The long awaited “Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g: A Hands-On Tutorial” (Packt publishing) by Christian Screen, Haroun Khan and Adrian Ward was finally released two weeks ago (Amazon) and I got the hard copy delivered today (haven’t tried the Kindle version yet…).

As I have been hanging around Oracle BI and its various ancestors since quite a while I was eagerly looking forward to this one – as well as Marks forthcoming book – for several reasons:
First of all it always boggled my mind as to just how someone would go about packing the OBIEE 11g “basics” into a couple of hundred pages when almost each topic on its own (WLS, security, infrastructure, RPD et.) would easily fill a complete book.
Secondly, as I split my time between projects and training I’m alway interested to see the different approaches taken to convey certain messages, teach certain topics and dispell certain sales claims.
Last but not least…I simply can’t spend that much time on writing these things together (see immediately below).

First impression after a cursory glance at the table of contents and browsing some chapters: thank the heavens that someone took the time to write all of this up an give me a whooping 600+ bound pages to slap people with rather than just saying “RTFM” πŸ™‚ …especially when there wasn’t really any “M” of this kinds o far.

Going end-to-end from explaining the basic architecture, through the installation, the RPD and webcat, action framework and on to OLAP/Essbase integration, the book covers all the basic subjects with a seriously nice hat-tip “Reporting Databases” in chapter 7.
That last one definitely being a chapter which made me smile since more often than not one can see people storming off to “do business intelligence” (read: draw some reports and extryct some lists) without thinking about the basics: the data and the way it is modelled. Always reminds me of a mantra in the old Siebel Analytics courses: “Model first!”

The books is clearly written with the KISS principle in mind and manages to stick to that principle very nicely. The structure’s clear and proper and some of the graphs are especially funny for us old-timers as they point way back to NQuire. Links to detailled descriptions in the official Oracle documentation are provided where necessary and should never be disregarded. This being a hard-copy and OBIEE evolving at a steadily increasing pace, those can come in very handy when analysing a certain component or behaviour in a specific version of the product.

Also, the book provides good links to supporting material; including the complete database, web catalog and styles and skins used for the examples in the book. A very nice touch since this will allow anyone to reproduce things step-by-step rather than having to adapt the books content to his/her own situation or vice versa which is a huge plus for people newly hopping on to the OBIEE train.

I’ve kept it quite high-level since I suspect everyone is clever enough to read the detailled outline in the provided links here and since my judgement is quite simple: if you’re an OBIEE starter: get it. If will help you as a go-to place or aide-mΓ©moire for most “how did this work again?” questions.
If you’re coming from 10g and looking forward to migrating to 11g: get it. It does a good job of painting the big picture, explaining the architecture, the components and how it all works together, thereby taking the edge off “the beast that is 11g” (admit it guys, it can be overwhelming).

Personally, I will definitely use it as supporting material / a hand-out for my beginners courses, bootcamps and onboarding of new team members like I do with Kimballs bible.

So kudos to Christian, Haroun and Adrian! Along with last weeks release of the new BP1 Sampleapp v207 this will provide good material for the next couple of rainy days (read: me getting into troubles for hanging around work topics even at home ;-)).
Next up: Marks book. Really looking forward to that one now!


In-place upgrade within OBIEE 11 versions (from .3 to .5 o r .6 or from .5 to .6) can be a whole lot quicker than out-of-place ones but are also more interesting in terms of potential issues arising. After two uneventful in-place upgrades from to I had a more challenging third upgrade with some unexpected errors.

If you look at the official upgrade guide, all went fine up to item 6: “Upgrading system components“. Executing upgradenonj2eeapp.sh, however, threw an error while re-deploying:

./upgradenonj2eeapp.sh -oracleInstance /bishiphome/Middleware/instances/myinstance/ -adminHost localhost -adminPort 7001 -adminUsername weblogic

Command failed: NonJ2EEManagement Applicationdeployment failed.

Looking into the provision.log (situated in MW_HOME/instances/myinstance/diagnostics/logs/OPMN/opmn) read as follows:

[Deployer:149163]The domain edit lock is owned by another session in non-exclusive mode – this deployment operation requires exclusive access to the edit lock and hence cannot proceed. If you are using “Automatically Aquire Lock and Activate Changes” in the console, then the lock will expire shortly so retry this operation.

