Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) provides a complete analytics solution with capabilities from Oracle’s traditional business intelligence (BI) offerings such as OBIEE 12c, Essbase, and Data Visualization. Key features of the OAC Platform-as-a-Service (PAAS) solution include:
- Extensive service management capabilities to create instances; scale out services to meet demand; start and stop services; use APIs and client tools; and manage all aspects of development lifecycle operations.
- SSH connectivity to the server to access log files and configuration files, or to monitor any aspect of the environment.
- Easily scalable to boost the system capacity (CPU or memory) to support adding users when the workload demands it.
Services in Oracle Analytics Cloud
In order to run all of the OAC services in the cloud, it is necessary to also purchase additional cloud services for the database, storage and backup service, and a compute engine. OAC’s main services include:
Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS). One of Oracle’s proven solutions in the cloud which can be used to build dashboards and analyses based on a common metadata model. The metadata model can be configured using either the traditional on premise OBIEE admin tool with “lift-and-shift” to the cloud or can be modified using a web-based simplified modeling tool.
Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service (DVCS). Helps in self-service visualizations that empowers the business users to convert raw data to meaningful business insights. It eliminates the need for IT to blend data and to build visualizations. You can also combine data from a variety of sources such as Oracle and other SaaS applications, on-premises systems, external sources and personal files.
With PAC, the above two services are combined with the Essbase Cloud Service (EssCS). EssCS lets you build OLAP cubes quickly and efficiently and offers improved performance and advanced modeling capabilities. EssCS retains most of the on-premise features of Essbase.
Configuration Steps for OAC
The configuration steps outlined below are based on OAC Version 17.2.3.
- Create Cloud Storage. Before creating an OAC service, an “Oracle Cloud Storage” container needs to be created. This container is used for storing backups, provisioning log files, etc. Creating a container is as simple as providing a name for it; for example, “OAC” in the examples that follow. This storage container will later be referenced in the OAC service creation steps.
- Create Cloud Database Service. The database configuration step is similar to configuring an on-premise database. Remember, with OAC you don’t need to download and install any software, you just configure a database instance.
To configure the database service, specify the below mandatory parameters:
- Service Name. The name of the database service.
- Service Level. Two service levels are available:
- Oracle Database Cloud Service (DBaaS). With this option, you configure the database and follow additional steps for backup, recovery and patching.
- Oracle Database Cloud Service (DBCS). With this option, you configure the database and no additional steps are required for backup, recovery and patching.
Metering Frequency – This defines how the service will be charged. Two options are available: Monthly or Hourly.
Software Release – Oracle DB software release available are 11.2, 12.1 and 12.2.
Software Edition – This includes below options, choose as needed.
- Standard Edition
- Enterprise Edition
- Enterprise Edition – High Performance
- Enterprise Edition – Extreme Performance
Database Type – This option is primarily used in case of Production environments for high availability and disaster recovery options. Below are the options available:
- Single Instance
- Database Clustering with RAC
- Single Instance with Data Guard Standby
- Database Clustering with RAC and Data Gard Standby
After clicking next, in the second section specify all the service details.
In the database configuration section highlighted above, specify the name of the database, the container database if the chosen software release was 12c and the password.
Usable Database Storage – This is the amount of space required for the OS, DB software, temp files etc. In an actual scenario an instance can utilize more space than what is mentioned here.
Compute Shape – This specifies the capacity of the VM. Multiple combinations of OCPUs and RAM are available. Choose based on your own requirements. Note: This can be altered in future. A higher combination of OCPUs and Memory will result in a more powerful environment – but it is important to remember that OAC service costs will be based on the number of OCPUs and memory, so be careful to not over configure the environment.
SSH public key – This key is a gateway to connect to the instance created in the cloud from other applications. The public key can either be downloaded from here or we can also generate our own public key. For this public key, a corresponding private key is also required. A user ‘opc’ along with a private key (mapped to the public key provided above) is used for authentication using an SSH client.
The next set of parameters are related to backup and recovery.
All the options are straightforward except the reference to the “Cloud Storage Container”. This parameter is specified in this Storage-<domain>/<name> format where ‘Storage’ is a keyword, ‘domain’ is the name with which you are registered in the cloud and ‘name’ is the container created in the first step. If a container does not exist, it can be created at this step by checking the box of ‘Create Cloud Storage Container’. Also, provide the username and the password of the user who has access to the container.
The last section is Advanced Settings and in most cases no change is required in this section.
Click on next and review the configuration details on the Summary screen before clicking next for the actual service creation process to begin. It takes about 30 minutes for the configuration to complete if no errors are encountered. In case of any failure during the service creation the process will automatically restart at a 30-minute mark.
- Create OAC service: Before starting the creation of OAC service, ensure that the DB service created in the above step is up and running. Start the service from the service console and monitor its health in the Activity tab. Start creating a service by choosing an ‘Analytics Service’ from the service creation page and provide the parameters similar to the ones provided for the database service.
Specify the name of the instance, provide the SSH public key, Metering frequency. Also select the Software Edition of the instance. There are two options: Enterprise Edition or Standard Edition. Standard Edition comes with Data Visualization Cloud Service and/or Essbase Cloud Service; Enterprise Edition comes with the Standard edition options plus the cloud based version of OBIEE 12c.
At the second step, more detailed parameters are specified. Each of them are described below:
Database Service name – Choose the name of the active database service
PDB/SID – Provide the name of the container database in cases where the database is version 12c and service instance in the case of database version 11g.
Database Administrator username and Password – User is ‘sys’ and provide the password.
Options – Specifies the various flavors of OAC service.
- Self-Service Data Visualization, Preparation and Smart Discovery – provides Data Visualization component and is available for both Standard and Enterprise Editions
- Enterprise Data Models – BI – provides OBIEE and available only for Enterprise Edition. Also, this option can be combined with the Data Visualization option.
- Collaborative Data Collection, Scenarios and What-if Analysis – Essbase – provides Essbase component and is available for both Standard and Enterprise Editions. This can’t be combined with other options.
Note – You can either choose these options independently or BI and DV service together as in below screenshot.
Size and space parameters are similar to the ones defined in the database service section. Options section looks like the below screenshot and gives Enterprise edition with both DV and OBIEE components.
Cloud storage configuration is similar to the database service section except the cloud URL part. The URL has a specific format https://example.storage.oraclecloud.com/v1 . Here ‘example’ is the domain name and the rest of the URL should be same.
Next is the summary screen to review the parameters. It can take about 40-50 mins for the OAC service to be created.
Once the service is up and running, click on the menu options on the right side of the service console to access the Cloud Analytics URL.
Login to BI using the default user id and password. Upon logging in successfully, you will land on the Data Visualization home page with a URL http(s)://<ip address>/va.
To access the cloud version of OBIEE Analytics use the same IP address and the URL will be http(s)://<ip address>/analytics
Hopefully the description of the process of creating Oracle Analytics Cloud services demonstrates how easy it is to manage an enterprise BI environment in the Cloud. The process is quite simple and allows administrators to focus on more important tasks.