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Updated: 16 hours 27 min ago

Previewing Three Oracle Data Visualization Sessions at the Atlanta US BI Forum 2014

Tue, 2014-04-22 04:30

Many of the sessions at the UK and US Rittman Mead BI Forum 2014 events in May focus on the back-end of BI and data warehousing, with for example Chris Jenkins’ session on TimesTen giving us some tips and tricks from TimeTen product development, and Wayne Van Sluys’s session on Essbase looking at what’s involved in Essbase database optimisation (full agendas for the two events can be found here). But two areas within BI that have got a lot of attention over the past couple of years are (a) data visualisation, and (b) mobile, so I’m particularly pleased that our Atlanta event has three of the most innovative practitioners in this area – Kevin McGinley from Accenture (left in pictures below), Christian Screen from Art of BI (centre), and Patrick Rafferty from Branchbird (right), talking about what they’ve been doing in these areas.

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If you were at the BI Forum a couple of years ago you’ll of course know Kevin McGinley, who won “best speaker” award the previous year and most recently has gone on to organise the BI track at ODTUG KScope and write for OTN and his own blog, Oranalytics.blogspot.com. Kevin also hosts, along with our own Stewart Bryson, a video podcast series on iTunes called “Real-Time BI with Kevin & Stewart”, and I’m excited that he’s joining us again at this year’s BI Forum in Atlanta to talk about adding 3rd party visualisations to OBIEE. Over to Kevin…

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told someone that I can’t precisely meet a certain charting requirement because of a lack of configurability or variety in the OBIEE charting engine.  Combine that with an increase in the variety and types of data people are interested in visualizing within OBIEE and you have a clear need.  Fortunately, OBIEE is web-based tool and can leverage other visualization engines, if you just know how to work with the engine and embed it into OBIEE.

In my session, I’ll walk through a variety of reasons you might want to do this and the various approaches for doing it.  Then, I’ll take two specific engines and show you the process for building a visualization with them right in an OBIEE Analysis.  In both examples, you’ll come away with a capability you’ve never been able to do directly in OBIEE before.”

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Another speaker, blogger, writer and developer very-well known to the OBIEE community is Art of BI Software’s Christian Screen, co-author of the Packt book “Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g: A Hands-On Tutorial” and developer of the OBIEE collaboration add-in, BITeamwork. Last year Christian spoke to us about developing plug-ins for OBIEE, but this year he’s returned to a topic he’s very passionate about – mobile BI, and in particular, Oracle’s Mobile App Designer. According to Christian:

“Last year Oracle marked its mobile business intelligence territory by updating its Oracle BI iOS application with a new look and feel. Unbeknownst to many, they also released the cutting-edge Oracle BI Mobile Application Designer (MAD). These are both components available as part of the Oracle BI Foundation Suite. But it is where they are taking the mobile analytics platform that is most interesting at the moment as we look at the mobile analytics consumption chain. MAD is still in its 1.x release and there is a lot of promise with this tool to satisfy the analytical cravings growing in the bellies of many enterprise organizations. There is also quite a bit of discussion around building new content just for mobile consumption compared to viewing existing content through the mobile applications native to major mobile devices.

The “Oracle BI Got MAD and You Should be Happy” session will discuss these topics and I’ll be sharing the stage with Jayant Sharma from Oracle BI Product Development where we’ll also be showing some cutting edge material and demos for Oracle BI MAD.  Because MAD provides a lot of flexibility for development customizations, compared to the Oracle BI iOS/Android applications, our session will explore business use cases around pre-built MAD applications, HTML5, mobile security, and development of plug-ins using the MAD SDK.  One of the drivers for this session is to show how many of the Oracle Analytics components integrate with MAD and how an Oracle BI developer can quickly leverage the capabilities of MAD to show the tool’s value within their current Oracle BI implementation.

We will also discuss the common concern of mobile security by touching on the BitzerMobile acquisition and using the central mobile configuration settings for Oracle BI Mobile. The crowd will hopefully walk away with a better understanding of Oracle BI mobility with MAD and a desire to go build something.”

