Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) 11g is the most significant release of OBIEE since 2006.
This article contains the significant changes and new features of OBIEE 11g.
- Oracle Business Intelligence is now more integrate with the Oracle Fusion Middleware software family.
- Oracle WebLogic Server replaces Oracle Application Server and Oracle Containers for Java (OC4J).
- Oracle Business Intelligence 11g Installer replaces the installer that was used in previous versions of Oracle Business Intelligence. It can perform software installation and configuration steps in the same process or separately in their own processes
- This release add the following administration command-line utilities:
- Oracle WebLogic Server scripting tool (WLST) for managing the Oracle WebLogic Server domain.
- OPMN and the opmnctl commands for the Oracle Process Manager and Notification Server.
- A database repository must be created before installation of the components with the Repository Creation Utility (RCU) tool
- Log centralization via the web log viewer
In addition, Oracle Business Intelligence is now deployed in a clustered configuration by default. Because of this, the default ODBC DSN for the Oracle BI Server points to the Cluster Controller by default, rather than to the Oracle BI Server.
The most significant difference between Oracle Business Intelligence 10g and 11g, is:
- the deployment to Oracle WebLogic Server,
- and the integration of Oracle Business Intelligence with Oracle Fusion Middleware.
The administration is done using:
- Oracle WebLogic Server Administration Console (Java Component)
- and Fusion Middleware Control (non-Java components)
You no longer need to manually change configuration files for most administration tasks.
Many configuration settings that affect repository development, including the default published repository, are now centrally managed in Fusion Middleware Control. You can no longer manually change these configuration settings such as the default ODBC DSN for the Oracle BI Server.
In Oracle Business Intelligence release 10g users and groups could be defined within a repository file using Oracle BI Administration Tool. In Oracle Business Intelligence release 11g users and groups can no longer be defined within a repository.
Oracle Business Intelligence authenticates users and get groups using an Oracle WebLogic Server authentication provider against user information held in an identity store.
In 11g any named user can be granted administrative permissions if desired. This compares to 10g where there was a single user with administrative permissions who was named Administrator.
- Groups no longer exist in the repository as objects. Instead, you implement data access security based on the application roles to which a user belongs.
- Application roles are managed in an external policy store. Application role objects exist in the repository, but these objects are pointers (references) to the externally managed roles.
- Users are managed in an external authentication provider and are no longer managed in the repository. User objects exist in the repository, but these objects are pointers (references) to the externally managed users.
In Presentation Catalog, the Everyone group has been replaced with the AuthenticatedUser role
SA Subject System Area
Oracle BI Delivers now accesses information about users, their groups, and email addresses directly from the configured identity store. In many cases this completely removes the need to extract this information from your corporate directory into a database and configure SA Subject System Area to enable all Delivers functionality. SA System Subject Area is still supported for backward compatibility.
Systems Management API
The new BI Systems Management API Java programming interface includes a rich set of standards-based JMX MBeans to enable developers to automate administrative operations using Java and scripting technologies such as WLST (WebLogic Scripting Tool) and JPython.
You can also use the BI Systems Management API to programmatically start and stop Oracle Business Intelligence. This feature is especially helpful for automating rolling restart of Oracle BI Servers in a cluster, to enable repository upgrade with zero end-user downtime.
For information, see Introducing the Oracle BI Systems Management API
This release provides new configuration settings for table, pivot table, graph, and gauge views. The release also introduces a new type called map view. See Configuring and Managing Analyses and Dashboards
This release introduces several enhancements for localizing your system, including:
- and alias tables: Often, members in Essbase cubes have separate aliases for each user language to enable users to view member names in their own language. Typically, you define a session variable to dynamically select the appropriate alias upon user login.
Hierarchy Objects in the Presentation Layer
You can now define presentation hierarchies and presentation levels in the Presentation layer. These objects provide an explicit way to expose the multidimensional model in Oracle BI Answers and enables users to create hierarchy-based queries.
