OBIEE 11.1.1.9 UPGRADE

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How to upgrade your Oracle BI System to 11.1.1.9

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On our previous technical post we looked at what is new in OBIEE 11.1.1.9, below we describe how to upgrade your Oracle BI system from version 11.1.1.7 to 11.1.1.9.

Not sure about the upgrade? Ask us for access to our online testing showcase.

The installation files are available from OTN - Oracle Business Intelligence (11.1.1.9.0) Downloads. As per Oracle advice ensure to download this OBIEE release from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud for production environments.

Before proceeding with the upgrade always remember to back up your Middleware Home, Domain Home and Oracle Instances, also database schemas and any other additional configuration.

OBIEE upgrade procedure on a Linux x86-64 environment:

  1. Upgrade Oracle WebLogic Server from 10.3.5 to 10.3.6
  2. Upgrade OBIEE from 11.1.1.7 to 11.1.1.9
  3. Upgrade database schemas MDS and BIPLATFORM
  4. Upgrade OPMN system components

Upgrade Oracle WebLogic Server from 10.3.5 to 10.3.6

Oracle BI 11.1.1.7.X and the previous 11.1.1.6 run within Oracle Weblogic Server 10.3.5. However the newly released OBIEE 11.1.1.9 ONLY supports 10.3.6.

To check your current version go to your console page on http://host:7001/console. If you are on 10.3.6 proceed to the next step, otherwise follow the instructions below.

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Download Oracle Weblogic 10.3.6 bin files from My Oracle Support. Go to Patches & Updates search for Patch 13529623: PLACEHOLDER BUG FOR WEBLOGIC SERVER 11GR1 (10.3.6) UPGRADE THE INSTALLER corresponding to your platform, this example is based on Linux x86-64.

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Unzip the files once downloaded and execute the upgrade. The welcome screen for the upgrade will pop up. Note that you have the command line or the UI options, below is use the latter.

java –jar wls10.36_upgrade_generic.jar

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Click next and select “Use an existing Middleware Home”

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On register for security updates screen uncheck the option to receive security updates and confirm.

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The connection will fail and you have to keep the option to remain uninformed of security issues checked.

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On the product and components to upgrade select WebLogic Server, leaving Oracle Coherence unchecked and confirm selection.

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After this the upgrade starts and should last a couple of minutes. At the completion click on the Done button.

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Once the upgrade has completed start the WebLogic Admin Server by command line.

> cd /MW_HOME/user_projects/domains/bifoundation_domain/bin /startWebLogic.sh

Go to http://server:7001/console and make sure you have upgraded to Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.6 correctly.

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Upgrade OBIEE from 11.1.1.7 to 11.1.1.9

Before proceeding make sure WebLogic Server has completely stopped:

> cd /MW_HOME/user_projects/domains/bifoundation_domain/bin /stopWebLogic.sh

Change directory to Disk1folder inside the unzipped archive folder and start the installer - note that OBIEE installer only has a graphical interface. The installer can be run in Silent Mode.

> ./runInstaller

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On the software updates select the option “Skip Software Updates”

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For the installation type select “Software Only Install” since the system has already been configured and it is only being upgraded.

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Select your Oracle Middleware Home location and click Next.

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After the summary click next and the upgrade of the BI components will start, taking less than 10 minutes to complete. Click Finish when it has completed.

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Upgrade database schemas MDS and BIPLATFORM

The next step is to upgrade the database schemas. Go to MW_HOME/Oracle_BI1/bin and run the Patch Set Assistant (.psa) to upgrade the database repository. In this case you can use graphical interface or command line.

Right after the welcome screen pop ups, click Next.

> cd /MW_HOME/Oracle_BI1/bin/psa

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Select “Oracle Business Intelligence” components and check all options from the prerequisites.

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Set up the connections for MDS and BIPLATFORM schemas

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Click on Upgrade button and it will take one minute to complete.

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Use the SQL command line to verify that the upgrade of the schema is in VALID status and the version is 11.1.1.9.0.

> SELECT OWNER, VERSION, STATUS, UPGRADED FROM SCHEMA_VERSION_REGISTRY;

UPGRADE OPMN system components

The last post-patching task is to upgrade the system components managed by the OPMN – BI Server, BI Scheduler and BI Presentation Services.

Before starting, make sure that Node Manager and Admin Server are up and running.

> cd /MW_HOME/wlserver_10.3/server/bin/startNodeManager.sh

> cd /MW_HOME/user_projects/domains/bifoundation_domain/bin /startWebLogic.sh

Tip: use NOHUP option to avoid killing the services when closing the command window

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Start the Configuration Assistant:

cd /MW_HOME/Oracle_BI1/bin/config.sh

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Select “Update BI Domain” option and add the credentials of your existing BI Domain.

