OBIEE data source types and data retrieval methods

OBIEE is capable of connecting to and retrieving data from a variety of data sources.  The type of data sources that OBIEE can connect to are OLTP, OLAP, Data Warehouses (ROLAP), and Files.

  • OLTP databases – these include the normalized-design databases including ERP, CRM and other LOB systems.
    – The relational databases supported are: Oracle databases, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, and Teradata Warehouse.
    – And the ERP/CRM sources supported are: Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Peoplesoft, Oracle Siebel CRM, Oracle JD Edwards, and SAP.  Note: any ERP/CRM system running on one the databases mentioned above can be supported, but those mentioned here are special ERP/CRM sources.
  • OLAP databases – these include dimensional-databases including applications based on dimensional databses.
    – The OLAP datases supported are: Oracle Essbase, Oracle OLAP, Microsoft Analysis Services, and SAP Netweaver BI.
    – And the OLAP applications sources supported are: Oracle Hyperion Planning and Oracle Hyperion Financial Management.
  • Dimensionally-modeled data warehouses – these are relational databases designed with a star-schema / dimensional model, on one of the 4 supported relational databases mentioned above.
  • Files – Microsoft Excel, XML files, Flat files.

The data retrieval methods used to connect to these sources are:

  • OLTP – SQL
  • OLAP – MDX
  • Data Warehouse – SQL
  • Files – ODBC

OBIEE has the ability to connect to multiple of these data sources at the same time, and the data sources can be of the same or different types.  So, for example, an OBIEE Server can source data from an Oracle 11g Data Warehouse, and from an Oracle Essbase 11g OLAP cube at the same time, and join the data together for user consumption.
Similarly, file datasources can also be added to provide additional information, for example from an external source, and joined to data from the other sources mentioned above.  This “joining” of data is handled by the OBIEE BI Repository and BI Server.

To the end user accessing the data from a front-end tool (Analysis Editor / Answers), it seems like a single data source. That is one of the features that makes OBIEE such a great tool particularly for heterogeneous database environments.


“Create” button Inactive in the Application Roles page in OBIEE 11g

There is a bug in OBIEE 11g that makes the “Create” button Inactive in the Application Roles page in OBIEE 11g. The good news is the solution is very simple.

In case you have not yet seen this issue, but would like to know what this is referring to, then … login to the Enterprise Manager – http://yourserver:7001/em and expand Business Intelligence and click on coreapplication.  Then navigate to the Application Roles page using one of the methods below …

Either from:
(1)   the ‘Security’ -> ‘Single Sign On’ tab, select “Configure and Manage Application Roles”


(2) or from the coreapplication drop down menu, select Security -> Application Roles


When you get to the Application Roles page, you will notice that the Create button is INACTIVE.


To activate the button, simply select the drop down for Application Stripe and select <No application stripe selected>, then reselect the appropriate Application Stripe such as obi.

The Create button will now be ACTIVE.  Of course, click the play button to generate the list of Application Roles if necessary.


Oracle positioned as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence & Analytics platforms

Gartner released its 2012 “Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms” report.  As you may expect, Oracle is in the leaders bracket, along with Microsoft, IBM, Tableau Software, SAS, QlikTech, MicroStrategy, Tibco Spotfire, Information Builders and SAP.


Source: Gartner (February 2013)

Not surprisingly, the report mentions that, in 2012, Data Discovery became a mainstream BI feature, and that Real-time, Content and Predictive Analytics saw increased activity.

You can read all the details here in the … Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms report.

Setting up Putty to display screens on your desktop for installing or upgrading OBIEE 11g on Linux

When you attempt to run the RCU (Repository Creation Utility) or UA (Upgrade Assistant) scripts from your desktop/laptop using Putty for an OBIEE install or upgrade on a Linux server, you may get the following error …

UPGAST-00107: The DISPLAY environment variable is not set. The graphical user interface (GUI) requires that this environment variable be set on UNIX.

If you get this error, this post may help you to solve it.  You need to do some configuration in Putty.

Open Putty.


Select the server that you want to configure from your list of servers. You will notice that the values get populated into the fields.


Expand SSH, the select X11.   Then Check “Enable X11 forwarding” checkbox, and enter “localhost:0.0” in the X display location box.


Do not click open at this point.

Go back up and click on Session in the left menu.

And then Save.

However, before you connect using Putty, you should run Xming.

Start -> All Programs -> Xming -> Xming

[If you do not have Xming, you can download it for free, then install it.]


Now when you open Putty and connect to your server, you should be able to run the install or upgrade processes and see the wizard screens for each step, for example …

>  ./ua   (run the UA script, then the wizard screen will appear)