“Oracle Big Data Appliance” to be announced at OOW11?

I recently blogged on my guesses for what we might see announced this year in the way of OBIEE and BI focused packed systems similar to the Exadata. The short version is BI is due for a “machine” (the in-memory analytics accelerator?) and Hadoop should no longer be ignored (the Big Data accelerator?).

While I was reviewing every single session title in the Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne content catalogs to build my schedule, I came across an interesting one titled “Oracle Big Data Appliance: Big Data for the Enterprise” by Jean-Pierre Dijcks. Hmm, that sure looks like a proper name to me and not simply a descriptive title. If you read the description you find “learn how Oracle Big Data Appliance in combination with Oracle Exadata can help you unlock the value of big data“. Still seems like a product name, it would be nice if it said “THE” Oracle Big Data Appliance, but hey Apple refers to iPhone 4 the same way. Maybe it’s a NoCal thing.

Oracle Big Data Appliance Session.jpg

I thought it might be interesting to see how often Oracle and Big Data are used together in searches… off to Google trends.

Oracle Big Data Trends.jpg

Ok, so Exdata aside, Oracle isn’t really associated with “Big Data”. You didn’t really need to work at Google or Facebook to realize that though. And wow! It looks like Big Data was born on 1/1/2006, what’s up with that?. There is no hint of “Oracle Big Data Appliance”, this is still true when not graphed against a very popular term like Big Data. I had been hoping there was a big enough leak from Oracle that bunch of technology columnists where checking google enough to see a spike. There was a little come from nowhere hit on “Oracle Big Data” without appliance though…. Close enough then to speculate on its architecture don’t you think?

Oracle Big Data Appliance Architecture

I remember reading some interesting blog posts JP made regarding connecting Hadoop to Oracle. Suddenly they seem even more interesting. Going back and rereading them I think the high-level architecture would be one with Hadoop as the storage and either the map-reduce running inside the Oracle DB or the control of the map-reduce being managed from and through the Oracle DB. So each node would have a pile of HDFS storage and an Oracle server. There is no license cost to Hadoop and if Oracle made a word processor it would store its documents only in the Oracle database, so the architecture has to support scaling license costs with additional nodes.

Using Fuse:

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Using Oracle Queues:

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He covers three or four ways to integrate Hadoop or HDFS or map-reduce to the Oracle DB without recoding. That means stuff that could be done off the shelf by any of us right now. I’ve included some architecture diagrams from some of the posts. But if you have the option to code extensions to the DB then your integration abilities increase greatly. Some kind of Hadoop or HDFS or map-reduce extension to the database could possibly even leverage the secret sauce of Exadata (iDB protocol) or create a similar one for this purpose.

Using Table Functions:

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The Need is There

There is a need for analytics on big data. Today it is being met in various ways sometimes even inside the same company. I was recently one of the principal members of a business intelligence landscape and standardization initiative for global consumer electronics manufacturer. Not only did they have multiple Hadoop clusters on different contents, which is to be expected given the challenges with moving that kind of data around, but they had multiple map-reduce platforms and were developing their own fork of the system. This represents an untapped opportunity for a company like Oracle to step in improve efficiency by providing consistency and support. Some say they should purchase Cloudera to get there quickly.

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But Can it Support OBIEE?

The way most organizations use Hadoop for BI is to process the Big Data down to very large data and then load that into a database where adhoc query and presentation tools like OBIEE can get at it. What we really need is 1) a good interface with Hadoop and 2) less latency. Placing the Oracle DB between the tool and storage layers addresses the first issue. It allows an adhoc querying business user to access data and transparently kick off map-reduce processes. The next challenge is to see how those processes can be managed to return in a time frame that is acceptable to such users. In my experience this about 10 seconds from click to complete page refresh, or, as long as 30 if they are very very forgiving. It will be interesting to see how this last challenge is resolved for map-reduce and who achieves it. In the graph, also from the Oracle blog, these challenges are covered under “high agility” and “real time”.