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As well as OBIEE and Oracle Mobile App Designer, Oracle also have another product, Oracle Endeca Information Discovery, that combines a data aggregation and search engine with dashboard visuals and data discovery. One of the most innovative partner companies in the Endeca space are Branchbird, and we’re very pleased to have Branchbird’s Patrick Rafferty join us to talk about “More Than Mashups – Advanced Visualizations and Data Discovery”. Over to Patrick …

“In this session, we’ll explore how Oracle Endeca customers are moving beyond simple dashboards and charts and creating exciting visualizations on top of their data using Oracle Endeca Studio. We’ll discuss how the latest trends in data visualization, especially geospatial and temporal visualization, can be brought into the enterprise and how they drive competitive advantage.

This session will show in-production real-life examples of how extending Oracle Endeca Studio’s visualization capabilities to integrate technology like D3 can create compelling discovery-driven visualizations that increase revenue, cut cost and enhance the ability to answer unknown questions through data discovery.”

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The full agenda for the Atlanta and Brighton BI Forum agendas can be found on this blog post, and full details of both events, including registration links, links to book accommodation and details of the Lars George Cloudera Hadoop masterclass, can be found on the Rittman Mead BI Forum 2014 home page.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Preview of Maria Colgan, and Andrew Bond/Stewart Bryson Sessions at RM BI Forum 2014

Wed, 2014-04-16 02:11

We’ve got a great selection of presentations at the two upcoming Rittman Mead BI Forum 2014 events in Brighton and Atlanta, including sessions on Endeca, TimesTen, OBIEE (of course), ODI, GoldenGate, Essbase and Big Data (full timetable for both events here). Two of the sessions I’m particularly looking forward to though are ones by Maria Colgan, product manager for the new In-Memory Option for Oracle Database, and another by Andrew Bond and Stewart Bryson, on an update to Oracle’s reference architecture for Data Warehousing and Information Management.

The In-Memory Option for Oracle Database was of course the big news item from last year’s Oracle Openworld, promising to bring in-memory analytics and column-storage to the Oracle Database. Maria is of course well known to the Oracle BI and Data Warehousing community through her work with the Oracle Database Cost-Based Optimizer, so we’re particular glad to have her at the Atlanta BI Forum 2014 to talk about what’s coming with this new feature. I asked Maria to jot down a few worlds for the blog on what she’ll be covering, so over to Maria:


NewImage“Given this announcement and the performance improvements promised by this new functionality is it still necessary to create a separate access and performance layer in your data warehouse environment or to run  your Oracle data warehouse  on an Exadata environment?“At Oracle Open World last year, Oracle announced the upcoming availability of the Oracle Database In-Memory option, a solution for accelerating database-driven business decision-making to real-time. Unlike specialized In-Memory Database approaches that are restricted to particular workloads or applications, Oracle Database 12c leverages a new in-memory column store format to speed up analytic workloads.

This session explains in detail how Oracle Database In-Memory works and will demonstrate just how much performance improvements you can expect. We will also discuss how it integrates into the existing Oracle Data Warehousing Architecture and with an Exadata environment.”

The other session I’m particularly looking forward to is one being delivered jointly by Andrew Bond, who heads-up Enterprise Architecture at Oracle and was responsible along with Doug Cackett for the various data warehousing, information management and big data reference architectures we’ve covered on the blog over the past few years, including the first update to include “big data” a year or so ago.

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Back towards the start of this year, Stewart, myself and Jon Mead met up with Andrew and his team to work together on an update to this reference architecture, and Stewart carried on with the collaboration afterwards, bringing in some of our ideas around agile development, big data and data warehouse design into the final architecture. Stewart and Andrew will be previewing the updated reference architecture at the Brighton BI Forum event, and in the meantime, here’s a preview from Andrew:

“I’m very excited to be attending the event and unveiling Oracle’s latest iteration of the Information Management reference architecture. In this version we have focused on a pragmatic approach to “Analytics 3.0″ and in particular looked at bringing an agile methodology to break the IT / business barrier. We’ve also examined exploitation of in-memory technologies and the Hadoop ecosystem and guiding the plethora of new technology choices.

