BI & Warehousing

WebCenter Content - A new Delivery Channel in 11.1.1.9.0 !!

Tim Dexter - Wed, 2015-06-03 03:13

Hi Everyone

One of the new features introduced in 11.1.1.9.0 is WebCenter Content (WCC) Server as a delivery channel. Prior to this release, we could manage delivery to WCC (formerly UCM) server using webDAV as explained by Tim in his blog "BI Publisher and WebDAV... done!". However, there were few restrictions

  • No way to include standard or custom metadata. Therefore, there was no description for the documents submitted and searching these documents in WCC was not convenient.
  • WebDAV uses folders to store the document and access to these folders have to be pre-configured by WCC Administrator. User can not select security group or account at the time of scheduling.

Moreover, with WCC as delivery channel you have the ability to use idc(s), http(s) and JAX-WS protocols. Refer to the documentation on RIDC protocols for more details on these protocols.

We have now videos in BI Publisher Youtube Channel to demonstrate how BI Publisher integration with WCC works. The videos are split in two parts: Part 1 (Title: BIPublisherWCC Part1) covers an overview and explains some of the WCC concepts, while Part 2 (Title: BIPublisherWCC Part2) walks you through all the steps necessary to make the integration work.

You can find additional details in the documentation guide. Navigate to the Books link and check the Administrators Guide for setting up delivery destinations and the Data Modeling Guide for Custom Metadata & Bursting related information. 

I am sure you will find this new feature very easy to configure and very useful for maintaining documents in WCC. Have a nice day !! 

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Oracle BI Publisher 11.1.1.9.0 is available !!!

Tim Dexter - Mon, 2015-05-25 14:12

Hi Everyone,

I am happy to announce that Oracle BI Publisher 11.1.1.9.0 is released, although I admit that this is almost a week old news now and I am sure some of you may have already known this by now from the BI Publisher homepage in OTN or from other sources. My sincere apologies for the delay here.

Thank you Tim for helping me to get back into this blog membership and being patient to allow me put this word out. My activity in the blog has been so less in the past that I am as good as a new member here. When I tried to login last week, I was greeted with this message -

"Sorry, you do not have the privileges necessary to access the page you requested. This system is available to Oracle Employees only. Oracle Employees who would like to request a blog account should click here."

So I had to start all over and get a fresh access created. Thanks to Tim and Phil from IT support for helping me with this. I will now make sure to use this space more often and share more features, tips and tricks.

Oracle BI Publisher 11.1.1.9.0 was GA on May 19th and you can get the download, documentation, certification matrix and release notes here at the BI Publisher home page in OTN. Here is a quick snapshot of new features in this release. The download is also available at Oracle Software Delivery Cloud site. The documentation page has also been given a fresh new structure where in the left navigation you will notice "Task" and "Books" as two menu items. The task will provide quick reference to role based activities under different sub menu items such as "View & Publish", "Design Reports" etc. The "Books" menu will take you to the complete set of books. You can select Administrator's guide, or Developer's guide, Data Modelling Guide, Report Designer's guide and User's Guide for BI Publisher here. If you are looking for any feature, and do not find information under "Tasks" then check for the same under "Books" or use the search option.

Stay tuned for more updates on new features. Wish you have a good time exploring the new features!!

Categories: BI & Warehousing

BIP scheduleReport with Parameters

Tim Dexter - Wed, 2015-05-20 15:37

I have just spent an hour or so working on getting a sample scheduleReport web service working with parameter values. There are a lot of examples out there but none I have found have the parameters being set. Our doc is a little light on details on how to set them up :) In lieu of that, here's this!