Blogs and Links on the topic you might find interesting:

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Predicting OBIEE 11.1.1.6

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Its always fun to try to predict when the next iteration of your favorite toy is going to come out. Since the iPhone 5 is coming in October and Halo Reach is the last iteration to be produced by Bungie, lets talk about OBIEE 11.1.1.6.

In “clue” style, I’m going to go with…. Larry, in the keynote, with a hardware component.

To unpack that a little bit, I think we will either have a GA release of 11.1.1.6 during OpenWorld and/or an announcement of the GA release during OpenWorld. And every year needs to bring a new software-hardware-complete machine, so isn’t it BI’s turn?

Prior keynotes have brought us Exadata (and Exadata 2) and Exalogic. The Oracle database is clearly a pillar of their business, it was a good first choice for a machine. The middleware stack is another large area of the Oracle product line, hence Exalogic. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could run OBIEE on the Exalogic? What would we call an OBIEE machine? ExaIntelligence? The Oracle BI Machine?

Now, just in case I’m right on this, how do I support this? The packaged software and hardware in the “machines” is a way for Oracle to capture revenue that would otherwise go to implementation partners. The BI machine is a logical inevitable progression, if it doesn’t come this year it will be next year. The economics demand it.

On the release of 11.1.1.6, the signs are largely there..

1) google “OBIEE 11.1.1.6 and bug” and you’ll find more and more bugs showing up with notes like “fixed in 11.1.1.6″.

2) the spacing between releases is about right

3) the spacing between releasing is wrong (more on this later)

Timing

The 11.1.1.5 release was back in May. Given the increasing indications of progress on 11.1.1.6, you would expect it show up on OTN in August or Sept. This is what happened with the first release of OBIEE 11g. Releasing it before OpenWorld lets the marketing and promotion machine kick into high gear and openly schedule and promote sessions related to the product.

This will be the second OpenWorld for OBI 11g, the first patch set has been released, the BI Apps have been updated to use 11g, early adopters have a year of experience, consultants who had access to the beta releases have 2 years experience. Now is when the majority of clients will begin deciding its safe and make or plan their moves. A pre-OpenWorld release would have generated additional excitement around the product. But there wasn’t one.

The other way to generate excitement is to unveil a surprise. If 11.1.1.6 has support for a machine type solution releasing it early could give that away. This would be a reason to hold it back until the event and announce it with a machine.

What could be in that box?

Qlikview has appeal to some because of the idea of “storing everything in memory”. This sounds really fast, but in practice creates scalability issues. It is challenging to store everything in memory while also scaling out to 10 or 15 machines. Also, a poorly coded algorithm can easily defeat the memory speed advantage. All that aside, Oracle needs to have an in memory answer, leveraging the TimesTen database and a huge amount of RAM or flash would do that.

The BI Application installation, configuration and customization process is fairly involved and time consuming. Providing that service generates a good amount of revenue for service providers (including me). If it could be delivered pre-installed it would allow Oracle to recapture a portion of that revenue. Including this in the first version may be too much of a stretch.

Oracle OLAP and Essbase, which were once competing technologies, are now siblings. OLAP is built into the database but the Exadata machine doesn’t currently have the same benefit on OLAP queries as it does on relational queries. Essbase has the disadvantage of being a separate server and requiring all the data to be moved. An Oracle BI machine would be a good opportunity to at least bring essbase closer to the data. If data must be moved to be used by essbase the high speed InfiniBand connection used in the current Oracle machines would be a large improvement. Ultimately to be effective at scale the essbase server or storage needs to be integrated into the database or the storage cells, similar to the iDB protocol.

Hadoop with its abilities handling “web scale” data has been putting some pressure on Oracle for a while now. With the introduction of the database machine, Oracle managed to gain about an order of magnitude of scale. Hadoop is still well beyond that and has continued to increase in popularity. In large businesses it often finds its place in the ETL phase of BI projects since it lacks the realtime support required for adhoc quires. There will be plenty of Hadoop related talks in the JavaOne part of the OpenWorld conference, it is time to start seeing components of this technology getting included in Oracle’s business products.