I ran the upgradenonj2eeapp.sh a second time to see what it would do:

SEVERE: Command failed:
oracle.as.config.ProvisionException: Exception while unregistering the instance
    at oracle.as.config.impl.OracleASInstanceImpl.unregister(OracleASInstanceImpl.java:290)
    at oracle.as.config.impl.OracleASInstanceImpl.unregister(OracleASInstanceImpl.java:250)
    at oracle.as.config.provisioner.commands.UnregisterInstanceCommand.execute(UnregisterInstanceCommand.java:34)
    at oracle.as.config.provisioner.InstallerCmdLine.run(InstallerCmdLine.java:146)
    at oracle.as.config.provisioner.InstallerCmdLine.main(InstallerCmdLine.java:46)
Caused by: oracle.as.config.impl.SimpleProvisionException: Failed to unregister instance instance1. It does not exist on the adminserver.

So, a real no-go situation. Luckily, the OBIEE EMG already had a post which contained part of the solution. Root cause of the initial error was that there was a lock on the configuration I hadn’t seen:
“Release Configuration” removed the immediate error source. Next step was re-running upgradenonj2eeapp.sh again to see what would happen and obviously the error “Failed to unregister instance instance1. It does not exist on the adminserver.” still persisted since initially the first half of the script had run through and un-registered my instance. So off to some opmnctl commands to undo the damage.

1.) Deploy the instance again:

./opmnctl redeploy -oracleInstance /bishiphome/Middleware/instances/myinstance -adminHost localhost -adminPort 7001 -adminUsername weblogic

Command requires login to weblogic admin server (localhost):
  Username: weblogic

Redeploying NonJ2EEManagement Application…weblogic.Deployer invoked with options:  -adminurl localhost:7001 -username weblogic -name NonJ2EEManagement -source /bishiphome/Middleware/Oracle_BI1/opmn/applications/NonJ2EEManagement.ear -redeploy -upload -noexit

Task 1 initiated: [Deployer:149026]deploy application NonJ2EEManagement [Version=11.1.1] on AdminServer.
Task 1 completed: [Deployer:149026]deploy application NonJ2EEManagement [Version=11.1.1] on AdminServer.
Target state: redeploy completed on Server AdminServer

Command succeeded.

2.) Register the instance again:

./opmnctl registerinstance

Command requires login to weblogic admin server (localhost):
  Username: weblogic

Registering instance
Command succeeded.

 After these steps, I was able to run the actual shell for the upgrade process again:

./upgradenonj2eeapp.sh -oracleInstance /bishiphome/Middleware/instances/instance1/ -adminHost localhost -adminPort 7001 -adminUsername weblogic
Unregister instance…

Command requires login to weblogic admin server (localhost):
Username: weblogic

Unregistering instance
Command succeeded.
redeploy NonJ2EEManagement.ear…

Command requires login to weblogic admin server (localhost):
Username: weblogic

Redeploying NonJ2EEManagement Application…weblogic.Deployer invoked with options:  -adminurl localhost:7001 -username weblogic -name NonJ2EEManagement -source /bishiphome/Middleware/Oracle_BI1/opmn/applications/NonJ2EEManagement.ear -redeploy -upload -noexit

Task 2 initiated: [Deployer:149026]deploy application NonJ2EEManagement [Version=11.1.1] on AdminServer.
Task 2 completed: [Deployer:149026]deploy application NonJ2EEManagement [Version=11.1.1] on AdminServer.
Target state: redeploy completed on Server AdminServer

Command succeeded.
re-register instance…

Command requires login to weblogic admin server (localhost):
Username: weblogic

Registering instance
Command succeeded.
Successfully upgraded NonJ2EEManagement.ear and the registeration.