Presentation hierarchies expose analytic functionality such as:
- member selection,
- custom member groups,
- and asymmetric queries.
Support for Unbalanced (Ragged) and Skip-Level Hierarchies
Oracle Business Intelligence now supports:
- unbalanced hierarchies (An unbalanced (or ragged) hierarchy is a hierarchy where the leaves (members with no children) do not necessarily have the same depth.)
- skip-level hierarchies (A skip-level hierarchy is a hierarchy where there are members that do not have a value for a particular ancestor level. )
- parent-child hierarchies. Parent-child hierarchies (also called value hierarchies) contain members that all have the same type. For example, an organizational chart has a distinct parent-child hierarchy, but all members are employees.
Creating Subject Areas for Logical Stars and Snowflakes
You can automatically create one subject area (formerly called presentation catalog) for each logical star or logical snowflake in your business model.
You can configure logical columns so that Oracle Business Intelligence users can select the currency in which they prefer to view currency columns in analyses and dashboards.
Generating and Applying XML Patch Files
You can now generate an XML patch file that contains only the changes made to a repository. This patch can be then applied to the old (original) version of the repository to create the new version. This is very useful for development-to-production scenarios, and can also be used for Oracle BI Applications customers to upgrade their repository.
You can also use the Oracle BI Server XML utilities to create a generic, XML-based representation of the Oracle Business Intelligence repository metadata, on any supported Oracle BI Server operating system.
Enhancements for Multiuser Development and Repository Lifecycle Management
The following list summarizes improvements and new features for multiuser development and repository lifecycle management:
- MUD projects now explicitly include subject areas (formerly called presentation catalogs). Object security permissions no longer affect which presentation objects are included in a checked-out repository.
- You can select options in the Merge Repository Wizard or set options in the MUD options file to automatically check consistency and equalize during merges.
- Improved Merge Repository Wizard integration enables a single step input for repositories. You no longer have to select repositories one by one and wait for them to load.
- You can now extract objects on all platforms using the command-line utility extractprojects.
- The two-way merge feature (full merge without a common parent) enables easier consolidation of separate repositories.
Metadata Repository File
Repositories now have a repository password that encrypts the repository contents using a strong encryption algorithm. This feature ensures that repository metadata is secure, including data source credentials in connection pool objects.
Repositories now have repository-specific passwords that are used to encrypt the repository contents. The repository password is stored in an external credential store when you publish a repository in Fusion Middleware Control, so that the Oracle BI Server can retrieve the password to load the repository.
Note that a blank repository password is not allowed.
To reduce storage needs, repositories are now stored in a compressed format. Because of this, you may notice that the size of an RPD file opened and saved in this release is significantly smaller than the size of RPD files from previous releases.
The following new and revised SQL functions enable users to create time series calculations and level-based measures:
- PERIODROLLING is a new function that computes the aggregate of a measure over the period starting x units of time and ending y units of time from the current time.
- AGGREGATE AT is a new function that aggregates columns based on the level or levels specified.
- AGO is a time series aggregation function that calculates the aggregated value from the current time back to a specified time period. In this release, the time_level argument is optional, and there are additional syntax changes. This function was called PERIODAGO in a previous release.
- TODATE is a time series aggregation function that aggregates a measure attribute from the beginning of a specified time period to the currently displayed time. The syntax for this function has changed in this release. This function was called PERIODTODATE in a previous release.
SELECT_PHYSICAL statements provide the functionality to directly query objects in the Physical layer of the metadata repository, and to nest such a statement within a query against the Business Model and Mapping layer or the Presentation layer.
Calculated members are user-defined dimension members whose measure values are calculated at run time. You can define a calculated member within a dimension through a formula that references other members of the same dimension.
Oracle Business Intelligence now supports:
- Hyperion Financial Management
- ADF Business Component. With this feature, users can integrate operational reporting with any application that is built on top of the ADF Framework.
- Oracle Retail Predictive Application Server (RPAS) Data Store using the RPAS ODBC driver.
