Don’t forget the Logical Layer

I often see OBIEE RPD’s which are developed via “Drag ‘n Drop”. If you know what you are doing this hasn’t necessarily have to be a problem. It becomes a problem if you do not know what you are doing. Especially dragging and dropping multiple tables together can give you additional ‘functionality’, which you do not need. Sometimes you are not even aware that you added additional links and keys, you don’t need. It becomes even worse when it’s ‘functionality’ you don’t want. I know from experience that it can cause incorrect results, depending on the columns you select in your analysis.

Normally I build my Logical Models manually from scratch instead of via “Drag ‘n Drop”. This way I know exactly what I am doing and I don’t get surprised by unintended functionality. This is by no means a ‘Best Practice’, but it works for me. Let’s consider it to be a ‘Right Practice‘.

There is another reason for avoiding a “Drag ‘n Drop and leave the Logical Layer like that”-Construction of the Logical Layer. The Logical Layer is an important part in the construction of the actual Physical Query(s). The Oracle BI Server does not have to be a Black Box. You just need to give the Oracle BI Server as much information as possible so you know / understand, what query(s) the Oracle BI Server will fire to the underlying database(s). Pay attention to the following recommendations:

  • Dimension Logical Tables must have a Logical Key assigned, if possible a business related key (order number, purchase number, employee number). Fact Logical Table do not have a Logical Key assigned
  • Fact Logical Tables contain Measure Columns with an Aggregation Rule (SUM, COUNT, MIN, MAX, etc.) applied to it.
  • Define a Dimension Hierarchy for every Dimension Logical Table
    • Each Level is unique
    • The Primary Key of the lowest Level matches the Primary Key of the Logical Table
    • Specify the number of element per Level
  • Specify the Content Level for each Logical Table (Column)
    • Each Content Level ‘belongs’ to a Level in the Dimension Hierarchie
  • Construction of the Logical Table
    • (Re-) Naming Conventions
    • Only those columns you really need

The above listing is by no means exhaustive. There are few interesting links you can check out, when it comes to modeling the Logical Layer;

One important note has been made by Christian Berg; “Think and Understand before you give ‘Advice’“. The same goes when you are trying to apply things yourself. Don’t just do it, because you can. Do it because you understand why you have to do it that way.

Feel free to comment.

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 is over – What’s next?

Last week Oracle OpenWorld 2014 took place in San Francisco. I did not have the pleasure to attend this event. thanks to the Social Media and the World Wide Web you could be able to follow the highlights. If we check out the Keynote of Thomas Kurian, we can learn that there are three Major Trends;

  • Big Data
  • Mobility
  • Cloud

I have looked at these Trends earlier.

Big Data

Just before Oracle OpenWorld 2014, the new updated Oracle Big Data Information Management Reference Architecture has been released. This updated Reference Architecture should place all the (new) technologies in context and next to that it should provide insight into a real, implementable Architecture.

Oracle offers new Big Data capabilities via;

Mobility

One of the introductions during Oracle Open World is the; Oracle Mobile Cloud, an end-to-end Mobile Development Framework;

On top of that Oracle has enhanced the integration between Oracle Mobile Application Framework and Oracle Mobile Security Suite. Oracle says the deeper integration makes it easier for mobile front-end developers to secure their applications.

For more details, please check;

Cloud

Oracle will introduce new Cloud Services. Check the Official Press Release for more details. The Oracle Analytics Cloud delivers Business Intelligence  & Analytics for Traditional Data and Big Data. 

There already is a lot of information to be found about the Oracle BICS offering;

Apart from the above there are a few more ‘Introductions’ & News facts:

  • OBI 12c
  • Oracle BI Applications
    • There will be no more upgrades on Oracle BIA 7.9.x (Informatica release). A few months ago there was a rumor that there would come an Oracle BIA 11g (Informatica release). This is not going to happen. Existing customers have to move over to the Oracle BIA 11g (ODI release)
  • Introducing Oracle Alta UI (Renewed Cross-platform User Experience)
  • Oracle Data Integrator will play a Key Role in binding the Applications, moving Data and simplifying access to Big Data (check these recaps – day 1, 2, 3 & day 4 – from the Oracle Data Integration team).

Oracle Big Data Information Management Reference Architecture

A few months ago I wrote a blogpost about the Oracle Reference Architecture for Information Management. There is a new Oracle Big Data Information Management Reference Architecture online now.

If you want to find out more about Oracle’s Big Data Information Management Reference Architecture please check the below links:

Update to the FAQ-section of the OBIEE 11.1.1.7.1 – Sample Application (V406)

For those of you who are using or are interested in the OBIEE 11.1.1.7.1 – Sample Application (V406), the following might be of interest to you.

As you can see in this Comments Section, an issue was raised regarding the expiry of some Oracle Database Users. Development has updated the FAQ Section.

