community, conference, oracleace, OTN, Uncategorized

Sitting at Birmingham after a great UKOUG Tech16 and for once using the time to update my much-neglected blog 🙂

Had  a great time again this year both in terms of content and social interaction. Session highlights – in no specific order I’m not ranking here:

  • Query, Integrate & Visualise All Your Data Using Hadoop – Mark Rittman
  • Kafka’s Role in Implementing Oracle’s Big Data Reference Architecture on the Big Data Appliance – Robin Moffatt
  • Data Streaming From Oracle To Kafka – Chris Lawless
  • Source Control, Code Deployment & Concurrent Development for OBIEE 12c – Robin Moffatt
  • Advanced Visualizations With Oracle BICS & Data Visualization – Antony Heljula
  • A Post – Big Data Analytics Platform & Use Of Oracle Advanced Analytics – Brendan Tierney
  • Community Keynote Business Analytics: How to spot the signals that tell you what’s REALLY going on in your business – Philippe Lions and Duncan Fitter
  • Advanced Analytics in Oracle Data Visualization Desktop – Philippe Lions
  • Oracle BI Analytics – An Update From Product Management – Mike Durran
  • Reduce European Flight Delay – Real Time ODI, OBIEE and D3 – Jerome Francoisse
  • OBIEE 12c Upgrade Experience At Liberty Global Case Study – Francesco Tisiot

Phew that’s all. It was refreshing to see that we finally reached the post-hype – and hence post-marketing-sales-BS stage – for Big Data and generally the next evolution of Analytics with many very pertinent real-life talks. Room assignment to Business Analytics talks could have been a bit better though as several of us including myself for one talk were in rooms with 11 person capacity and people standing squeezed up against the wall, in the door or even outside in the hallway.

Personally I did two talks about BI Server Query Execution and OBI Security respectively. For the latter I was joined by Gianni Ceresa for the coveted slot of 08:50 on Monday morning. Very good audience presence for both talks and some good questions which shows that foundation / core topics are still very much in demand rather than being skipped.

Content aside it was an excellent chance to meet up with several people again whom I hadn’t seen in a while and to do some more things for the OTN and ACE networks – more on that in a separate post to come. Tuesday night I hosted a meetup for Analytics geeks which drew a nice crowd in spite of numerous conflicting parties. Probably since we didn’t just “beer & business” around as usual but – being geeks – also had good fun with some card games. h/t to Jerome for bringing along a nice new one I hadn’t tried yet. Definitely something I’l lkeep up

UKOUG completes this year’s conferences and what a year it has been. Be seeing you all in 2017 at one of the Oracle User Groups, independent conferences or the mothership fest that is OpenWorld!

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Date: Monday 7th December – Wednesday 9th December
Location: ICC Birmingham
Agenda: http://bit.ly/Apps15_ag

UKOUG Apps15 is the must attend event for Oracle Apps professionals, with over 120 sessions there is something to suit everyone.

My session will take place on Wednesday, 9th from 10:00-10:50 and is entitled

    “50 Shades of #Fail – OBI worst practices in real life”

I look forward seeing you at Apps15!

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Leaving some time between the trip home from OOW14 and finishing up the blog post on the 4 official days of the event has had an interesting effect: excellent write-ups of the news and announcements have already popped up, so it’s a pleasure to simply link to Mark Rittman’s “News and Updates” post for all your needs in that regard.

Session or rather content-wise over these four days there are a couple of things to point out:

1.) OakTableWorld

Not a session per se but rather OakTables concurrent event with brilliant presentation content from the likes of Kent Graziano, Alex Gorbachev, Jonathan Lewis etc. Full agenda of what happened this year can be found here.

What I really appreciated was the fact that OakTableWorld – in contrast to OOW itself – sports a host of 10min TED talks over lunch. The TED talk format can be loved or hated but mostly it depends on the content and the speaker. Listening to Jonathan “Breaking Exadata” is huge fun and he doesn’t need more than 10min to convince anyone that there’s sales&marketing talk and then there’s reality. Exadata’s great, but no holy grail and you CAN break it.

Another real “WOW” effect was Eric Grancher from CERN (“those guys” with the Large Hadron Collider and the Higgs Boson … maybe). Eric had a pretty neat TED talk about ASH to understand disk IO, but the killer was to see how they pipe that gathered information into Endeca to actually analzye their disk IOs through the Endeca engine. Very nice!

2.) Roadmap sessions

I sat in just about every roadmap session touching Business Analytics topics from the engineered systems over OBI 12c to the new Visual Analyzer and BI Mobile App Designer futures. Perfect place to catch up with the product managers and have some post-presentation chats with them. Looking forward to their upcoming initiatives and hopefully being an early adopter.

