Oracle Business Intelligence Essbase Cube Builder: Continued Integrations with Essbase and OBIEE

Oracle has been busy focusing on improved consolidation of their BI applications this past year. This next offering within Oracle’s arsenal of BI apps will allow for enhanced integrations between the multi-dimensional and relational worlds of Essbase and OBIEE. The new application is called Oracle Business Intelligence Essbase Cube Builder (OECB) previously referenced as Oracle Essbase Integrator (OEI) during beta testing and its purpose will help refine and make for more consistent binary integrations. OECB will permit OBI apps to push metadata and data into Essbase cubes, a significant advancement for OBIEE users where leveraging in-depth ad hoc and what-if scenarios can be available. You can download OECB on the Oracle e-delivery site:

OECB Download

Oracle Business Intelligence Essbase Cube Builder

OECB will bestow an integrated BI platform that supports OLAP capabilities and dashboards among others. OECB will also allow Essbase to leverage metadata and data from OBI and OBI apps. Other supports will include what-if scenarios, allocations, spreading, changing attributes, and multiple hierarchy comparisons.

From a user’s perspective, OECB will provide seamless authentication from OBI to Essbase which reduces maintenance and improves the user experience. Users can also feel confident that metadata and data will have the same context across platforms which mean users will see the same dimensions, members and measures between their OBI and Essbase apps. The environments will be synchronized as updated changes will be retained and applied with data values matching between the two apps. OBI dashboard metadata and data contents will be synchronized to Smartview. OBI physical/business model and mapping/presentation layers will be synchronized to Essbase. Additional support features indicated above affords users with the ability for more robust development. All of this becomes available starting with version 11.1.2. Prior versions will also become available after the official release of OECB.

The implication here is if you’re a traditional OBIEE shop wanting to add flexibility to improve analysis with a powerful application like Essbase, OECB will be your opportunity. As Oracle continues to provide expanded integrations between Essbase and OBIEE, see how this new offering called Oracle Business Intelligence Essbase Cube Builder can be leveraged within your organization.

Creating an OBIEE Repository for Relational Data Source

OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition)

In this part of my OBIEE blog, I’ll guide you through basic steps to create an Oracle server repository and use it to bring over a relational data source for use in OBI Answers. As of OBIEE version 10.1.3.3.2, Essbase is supported as an OBI data source allowing the user to integrate Essbase data with OBI Answers, OBI Interactive Dashboards, and OBI Publisher. The latest version of OBIEE is 10.1.3.4x. Refer to my part 2 blog (OBIEE and Essbase – Defining OLAP Integration) for importing Essbase content into OBIEE.

For the below steps, I will be using SQL Server 2005 relational database as my source but you can use Oracle 10g or older versions of either tool.

To create an Oracle repository, open the Oracle BI Administration Tool and select File | New and name your new repository.

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Set security by selecting Manage | Security. Assuming you are the admin, select Users | Administrator. Right click Administrator, select Properties to enter an admin password and confirm the password. Close out Security Manager.

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To import a relational data source, select File | Import | from Database.

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Select a connection type.

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Select the relational data source, enter login credentials and click OK.

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Enter the relational table to import. Deselect all but Tables, Keys, and Foreign Keys and click Import. If you are using Views instead of Tables, change accordingly.

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The relational table will import into the Physical layer of the Administration Tool.

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Test the import by right clicking a column (Branch_Name is selected in this example) and select View Data. Values for the selected column should populate in a view data table.

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Drag the imported relational table folder from the Physical layer to the Business Model and Mapping (BMM) layer. In the BMM layer, here you can create logical tables and joins to develop the type of model needed for presentation.

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Next, drag the relational table from the BMM layer to the Presentation layer to finalize its presentation for the user. Manipulation by presentation can be performed in this layer for Subject Area use in OBI Answers.

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For your reference and as a recap from my part 2, here is the significance of each layer:

1. Physical layer – imported tables and views come from the relational data source; physical joins can be performed here
2. BMM layer – this layer organizes imports from the physical layer into logical categories
3. Presentation layer – BMM entities are organized for user presentation

Once your Presentation layer is complete, it can be made available for OBI Answers to create dashboard content bringing both relational and multidimensional data sources into one view. A sample of an Answers view is displayed below combining both relational and multidimensional data sources into a combo box allowing for choice among regions. Any selection of region updates both relational and multidimensional tables for view.

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This is just one simple example of the product’s capabilities. OBIEE is redefining how we approach BI with the evolution of this product improving on how we develop it. There is a great deal of flexibility within OBIEE for relational and multidimensional reporting and those who understand how to leverage this tool will see its impact upon their organization for the better.