OBIEE Overview

I’m starting a new project in which I’m implementing OBIEE (Oracle Business Inteligence Enterprise Edition) this product is responsible for presenting the likes of Decision support teams with the tools to build reports they can easily customize and share, it builds on top of most of oracle products, its similar to Hyperion in many aspects however its still unique in the fact that since it was once a product specifically designed for Siebel CRM it works perfectly with it.

OBIEE is divided into two portions, the DWH and the presentation and reporting portion. The product is referred to as OBI (sans the EE) if it didn’t include the bundled DWH and relied on other product for the offline data. much like most of other Oracle application OBIEE is a bundle of products mainly the products are :

  • ETL server : Informatica product responsible for the mapping between the OLTP and OLAP databases, this product converts the data and maps it between different objects, classically there is an ETL rule per OLAP object, these mappings are saved in database and can be exported to a file. It comes with a client that can be used to build such mappings, and can be configured through that client or directly if required. There are also an element called a maplette which is a reusable mapping that can be used with many objects. ETL doesn’t connect to the DB and relies on the DAC for that.
  • DAC server : This server is responsible for the execution of the ETL rules, since some of these rules may be dependent on one another the DAC server takes care of these dependencies, it also schedules and tracks the execution and has the capability of  sending out emails at certain configurable events. It comes with an admin tool that can be used to configure the DAC and thats the only way to configure the DAC. The DAC retains the log for just one transaction, and doesn’t retain historical data. DAC server must be configured to connect to the OLAP DB and the client configured to connect to the DAC.
  • The OLAP DB: DB instance that stores the OLAP tables.
  • BI Server: this server is responsible for converting human readable business rules to queries, it stores these instructions in a file called an RPD, this file also stores the passwords and the connection configuration, this server runs as a simple service (doesn’t require an app server of any kind) and it connects to the OLAP DB using a connection string and simple DB connection.
  • BI Presentation Server: 10g version was hosted on Siebel’s SAW but in later versions it is now hosted on a weblogic instance, this server is responsible for displaying the results of the reports it also displays the dashboards, you can set up different security levels, and even user groups. the resulted configuration are saved in files, the resulted reports are either saved in a shared folder (can be accessed by others) or a User folder only the creator can access them, each user customizes his own dashboard and that too is saved in the user’s file.
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