        // Set the parameter values for the report. In this example we have
        // 'dept' and 'emp' parameters. We could easily query the params dynamically
 
        //Handle 'dept' parameter
        ParamNameValue deptParamNameVal = new ParamNameValue();
        deptParamNameVal= new ParamNameValue();
        deptParamNameVal.setName("dept");
        // Create the string array to hold the parameter value(s)
        ArrayOfXsdString deptVal = new ArrayOfXsdString();
        // For individual values or multiples, add values to the 
        // string array e.g. 10,20,30
        deptVal.getItem().add("10");
        deptVal.getItem().add("20");
        deptVal.getItem().add("30");
 
        // Asterisk used for a null value ie 'All'
        //deptVal.getItem().add("*");

        // add the array to the parameter object
        deptParamNameVal.setValues(deptVal);
 
        //Handle 'emp' parameter
        ParamNameValue empParamNameVal = new ParamNameValue();
        empParamNameVal= new ParamNameValue();
        empParamNameVal.setName("emp");
        ArrayOfXsdString empVal = new ArrayOfXsdString();
        // For individual values or multiples, add values to the string array 
        // empVal.getItem().add("Jennifer Whalen");
        // empVal.getItem().add("Michael Hartstein");

        // Asterisk used for a null value ie 'All'
        empVal.getItem().add("*");
        empParamNameVal.setValues(empVal);
 

        // add parameter values to parameter array        
        ArrayOfParamNameValue paramArr = new ArrayOfParamNameValue();
        paramArr.getItem().add(deptParamNameVal);
        paramArr.getItem().add(empParamNameVal);
 
        //Now add array to values obj
        ParamNameValues pVals = new ParamNameValues();
        pVals.setListOfParamNameValues(paramArr);

 The pVals object can then be added to the report request object.

        req.setParameterNameValues(pVals);

Hopefully, you can extrapolate to your code. JDev application available here, unzip and open the application.
Just the schedule report class is available here.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

New OlapUnderground Utility - The Essbase Outline Viewer

Tim Tow - Fri, 2015-05-08 08:54
Have you ever wanted your users to see an Essbase database outline structure, but had trouble giving them access to Essbase Administrative Services ("EAS") for fear that they may have access to change things they shouldn't change?  Maybe you didn't want to give them EAS and have to deal with the version of Java installed on their machine?  We have the solution to your problems.  After a bit of fits and starts, we have finally released the OlapUnderground Essbase Outline Viewer!

The OlapUnderground Essbase Outline Viewer is a read-only user interface built specifically to view the contents of an Essbase outline.  It is built in Microsoft .NET technology and should run on any Windows-based computer without any special downloads.  It also uses the MaxL outline xml format and, as your Hyperion administrators can create and distribute the outline xml file, end users do not need an Essbase login to view the outline.

Here is a screenshot of the Outline Viewer:

Click image to see it full-size

You can download the Essbase Outline Viewer from our website at http://www.appliedolap.com/resources/downloads/essbase-outline-viewer.  Let us know what you think!

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Is MERGE a bug?

Chet Justice - Wed, 2015-04-22 21:57
A few years back I pondered whether DISTINCT was a bug.

My premise was that if you are depending on DISTINCT to return a correct result set, something is seriously wrong with your table design. I was reminded of this again recently when I ran across Kent Graziano's post on Better Data Modeling: Are you making these 3 beginner mistakes in your data models?. Specifically:
Instead of that, you should be defining a natural, or business, key for every table in your system. A natural key is a an attribute or set of attributes (that occur naturally in the data set) required to uniquely identify a row in that table. In addition you should define a Unique Key Constraint on those attributes in the database. Then you can be sure you will not get any duplicate data into the tables.

CLARIFICATION: This point has caused a lot of questions and comments. To be clear, the mistake here is to have ONLY defined a surrogate key. i believe that even if using surrogate keys is the best solution for your design, you should ALSO define an alternate unique natural key. So why MERGE?

I learned about the MERGE statement in 2008. During an interview, Frank Davis asked me about when I would use it. I didn't even know what it was (and admitted that) but I went home that night and...wait...I think he asked me about multi table inserts. Whatever, credit is still going to Mr. Davis. Where was I? OK, so I had been working with Oracle for about 6 years at that point and I didn't know about it. My initial reaction was to use it everywhere (not really)! You know, shiny object and all. Look! Squirrel!

Why am I considering MERGE a bug? Let me be more specific. I was working with a couple of tables and had not written the API for them yet and a developer was writing some PL/SQL to update the records from APEX. In his loop he had a MERGE. I realized at that moment there was 1, no surrogate key and 2, no natural key defined (which ties in with Kent's comments up above). Upon realizing the developer was doing this, I knew immediately what the problem was (besides not using a PL/SQL API to nicely encapsulate the business logic). The table was poorly designed.