 One of those little things that can ruin your evening…



It has been 19 months since the GA of OBIEE
11g and its third incarnation ( is celebrating its one-month-birthday
today. Time to make a point on the support situation for all OBIEE 10g
implementations out there:
The last 10gR3 versions ( will
reach the end of the Permier Support lifecycle in 4 months, July 2012.
The full documentation for lifetime support
of Fusion Middleware products can be found here, on the Oracle website
(last updated February 2012). The screenshot above can be found on page
13 of the pdf.
So to wrap up: the product has had more than
one and a half years to mature, Oracle provided us with two new version
since the release and with the end of premier support quickly coming up,
this is really the moment to start thinking about upgrading your 10g solutions!

When hooking up OBIEE 11g to an LDAP, make sure to check some factors on the LDAP side of things as well. Not all errors have to come from your configuration in WLS:

  1. LDAP users intended to replace “OracleSystemUser”, “weblogic” and “BISystemUser MUST” all reside in the same base DN that’s used to search for users in the LDAP config
  2. They also MUST all be of the same objectClass as the one referenced in the LDAP config
  3. Creating “technical users” to distinguish them from “human users” and putting them in different branches and / or storing them as different object classes (e.g. “account” or rather than “person”)

First thing you should get is an LDAP browser with which to connect to the LDAP server to check validity of the connectivity ccount (i.e. the “Principal” for LDAP connectivity) as well as structures and object types. This will save you a lot of pain and suprising behaviour due to “ceative” LDAP management.



Yes, I have quite a backlog of topics I should blog and thanks to Robin for pointing it out.

A quick reminder about using the right wlst.sh.

In a normal OBIEE installation, you will find multiple wlst.sh in the MIDDLEWARE_HOME:


Make sure to always start your wlst scripts from

in order to prevent erroneous behaviour. Running them from a different location will yield interesting errors like the one below – taken from a migrateSecurityStore example:

    TypeError: cannot concatenate ‘str’ and ‘NoneType’ objects



OBIEE became available yesterday evening (CET) first on edelivery and in the meantime on OTN as well. Here’s a link library of the most important and interesting sources.


Overview and explanatory blog posts:

“New Features with OBIEE”

“OBIEE Now Available for Download – Release Highlights”
“OBIEE : MDS XML Repositories, and Integration with Source Control”

Michael Verzijl
“OBIEE Released – Short overview”

“OBIEE 11g R1.6 New Admin Feature”

Alex Hansal
“OBIEE is here”

“OBIEE new features/enhancements”

Official Documentation

Maintenance Release Guide (List of Bugs Fixed) for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) [ID 1412748.1]

Documentation Library
New Features OBIEE
New Features OBIEE for Users
(h/t @lex!)

This is just a first list and will grow over time. If you have new, interesting links to add, please put them in the comments and I’ll update the list.



I recently deployed a new RPD to one of my BI servers and after restarting the coreapplication, wasn’t able to log on anymore – the login process hung at “Singing in…” indefinitely.

After some investigation, I found out what had happened:
1.) The new RPD used connections to a datasource situated on a different database (other than the primary DWH) which were utilised in new initialization blocks which fired upon login (no “deferred execution”).

2.) The TNSNAMES on the BI server machine had contained all necessary connectivity information until the night before, but had been reset to a default configuration during the night for some reason and only retained the primary DWH.

3.) This caused the login process to hang indefinitely without any meaningful errors being logged and hence nothing was visible in Enterprise Manager.

4.) Restoring the TNSNAMES with all relevant DB entries removed the error and login was possible again.

Conclusion: never assume that your infrastructure setup is a “given” and won’t change.



Hi all,

well what can I say…the BI forum at the Brighton Marina was a blast. Almost the whole european blogger community was there and we had a real good time and extremely good discussions. Plus as of Friday we even had goo weather!

Last things first, at the end we voted for the best speaker of the event and Robin Moffatt won this year. Especially cool for him since we popped his speaker-cherry at this event πŸ˜‰ So congrats Robin.

The first day of the event was a masterclass on OBIEE with Kurt Wolff. I’m sure you all know him, but to re-iterate: he was part of the original nQuire team and is – as he says – responsible for some of the things which confuse people today.
It’s amazing to see how much of concepts and design decisions which were made by people like Kurt or Ed Suen back in 1998 are still the basis of what we do today…in almost unaltered form. @lex has a nice write-up over here and all I want to add to this is: thanks for your excellent presentation, Kurt. Brilliant explanantions and insights!