The Downside of a Machine

On of the contributions to Oracle’s success in the database market was to ensure the existence of a pool of talent in administering and applying the product. Free developer access via the OTN license was part of this. Any new machines raise the bar for access potentially damage this ecosystem of skill.

In the Exadata machine’s software stack the unique piece is the iDB protocol used to communicate between the storage cells and the database server. The iDB component is not available except with the purchase of an Exadata or storage cell. It would help expand the talent pool to have an OTN article series showing how to build a RAC using storage cells on 3rd party hardware and Oracle Enterprise Linux. Hopefully, there won’t be a similar component that is required but not generally available when there is an Oracle BI Machine.

Your Turn

OK, that my case. Whats yours? When do you think 11.1.1.6 will be released? Will there be a new machine announced and if so what will it focus on?

Posted in OBIEE, OBIEE 11g, Oracle BI Suite (OBI) | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Oracle BI iPad App Now Available on the Appstore (OBIEE 11.1.1.5.0)

The Apple iPad mobile app for OBIEE 11g is now available for download on the appstore. It shows a date of May 9th. This suggests that it was submitted within a few days of when the OBIEE 11.1.1.5.0 release was made available on OTN. It would then have cleared the appstore review process in the usual time of a week. I’ve been checking fairly regularly since the release and its only showed up recently.

You can download it by searching for “Oracle USA” in the appstore or directly via its URL.

For now I just wanted to share the news. Next I’ll connect it up to one of the lab’s OBI 11g VMs with the full sample app to take it for a spin.

OBIEE11g iPad Moble App Appstore Listing.PNG

Posted in OBIEE 11g, Oracle BI Suite (OBI) | Tagged , | 4 Comments

OBIEE 11.1.1.5.0 and BI Apps 7.9.6.3 Available for Download (Really)

A couple days ago Oracle announced the availability of OBIEE 11.1.1.5.0 and BI Apps 7.9.6.3. It has taken a while for OBIEE to fully show up on OTN and be available through the usual navigation path. The documentation is now available well, this had been a bit on and off.

One of the most anticipated new features is the updated iPhone and iPad apps, the “Oracle Indicators” app was the previous version (Install Recipe for 10g). As of now, the iPhone and iPad apps aren’t showing available in the app store.

OBIEE 11g is now supported in BI Apps 7.9.6.3 and the releases were coordinated. This was a great choice by Oracle and helps customers using BI Apps as well as those of us who do both BI Applications and OBIEE implementations.

Text Link: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/middleware/bi-enterprise-edition/downloads/bus-intelligence-11g-165436.html

As I add install recipes to the wiki, I’ll add them here as well:

11.1.1.5.0 Install page added to Wiki

11.1.1.5.0 Install page added to OBIEE Trivial Install Wiki Page

OBI 11.1.1.5.0 Download Page

The supported operating systems are Windows 32/64bit, Linux 32/64bit and Solaris 64bit SPARC.

OBI 11.1.1.5.0 Download Page with OS Options

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BI Lab Presentations at the UKOUG 2010

UKOUG 2010 Presentations by Joe Leva and the BI Lab.com UKOUG_logo

I’ve arrived in Birmingham UK for UKOUG 2010. I’m told its unusually cold for this time of year but you hear that a lot when people find out you’re based in Florida. Cold or no cold I’m very excited to be here, this is my first set of presentations at a conference outside of the US.

I’ll be giving two presentations, both tomorrow on Tuesday November 30th.

Session 160, Starting an Agile Oracle BI Project on a Budget
09:40 – 10:45 in Hall 10b (All Levels)
Joe Leva

This is truly targeted at those not yet starting or only just starting a BI project. Early on there are some high-level decisions that have a large affect on the trajectory and success of your project. We will discuss modeling approach, tool selection and free or lower cost Oracle products that can get your project off the starting block.