These sessions aren’t as detailled – technically – as the ones you may see at KScope, but they’re official, they’re sanctioned, they aren’t under NDA and they represent Oracles road into the future. If you plan on visiting OOW…pencil them in for the products you work with!

A special mention of the BI Apps roadmap session:
I was pretty surprised to see an almost total lack of reaction from the crowd when the slides reached the official declaration of the Informatica version of OBIA being discontinued and all OBIA projects having to move to ODI if they want to stay on the upgrade path. Maybe the message was too well hidden in marketing speech, but it should have been clear enough – so here it is again: there will be NO 11g release for BI Apps with Informatica and also none whatsoever in future versions. Informatica is out. OBIA customers will have to get onto the ODI train!



3.) Customer success stories

Not my thing. Tried sitting through one, but this is more for other end-clients to listen to and maybe get an idea or benchmarks.

All in all Oracle Openworld 2014 was an epic experience and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. If you’re interested in another OOW-freshman’s experience report, look no further than my good friend Robin Moffatt’s write-up.

In terms of meeting people, tightening my community bonds with other Oracle ACEs, the OTN community and the superb ODTUG folks this event is definitely “up there” in the stratosphere called “that’s just about as good as it gets”!

BTW: Presentations are still not all up so bear with me.

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OOW14 day 0

w00t! One compound word? Mind-boggling!

As a first time OOW participant, when I arrived at Moscone this morning, the sheer size, grandeur and general over-the-top-ness hit me like a brick. Seeing it in pics and on youtube is one thing but experiencing first hand…wow. KScope back in June was a family party in comparison! Which isn’t a bad thing by the way

For me, Sunday was all about getting my bearings and participating – both as audience as well as speaker – in the ODTUG sessions. “Figures” you may say as I’m more on the hands-on and technical side of things rather than sales + marketing presentations and – again – you’d be 100% correct.

First things first though: heart-attack and vessel constricting breakfast with my good friend Robin Moffatt. Because. BACON!

In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have taken the ubercaffeinated version of coffee offered there since combined with the adrenaline of pre-OOW-presentation makes fingers tingle. Lesson learned for next time!

I was part of the ODTUG Sunday Symposium (big h/t to ODTUG in general and Stewart in particular on that one), so let’s jump into the action:

SESSIONS!

Engaging Oracle Business Intelligence Users Through Collaborative and Embedded BI

Christian Screen provided a nice, visual overview of the evolution and life-cycle of BI initiatives from birth to near-death (a state which you hopefully never reach). Accompanying this life-cycle are all aspects of collaboative and embedded BI he showed in the form of biteamwork as well as real-life examples of embedding BI content into any web-portal – literally at the click of a button. Really clever stuff utilizing and extraction and direct referencing of the divs inside the rendered OBI GUI. Neat!
Unfortunately I had to realize about that time that my phone takes really BAD pictures when the lighting is low and you’re in a sombre room.

2014 Swiss Community Brunch

I had to skip this one when I saw just where the Hyatt is situated geographically and how long it would take me to get there and back again (unintended Lord Of the Ring reference) without missing my scheduled sessions.
OOW is huge, OOW is crammed full of content…OOW is tricky in terms of scheduling your activities! 

Oracle Business Intelligence Development in the Cloud

Stewart was up next and immediately disappointed some pin the audience since his talk wasn’t going to the BICS – the Oracle BI Could Services – but rather actual OBIEE development work in the cloud. Gotta read the abstract of the session as well, gents, not just the title 😉
Anyhow a presentation not for the faint of heart as things got technical very quickly with MDS XML, Git, Jenkins, push, merge, branch. I loved it and if you’re doing OBIEE dev and don’t know how you could manage it across multi-dev departments? Well have a look what he was talking about. May be an interesting starting point for you.

No Silver Bullet: Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Performance in the Real World

Good old Robin Moffatt! I’ve Stewart had set the techie tone with his then it definitely went “downhill” in a very good sense – the technical one – from there and I think reached the abyss with my presentation thereafter. More and more “Ey?” and “WTH?” faces in the crowd.
I’ve seen this presentation of Robin before and I just love it. Firstly because Robin trashes “best practices”…the only real “best practice” there is, is “use your brain”. I agree 100%. All other so called “best practices” are contextual and need to be adapted to the actual situation, so “it depends”.

His approach of tracking and analyzing performance and capacity issues is neat to say the least and everytime I discuss these subjects with him there’s stuff to add and something new to try out. But I digress.

Performance and capacity tracking isn’t magic but neither is it “follow this 10 point list….oh and by the way disable logging and use caching”. Ah my pet hates. NO! You want to do performance mgmt? Get Robins presentation. Read it. Understand it. Adapt it to your situation. Do it.

