Oracle Business Intelligence 12c new release features

  • Last updated on: 2017-09-26
  • Authored by: Catherine Richardson

Oracle® Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) 12c is the latest analytics suite release of the Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) system. It introduces major changes to architecture and updated feature sets, such as visual analyzer, better life cycle management, and data mashups. This article provides information about some of the new features.

Architecture

The Oracle home location has been redefined, and there is no longer a middleware home. The Oracle Process Manager and Notification Server (OPMN) is no longer used in Oracle Fusion Middleware. Instead, system components are managed by the Oracle WebLogic Management Framework, which includes the WebLogic Scripting Tool (WLST), Node Manager. All Oracle BI metadata, including the repository, the Oracle BI Presentation Services catalog, and user authentication, are stored in Oracle BI application archive (BAR) files. The BAR file is a mechanism for managing or moving a self-contained set of Oracle BI metadata between environments.

Parameters are now changed directly in files. Parameter changes are no longer handled in WebLogic Server® MBeans or with the Oracle Enterprise Manager. A new command enables you to synchronize mid-tier database connection details when they have changed. A new script enables you to collect the diagnostic bundles that are needed by Oracle support or development to help resolve issues.

The Oracle Platform Security Services (OPSS) Security Store (Policy and Credential Store) is configured in a relational database rather than in a file. The database is the same as the one that is used by the Repository Creation Utility (RCU) that is available with Fusion Middleware. Globally unique identifiers (GUIDs) have been replaced with user names to make administration easier. Accordingly, GUIDS no longer need to be refreshed. BI System and BISystemUser have been removed, and the system handles their functions internally. Consequently, corrupted system credentials are less of a problem.

Visual Analyzer

The Oracle BI Cloud Service Visual Analyzer is an interactive, web-based tool that is used to explore and analyze data. It enables you to perform rapid data discovery by using standard Oracle BI Subject Areas or by using your own external data sources (such as spreadsheets).The Visual Analyzer allows you to create different analyses and reports in the same place and shows the results immediately in the same page.

Repository (RPD) modeling

Repository (RPD) modeling includes the following new command-line utilities:

  • Download Repository
  • Upload Repository
  • List Connection Pool
  • Update Connection Pool
  • Rename Application Role
  • Delete Application Role
  • Rename Users
  • Delete Users
  • List Repository Variables
  • Update Repository Variables

Oracle BI Server now accepts the DISPLAY and SORTKEY keywords in the SQL ORDER BY expression. You can use the DISPLAY keyword to override an assigned sort order column of a logical column.

Visualizations

All views are enhanced so that you can right-click graphs and views to sort, drill, keep, or review the column from the views. Under Column Properties > Data Format, the Scale for % (x 100) option has been added so that you can specify whether to multiply data by 100 to display it as a percentage when setting the properties of a column.

A new view, the Heat Matrix view, represents the two-dimensional data.

Administration

The new release includes the following improvements for administration:

  • You can invoke WLST from a single location.
  • The Oracle Home location has been redefined, and there is no middleware home.
  • OPMN is no longer available in Fusion Middleware.
  • Oracle Web Cache is not part of Fusion Middleware.
  • The move from test to production is carried out differently.
  • There are new commands for process control.
  • You can manage metadata in BAR files.
  • There is a single enterprise installation. No separate software-only or simple installation is available.
  • Configuration is simplified.
  • You can manage system component instances by using commands.
  • You can collect diagnostic bundles.
  • You can configure the Database Security Store.
  • SSL configuration is easier.
  • You can migrate catalog groups to application roles.
  • You can migrate the Oracle BI 11g metadata to 12c, which a two-step process that is carried out by using the BI migration script (migration-tool.sh).

Data blending

Data blending is a new concept in OBIEE 12c that enables you to blend your own data with corporate data.

You can include dimensions and measures from external data sources in your analyses. The external data is loaded to the database, but is not part of the BI metadata catalog. You can create an analysis that includes only data from an external source, or you can blend dimensions and measures from the external data source with dimensions and measures defined in the BI metadata catalog. The external data must be stored in a Microsoft® Excel® format spreadsheet file. You import the data from the spreadsheet file into the OBIEE database as an external data source. You then add columns from the external data source to your analyses. When the data in spreadsheet file changes, you can refresh the database with the changes. Also you can add an external data source like an Excel file through the Add Data Source option.

External Subject Area cache

The External Subject Area (XSA) cache is a mechanism for caching Excel files for data mashups in databases. Enabling the XSA cache improves the performance of uploaded content.

Create XSA cache schema

Use the following steps to create an XSA cache schema:

  1. Connect to Oracle 11g or 12c databases by using SQL Developer or SQLPlus.

  2. Create a schema owner. For example:

    CREATE USER XSA_CACHE IDENTIFIED BY welcome1;

  3. Grant session and create table privileges to the schema owner. For example:

    GRANT CREATE SESSION TO XSA_CACHE;

    or

    GRANT CREATE TABLE TO XSA_CACHE;

  4. Create a table space and note the correct data file path. For example:

    CREATE TABLESPACE XSA_CACHE_TABLESPACE DATAFILE '/ scratch/app/12c/oradata/CEAL/datafile/xsa_cache_tablespace.dbf' SIZE 5G

  5. Alter the schema owner to use the table space created above. For example:

    ALTER USER XSA_CACHE DEFAULT TABLESPACE XSA_CACHE_TABLESPACE;

    or

    ALTER USER XSA_CACHE QUOTA UNLIMITED ON XSA_CACHE_TABLESPACE;

Prepare the live repository

Use the following steps to prepare the live repository:

  1. Open a live repository in online mode by using the OBIEE 12.2.1 Administration Tool on Windows 2012 R2. You can execute this step in offline mode as well.

  2. Create a physical data source. For example:

    XSACache

  3. Create a physical schema under the physical data source thatyou just created in the previous step. For example:

    XSA_CACHE

  4. Create a connection pool for the physical data source. For example:

    CP

  5. Add Connect String, User Name, and Password for the schema that you created in step 3. For example:

    Connect String = "DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=hostname)(PORT=xxxx)) (CONNECT_DATA=(SERVER=DEDICATED)(SID= xxxx)))" User Name = "XSA_CACHE" Password = "welcome1"

  6. Check in the online changes and save the online repository, or save the offline repository. Don’t do the consistency check.

Validate the XSA cache setup

Use the following steps to validate the XSA cache setup:

  1. Open the obis1-diagnostic.log file located at <ORACLE_HOME>/user_projects/domains/bi/server/obis1/logs.

  2. Search for the keywords External Subject Area Cache.

    If the configuration is correct, you should see following lines:

    [2017-01-13T12:30:39.123-08:00] [OBIS] [NOTIFICATION:1] [] [] [ecid: ] [sik:ssi] [tid: 69cc1720] [101001] External Subject Area cache is started successfully using configuration from the repository with the logical name ssi. [2017-01-13T12:30:39.123-08:00] [OBIS] [NOTIFICATION:1] [] [] [ecid: ] [sik:ssi] [tid: 69cc1720] [101017] External Subject Area cache has been initialized. Total number of entries: 0 Used space: 0 bytes Maximum space: 107374182400 bytes Remaining space: 107374182400 bytes. Cache table name prefix is XC3561241260.

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