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Important note: Possibly a process could get stuck during one of the steps without notification. In this event, see the Troubleshooting section on how to fix it.

Start the BI services and start enjoying your OBIEE 11.1.1.9!

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For more detailed information you can access the OBIEE documentation - Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Release 1 (11.1.1.9)

 

Do you need help? Contact us!

OBIEE Customization Series – How to impress managers

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When it comes to BI tools comparison one of the points in discussion is the Data Visualization or also referred as Data Discovery Capabilities.

Why data visualization matters? The human brain is not able to extrapolate data and map it correctly on its context. We are not capable to look at a set of data and at first sight understand the trending and its criticality.

With the use of visual aid like graphs, charts, maps we provide to the audience the capability to understand the data, its trend, the critical parts, and to have a clear picture of the overall situation.

The dashboard designer has to think about how visual aids can help the user to consume the dashboard effectively. The goal here is that the user must be provided with a clear idea of a particular business situation at a glance. Giving clear understanding and keeping things simple will be one of our great assets for user adoption as users will see the benefits from the first time.

You are starting to understand the importance of visualizations on the BI projects and then it is time to know how to implement it, and probably time to add a talented designer into your BI team structure.

On this new visualization series we will cover from the very basic graph creation to the principals of dashboard design and how to present it on a professional fashion, in a nutshell:

Rich Visualizations in OBIEE with JavaScript

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Are you suffering the consequences of Oracle BI’s limited, visually old fashioned out-of-the-box charts? Are the end users of your BI platform in need of extended functionalities?

Today’s article is the first one of our Oracle BI Customization series - How to impress managers blog article series.

To set out on this journey, I will show you how to integrate JavaScript into Oracle BI dashboards. JavaScript is a cross-platform programming language that provides you with the opportunity to meet your customer visual and usage requirements, thus enabling end user satisfaction.

A real case

For this article I want to start with a real scenario where the customer was very worried about the lack of user adoption in some of the corporate dashboards.

In these dashboards, a standard Gauge view was used to display aggregated information. The Oracle BI 11g standard Gauge view, despite having improved if compared to the 10g version, still has limited visual options and therefore has a lack of grip for the end user. This was not unnoticed by the dashboard users, who very soon started complaining about the “poor look & feel” of the dashboard.

As soon as this was identified, multiple alternatives where assessed in order to increase user adoption and therefore make sure the project was a big success. Among all options, the alternative of choice was to customize the analysis using JavaScript snippets. Here’s how it was done.

Objective

Create new gauges integrating JavaScript with Oracle BI. The goal is to have rich, clean, interactive and touch-enabled charts that will catch the attention of our users.

Implementation plan

Two simple steps are needed to get the integration done:

1. Deploy Java libraries on the WLS Server. We will get the Java libraries that help us to fulfill the requirements and we will make them available to the WebLogic server.

2. Create your custom charts in Oracle BI. We will create an analysis with a Narrative view that will include the code to display the customized charts.

1. Deploy Java libraries on the WLS Server

Usually, most of third party visualization tools require referencing some libraries in the format of JavaScript minimized files. Most of the times, the files are available directly from the Internet CDNs (like jQuery) so there’s no actual need to download or deploy any software component.

However, most of the Oracle BI implementations have their servers isolated from the Internet and protected in internal LAN segments. In this cases, referencing these resources from Oracle BI, means having to first deploy them in the WebLogic Server as static resources.

There are several ways to achieve this. Our recommendation is to create a virtual directory application and deploy it in your WebLogic Server. Once this is done, just copy the required JavaScript files to that folder using an FTP program, for instance, and the files will be automatically available to be used in Oracle BI.

Issues creating virtual directories? Please leave a comment and we will assist you on doing that.

2. Create your custom charts in Oracle BI

2.1 Create an Analysis

From the Home Page in Oracle BI, create a new Analysis that retrieves the set of data that you want to display in your charts.

For instance, to represent the total amount of budget consumed, we retrieve one single record with two columns: “Actual Budget” and “Approved Budget”.

However, if we want to represent the data of multiple countries we will have several records. Now, you have to bear in mind whether the number of countries that will be in your data set will remain the same or it may change over time. This is important to avoid any crush when displaying the chart; see below how to prevent it.

For this scenario we create a report, which returns one single row.

CriteriaView

2.2 Add a new Narrative view

With your set of data ready to cook, we can start writing the script that will generate our chart. Add a new "Narrative view" from the drop down list of available views.

narrative

Do not forget to check the box: Contains HTML Markup

HTMLMarkup

2.3 Reference the java library

On the Prefix section of your view, reference the Java library for your development, we call JustGage libraries as follows:

<script type="text/javascript" src="{resources}/raphael.2.1.0.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="{resources}/justgage.js"></script>

2.4 Define the style in a class

In order to apply a same style along your development, optionally you can define a CSS class to adjust the parameters, see below an example we use to set up the chart size:

<style type="text/css">
    .JGsize {height: 100px; width: 100px;}
</style>

We strongly advice to create a single file with all CSS code and place it in the virtual directory; this will avoid any type of inconsistency when rendering the charts.