Easy fix. Update the table with a surrogate key and define a natural key. I was thankful for the reminder, I hadn't added the unique constraint yet. Of course had I written the API already I probably would have noticed the design error, either way, a win for design.

Now, there are perfectly good occasions to use the MERGE statement. Most of those, to me anyway, relate to legacy systems where you don't have the ability to change the underlying table structures (or it's just cost prohibitive) or ETL, where you want to load/update a dimension table in your data warehouse.

Noons, how's that? First time out in 10 months. Thanks for the push.
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Data Mining Scoring Development Process

Dylan Wan - Fri, 2015-04-03 00:39

I think that the process of building a data mining scoring engine is similar to develop an application.


We have the requirement analysis, functional design, technical design, coding, testing, deployment, etc. phases.



Categories: BI & Warehousing

Next Generation Outline Extractor - New Version Available

Tim Tow - Mon, 2015-02-16 14:42
Today we released a new version of the Next Generation Outline Extractor, version 2.0.3.769.  Here are the release notes from this new version:

Version 2.0.3.769 supports the following Essbase versions:

9.3.1
9.3.1.1
9.3.1.2
9.3.3
11.1.1
11.1.1.1
11.1.1.2
11.1.1.3
11.1.1.4
11.1.2
11.1.2.1
11.1.2.1.102
11.1.2.1.103
11.1.2.1.104
11.1.2.1.105
11.1.2.1.106
11.1.2.2
11.1.2.2.102
11.1.2.2.103
11.1.2.2.104
11.1.2.3
11.1.2.3.001
11.1.2.3.002
11.1.2.3.003
11.1.2.3.500
11.1.2.3.501
11.1.2.3.502
11.1.2.3.505
11.1.2.4

Issues resolved in version 2.0.3.769:

2015.02.15 - Issue 1355 - All Writers - Add functionality to replace all line feeds, carriage returns, tabs, and extraneous spaces in formulas

2015.02.13 - Issue 1354 - RelationalWriter - Changed the default database name from dodeca to extractor

2015.02.13 - Issue 1353 - RelationalWriter - Added CONSOLIDATION_TYPE_SYMBOL, SHARE_FLAG_SYMBOL, TIME_BALANCE, TIME_BALANCE_SYMBOL, TIME_BALANCE_SKIP, TIME_BALANCE_SKIP_SYMBOL, EXPENSE_FLAG, EXPENSE_FLAG_SYMBOL, TWO_PASS_FLAG, and TWO_PASS_FLAG_SYMBOL columns to the CACHED_OUTLINE_MEMBERS table

2015.02.13 - Issue 1352 - RelationalWriter - Added Server, Application, and Cube columns to the CACHED_OUTLINE_VERSIONS table

2015.02.13 - Issue 1351 - Fixed issue with LoadFileWriter where UDA column headers were incorrectly written in the form UDAS0,DimName instead of UDA0,DimName

In addition, a number of fixes, etc, were put into 2.0.2 and earlier releases and those releases went unannounced.  Those updates included the following items:

  1. There is no longer a default .properties file for the Extractor.  This will force a user to specify a .properties file.  (2.0.2.601)
  2. Removed the "/" character as a switch for command line arguments as it causes problems in Linux. (2.0.2.605)
  3. Fixed issue when combining MaxL input with relational output where a "not supported" error message would appear due to certain properties were not being read correctly from the XML file (2.0.2.601)
  4. Command line operations resulted in an error due to an improper attempt to interact with the GUI progress bar. (2.0.2.601)
  5. Shared members attributes where not be properly written resulting in a delimiter/column count mismatch. (2.0.2.625)
  6. Added encoding options where a user can choose between UTF-8 and ANSI encodings.  The Extractor will attempt to detect encoding from selected outline and, if the detected outline encoding is different from the user selected outline encoding, a warning message appears.
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Ephemeral Port Issue with Essbase Has Been Fixed!

Tim Tow - Fri, 2015-02-13 09:24
The issue that has plagued a number of Essbase customers over the years related to running out of available ports has finally been fixed!

