choose the location of  the RPD file you want to migrate.
Fill in the credentials

In 11g you have to provide an additional password for your RPD.
Fill in the credentials

Choose the location of your catalog
Choose the Deliveries directory

click ‘Next’

Provide the details (port and credentials) of your Weblogic server

click ‘Next’

If everything has been provided well so far the status will be ‘succeeded’ 

 click ‘Next’

The summary shows the details. Now you are ready to upgrade.

click ‘Upgrade’

If everything runs like expected, the status will be ‘succeeded’ 

 click ‘Next’

You are finished.

click ‘Closed’

For some more/other details, please refer to Venkat’s post.

You can now check the ‘Enterprise Manager’. There you will see that the newly created Repository and Catalog are ‘active’.

In the end it seems that most of the functionality has been migrated succesfully to 11g. Two ‘major’ problems I experienced immediately;

  1. I used some custom folders in 10g. In 11g you have to take some additional steps to make custom  folders available. I will cover this topic in a next post.
  2. I used a ‘Narrative View’ with; ‘ ‘. This doesn’t work for all HTML Markup. It does work in the ‘Static View’. I do not have a solution for that yet.