OBIEE and Essbase – Defining OLAP Integration

In this second part of our OBIEE series, the integration between OBIEE and Essbase is a seamless transition from our OLAP cube to the OBIEE suite managed by using OBIEE’s Administration Tool.

OBIEE Administration Tool view

OBIEE Administration Tool view

This Administration tool has been designed with wizards, utilities, and interface design elements to help administrators work more efficiently.

Essbase test outline

Essbase test outline

Using an existing Essbase outline called ‘test’, this outline can be used to import an OLAP connection to OBIEE.

From the Administration Tool, select

File | Import | from Multi-dimensional

 
Enter the provider type, Essbase Server name, and its login credentials. The physical layer table, connection pooling, etc. will be automated and established once the import completes. You can also manually set each individual component in the physical layer if you want this level of control.

obiee-import

obiee-import-login

 

When the Physical layer has been established, simply drag and drop the folder of your Essbase outline from the Physical layer to the Business Model and Mapping layer to define a mapping between the business model and the physical layer schemas.

Physical Layer in Administration Tool

Physical Layer in Administration Tool

 

Once the business model mapping has been established, move the business model to the Presentation layer to make it available for user views.

Business Model & Mapping Layer in Administration Tool

Business Model & Mapping Layer in Administration Tool

 

This Presentation layer allows the Administration tool to present customized views of the business model to users. The business models can be managed in this presentation layer by removing unwanted or unneeded columns, restrict certain columns from view, or maybe rename a column to a more user-friendly name.

Presentation Layer in Administration Tool

Presentation Layer in Administration Tool

 

Once adjustments to column views have been completed and ready in the presentation layer, it can be made available in the Subject Areas for users to develop reports using the Answers component of OBIEE.

Subject Areas in OBIEE Answers

OBIEE Subject Area in the Answers component of OBIEE

 

So the three layers within the OBIEE Administration tool are defined as follows:

  • Physical layer – Represents the physical structure of the data sources to which the Oracle BI Server submits queries. This layer is displayed in the right pane of the Administration Tool.
  • Business Model and Mapping layer – Represents the logical structure of the information in the repository. The business models contain logical columns arranged in logical tables, logical joins, and dimensional hierarchy definitions. This layer also contains the mappings from the logical columns to the source data in the Physical layer. It is displayed in the middle pane of the Administration Tool.
  • Presentation layer – Represents the presentation structure of the repository. This layer allows you to present a view different from the Business Model and Mapping layer to users. It is displayed in the left pane of the Administration Tool.

 

Some of the features of the Administration tool make management of metadata and data much less complicated. The change management feature makes it easy to change multiple object names, text, case, and adding prefixes and suffixes. This allows for drag and drop capabilities from the physical to the business model layer.

Organization of metadata is straightforward using a feature called metadata administration. This feature grants users the ability to create folders to manage dimension tables and hierarchies.

The multi-user collaboration feature regulates the off-line/on-line modes for read only or to take effect immediately. This enables metadata repositories to be checked out or checked in and authorizes multiple administrators to work on a repository concurrently.

The Export/Import feature supports the export and import of metadata to move systems from staging to production and provide documentation.

Defining how OLAP is presented to OBIEE has been explained in basic format within this blog article but readers should know that this Administration Tool is much more powerful and can allow for more focused control within each of its layer process managing metadata and data. It is integrated and is flexible and its goal is to help move disparate source data to the OBIEE suite.

The end result can be a visual dashboard that makes sense of data utilizing charts, graphs, stop lighting, embedded images, tickers, etc. to organize and present data in a manner your audience will embrace and use.

Dashboard created with Answers from Essbase test outline

Dashboard created with Answers from Essbase test outline

 

This concludes part 2 of the OBIEE & Essbase integration. Keep an eye out for my next article where I’ll review RDBMS integrated with OBIEE and how it can be used in conjunction with Essbase in Answers reporting.

Reporting with OBIEE & Essbase

OBIEE + Essbase

OBIEE + Essbase

Oracle Hyperion’s Essbase is a fast and flexible multidimensional database and has been widely used for this reason.  Similarly, reporting against Essbase has been in top demand because of the speed and efficiency of Essbase.  However, there has been no single front-end reporting application that is integrated with Essbase to the extent of the Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition – OBIEE (BI Answers, BI Interactive BI Dashboard, BI Scheduler, and BI Publisher components).  This combination may be the answer for many users who have seen this disparity in reporting.

Traditionally, those users who have worked with reporting tools realize that their complete need for reporting can’t be handled with a single application.  Users either develop multiple front-end reporting applications to integrate into their business decision making or opt to go with less reporting.  The trade off of doing more with different applications cost time and money while doing less doesn’t give them fully utilized analysis of their data nor do they get a full return on their investment.  In the Hyperion world, users are asked to create reporting views on a Hyperion Reports application for mid-level managers – a group who understands detailed data where they can pivot dimensions and see alternate views.  But for senior management or C-level executives, a Web Analysis canned reporting view is a must because they are less familiar with the detailed data.  While it has been acceptable and necessary to create reporting views of the same data on different applications in the past, OBIEE may solve this issue for the future.

OBIEE is a powerful reporting application that can also be utilized as a middleware tool to manage Essbase data and provide the same or similar reporting capabilities like Web Analysis, Reports, Interactive Reporting, and Crystal Reports all rolled into a single package.  Within OBIEE, reports can be created for different types of users where data can be presented in many different layers for viewing but managed within a single application.

Options within OBIEE provide more robust capabilities that weren’t possible before.  Users find that they spend their development time creating a work around more often than not because their application can’t do this or is limited to that.  This diminishes reporting empowerment for the user and also limits their full use of relevant data.

Oracle has managed to find a way to merge different technologies from different companies that make sense of reporting development while adhering to the demands and needs of users.  The sooner users leverage these hybrid offerings, the sooner their data and their return on investment can be fully realized.

I’m open to your comments. Look for the next OBIEE article on how this integration between Oracle BI Enterprise Edition and Essbase is accomplished.

Contributed by:
Michael Duong, Lead Consultant
Hyperion Essbase Certified
Ranzal & Associates
mduong@ranzal.com