You can now drag and drop XMLA objects (whole XMLA database or cube tables, at the same time or one by one) into the logical layer to automatically create a consistent business model.
You can now use a standby database with Oracle Business Intelligence. A standby database is used mainly for its high availability and failover functions as a backup for the primary database.
Aggregate Persistence Auto-Indexing
For greater performance, Oracle Business Intelligence now creates indexes and statistics on relational tables when aggregates are persisted.
Pruning Utility to Delete Unwanted Repository Objects
Oracle Business Intelligence now includes a pruning utility to remove unwanted objects from your repository. This utility is especially useful for Oracle BI Applications customers who only need to use a subset of the objects included in the shipped Oracle BI Applications repository. See Appendix E, “Deleting Unwanted Objects from the Repository” for more information.
Ability to Defer Execution of Session Variable Initialization Blocks
To improve session logon time and save resources, administrators can defer execution of selected session variable initialization blocks until the associated session variables are actually used within the session.
Key Terminology Changes
In this release, the following terminology changes have been made:
- iBots have been renamed to agents (also known as intelligent agents)
- Requests (or reports) have been renamed to analyses, and the term reports now refers to BI Publisher reports
- Presentation columns have been renamed to attribute columns
- Charts have been renamed to graphs
Major User Interface Improvements
The user interface has undergone major improvements in several areas, including a new Home page and redesigned editors and panes. These improvements are intended to make working with Oracle BI EE easier and more consistent. This guide provides detailed information on working with the various pieces of the user interface.
The interface has been enhanced to better serve the needs of users with disabilities. Accessibility Features
You can create Analysis from Simple SQL dialog box.
New Column Type: hierarchical column
In previous releases, you included presentation columns and measure columns in analyses. With this release, presentation columns have been renamed to attribute columns and a new column type, hierarchical column, is introduced.
Along with the new column type comes new ways to do the following:
- Limit the data that is displayed in an analysis. You can continue to use a filter to limit the data for an attribute column, and you can use a selection step to limit data for columns by specifying the criteria for a set of members.
- Drill in data. You can drill to expand and collapse values in views such as tables, pivot tables, graphs, and maps.
- Sort data values. You can apply sorts to members, measures, and rows in views such as tables, pivot tables, graphs, and maps. Sorting is now enabled by default. See Sorting Data in Views
Enhancements to Views
Several of the view types have been enhanced, including those in the following list:
- Table and pivot table have been enhanced to function more consistently and to display hierarchical columns. In a pivot table, you can easily drag and drop columns to various edges, to rearrange the display to suit your needs.
- Graph and gauge have been enhanced with additional functionality. For example, you can define section sliders for graphs and gauges.
- Map view is a new view type that presents data in spatial form. Through location context, map views allow users to easily discover trends and transactions across regions that might not be obvious in tables or graphs.
- you can also create master-detail relationships among certain view types.
Calculated Items and Groups
You can continue to create calculated items to perform mathematical operations on members. In previous releases, you could create a calculated item for an attribute column. In this release, you can create a calculated item for the members of an attribute column or of a hierarchical column.
In this release, you can create a “group” of members to display in a view. The group inherits the aggregation function of the measure column with which it is displayed.
Multiple Subject Areas
In this release, you can work with multiple subject areas. In addition to the primary subject area that you select when you create a new analysis, filter, or dashboard prompt, you can include additional subject areas that are related to the primary subject area with which to work.
In addition, you can view metadata information for subject areas, folders, columns, and hierarchy levels. See “Viewing Metadata Information from the Subject Areas Pane” for information.
Enhancements to Formatting
This release includes enhancements to the way that default formatting is handled. Conditional formatting has been enhanced to work with pivot tables and with hierarchical columns.
Enhancements to the Oracle BI Presentation Catalog
The Oracle BI Presentation Catalog is a powerful, underlying storage directory-based system that contains the objects (dashboards, scorecards, prompts, and KPIs for example) that you create. If you use BI Publisher, then the catalog also contains BI Publisher data and objects (data models and schedules, for example). Using the catalog, you can:
- Perform basic tasks such as creating, deleting, and copying objects and folders.