This issue, which often manifested itself with errors in the Essbase error 10420xx range, was caused by how the Essbase Java API communicated with the server. In essence, whenever a piece of information was needed, the Essbase Java API grabbed a port from the pool of available ports, did its business, and then released the port back to the pool. That doesn’t sound bad, but the problem occurs due to how Windows handles this pool of ports. Windows will put the port into a timeout status for a period of time before it makes the port available for reuse and the default timeout in Windows is 4 minutes! Further, the size of the available pool of ports is only about 16,000 ports in the later versions of Windows. That may sound like a lot of ports, but the speed of modern computers makes it possible, and even likely, that certain operations, such as the outline APIs, that call Essbase many, many times to get information would be subject to this issue. Frankly, we see this issue quite often with both VB and the Java Essbase Outline Extractors.

We brought this issue to the attention of the Java API team and assisted them by testing a prerelease version of the Java API jars. I am happy to report the fix was released with Essbase 11.1.2.3.502. In addition, there is a new essbase.properties setting that allows you to turn the optimization on or off:

olap.system.socketoptimization=false

It is our understanding that this optimization is turned on by default. I also checked the default essbase.properties files shipped with both Essbase 11.1.2.3.502 and 11.1.2.4 and did not see that setting in those files. It may be one of those settings that is there in case it messes something else up. The work of our own Jay Zuercher in our labs and searching Oracle Support seems to have confirmed that thought. There is apparently an issue where EIS drill-through reports don't work in Smart View if socket optimization is turned on. It is documented in Oracle Support Doc ID 1959533.1.

There is also another undocumented essbase.properties setting:

olap.server.socketIdleTime

According to Oracle development, this value defaults to 300 ms but there should be little need to ever change it. The only reason it is there is to tune socket optimization in case more than 2 sockets are used per Java API session.

Jay also tested the 11.1.2.4 version in our labs with the Next Generation Outline Extractor. With the default settings, one large test outline we have, "BigBad", with about 120,000 members in it, extracted in 1 minute and 50 seconds.  With socket optimization turned off, the same outline was only about 25% complete after 2 hours.   In summary, this fix will be very useful for a lot of Oracle customers.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

How do I ...

Tim Dexter - Thu, 2015-02-12 15:23

An email came in this morning to an internal mailing list,

We have an Essbase customer with some reporting requirements and we are evaluating BI Publisher as the potential solution. I'd like to ask for your help with any document, blog or white paper with guidelines about using BI Publisher with Essbase as the main data source.

Is there any tutorial showing how to use BI Publisher with Essbase as the main data source?

There is not one to my knowledge but trying to be helpful I came up with the following response

I'll refer to the docs ...
First set up your connection to Essbase
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E28280_01/bi.1111/e22255/data_sources.htm#BIPAD294
Then create your data model using that Essbase connection
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E28280_01/bi.1111/e22258/create_data_sets.htm#BIPDM404
Use the MDX query builder to create the query or write it yourself (lots of fun :)
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E28280_01/bi.1111/e22258/create_data_sets.htm#BIPDM431
Add parameters (optional)
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E28280_01/bi.1111/e22258/add_params_lovs.htm#BIPDM306
Then build layouts for your Essbase query
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E28280_01/bi.1111/e22254/toc.htm
annnnd your're done :)

Simple, right? Well simple in its format but it required me to know the basic steps to build said report and then where to find the appropriate pages in the doc for the links. Leslie saw my reply and commented on how straightforward it was and how our docs are more like reference books than 'how to's.' This got us thinking. I have noticed that the new 'cloud' docs have How do I ... sections where a drop down will then show maybe 10 tasks associated with the page Im on right now in the application.

Getting that help functionality into the BIP is going to take a while. We thought, in the mean time, we could carve out a section on the blog for just such content. Here's where you guys come in. What do you want to know how to do? Suggestions in the comment pleeeease!

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Essbase VB API is Officially Dead

Tim Tow - Thu, 2015-02-12 11:06
It is with a sad heart that bring you the news that, as of Essbase 11.1.2.4, the Essbase VB API is officially dead.  I cut my teeth in Essbase working with that API way back in the mid-1990's, but the writing had been on the wall for some time.  Microsoft stopped supporting VB years ago, so it was only a matter of time before this time would come.  That being said, I haven't used the VB API for any new Essbase work since about 2001; the Essbase Java API is alive and growing so my efforts have been there.