I’ll try to add links to the presentations as (if) they become available and do a complete wrap-up after OOW with a link list so you have a single point to go to in order to access all of it. 

Neos Voyage in Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition

My presentation. Was fun, but I lost about 80% of the audience mentally after slide 8 or 9. NQS function calls? Recursive ODBC calls from the BI server through the BI server into its own instantiated RPD in order to have it as a data source within itself?

As promised for those who stuck around until the end and want to dig deeper themselves: shoot me an email on christian dot berg at dimensionality dot ch and I will get back to you with the RPD you need to make this work. 

Quick Dive into Big Data ETL with Oracle Data Integrator 12c and Oracle Big Data Connectors

Last content session of the day was Mark Rittman and this also was a presentation I’d seen before but let me just say this: I don’t know how he does it. Mark has this way of just writing slides on the darndest (pardon my french) of topics and make it look and sound like he was writing a grocery shopping list for Friday afternoon. Precise, to the point, gets the information across, not overcomplicated and definitely without all the sales and marketing hubbub.

Best wide-ranging overview of Oracle’s Big Data initiatives in the wider Business Analytics context you can read right now.

Funny addition: after the presentation there was a definite fan-club behaviour going on and I just couldn’t help myself. Apologies again Mark, but here goes:

All in all a very productive day with meeting tons of people. The number of ex-colleagues, fellow community members and ACEs you run into here is just immense.

Gotta rush now to get some breakfast before today’s sessions. I’ll do an extra post on Sundays ACE dinner later.

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Oracle OpenWorld 14 Day -1

Saturday was a rather quiet day. After having spent 2 hours on Friday night, trying to get the connectivity working in my hotel room, Friday started out with another almost 2 hours which culminated on a recabling of the room and replacement modem to finally get things working. After that I was able to put the finishing touches to my presentation.

Lunch was…american. Very american. Think 50s-type diner. Think chili-chedder-hot-dog. Think fries. LOVE IT! There was some mutual “prying away from work” going on there and Stewart Bryson and Kevin McGinley completed our epic-food triumvirate. Great find Stewart and thanks for saying on “I have my heart set on Lori’s”. Not the last time I go there this week!

Then: check-in time!

Feels good 🙂

Later in the afternoon I joined a whole funky bunch of ODTUG people at a place called “Toronados” for beer. Really good beer. IPA galore you could say and you’d be correct. Sarah Zumbrum, THAT Jeff Smith, Monty Latiolais, Tim Gorman, Joel Kallman, Danny Bryant, Kellyn Pot’Vin…I can’t even name them all (anymmore).

After too many weird-named (but all the more tasty) beverages we trudded off to a dinner with current and ex RittmanMead guys from which I zombied my way back to bed since the 30+ hours travelling and a really bad night of sleep had simply killed me by then.

Hard start. Off to day 0!

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THINK and UNDERSTAND before you give “advice”

One tag. Rant.

Every now and then when I’m on the OTN forums, I run into gems like this: https://community.oracle.com/thread/3589607

The problem isn’t the question – it’s the “answer” which is both mind-blowingly wrong on so many levels and ends with the usual childish “Gimme points, I crave attention!” footer. I’m not going to go into details on the technical solution since that’s covered in my response to the thread itself, but let me just make one thing clear:

Use content from a presentation like Jeff’s without thinking just to – wrongly – “prove” your point and you will tick me off. Seriously.

Why did Jeff include the 1=1 join option? Did you see that it was an option and not the ultimate answer ® ? Do you even know what a content level is?

< / rant >

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Purging corrupted OBIEE web catalog users

Sometimes it can happen that user profiles within a web catalog become corrupted for any number of reasons. In order for these user profiles to be correctly re-initialized, there’s more to be done than just drop /users/JohnDoe from the web catalog.

All in all there are three distinct places which need to be cleaned:

  • /users/JohnDoe
  • /system/security/users/123456
  • /system/security/acocuntids/987654

This is really important since especially the third place contains the translation between the userid and the effective GUID of the user. I’ve written a little script which takes the absolute path to the web catalog in question as well as the user to be purged and kills everything that’s necessary.

NOTE: This is a quick&dirty solution and I haven’t fool-proofed it with any check like “does the folder exist” etc. so use it cautiously and on your own risk.

I may get around to rendering it safer later-on, but since I was asked for it once more just today I thought I’d put it out there.