 

 

Trying to understand the Oracle Reference Architecture for Information Management

Last month I have been attending the RittmanMead BI Forum 2014. In the wrap-up I mentioned a presentation by Andrew Bond & Stewart Bryson. They had a very nice presentation about the Oracle Information Management Reference Architecture. This needed some further investigation from my part.

This blogpost is a first summary of the information I found online so far.

There is a complete reference library of IT Strategies from Oracle. Pay extra attention to the following docs:

  • Oracle Reference Architecture Information Management
  • Oracle Reference Architecture Business Analytics Foundation
  • Oracle Reference Architecture Business Analytics Infrastructure
  • Oracle Reference Architecture Service Orientation
  • Oracle Reference Architecture Security
  • Oracle Reference Architecture Engineered Systems

IT Strategies from Oracle

Next to that, Oracle has a few White Papers focussing on Information Management (Big Data & Analytics):

Oracle Information Management – Logical View

Let’s take a closer look, see the picture below. This picture has been copied from; the Oracle Information Management Reference Architecture. presentation I mentioned above. There are a few major components in the Reference Architecture

  • Data Sources
  • Information Provisioning
    • Data Ingestion
    • Logical Data Warehouse
  • Information Delivery

While putting together this blog post, Mark Rittman posted the following article(s); “Introducing the Updated Oracle / Rittman Mead Information Management Reference Architecture – Pt1. Information Architecture and the “Data Factory” & Pt2. – Delivering the Data Factory” on the RM Blog.

Oracle Information Management – Logical View

Data Sources

Within this Reference Architecture Oracle should be able to handle all sorts of data:

  • Traditional Enterprise Data (ERP, CRM, etc.)
  • Machine-generated /Sensor Data (Smart Meters, Equipment Logs, etc.)
  • Social Data (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Any Data - Any Source - Any Format - Different Data

The last couple of years / decades, Data has changed. We (as BI/DW-Consultants) have always looked at data in a Traditional (Structured) way. Now Oracle provides an Architecture to combine the old Data with the new (Big) Data. Whether there are 3, 4, 5, or whatever number of V’s, the most important thing is that you get value from your Data!

Data Ingestion (Loading)

Oracle provides / supports tools to perform Batch or (Near) Real-Time Data Ingestion.

Oracle GoldenGate & Oracle Data Integrator

Michael Rainey is writing an excellent series on how to load the Raw Data Reservoir (Staging Layer) and the Foundation Layer; Oracle GoldenGate and Oracle Data Integrator – A Perfect Match in 12c.

Cloudera Distribution including Apache Hadoop (CDH)

Hadoop is Open Source and Apache licensed. Cloudera provides an Open Source Distribution ( Cloudera CDH - Cloudera Enterprise Data Hub).

Oracle Event Processing (OEP)

OEP is a complete solution for building applications to filter, correlate and process events in real-time. Check the Data Sheet here.

Logical Data Warehouse

There are a few different Layers:

  • Raw Data Reservoir (Staging Layer)
  • Foundation Layer
  • Access and Perfomance Layer

Depending on the requirements and the tooling one can decide to skip or combine the different Layers. Oracle has the tooling to load the various Layers directly (GoldenGate).

The data is no longer only stored in the Oracle Database. The ‘new’ types of data require ‘new’ types of storage. There are different Data Stores for different purposes.

The Oracle Big Data Connectors can be used to integrate Apache Hadoop with Oracle Database Software.

Processing the data could be either In-Database (Oracle Database Options –  Advanced Analytics, OLAP) or In-Memory (Oracle TimesTen).

Information Delivery

Oracle is able to support proven answers to known questions via Oracle BI. Fast answers to new questions are provided by Oracle Endeca Information Discovery.

“The Oracle BI Foundation Suite provides comprehensive capabilities for business intelligence, including enterprise reporting, dashboards, ad-hoc analysis, multi-dimensional OLAP, scorecards, and predictive analytics on an integrated platform”

Oracle BI Foundation - Front-End

OBIEE makes it possible (Logical Layer) to skip the ‘Access and Perfomance Layer’ and source directly form the ‘Foundation Layer’. There are some very interesting presentations online around this subject.

“Oracle Endeca Information Discovery is a complete enterprise data discovery platform that combines information of any type, from any source, empowering business user independence in balance with IT governance. Now organizations can access the information they need, when they need it, to make business decisions they can trust.”

There is still a lot more to investigate, but for me this gives a little bit more guidance.

RittmanMead BI Forum 2014 – Wrap – up

RittmanMead BI Forum 2014

Last week I was (again) one of the lucky ones to join the Rittman Mead BI Forum 2014. This year we were served with a 3-day program. Just like the other years the program was varied. Varied in subjects  (Oracle BI EE, Oracle Endeca, Aggregation Persistence, Big Data, Oracle Exalytics, Oracle BI Cloud,  Oracle Information Management Reference Architecture, etc.) an varied in in style; Keynotes, one hour presentations and 10-minute TED-sessions. Next to that the possibility of a Masterclass around Hadoop Cloudera.