We’ve worked very closely with a number of key customers and partners on this version – most notably Rittman Mead and I’m delighted that Stewart and I will be able to co-present the architecture and receive immediate feedback from delegates.”

Full details of the event, running in Brighton on May 7-9th 2014 and Atlanta, May 15th-17th 2014, can be found on the Rittman Mead BI Forum 2014 homepage, and the agendas for the two days are on this blog post from earlier in the week.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Final Timetable and Agenda for the Brighton and Atlanta BI Forums, May 2014

Mon, 2014-04-14 07:00

It’s just a few weeks now until the Rittman Mead BI Forum 2014 events in Brighton and Atlanta, and there’s still a few spaces left at both events if you’d still like to come – check out the main BI Forum 2014 event page, and the booking links for Brighton (May 7th – 9th 2014) and Atlanta (May 14th – 16th 2014).

We’re also able now to publish the timetable and running order for the two events – session order can still change between now at the events, but this what we’re planning to run, first of all in Brighton, with the photos below from last year’s BI Forum.

Brighton

Brighton BI Forum 2014, Hotel

Seattle, Brighton

Wednesday 7th May 2014 – Optional 1-Day Masterclass, and Opening Drinks, Keynote and Dinner

  • 9.00 – 10.00 – Registration
  • 10.00 – 11.00 : Lars George Hadoop Masterclass Part 1
  • 11.00 – 11.15 : Morning Coffee
  • 11.15 – 12.15 : Lars George Hadoop Masterclass Part 2
  • 12.15 – 13.15 : Lunch
  • 13.15 – 14.15 : Lars George Hadoop Masterclass Part 3
  • 14.15 – 14.30 : Afternoon Tea/Coffee/Beers
  • 14.30 – 15.30 : Lars George Hadoop Masterclass Part 4
  • 17.00 – 19.00 : Registration and Drinks Reception
  • 19.00 – Late :  Oracle Keynote and Dinner at Hotel
Thursday 8th May 2014
  • 08.45 – 09.00 : Opening Remarks Mark Rittman, Rittman Mead
  • 09.00 – 10.00 : Emiel van Bockel : Extreme Intelligence, made possible by …
  • 10.00 – 10.30 : Morning Coffee
  • 10.30 – 11.30 : Chris Jenkins : TimesTen for Exalytics: Best Practices and Optimisation
  • 11.30 – 12.30 : Robin Moffatt : No Silver Bullets : OBIEE Performance in the Real World
  • 12.30 – 13.30 : Lunch
  • 13.30 – 14.30 : Adam Bloom : Building a BI Cloud
  • 14.30 – 14.45 : TED: Paul Oprea : “Extreme Data Warehousing”
  • 14.45 – 15.00 : TED : Michael Rainey :  “A Picture Can Replace A Thousand Words”
  • 15.00 – 15.30 : Afternoon Tea/Coffee/Beers
  • 15.30 – 15.45 : Reiner Zimmerman : About the Oracle DW Global Leaders Program
  • 15.45 – 16.45 : Andrew Bond & Stewart Bryson : Enterprise Big Data Architecture
  • 19.00 – Late: Depart for Gala Dinner, St Georges Church, Brighton