 

#!/bin/bash

#

# Purpose: Completely purge a named
user from the web catalog with all his content.

#

# Requires absolute path to webcat as param 1 and user name as param 2

#

#
# Author: Christian Berg

# Initial creation: 28/01/2014

# Absolutely no warranty, use at your
own risk

# Please include this header in any
copy or reuse of the script you make

#

# Current version: 1.0

#

# Change log:

#        CBERG
28/01/2014 Intial creation

#

########################################################################################

# Step 1: Kill the users personal folder
plus content with its accompagning .atr       #

########################################################################################

cd $1/root/users

find -type d -name $2 | xargs rm -rf

find -name $2.atr | xargs rm -f

########################################################################################

# Step 2: Kill the users entries in
/system/security/users
#

# Two files will be affected “username”
and “username.atr”
#

# Removal happens one-by-one

#

########################################################################################

cd $1/root/system/security/users

find -name $2 | xargs rm -f

find -name $2.atr | xargs rm -f

########################################################################################

# Step 3: Kill the users entries in
/system/security/accountids
#

# Two files will be affected. Accountids
contains the translation from GUID to         #

# username, so the actual username
resides within the files content rather than its    #

# name. Bulk removal.

#

########################################################################################

cd $1/root/system/security/accountids

grep -r -l $2 . | xargs rm -f

echo User $2 has been purged from the
web catalog.

exit 0

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I recently ran into the situation where the primary mount for a Linux tech account running an OBI install was just way too small to get OBIEE 11.1.1.7.140114 through.

Prerequisite check “CheckSystemSpace” failed.
The details are:
Required amount of space(17499.766MB) is not available.

So with a bit of hacking I got around it by displacing the ./patch_storage directory and forcing opatch to stop doing a file system check (basically no “df -h” )

1.) displace ./patch_storage to a mount with enough space (but keep a backup in place just in case…)

cp -r /FMWH/Oracle_BI1/.patch_storage /data/NASmnt00001/

mv /FMWH/Oracle_BI1/.patch_storage_bkp

2.) create a symbolic link to take the place of ./patch_storage

ln -s /data/NASmnt00001/.patch_storage ./.patch_storage

After this step if you execute opatch normally, it will still fail with “CheckSystemSpace” failed.

3.) Have opatch omit the space check:

opatch napply -silent /data/NASmnt00001/11.1.1.7.140114 -id 16569379,16913445,16997936,17300045,17300417,17922352,17922552,17922577,17922596 OPatch.SKIP_VERIFY_SPACE=true

Done.

(h/t @G_Ceresa for being picky and getting on my nerves with “That’s not proper.” … I said it’s a hack, mate ;-))

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How-To: File hunt for OBIEE GUI changes
Among the questions I receive and that frequently come up on OTN, treated in blog posts etc. are questions pertaining to: How do I change a part of the GUI of OBIEE? Now in this post you’ll find the answer to that specific question, but
the point here today isn’t simply to say “do X in Y”, but rather “how do
you get to know that you need to change X in Y?”.
Mind you, I’m doing these changes quick and dirty to make them instantly visible. The proper way is to create and deploy your own style + skin package within which you do those changes (or alternative post over at my buddies at RittmanMead as well as my own one)!

The single most important things when working with anything relating to the GUI is: Firefox with Firebug (or Internet Explorer with F12 Developer Tools)
The target is to move the image in the title view to the right of the actual title text.
In order to understand what actually needs to be touched in terms of files you right-click on the logo and choose “Inspect Element with Firebug”.
This will show you the detailed information on the object within the HTML with its style inheritance through the CSS and all the bits you need to dig further.
In this case you see that the table class is “TitleTable” (the two tr’s you see inside are once the logo and once the title text). In order to find the file which controls this, do a search within the vanilla msgdb folder. In this example I’m using the SampleApp v309:
“viewmessages.xml” can be disregarded since it doesn’t figure in the actual rendering process, but “standardviewtemplates.xml” is the one we really want.
Now that may look a bit unreadable at first glance, but following the Firebug output above, one can quickly see how the XML controls GUI generation by matching the standardviewtemplates.xml content with the page HTML:
 
Once this matching is done, you can use an editor like Notepad++ to clean the XML (indent, highlight, collapsible etc) to make the standardviewtemplates.xml more readable and manageable.
Target now is to switch the positions of the title logo and the title text, but the logo before the help icon since the help “?” should still be at the far right-hand side.
So a switch of the two respective “sawm:if name=…” is necessary…
…in order to get to a situation where the sawm:if’s are in the order desired: title, logo and then help:
In my case I overwrite the existing central (vanilla) standardviewtemplates.xml with the modified version, but as said initially, I strongly suggest that all such changes should be done in custom style+skin packages!

After a bounce of the presentation server service the modified GUI is up and ready:

Cheers!