Here is the official notification:













You can read the notification yourself in the Essbase 11.1.2.4 Readme.
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Have your say ...

Tim Dexter - Mon, 2015-02-09 15:25

Another messaging exchange last week with Leslie ...

OK, so we practised it a bit after our first convo and things got a little cheesy but hopefully you get the message.

Hit this link and you too can give some constructive feedback on the Oracle doc for BI (not just BIP.) I took the survey; its only eight questions or more if you want to share more of your input. Please take a couple of minutes to help us shape the documentation of future. 

Categories: BI & Warehousing

OAUG BIP SIG ... we're getting the band back together

Tim Dexter - Thu, 2015-01-15 14:28

 Today's post comes to you from Brent at STR Software. If you could help out, it would be greatly appreciated, read on ...

First off, if you are not familiar with the term SIG, it stands for Special Interest Group. OAUG facilitates a number of SIGs to bring users together that share common or industries concerning certain Oracle products.

Unfortunately, the BI Publisher SIG has been offline for a number of years and has not been given the attention it needs to be a useful resource for members of OAUG. Well... I'm getting the band back together and I need your help!

The SIG itself was formed to specifically focus on BI Publisher embedded in Oracle EBS, Peoplesoft and JD Edwards. I have put together a survey that is being emailed out to previous members of the SIG to get thoughts on how the SIG can be of service. That list is pretty old and YOU may not be on it, so if you are interested in participating in the SIG (or even if you are not), have a look at the link below and let me know your thoughts. Our first official meeting will be at Collaborate 15 in Las Vegas, hope to see you there!

Take the survey -> here!

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Paginated HTML is here and has been for some time ... I think!

Tim Dexter - Fri, 2014-12-12 18:03

We have a demo environment in my team and of course things get a little beaten up in there. Our go to, 'here's Publisher' report was looking really bad. Data was not returning or being rendered correctly on the five templates we have for it.
So, I spent about a half hour cleaning up the report; getting things working again; clearing out the rubbish. I noticed that one of the layouts when rendered in HTML was repeatedly showing a header down the screen. Oh, I know where to get rid of that and off I click to the report properties to fix it. But what is this I see? Is it? Can it be? Are my tired old eyes deceiving me?

Yes, Dexter, you see that right, 'View Paginated'! I nervously changed the value to 'true' and went back to the HTML output.
Holy Amaze Balls Batman, paginated HTML, the holy grail of HTML rendered reports, the Mount Everest of ... no, thats too easy, the K2 of html output ... its fan-bloody-tastic! Can you tell Im excited? I was immediately on messenger to Leslie (doc writer extraordinaire) 


Obviously not quite as big a deal in the sane, real world outside of my head. 'Oh yeah, we have that now ...' Leslie is so calm and collected, however, she does like Maroon 5 but, we overlook that :)

I command you 11.1.1.6+'ers to go find the property and turn it on right now and bask in the glory that is, 'paginated html.!'
I cannot stop clicking back and forth and then to the end and then all the way back to the beginning. Its fantastic!

Just look at those icons, just click em, you know you want to!

Categories: BI & Warehousing

File Encoding in the Next Generation Outline Extractor

Tim Tow - Tue, 2014-12-09 20:11
We had a couple of issues reported with the output of the Next Generation Outline Extractor where the exported file did not work properly as a load file. After some investigation, we found that the file encoding was incorrect. We were encoding the files using the Unicode/UTF-8 format. We chose this encoding so that we could write all characters in all languages, but we did not consider that UTF-8 is only valid for loading Unicode databases in Essbase.

To resolve this issue, we decided to add a configuration to the Next Generation Outline Extractor to allow users to select the file encoding. Here is a screenshot showing the new configuration setting.



As of yesterday, December 8, 2014, the updated Next Generation Outline Extractor is available on our website. The first version to feature this functionality is version 2.0.2.692. Version 2.0.2.692 is available for all Essbase versions from Essbase 9.3.1 forward. We are also happy to announce that his version of the Next Generation Outline Extractor is the first version to support the recently released Essbase 11.1.2.3.505.