At night before the dinner we had Phil Bates rocking up together with Mike Durran and Adam Bloom to give a keynote speech for this event on the topic of “a future version of one of their products that they’re working on in the labs”. So you might guess that he could have meant 11g but we can’t be sure since the Oracle guys continued to use that phrase throughout the next 2 days πŸ˜‰
Phil had some nice slides and we finally saw most of them demoed on a lab-version…so obviously no screenshots from there.

Day 2 started off with Mike Durran again who seems to be getting the early-bird sessions every time. At least this time he got Wednesday so no real danger of too much impact from the “entertainment committee” aka “Ragnar and Borkur” (more on that later).
Mike showed us the future architecture and systems management features of 11g. So obviously he had hard time finishing a single topic without questions and everyone was volunteering his speaker time to stay on subject (equally obviously that didn’t happen). That first in-depth presentation clearly showed us all several things: first of all the learning curve won’t be linear…not even exponential…it will be logarithmic. Can’t really say much more but be prepared to be astonished. Unfortunately I was so concentrated on the topic that I didn’t take a picture :-S (neither Kurt the day before actually…).

Next up was speaker-award winner Robin Moffatt on “Performance Testing OBIEE”. I think his example was the most thorough, well-structured and thought-through performance testing strategy I have seen at any clients side in the last 5 years. There’s huge misconceptions on this topic out there and Robins presentation is a good guideline which covers the most important questions you have to ask yourself before going off to test your solution for performance. And here he is in action:

Next up was Elio Idema on “Complex Modelling with OBIEE”. It was funny to see him more or less hitting similar topics as Kurt had the day before since it really enforced the main theme of this whole forum and the single most important recurring point in OBIEE projects: data modelling. He had some excellent points on how to procede in transforming entity-relationship data models into analysis-oriented star schemas in the physical layer and I would really suggest to anyone attempting such a feat to check out his slides and follow his main points. (I’ll try and get him to blog on this as well).
I only caught him on camera afterwards so here he is (on the right):

After lunch there was Emial van Bockel who hit the same spot with “The art of modelling with OBIEE”. Like last year he had some interesting slides on the way his company models information, what concepts lie beneath these models and how they evolve. Quite obviously he spawned a lively debate; here we have John Minkjan (left hand, turned), Robin Moffatt, Sukesh and Michal Zima: then we have Justin Townsend, Peter Scott and Michael Krantz.

Next up we pestered Adam Bloom…i.e. he had his presentation and we constantly asked for more since his topic was “BI in and on the Business Process – New Innovations between BI 11g and BPM 11g”. Adam is the Oracle Product Manager for the whole action framework so you can imagine that we took the liberty of going down to the nitty-gritty. The scope of the whole topic is so vast though that time ran out way too early.
Here he is as he was most of the time: hacking away at a “future product that’s in the lab”:

After that we had a debate on “What should drive your modelling strategy from ELT to front end?” presented by Emial and myself. Obviously no pic I’ve taken, but good ol’ @lex took one and I’m sure you agree we had THE opening slide ;-)))

With this we ended day 2 and after a short round of drinks in the bar, headed out for dinner. But this is a geek blog, so fast-forward to day 3.

In order to slow him down and not have him win speaker-of-the-event by default, Antony Heljula got the morning session this time and in the audience you could see some victims of Ragnar-and-Borkurs “entertainment blitzkrieg”. Well some you couldn’t see because of follow-up negotionions with their pillows, but I disgress…

Tony talked about “BI EE Architectures and Sizing” with several key hints and helps for sizing your architecture. Like Robins the day before, this presentation covers a topic which should be one of the core topics for each project but often “falls through the cracks” and results in either badly set up environments, hugely overpowered ones or awfully undersized ones.

As a little intermezzo from my side: those three days in Brighton would have been a boon to any project out there and if you have 5 minutes, then get over to rittmanmead.com, get the contact details, get the presentations wherever possible, read them and learn from them.
I don’t think we re-invented the wheel or anything, but most of the topis covered simply can’t be ignored in any project and were presented in a exquisitly researched form. Again, kudos to all of you guys. That’s why I more or less booked my place for 2011 already.

