In one of my previous blogs, I discussed the use of Essbase as an aggregate persistence target. Using Essbase as an aggregate source is an excellent option in general to the traditional approach of creating an aggregate table in the data warehouse – and if you are licensed for BI Foundation Suite 184.108.40.206, you can now run OBIEE and Essbase all on the OBIEE server. If you have a separate Essbase license, you may be okay – always check with your Oracle sales contact.
As of OBIEE 220.127.116.11, you can now install and run a “Limited Use” (lightweight) version of the Essbase server in OBIEE.
Here is a list of features included with what I call “Lightweight OBI Essbase:”
- Essbase Server
- Essbase Agent
- Essbase Studio
- Essbase Administration Services (EAS)
- Provider Services
- Financial Reporting
- Calculation Manager
You can now elect to install Lightweight OBI Essbase during the OBIEE installation. Typically you would choose Enterprise Install as your option. Installation and configuration are done in one step using Enterprise Install versus two with the typical EPM install.
There is no Shared Services involved in configuring security – surprise! Yes, it’s true. Essbase is secured using WebLogic roles and the Oracle Platform Security Services – just OBIEE. On a separate but related note, I do believe this is how future versions of EPM will be configured as well. In fact, I can envision that Oracle will have one universal installer for both OBIEE and EPM at some point in near future.
Administration of Essbase in OBIEE is all done through WebLogic.
- Security and provisioning is all done in in the WebLogic admin console http://yourapp:7001/console
o If you have integrated with a third-party application like Microsoft Active Directory, then you would perform provisioning there, otherwise you would use the “Embedded LDAP” that comes out of the box
- Stopping and starting of Essbase is done through the Enterprise Manager http://yourapp:7001/em.
o Essbase is run with the Oracle Process Manager, just like all the other OBIEE components
o You can start and stop it though the command line as well opmnctl – startall – stopall (there is specific syntax to pick the specific component, but startall and stopall work fairly quickly)
Once you develop your cube using EAS, you then create a connection pool and import the cube. This makes the cube available for use in the user interface as a “Subject Area” where you can pick and choose columns through an easy interface (remember you need to know where your data intersections are!).
You can access Essbase as I described in my previous section on development, or you can access it via Workspace (yes, /workspace is now a valid path in OBIEE…more on the implications of this in another blog)!
In summary, if you have BI Foundation Suite licensing, do not own any other Essbase licenses, and have no intent to implement other applications such as Planning…this may be a good way to go for your organization. I believe this reflects the future state of EPM as a product being co-located with, or folded into, OBIEE as a subordinate component. Oracle has made it abundantly clear that they are putting their entire R&D effort into OBIEE as their premiere BI and reporting application. I think Oracle will continue to provide a standalone EPM install, but will eventually corral the customer base down the path of OBIEE.
Author: John McGale, Performance Architects