If you encounter any issues with the Next Generation Outline Extractor, please don't hesitate to contact our support team at support@appliedolap.com.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Bordering Text

Tim Dexter - Tue, 2014-11-18 16:08

A tough little question appeared on one of our internal mailing lists today that piqued my interest. A customer wanted to place a border around all data fields in their BIP output. Something like this:


Naturally you think of using a table, embedding the field inside a cell and turning the cell border on. That will work but will need some finessing to get the cells to stretch or shrink depending on the width of the runtime text. Then things might get a bit squirly (technical term) if the text is wide enough to force a new line at the page edge. Anyway, it will get messy. So I took a look at the problem to see if the fields can be isolated in the page as far as the XSLFO code is concerned. If the field can be siolated in its own XSL block then we can change attribute values to get the borders to show just around the field. Sadly not.

This is an embedded field YEARPARAM in a sentence.

translates to

 <fo:inline height="0.0pt" style-name="Normal" font-size="11.0pt" style-id="s0" white-space-collapse="false" 
  font-family-generic="swiss" font-family="Calibri" 
  xml:space="preserve">This is an embedded field <xsl:value-of select="(.//YEARPARAM)[1]" xdofo:field-name="YEARPARAM"/> in a sentence.</fo:inline>


If we change the border on tis, it will apply to the complete sentence. not just the field.
So how could I isolate that field. Well we could actually do anything to the field. embolden, italicize, etc ... I settled on changing the background color (its easy to change it back with a single attribute call.) Using the highlighter tool on the Home tab in Word I change the field to have a yellow background. I now have:

 This gives me the following code.

<fo:block linefeed-treatment="preserve" text-align="start" widows="2" end-indent="5.4pt" orphans="2"
 start-indent="5.4pt" height="0.0pt" padding-top="0.0pt" padding-bottom="10.0pt" xdofo:xliff-note="YEARPARAM" xdofo:line-spacing="multiple:13.8pt"> 
 <fo:inline height="0.0pt" style-name="Normal" font-size="11.0pt" style-id="s0" white-space-collapse="false" 
  font-family-generic="swiss" font-family="Calibri" xml:space="preserve">This is an embedded field </fo:inline>
  <fo:inline height="0.0pt" style-name="Normal" font-size="11.0pt" style-id="s0" white-space-collapse="false" 
   font-family-generic="swiss" font-family="Calibri" background-color="#ffff00">
    <xsl:attribute name="background-color">white</xsl:attribute> <xsl:value-of select="(.//YEARPARAM)[1]" xdofo:field-name="YEARPARAM"/> 
  </fo:inline> 
 <fo:inline height="0.0pt" style-name="Normal" font-size="11.0pt" style-id="s0" white-space-collapse="false" 
  font-family-generic="swiss" font-family="Calibri" xml:space="preserve"> in a sentence.</fo:inline> 
</fo:block> 

Now we have the field isolated we can easily set other attributes that will only be applied to the field and nothing else. I added the following to my YEARPARAM field:

<?attribute@inline:background-color;'white'?> >>> turn the background back to white
<?attribute@inline:border-color;'black'?> >>> turn on all borders and make black
<?attribute@inline:border-width;'0.5pt'?> >>> make the border 0.5 point wide
<?YEARPARAM?> >>> my original field

The @inline tells the BIP XSL engine to only apply the attribute values to the immediate 'inline' code block i.e. the field. Collapse all of this code into a single line in the field.
When I run the template now, I see the following:

 


Its a little convoluted but if you ignore the geeky code explanation and just highlight/copy'n'paste, its pretty straightforward.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Are you ready for Windows 10? Dodeca Is Ready!

Tim Tow - Wed, 2014-10-15 23:38
Microsoft recently released its first preview version of their next desktop operating system, Windows 10. In our business, we have seen many large companies just migrate to Windows 7 and the general consensus seems to be that Windows 8 is a 'consumer' operating system. In other words, it will be a while before you have to think about Windows 10, but it is our business to be thinking about this now. We have the Windows 10 preview downloaded and installed in our labs. We made a very smart decision years ago when we decided to write the Dodeca client layer in .NET technology because it works in Windows 10 unchanged!