Session 164, OBIEE: Implementing Enterprise SCM (Software Change Management)
14:40 – 15:40 in Hall 7a (Experienced)
Joe Leva

On a more advanced topic, if you’ve implemented with OBIEE you’ve probably already noticed the challenges of fitting OBIEE metadata into a version control system. Particularly if you are aiming for hands off SOX compliance. While this situation has certainly improved with OBIEE 11g, many clients will continue with OBIEE 10g for some time on their custom and Oracle BI Apps systems. This presentation is based on an actual client implementation at a Fortune 15 company.

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Oracle Enterprise Linux Public YUM Server

Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) is a popular distribution for installing Oracle BI Server. Often client installs involve multiple sets of machines covering development, QA and production. One of the simple approaches to laying down the OS layer for these installs is do the plain vanilla OS install and them simply add the oracle-validated package which brings in the packages required by Oracle.

Local Repository

If you’ve got a local repository at your disposal this is particularly quick. A local repository is a single machine on your internal network that regularly gets updates to all the packages for the versions of OEL for which you’ve purchased Oracle support. Only the “network” level of support is required so this is a pretty low cost option (about $120). If you don’t have a local repository available you can take some time to build one. In exchange for some work now, you can update servers at the speed of your internal network from now on. You can find the Oracle maintained instructions here.

Static Repository

If support is not an option or not an option in your install timeframe one approach is to create a local repository based on the install media. This will require at least briefly running an http server. I’ve found this very useful when installing the first OEL OBIEE systems at a client while on a tight time schedule. You won’t get updates but all you have to do after the vanilla OS install is drop the file in the /etc/yum.repos.d directory and you are all set to start issuing yum commands.

Oracle Public YUM

So why isn’t there a BI Lab recipe for creating a repository from the install media? A while back Oracle setup a public YUM site that effectively provides the same services. So now all you need to do is point to their server. This does not require any support agreement and doesn’t provide the updates you would get with the support agreement. However it does provide you with easy access to the packages such as oracle-validated and you can use it to upgrade to the current OS version. For example for Enterprise Linux 5.x:

cd /etc/yum.repos.d
wget http://public-yum.oracle.com/public-yum-el5.repo

Edit the file to enable the sections you’ll need. For an OEL 5.5 64 bit install I enabled el5_u5_base, ol5_u5_base, el5_addons and el5_oracle_addons. You enable them by changing “enabled=0″ to “enabled=1″.

Verify with:

yum list

or

yum search oracle-validated

or

yum install oracle-validated

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Oracle Open World 2010 Day 2

With the recent release of the OBI 11g product the Oracle team responsible for the product has a strong presence here this week. They are available one on one in the Oracle Demo Grounds in Moscone west and they have a number of presentations. Today I attended Bob Ertl’s (S317863), he included a list presentations which I share below. The OBI team is in the back right corner of Moscone and you’ll also find the OWB pod further to the right and heading toward the front of the hall a bit.

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I’m a big fan of Bob and his presentations, I recommend you attend any you can and take advantage of the opportunity to speak with him in the Demo Grounds. His areas of the OBI suite include the administrative tool, the repository and the related documentation. Bob also presented a very valuable session at ODTUG in DC this year. There was a great deal of interest in his detailed knowledge of the subtleties of the implementation of the repository and cheerly stayed on stage to explain additional topics for nearly an hour extra. This was possible since it was an end of the day session. The list of sessions includes a number on Thursday presented or co-presented by Bob.

S317873 Scorecard & Strategy Management
S317860 Essbase
S317862 BI EE Answers
S318290 Exadata + BI EE Solutions
S317927 Enterprise BI
S317995 Essbase + BI Apps Integration
S317925 Actionable BI
S317929 Upgrade from 10g
S317934 BI Publisher
S317869 Hierarchy Modeling
S317875 New Sample Application

There has been a lot of talk at Open World and in the press regarding having the JavaOne conference and Open World combined. As it happens I have a pass for both. There are some unfortunate logistical issues around trying to attend both sets of sessions. Some of them are likely temporary. For example the JavaOne sessions are focused around the Hilton Union square and Its difficult to commute between there and Moscone quickly enough and the session start and end times are scheduled in such a way that they do not line up. In my opinion the whole will definitely be more than the sum of the parts and I look forward to a more seem less integration of the conference in 2011. It is also good to have more of a mix at the conference and the Java half pipe doesn’t hurt either.