Friday 9th May 2014

  • 9.00 – 10.00 : Truls Bergensen – Drawing in a New Rock on the Map – How will of Endeca Fit in to Your Oracle BI Topography
  • 10.00 – 10.30 : Morning Coffee
  • 10.30 – 11.30 : Nicholas Hurt & Michael Rainey : Real-time Data Warehouse Upgrade – Success Stories
  • 11.30 – 12.30 : Matt Bedin & Adam Bloom : Analytics and the Cloud
  • 12.30 – 13.30 : Lunch13.30 – 14.30 : Gianni Ceresa : Essbase within/without OBIEE – not just an aggregation engine
  • 14.30 – 14.45 : TED : Marco Klaassens : “Speed up RPD Development”
  • 14.45 – 15:00 : TED : Christian Berg : “Neo’s Voyage in OBIEE:”
  • 15.00 – 15.30 : Afternoon Tea/Coffee/Beers
  • 15.30 – 16.30 : Alistair Burgess : “Tuning TimesTen with Aggregate Persistence”
  • 16.30 – 16.45 : Closing Remarks (Mark Rittman)
Then directly after Brighton we’ve got the US Atlanta event, running the week after, Wednesday – Friday, with last year’s photos below: Us

Atlanta BI Forum 2014, Renaissance Mid-Town Hotel, Atlanta

Wednesday 14th May 2014 – Optional 1-Day Masterclass, and and Opening Drinks, Keynote and Dinner

  • 9.00-10.00 – Registration
  • 10.00 – 11.00 : Lars George Hadoop Masterclass Part 1
  • 11.00 – 11.15 : Morning Coffee
  • 11.15 – 12.15 : Lars George Hadoop Masterclass Part 2
  • 12.15 – 13.15 : Lunch
  • 13.15 – 14.15 : Lars George Hadoop Masterclass Part 3
  • 14.15 – 14.30 : Afternoon Tea/Coffee/Beers
  • 14.30 – 15.30 : Lars George Hadoop Masterclass Part 4
  • 16.00 – 18.00 : Registration and Drinks Reception
  • 18.00 – 19.00 : Oracle Keynote & Dinner

Thursday 15th May 2014

  • 08.45 – 09.00 : Opening Remarks Mark Rittman, Rittman Mead
  • 09.00 – 10.00 : Kevin McGinley : Adding 3rd Party Visualization to OBIEE
  • 10.00 – 10.30 : Morning Coffee
  • 10.30 – 11.30 : Richard Tomlinson : Endeca Information Discovery for Self-Service and Big Data
  • 11.30 – 12.30 : Omri Traub : Endeca and Big Data: A Vision for the Future
  • 12.30 – 13.30 : Lunch
  • 13.30 – 14.30 : Dan Vlamis : Capitalizing on Analytics in the Oracle Database in BI Applications
  • 14.30 – 15.30 : Susan Cheung : TimesTen In-Memory Database for Analytics – Best Practices and Use Cases
  • 15.30 – 15.45 : Afternoon Tea/Coffee/Beers
  • 15.45 – 16.45 : Christian Screen : Oracle BI Got MAD and You Should Be Happy
  • 18.00 – 19.00 : Special Guest Keynote : Maria Colgan : An introduction to the new Oracle Database In-Memory option
  • 19.00 – leave for dinner

Friday 16th May 2014

  • 09.00 – 10.00 : Patrick Rafferty : More Than Mashups – Advanced Visualizations and Data Discovery
  • 10.00 – 10.30 : Morning Coffee
  • 10.30 – 12. 30 : Matt Bedin : Analytic Applications and the Cloud
  • 12.30 – 13.30 : Lunch
  • 13.30 – 14.30 : Philippe Lions : What’s new on 2014 HY1 OBIEE SampleApp
  • 14.30 – 15.30 : Stewart Bryson : ExtremeBI: Agile, Real-Time BI with Oracle Business Intelligence, Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle GoldenGate
  • 15.30 – 16.00 : Afternoon Tea/Coffee/Beers
  • 16.00 – 17.00 : Wayne Van Sluys : Everything You Know about Oracle Essbase Tuning is Wrong or Outdated!
  • 17.00 – 17.15 : Closing Remarks (Mark Rittman)
Full details of the two events, including more on the Hadoop Masterclass with Cloudera’s Lars George, can be found on the BI Forum 2014 home page.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Details on Two New Upcoming Courses in Brighton – Including ODI12c

Fri, 2014-04-04 05:09

Just a quick note to mention two courses that are being run from our Brighton office soon, that might interested readers of the blog.