We are ready. Will you be ready?
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Kscope15 Abstract deadline is Wednesday, October 15!

Tim Tow - Sat, 2014-10-11 14:08
Kscope15 abstract submission will close in just a few days and the ODTUG content teams want you!

I am sure there are many of you who have never done a presentation at a conference and may not feel comfortable speaking in public. Well, I have a secret for you, despite the fact that I won the Best Speaker Award at Kscope14, I share your discomfort with speaking. What works for me, however, is that I only speak about topics that I know very well. Do you have some area of expertise that you know really well? If you do, please share it! It will be fun and all of your peers who learn something new, from you, will appreciate it!

With that, take the next step and click here to submit session!
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Multi Sheet Excel Output

Tim Dexter - Thu, 2014-10-02 18:28

Im on a roll with posts. This blog can be rebuilt ...

I received a question today from Camilo in Colombia asking how to achieve the following.

‘What are my options to deliver excel files with multiple sheets? I know we can split 1 report in multiple sheets in with the BIP Advanced Options, but what if I want to have 1 report / sheet? Where each report in each sheet has a independent data model ….’

Well, its not going to be easy if you have to have completely separate data models for each sheet. That would require generating multiple Excel outputs and then merging them, somehow.

However, if you can live with a single data model with multiple data sets i.e. queries that connect to separate data sources. Something like this:


Then we can help. Each query is returning its own data set but they will all be presented together in a single data set that BIP can then render. Our data structure in the XML output would be:

<DS>
 <G1>
  ...
 </G1>
 <G2>
  ...
 </G2>
 <G3>
  ...
 </G3>
</DS>

Three distinct data sets within the same data output.

To get each to sit on a separate sheet within the Excel output is pretty simple. It depends on how much native Excel functionality you want.

Using an RTF template you just create the layouts for each data set on a page(s) separated by a page break (Ctrl-Enter.) At runtime, BIP will place each output onto a separate sheet in the workbook. If you want to name each sheet you can use the <?spreadsheet-sheet-name: xpath-expression?> command. More info here. That’s as sophisticated as it gets with the RTF templates. No calcs, no formulas, etc. Just put the output on a sheet, bam!

Using an Excel template you can get more sophisticated with the layout.



This time thou, you create the layout for each data model on separate sheets. In my example, sheet 1 holds the department data, sheet 2, the employee data and so on. Some conditional formatting has snuck in there.

I have zipped up the sample files here.

FIN!

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Oracle Exalytics X4-4 - Bigger, Better, Stronger

Look Smarter Than You Are - Sun, 2014-09-28 11:49
X4-4 - Same price as the X3-4 but with more powerThe big announcement about it is today at OpenWorld (it would be awesome if they mentioned it during the Intel keynote tonight), but the Exalytics X4-4 is actually available now.  It's the same price as the X3-4 ($175,000 at list not including software, maintenance, tax, title, license, yada yada).  This does mean the X3 is - effective immediately - no longer available, but then again, since the new one is the same price, I'm not sure why anyone would want the older one.  No word yet on if you can upgrade an X3 to an X4, but since they did offer an upgrade kit from X2 to X3 (though I never heard of anyone buying it), I'm guessing there will be one for those wanting to make an X3 into an X4.
X4-4 SpecsThe main improvement over the X3 is the number of cores: it's still 4 Intel chips, but those chips all now have 15 cores on them, meaning the X4 has 60 cores compared to the X3's 40 cores.  Here are the important details:

  • 4 Intel Xeon E7-8895v2 processors running at 2.8 - 3.6 GHz
  • 8 - 60 cores (capacity on demand, more on this in a second)
  • 2 TB of RAM
  • 2.4 TB of PCI flash
  • 7.2 TB of hard disk running at 10K RPMs (not that fast these days)
  • 2 Infiniband ports running at 40 Gb/s
  • 4 Ethernet ports running at up to 10 Gb/s
Cool Thing 1: Variable Speed & Cores

You probably heard about this last July.  Oracle worked with Intel to design a line of their Xeon E7-889x chips specifically for Oracle.  What we didn't realize until we saw it show up on the X4 spec sheet was that the chips were going in the Exalytics X4.  Simply put, on the fly, Exalytics can vary how many cores it uses and when it's fewer cores, the speed goes up.  If it's running 15 cores per chip, Intel sets the speed to 2.8 GHz.  If it's only using 2 cores per chip the speed goes all the way to 3.6 GHz (a GHz is one billion clock ticks per second).