Next up we had a real celebrity. Mr. “Oracles Person of the year”…Mark Rittman! Here he is scratching his nose πŸ˜‰
Ok jokes aside not all of you may know the person-of-the-year story, so here’s what Mark has to say but of course we knew before that it’s oraclenerds fault.
Mark covered “Inside the Oracle BI Server” which was clearly one of the most nerdy tech topics. (Loved it and obviously voted for it). If you were ever wondering what a level 5 log file actually contains, what it means and how you influence which part of it…that’s your presentation to look out for. I had done a fair share of log file archeology but Mark had some really cool new stuff in his presentation and thanks to the presence of “the godfather” Kurt Wolff we even got some additional informations which took this one presentation really to the next level.

“ODI 11g: The New Generation of Data Integration” was then presented by Craig Stewart…smile Craig!
He reminded us first that 11g ODI was still not out there but we got the feeling that it’s closer to us than another future-product-that’s-still-in-the-lab. All in all I have to say that ODI grew quite a bit and contains neat new knowledge modules. Coming more from an OBIA background that plain ETL/ELT I obviously tried to get more information out of him regarding the next OBIA releases and ODIs importance within them but to no avail πŸ™ Still it was very nice to see in which direction ODI is evolving.

The arrival of John Minkjan on the stage as the next presenter heralded a hugely funny intro to his presentation “OBIEE Customizations: When you are in the kitchen, learn to cook.” Plus he looked quite neat as the only guy presenting in a suit

John gave us a good beating on the different aspects of GUI design for dashboards. He has some major points I have to say. We all have seen the horror of gradients, 3D charts, animations all over the place and eye-cancer-inducing colour palettes. I agree with John; you really should read up on analysis- and interface-design if you want to present your information in a digestible format.

Last but not least there was Venkat with his “Fusion Middleware 11g – ADF Business Intelligence Components” presentation. As one of the few things that’s widely known and also officially confirmed by Oracle, ADF will become the new graphical layer of OBIEE in its next incarnation just as it has in other parts of the Oracle product stack already. This will definitely be an area where all of us will need to get more experience and dive into its depths since it really seems that for so many of the things we faked or tricked today in order to accommodate user requests for GUI behaviour or specific analysis types, ADF will be the answer.
And here’s Venkat gesturing while he explains a dogfight during the Battle of Britain:

(obviously not but that’s the first things that came to my mind when reviewing my pictures).

His session wrapped up the forum for 2010. If at all possible it was even better than 2009. We had Kurt Wolff over who gave us a history brush-up on OBIEE nee Siebel Analytics nee nQuire and showed us through his in-depth explanations just how well thought-out the concepts were which they defined 12 years ago and which still form the basis of our daily work.
The speakers were high-class, the presentations to the point and on intriguing topics. No sales bladibla or “we are the best” company presentations.
The discussions were very lively and people participated from A to Z with much vigor. That’s just the thing that distinguishes this BI forum from others…we’re not there to sell; we’re not there to “steal” either by just sitting there, not opening our mouth since sharing our project experience is losing competitive advantage or something (you might get who I’m bashing here…). It’s just industry-wide recognized cracks sharing, exchanging, learining and discovering together with a healthy portion of networking and most of all…fun!

Thanks again to Mark, Jon and the whole RittmanMead crew for making this forum a possibility and to al of you other guys for participating.

Hope to see you all again next year. It was awesome.


I recently was asked about the different options of visualizing data in OBIEE on maps. Since many of the usual suspects (you’ll see form the link-list below) have already blogged about this, it is easiest to provide a list with all good and informative articles rather than writing a completely new post. Here goes:

Google Maps:


Oracle Mapviewer / Oracle Spatial:


Lapp, Conrad & Sharma (OOW 2008):
Abhinav (OOW 2008):

Maarten (RittmanMead Forum 2009):

If you have any other good links – preferably with examples and code snippets – post a comment and I will update the list. Maybe we will get this into a sticky thread on OTN.

See ya!