2.5 Write the JavaScript code

Define and call the function to render the chart with the appropriate parameters. The basic definition of JustGage function is ‘JustGage({id, value})’ – refer to the documentation of each JavaScript library for more details.

<script type="text/javascript">
 function RCVG() {
  var RCVG = new JustGage({
    id: "RCVG",
    value: @n,
    valueFontColor: ["#666666"],
    min: 0,
    max: 100,
    donut:true,
    formatNumber: true
  });
 }
RCVG();
</script>

Last, create a div container to render the chart.

<div id = "RCVG" class = "JGsize"></div>

Once you write the code keep in mind the structure of the Narrative view, where the Narrative section is the one that allows reference to the Answers columns @n and the Prefix and Postfix rendered before and after the Narrative as a simple block.
Said that, the final result in our scenario looks as below:

NarrativeView

2.6 Displaying the results

Click on done and see how amazing your chart looks in a Dashboard page, you can repeat this steps for multiple data sets and display them all in a dashboard to cross information.

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If you are planning to implement it take into consideration which type of browser are you using, in case of JustGage was tested compatible with Chrome 20, Firefox 12, IE6, 7, 8, 9, Opera 12, Safari 5.1.2, Android 4.0.

2.7 Advance example with Kendo UI

Other open source java libraries that are available is KendoUI, that brings you different features and look and feel, see below an example:

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On that scenario the challenge is that we will have multiple records coming from our Answer and the number of records will vary. Then, if the number of records changes that will drive the chart rendering into madness.
What we did is to use a dynamic array. For this we have to create and ID on each of the rows that will be used as a record reference on our array. See below the results of the Cost by Product Analysis:

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Now on our narrative view, we will create a variable defined as an array. For this scenario was enough to create an array of maximum 5 records. A for loop is created to read records and to create the array

var dim = new Array(5)

for (i=0; i <5; i++)
    dim[i] = new Array(2);
    var max_i;
    dim[@1][0] = "@2";
    dim[@1][1] = @3;
    max_i = @1;

Then when we create the function to create the chart we have to define the series of data will be displayed:

data.series[0].data.splice(max_i+1,5-max_i-1);
$("#chart3").kendoChart(data);

Looking at the results we see a consistent chart that will handle a set of data whatever the number of records:

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An interesting Kendo UI feature is its interactive legend. This allows the user to simplify data on charts by clicking on the legend and compare specific KPIs, see the example below with line charts where we compare Actual versus Planing:

Kendo Legend Interaction

 

3. Conclusion

Customizing Oracle BI with JavaScript opens up a huge world of visual opportunities that may help you to meet the user requirements. Just make sure you are using them wisely and don’t fall into the trap of using them in every single Analysis.

By enriching the information with visual aids and displaying the data in a proper manner we can add a huge value to the user, as highlighting key data and placing it on the correct context will drive your solution to success.

 

More on Customization right here - the links will be updated as soon as we publish the articles:

  • How to create a Pop-Up effect
  • How to create a schematic effect
  • How to print a dashboard with JavaScript enhancements
  • Key principals on dashboard design

 

Creating a 100% Stacked Bar Chart in Oracle BIEE 11g

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Some of us have faced several times the lack of out-of-the-box features for meeting the customer requirements or needs.

One of them I found out early this month was about creating a 100% stacked bar graph. This representation of the data displays the results of multiple queries stacked one on top of the other, either vertically or horizontally in a range of 100%. Using a 100% stacked bar graph is a way to present the absolute values of data points represented by the segments of each bar. From the Oracle’s default graph’s list in Analytics you won’t be able to find this option, but doesn’t mean that we cannot reach this requirement and we will see how, in the following text.

Find below the steps to get a 100% stack bar chart with Oracle Business Intelligence 11g using as environment the sample application provided by Oracle, SampleApp.

Continue reading this post >

OC4J as a Windows Service

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Some Oracle Application like BI Publisher 10g uses OC4J, which is an Oracle Application Server which enables J2EE applications to run. These set of containers, API and services have to be started manually at system start up and after system downtime.

It is annoying for system administrators to have manual task to take care of. So, if we are in a Windows environment, these tasks can be avoided if they are defined as an automatic start-up process within the MS Windows Service.

Installing OC4J as a MS Windows Services we will solve that inconvenience we will take a step further in automation wise and we will decrease the services downtimes.

Continue reading this post >

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