But wait, you math geniuses say.  Isn't 3.6 * 2 less than 2.8 * 15 (so why wouldn't Oracle just always leave all 60 cores on at the slower speed)?  Well, yes, if you're actually using all those cores, and this is where you know the chip was apparently designed for Essbase (though it did premiere in Exadata first).  As much as I love my Essbase, there are still transactions that end up single threading (or using far less than the available cores on the box).

Say I'm running a massive allocation and despite my best efforts (and FIXPARALLEL), it's still single threading or running at 8 CPUs or fewer.  In this case, Exalytics is now smart enough to talk to those impressive new E7-8895v2 chips, scale down to as few cores as are actually needed, and in the process, up the clock speed for the remaining cores.  Take that, commodity hardware.  This really is the killer feature that makes Exalytics do something no other server running Essbase can do.

On a side note, Intel seems to be dropping the power on the non-used cores to nearly zero when not in use meaning the power consumption of your Exalytics box actually lowers on-demand.  So if your boss won't sign off on your new Exalytics X4, tell her she hates the planet.

Cool Thing 2: You Don't Need BIFS
Per the current Engineered Systems Price List (buried down in note 13), you longer have to purchase BIFS (BI Foundation Suite) to buy Exalytics (either the X4 or T5).  You can now own BIFS, OBIEE, Essbase+, or Hyperion Planning+ without having to get a VP to sign off for a special exemption.  That's right, Planning people preferring to purchase pure premium power, you can now buy Exalytics.  With this change, I presume that any new Planning customer looking for the best user experience will be buying Exalytics X4 along with Planning.

Also buried in the footnotes, you apparently can now buy Exalytics for as few as 20 named users.  Last time I checked (and I don't read every edition of the footnotes, haters who think I have no life), the minimum was 100 named users.

What's Next: HFM on Exalytics
We heard about it on the opening developer's day at Kscope: HFM should finally run on Exalytics in version 11.1.2.4 (which we're hoping to see by the end of 2014).  I'm not sure if it will run on both the T5 (Solaris) and the X4 (Linux) by year-end, but Linux is almost a given.  That said, I don't work for Oracle, so don't base any buying decisions on the belief that HFM will definitely run on the X4.  Just when it happens, be pleasantly surprised that you can now consolidate all your major Oracle Business Analytics apps together.

So any T5 news?  Not at the moment. It's still available running it's 128 cores with 4 TB of RAM (and other cool things) so if you're looking for major horsepower and server consolidation, look to the T5.

I'll be updating this post after the OpenWorld keynote to include any new Exalytics news but if you hear any other Exalytics updates in the meantime, post it in the comments.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Database Links

Tim Dexter - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:39

Yeah, its been a while, moving on ...

I got a question a week back asking about how BI Publisher could handle dblinks. The customer currently has db links from DB1 to DB2 and uses them in their queries. Could BIP handle the syntax and pass it on to the database in its SQL or could it handle the link another way?

select e1.emp_name
, e1.emp_id
,e2.manager
from emps e1
, emps@db2 e2
where e1.manager_id = e2.id

Well, there is the obvious way to create the join in BIP. Just get rid of the db link alttogether and create two separate database connections (db1 and db2). Write query A against db1 and query B against db2. Then just create a join between the two queries, simple.

 But, what if you wanted to use the dblink? Well, BIP would choke on the @db2 you would have in the sql. Some silly security rules that, no, you can not turn off if you want to. But there are ways around it, the choking, not the security. Create an alias at the database level for the emp@db2, that way BIP can parse the resulting query. Lets assume I create an alias in the db for my db linked table as 'managers'. Now my query becomes:

select e1.emp_name
, e1.emp_id
,e2.manager
from emps e1
, managers e2
where e1.manager_id = e2.id

 BIP will not choke, it will just pass the query through and the db can handle the linking for it.

Thats it, thats all I got on db links. See you in 6 months :)




Categories: BI & Warehousing

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