Just like all the other days the Rittman Mead BI Forum 2014 was an excellent place to network and exchange ideas. Next to the people I knew already I have met a lot of ‘new’ people. These days were a big inspiration for me. I do not have to be bored the coming year.

I was very impressed by the Masterclass of Lars George around the topic of Cloudera Hadoop. If you want to explore this subject more there are several options. Thanks to Alex Hansal for linking to these options.

It was interesting to hear how Oracle invests heavily in the Oracle (BI) Cloud. As a part of that a lot of new interesting Oracle BI functionality will become available in the Cloud first. Hopefully these functionalities will arrive on Premise shortly after.

Andrew Bond & Stewart Bryson had a very nice presentation about the Oracle Information Management Reference Architecture. This needs some further investigation from my part.

I often see clients struggle with reporting on Oracle eBS. There are a lot of alternatives. Truls Bergersen showed an alternative via the Oracle eBS extensions for Endeca.

Congratulations to Robin Moffat for receiving the ‘Best Speaker Award’ for the second time! Check his presentation; ‘No Silver Bullets – OBIEE Performance in the Real World’ here.

A big thank you to Mark Rittman, Jon Mead and their crew. Also a big thanks to Oracle for joining and for being so open about the Oracle BI developments and their visions and roadmaps. Thanks all for joining and sharing. That’s what makes the Rittman Mead BI Forum such a great event to be at. Hope to see everyone next year.

Tomorrow the US edition of the Rittman Mead BI Forum will start. If you would like to stay informed, you should check the Tweetchat.

After the US edition all the presentations of the RittmanMead BI Forum 2014 (Brighton and Atlanta) will be online. There is definitely some good stuff to have a look at!!

RM BI Forum 2014 - Tshirts

RM BI Forum 2014 Notes – Day II

RM BI Forum 2014 Notes – Day II

Find below some notes, links, etc regarding day I of the RittmanMead BI Forum 2014. These are just some notes and it’s by no means a re-cap of the complete presentations. Check the RittmanMead blog after the Atlanta edition of the RittmanMead BI Forum 2014. They will post all the presentations (both Brighton as well as Atlanta)

Drawing in a New Rock on the Map – How will Endeca Fit in to Your Oracle BI Topography by Truls Bergersen

Data Discovery
– Unknown Answers to Unknown Questions
– New Datasources

Hybrid search/analytical database
Key Value Pairs
In-Memory Analytics

Self-Service Provisioning – (Excel, JSON-Files, OBIEE Data Source)

Web Acquisition Toolkit

ODI KM – Integration Knowledge Module

Sentiment Analysis (only via Integrator tier) – Lexical (Dictionary)

Oracle eBS extensions for Endeca (light-weight Oracle BI Apps)

Real-time Data Warehouse Upgrade – Success Stories by Nicholas Hurt & Michael Rainey

Events —> ETL –> Cleanse –> De-dupe –> Summarize –> Dashboard
Streams & Oracle CDC —> Oracle GoldenGate (Journalizing – ODI)
OWB —> ODI 11g – 3R’s- Re-Asses, Replicate, Refine existing mappings

JMK Oracle to Oracle Consistent (OGG) Knowledge Module

Oracle Information Management Reference Architecture

Staging Layer -
Performance Layer (Dimensional Model – Star Schema)
Hybrid Layer

Real-time BI: An Introduction

GoldenGate and ODI – A Perfect Match for Real-Time Data Warehousing

Oracle BI Cloud by Matt Bedin

Sort of NDA, but it will be there……the Oracle BI Cloud

Oracle invests heavily in the Cloud. As a part of that a lot of new interesting Oracle BI functionality will become available in the Cloud first. Hopefully these functionalities will arrive on Premise shortly after.

Essbase within/without OBIEE – not just an aggregation engine by Gianni Ceresa

Essbase and OBIEE Aggregate Pesistance wizard

Essbase Studio

ASO (Aggregate Storage Option)
BSO (Block Storage Option)

CalcScripts

UDF – User Defined Functions
Essbase Writeback

Speed up RPD Development by Marco Klaassens

Speedup Delivering = Knowledge * Focus * Offering

Neo’s Voyage in OBIEE by Christian Berg

Blue Pill – It’s Known
Red Pill – It’s Undocumented (Use at own risk)

NQS Procedures as Physical Tables (ODBC) in the Physical Layer

Contact Christian directly, he might want to share.

Tuning TimesTen with Aggregate Persistence by Alistair Burgess 

Tuning TimesTen
  • RangeIndexType=0
  • TimesTen Data Types (TT_INTEGER, TT_SMALLINT)
  • RAM Policy
  • Compression
  • Index Advisor
  • Execute on Connect
  • Parallel Query
Licence costs (compared to the Oracle Database) could be interesting