Our OBIEE 11g Bootcamp course, newly updated for OBIEE 11.1.1.7, is a start-to-finish introduction to Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g aimed at developers and admins new to the platform. Starting with an overview of the platform, then taking you through RPD development, creating reports and dashboards and through to security, configuring for high-availability and systems management, this is our most popular course and includes a free copy of my book, “Oracle Business Intelligence Developers Guide”.

This 5-day course covers the following topics:

  • OBIEE 11g Overview & Product Architecture
  • Installation, Configuration & Upgrades
  • Creating Repositories from Relational Sources
  • Advanced Repository Modelling from Relational Sources
  • Systems Management using Oracle Enterprise Manager
  • Creating Analyses and Dashboards
  • Actionable Intelligence
  • KPIs, Scorecards & Strategy Management
  • Creating Published Reports (BI Publisher)
  • OBIEE 11g Security
  • High-Availability, Scaleout & Clustering
  •  OBIEE 11g Bootcamp, April 28th-May 2nd, 2014

Details on the full course agenda are available here, and the next run of the course is in Brighton on April 28th – May 2nd, 2014 – register using that link.

We’re also very pleased to announce the availability of our new Data Integrator 12c 3-day course, aimed at developers new to ODI as well as those upgrading their knowledge from the ODI11g release. Written entirely by our ODI development team and also used by us to train our own staff, this is a great opportunity to learn ODI12c based on Rittman Mead’s own, practical field experience.

The topics we’ll be covering in this course are:

  • Getting Started with ODI 12c
  • ODI 12c TopologyODI 12c Projects
  • Models & Datastores
  • Data Quality in a Model
  • Introduction to ODI Mappings
  • ODI Procedures, Variables, Sequences, & User Functions
  • Advanced ODI Mappings
  • ODI Packages
  • Scenarios in ODI
  • The ODI Debugger
  • ODI Load Plans

We’re running this course for the first time, in Brighton on May 12th – 14th 2014, and you can register using this link.

Full details of all our training courses, including public scheduled courses and private, standard or customised courses, can be found on our Training web page or for more information, contact the Rittman Mead Training Team.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

BI Forum 2014 preview – No Silver Bullets : OBIEE Performance in the Real World

Thu, 2014-04-03 03:35

I’m honoured to have been accepted to speak at this year’s Rittman Mead BI Forum, the sixth year of this expert-level conference that draws some of the best Oracle BI/DW minds together from around the world. It’s running May 8th-9th in Brighton, and May 15-16th in Atlanta, with an optional masterclass from Cloudera’s Lars George the day before the conference itself at each venue.

My first visit to the BI Forum was in 2009 where I presented Performance Testing OBIEE, and now five years later (five years!) I’m back, like a stuck record, talking about the same thing – performance. That I’m still talking about it means that there’s still an audience for it, and this time I’m looking beyond just testing performance, but how it’s approached by people working with OBIEE. For an industry built around 1s and 0s, computers doing just what you tell them to and nothing else, there is a surprising amount of suspect folklore and “best practices” used when it comes to “fixing” performance problems.

OBIEE performance good luck charm

Getting good performance with OBIEE is just a matter of being methodical. Understanding where to look for information is half the battle. By understanding where the time goes, improvements can be targeted where they will be most effective. Heavily influence by Cary Millsap and his Method-R approach to performance, I will look at how to practically apply this to OBIEE. Most of the information needed to build up a full picture is available readily from OBIEE’s log files

I’ll also dig a bit deeper into OBIEE, exploring how to determine how the system’s behaving “under the covers”. The primary technique for this is through OBIEE’s DMS metrics which I have written about recently in relation to the new Rittman Mead open-source tool, obi-metrics-agent and am using day-to-day to rapidly examine and resolve performance problems that clients see.

I’m excited to be presenting again on this topic, and I hope to see you in Brighton next month. The conference always sells out, so don’t delay – register today!