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Oracle Open World 2010 Day 0 & 1

I’ve been in San Francisco in advance of Open World and it is just amazing how much they change the city and how quickly they manage to do it. Putting up just this much of the “O” up would probably take me 3 days.

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I was able to meet up with Dan Norris (Exaguy) and Oracle Nerd (Chet Justice). I had just finished explaining my long theory for why the Iron Man 2 tie in would have something to do with at least one of the keynotes. I tried get to Chet to put a poll on his website asking if Larry would share the stage with suits, etc. Dan was not at all supportive of my theory. Of course that should have been an even bigger clue. You can all the Iron Man suits in the picture with the Exalogic Larry announced in the keynote.

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Sunday was also the Quest BI SIG panel Discussion in Moscone West. The board was represented by Steve Whitton, Adam Crigger and myself. Attendance was light but the discussion was good and I got to present the short version of my “Oracle BI on a Budget” presentation and moderate the panel discussion.

Now would be a great time to going into all the Exalogic details but I’m late for the event in the Howard Street tent. Exalogic really deserves its own post.

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Looking for the Sampleapp.rpd?

If you’ve been working with first GA version of OBIEE 11g you’ll have noticed there are many references to the sampleapp.rpd. But you will have found the links don’t take you to it and it is not listed on the OBIEE 11.1.1.3.0 download page. There have been several posts on the Oracle forums looking for this. The RPD that is installed with the OBI download is actually the SampleAppLite RPD.

You can find SampleApp RPD at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/middleware/bi-foundation/obiee-samples-167534.html.


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OBIEE 11.1.1.3.0 Windows 32bit Simple Install Step by Step

Task

Windows 2008 32bit Simple Install OBIEE 11g

Prerequisites

A database with Fusion Middleware Repository information see RCU Installs

Remember password for Oracle Weblogic installation

Select installation directory

Steps

1. Download media

2. unzip to working directory

3. Navigate to and run setup

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Installer Screen Step 1, click next

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Installer Screen Step 2, select simple install, click next

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Installer Screen Step 3, check should be successful (requires 2gb ram), click next to proceed

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Installer Screen Step 4, Select install location (avoid c:\),click next

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Installer Screen Step 5, enter password for weblogic, click next

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Installer Screen Step 6, Select products to install, go with all, click next

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Installer Screen Step 7, Enter the connection and schema information from the RCU recipe. Here I have used sample connection information from a JD Edwards BI instance I’ve been working on. click next

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Installer Screen Step 8 , Security updates, opt out of security updates, click next

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It is good to see Oracle continuing to take security seriously and so should we if this is more than a temporary install. Click yes to mildly insulting warning dialog box

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Installer Screen Step 9, review installation summary click install to proceed.

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Install proceeds

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Installer Screen Step 11, configuration process proceeds. If you get an error here it is likely a resource issue like not enough memory.

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Installer completes, you’ll be presented with a list of products installed and the URLs to use to connect. Make a note of the URLs if you are unfamiliar, they are in some cases different than the URLs for OBI 10g.

 

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 obiee11r1 simple win32 - 15B

Test your install by going to the URL for:

OBI – :9704/analytics">http://<your_host>:9704/analytics

2010-08-15_02.22.05

Enterprise Manager – :7001/em">http://<your_host>:7001/em

2010-08-15_02.29.27

Weblogic – :7001/console">http://<your_host>:7001/console

2010-08-15_02.30.06 

For all three in this case for the simple install the username is weblogic and the password is the one you selected in installation screen step 5.

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