- Perform object-specific tasks (for example, modifying settings using the associated editor, or creating and assigning an agent).
- Find objects by performing a search.
In addition to these tasks, administrators can:
- Access the root folder that contains system-wide object and user data.
- Specify permissions that determine the folders and objects that users can view.
- Create folders.
- Work with properties such as changing the ownership of a folder or viewing the creation date of an object.
- Archive the entire catalog, folders, or objects to unzip them in another directory location.
Full-Text Search Capability
This release provides a mechanism for searching for objects in the Oracle BI Presentation Catalog that is similar to a full-text search. You can search for objects by various attributes, such as name and description.
In this release, you can create actions that navigate to related content or that invoke operations, functions, or processes in external systems.
In this release, you can create new objects called conditions. Conditions return a single Boolean value that is based on the evaluation of an analysis or of a key performance indicator (KPI).
Enhancements to Agents
In this release, the functionality of agents (previously called iBots) has been enhanced to incorporate support for conditions and for actions.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
In this release, you can create KPIs to represent business measures or metrics (Units Shipped, Manufacturing Costs for example) that you want to monitor, improve, and use to evaluate the performance of the objectives and initiatives that comprise levels of organizational strategy. Use KPIs to perform these tasks:
- Collect and present business metrics in a variety of formats such as custom views, analyses, and dashboards.
- Aggregate data where KPIs intersect other metrics by specifying dimensionality. For example, a Product Sales KPI can be dimensioned by Region and Fiscal Time to view Product Sales by region and different periods of time such as financial quarter.
To proactively respond to changes in KPI performance, you can create the following:
- Agents that notify you when a KPI assesses a specific performance state, such as warning.
- Action links that are tasks associated with performance state.
- Create a KPI Watchlist of the KPIs that you want to monitor the most frequently or closely.
Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management
In this release, you can use Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management to articulate, evaluate (scorecard), and evolve the performance of your organization or key business areas. You can use Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management to define, depict, and monitor the progress of the strategic goals and requirements (objectives) key to corporate functions, and the tasks and projects (initiatives) that are required to achieve those goals.
Oracle BI Publisher fully integrated
Oracle BI Publisher is a fully integrated member of the Oracle BI EE suite by default. All of the BI Publisher functionality appears seamlessly within the Oracle BI EE application, and all of the reports and related objects are created within Oracle BI EE and saved to the Oracle BI Presentation Catalog.
Single sign-on capability is provided. The Release 11g security model has been extended to include additional BI Publisher-specific permissions, such as xmlp_template_designer.
How Will Report-Based Totals Created in Previous Releases Be Upgraded?
In previous releases, you had the ability to create report-based totals in table views. Because report-based totals are handled slightly differently in this release, you might notice a difference in totals as follows:
- If the previous table included all report-based totals, then all measure columns and attribute columns in the upgraded table will use the Default option with the Report-Based Total option.
- If the previous table view included a mix of report-based totals and non-report-based totals, then all measure columns and attribute columns in the upgraded table will use the Default option with the Report-Based Total option. You can work around the upgraded totals manually. If you want to use the same measure value as in the previous release, then duplicate the measure column in the table and use the Aggregation Rule menu to specify a non-report-based total.
- If the previous table view included all non-report-based totals, then all measure columns and attribute columns in the upgraded table will continue to use non-report-based totals.
How Will Interactions Created in Views in Previous Releases Be Upgraded?
In previous releases of Oracle BI EE, you could set up interactions at the view level, which allowed you to override the interactions that had been set up at the criteria level. In this release, you create all interactions at the criteria level. If you upgrade from a previous release, then all interactions will be moved to the measures at the criteria level and will take effect for all views.
For example, suppose that you had created an analysis in a previous release whose criteria was defined as Region, District, Dollars, and Units. In addition, you had created an interaction for a graph view. To upgrade the interaction for this release, the interaction will be moved to both Dollars and Units at the criteria level.