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Data Integration Tips: ODI 12c – Varchar2 (CHAR or BYTE)

Tue, 2014-04-01 11:28

Continuing with our Data Integration Tips series, here’s one that applies to both Oracle Data Integrator 11g and 12c. This “tip” was actually discovered as a part of a larger issue involving GoldenGate, Oracle Datapump, and ODI. Maybe a future post will dive deeper into those challenges, but here I’m going to focus just on the ODI bit.

The Scenario

During our setup of GoldenGate and ODI, it was discovered that the source and target databases were set to use different character sets.

Source:  WE8ISO8859P1

Target (DW):  AL32UTF8

During my research, I found that the source is a single-byte character set and the target is multi-byte. What this means is that a special character, such as  “Ǣ“, for example, may take up more than one byte when stored in a column with a VARCHAR2 datatype (as described in the Oracle documentation – “Choosing a Character Set“). When attempting to load a column of datatype VARCHAR2(1) containing the text “Ǣ”, the load would fail with an error, similar to the one below.

ORA-12899: value too large for column "COL_NAME" (actual: 2, maximum: 1)

The difference in character sets is clearly the issue, but how do we handle this when performing a load between the two databases? Reading through the Oracle doc referenced above, we can see that it all depends on the target database column length semantics. Specifically, for the attributes of VARCHAR2 datatype, we need to use character semantics in the target, “VARCHAR2(1 CHAR)”, rather than byte semantics, “VARCHAR2(1 BYTE)”. The former can handle multi-byte character sets simply by storing the characters as they are inserted. The latter will store each byte necessary for the character value individually. Looking back at the example, the character “Ǣ” inserted into a column using byte semantics (which is the default, in this case, when BYTE or CHAR is not specified) would require 2 bytes, thus causing the error.

Here’s the Tip…

The overall solution is to modify any VARCHAR2 columns that may have special characters inserted to use character semantics in the target database. Quite often we cannot determine which columns may or may not contain certain data, requiring the modification of all columns to use character semantics. Using the database system tables, the alter table script to make the necessary changes to existing columns can be generated and executed. But what about new columns generated by ODI? Here we’ll need to use the power of the Oracle Data Integrator metadata to create a new datatype.

In the ODI Topology, under the Physical Architecture accordion, the technologies that can be used as a data source or target are listed. Each technology, in turn, has a set of datatypes defined that may be used as Datastore Attributes when the technology is chosen in a Model.

Oracle Technology

Further down in the list, you will find the VARCHAR2 datatype. Double-click the name to open the object. In the SQL Generation Code section we will find the syntax used when DDL is generated for a column of type VARCHAR2.

Oracle technology - VARCHAR2 datatype

As you can see, the default is to omit the type of semantics used in the datatype syntax, which most likely means BYTE semantics are used, as this is typically the default in an Oracle database. This syntax can be modified to always produce character semantics by adding the CHAR keyword after the length substitution value.

VARCHAR(%L CHAR)

Before making the change to the “out of the box” VARCHAR2 datatype, you may want to think about how this datatype will be used on Oracle targets and sources. Any DDL generated by ODI will use this syntax when VARCHAR2 is selected for an attribute datatype. In some cases, this might be just fine as the ODI tool is only used for a single target data warehouse. But quite often, ODI is used in many different capacities, such as data migrations, data warehousing, etc. To handle both forms of semantics, the best approach is to duplicate the VARCHAR2 datatype and create a new version for the use of characters.

VARCHAR2 datatype edited

Now we can assign the datatype VARCHAR2 (CHAR) to any of our Datastore columns. I recommend the use of a Groovy script if changing Attributes in multiple Datastores.

Change Datatype - VARCHAR2 CHAR

Now when Generate DDL is executed on the Model, the Create Table step will have the appropriate semantics for the VARCHAR2 datatype.

Generate DDL - VARCHAR2 CHAR

As you can see, the power of Oracle Data Integrator and the ability to modify and customize its metadata provided me with the solution in this particular situation. Look for more Data Integration Tips from Rittman Mead – coming soon!

Categories: BI & Warehousing