Monday, 16 June 2008

Oracle OBIEE Install on Unbreakable Linux

After visiting a seminar given by Oracle on Data Analysis and Oracle BI, I have decided to explore the Oracle OBIEE product and see it first hand. In this post I would like to share my experience of installing Oracle OBIEE on Oracle's Unbreakable Linux.

I am in the opinion that all things should be in the database and I was reluctant and skeptical about Oracle BI. Why on earth do we need another app server kind of server, a server which is half webserver and half app server and all it does is things like daily office automation tasks. After reading some marketing text about the tool I found it to claim to do things like:

  • Mail merge
  • Cheque printing
  • PDF reports
  • Flash graphs
  • Any format Reports
  • Interactive dashboards
  • Ad-hoc analysis
  • Market analysis

A true mix of Siebel, JD Edwards and Peoplesoft one can say. Especially what is the point of having a tool like OBIEE, when you can have all this (maybe not all, but a significant portion) directly from the database with Oracle APEX in Oracle 11g served to the user via a web browser and for FREE. Having Google offering MS Word like applications on the web what is the point really of OBIEE. Is OBIEE already old technology?

Installing Oracle OBIEE on Unbreakable Linux

So, I have downloaded Unbreakable Linux from the Oracle Store here. Installed the OS on a Desktop Machine and then, downloaded Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition OBIEE and particularly the Linux version file biee_linux_x86_redhat_101333_disk1.cpio from Oracle Downloads Website.

One thing I noticed when I was reading about OBIEE is that it is "Database Agnostic", that is it doesn't need a database to operate, although you can put it in XMLDB. But this is not necessary as OBIEE can live on a file system.

That is what I did and I run the command on the downloaded file like this from my Linux prompt

$ cpio -idmv < biee_linux_x86_redhat_101333_disk1.cpiowhen the file extracted gave me following directory structure


then all you need to do to start installilng the OBIEE is run the script like this


During the installation the trickiest part was to provide your JDK software's home. That is you have to have Java installed on the box where you will run OBIEE as it runs on OC4J (Oracle Containers 4 Java) platform. Basically a J2EE platform.

Once I have correctly indicated the directory where my Java JDK 1.5 (or greater) was installed the installation was smooth and finished quickly. I have chosen the full complete installation of OBIEE from the install options and it put software in the designated Oracle BI homes.


As this is not MS Windows I didn't get lots of menu items at the end of the installation. Instead I had to go to a directory and start certain scripts in order to get the whole of my OBIEE infrastructure up and running. If you want to know which servers and services to start, you will need to read stuff on the Installation manuals and other BI blogs. But as a starter page after the installation you will get the welcome page: file:///home/oracle/OracleBI/index_bi_ee.html

This page tells it all. You get links to the 3 main components of your OBIEE installation on the right top corner of this page and these are:

  • Application Server Control
  • Oracle BI Interactive Dashboards
  • Oracle BI Publisher

Theoretically all 3 should work when you click them. In my case I found only the 1st link to be working. After some Google whacking and troubleshooting search I have realised that some services or some '.sh' scripts required didn't automatically run and required services weren't started properly. Tsk, tsk tsk... Remember? This is a linux platform. Probably OBIEE is best run on Windows, then!?

Anyway I found the /home/oracle/OracleBI/setup directory to be full of cool scripts which you can use to start stuff in OBIEE.

After successfully starting Oracle BI Server, Oracle BI Presentation Services (SAW server) I have finally managed the get all 3 links to work and started exploring the Oracle BI Infrastructure.

In another post I hope to write about my thoughts on OBIEE.


OBIEE Defaut User is : Administrator
OBIEE Default User password is : Administrator

Resources I used for the OBIEE installation.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Data Analysis: A Quick & Cost Effective Approach by Oracle Cornerstone Briefings

I have attended yesterday the Data Analysis: A Quick & Cost Effective Approach by Oracle Cornerstone Briefings for customers in TVP, Reading, Oracle UK Headquarters.

I must say working in UK for the last decade I have never visited this part of the country which is considered the "Silicon Valley" of UK. I was impressed by the buildings Oracle's training rooms and facilities. Woow!

The topic was about Data Analysis and the OBIEE Server. The presentation was in two parts and was Given by Aidan and Stuart of Oracle UK.

Part one focused in the current situation and challenges in Data Management today. The reference architecture was a 3 component chart described as "process data" , "manage data" and then "access data".

The highlights of the first part can be summarized as:

  • The data management process is still difficult, there are still a questions about the "single version of truth" in data management still people chop and spread data all over the place and analyse it in tools such as Excel and etc.
  • There is still complexities even the best of the tools out there can not address.
  • The sources, where we gather data from are still evolving, and new sources appear from which we are not able to harvest the data quickly and efficiently.

The second part of the briefing was, if you haven't guessed already, about how Oracle with its Business Intelligence Server Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), ex Siebel a company Oracle has purchased recently, is able to meet these challenges and complexities on data management.

It seems to me like OBIEE, sweet name for a product, they call it just "obiee", is an application which is "Database Agnostic" that is, it doesn't need to belong or be installed on or work with a particular database. It is a system which is installed on a file system, windows, linux whatever and then it runs all your reporting, report publishing, dashboarding and metadata in one place. So it is not a database! It is a kind of application which manages your reporting and dashboarding metadata storage and publication processes. A kind of webserver and appserver together which schedules and runs queries on any database, the extract of reports via email, pdf, Excel, XML, Flash Charts, dashboards you name it, and it is possible kind of tool.

When I was listening and seeing demonstrations about all this I was thinking how different is OBIEE from Oracle APEX. Then I asked them.

Their answer was that they were not similar at all. APEX is more like a rapid application development environment on the web and is all stored in the database in XMLDB. Whereas although OBIEE can be stored in XMLDB like Apex, Obiee is not an application development tool but a data analysis environment. They are different. Are they?