OBIEE 12c

For Organizations New to Predictive Analytics, Bet on a Process and Not on a Project

Advanced Analytics Projects are Atypical

Successful projects using data mining algorithms often have returns that are well above normal business Returns on Investment. 200%, 500% or even 1000%+ ROIs are not unheard of. So why isn’t there a rush to do more Proof of Concept projects? Having designed and pitched dozens of these, I have concluded that it’s largely because of corporate politics. I’m not using the term “corporate politics” in a pejorative sense, but rather as a fact of life that results from normal business structures and organizational dynamics. So perhaps the question is not “how do we fight better to get funding for new data mining projects?”, but rather it’s “how do we lower the political risk associated with Proof of Concept projects using data mining algorithms and predictive analytic techniques?” We recently did a program with a client which did exactly that.

 

Place a Lot of Bets

Think like a venture capitalist. Place a large number of small bets rather than one or two large bets. We recently led a predictive analytics summit workshop at a client’s headquarters where representatives of different functional areas of the corporation were invited to bring their own data for a day-and-a-half of intense data discovery using advanced data visualization and predictive analytics tools (Oracle Data Visualization Desktop and OBIEE 12c). There were roughly 40 participants from groups as diverse as sales, service, finance, operations, and marketing. Everyone sat at round tables organized by function in one large room (a table for sales, a table for finance, etc.). The participants were largely comprised of the business intelligence system’s “power users”. A few had engineering or technical backgrounds that gave them a leg up in statistics and analytics, but most were just smart people interested in their business and data analysis. We also had plenty of help on hand including representatives from the IT staff who could solve potential data connection or data structure issues, a couple data scientists who knew statistics cold, some experts in the software interface who could help with “where do I click?” questions, and some support staff who made sure that all the conference logistics were handled.

 

Amazing Returns

The results were incredible. One “discovered” insight provided the >1000% ROI that qualifies as a “home run”. The workshop participant made an appointment with his VP to share the insight and its visualization for the next business day (why wait?). In totality, more than 30 projects were identified as potentially significant areas for future work and development. Was it all sunshine and unicorns? Not at all. Some people struggled to get their data sets fully prepped for predictive analytic processes. Others changed their minds during the middle of working on something and never really finished an analysis. But there was no stigma attached to not hitting the ball out of the park. Everyone who was there contributed to the success of the overall workshop. Perhaps one of the most significant outcomes was the cross-functional collaboration between the different teams. A few hours into the workshop after walking around and observing everyone and helping some people, we identified some interesting and promising results. We asked people to present their initial findings and visualizations to the entire room in the context of their business problem. It got people thinking broadly about the business and how their work might intersect with others’ work. It also showed different visualization and analytic techniques. And it provided a bit of a break from discovery work without losing momentum in the workshop.

 

The Secret to Success is in the Preparation

Everyone who does data mining or predictive analytics knows that half the battle and more than half the work is in preparing the data. Likewise, there is a lot of work in preparing a successful workshop and setting everyone up for success. We did several things and leveraged several of our internal processes we typically use on consulting engagements. All participants were required to write up their business cases in advance (we provided them with an outline of questions). Participants were required to submit their individual data sets in advance based on explicit directions. Finally, all participants were asked to review introductory articles and videos on predictive analytics in advance so a common foundation of terms and concepts could be leveraged in the actual hands-on work. There were also “preworkshop” meetings where we reviewed the process and answered questions and made sure that people were making progress on their business cases and data sets. Using one of the data sets, we developed a training exercise customized to their data with a step-by-step data discovery process so that participants were able to see theory applied in practice.

 

The Best Way to Get Started is to… Start

Want to get traction and help predictive analytics get going your business? Consider sponsoring a multi-day workshop for a sizeable (but not enormous) group of power users with several different business cases. You may not know precisely which ones will be the winners going in and the proctors may have to accept some degree of discomfort in not knowing the details of the “live” data sets, but it’s basically what venture capitalists do. They spread their bets, enable and assist where they can, and somehow, they manage to do pretty well.

If you want to talk about your business and how a workshop might help, send me a note to tvlamis@vlamis.com or just call me at 816-781-2880.

Oracle BI 12.2.1.1 New Features Webinar Replay Available Now

We would like to thank everyone who attended Dan’s webinar Oracle BI 12.2.1.1 New Features. We had an overwhelming interest in this webinar as one attendee wrote: “What to say great presentation! I will be looking out for more!” Unfortunately, demand for this webinar exceeded the available resources. If you were not able to attend or are interested in viewing the webinar again, the replay is available now.

Topics that were covered in this webinar:
  • Feature parity with BI Cloud Service (BICS) and Data Visualization Cloud Service (DVCS)
  • New Visualizations in VA
    • Donut
    • Combo (with dual axis)
    • Stacked Scatter
    • Images
  • Dashboard subpages
  • Insights, Storytelling and Presentation mode
  • Color management (change the palette)
  • Improved filtering and drill down
  • Data Wrangling
    • Wrangling interface available on the Stage (VA has Canvas and Stage)
    • Matching RPD to XSA and XSA to XSA
  • Detailed Upgrade Guide
  • BVT enhancements (for upgrading from OBIEE 11 or 12.2.1)
  • BI Publisher Enhancements

Oracle BI 12.2.1.1 New Features Webinar July 19 12PM Central

Join Dan Vlamis, Oracle ACE Director, as he breaks down the new 12.2.1.1 (first 12c patch release) release of Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, available starting July, 2016 from Oracle. Expect a fast-paced presentation with a live demo using a brand new SampleApp image, on as many of the new features as time allows including:
  • Feature parity with BI Cloud Service (BICS) and Data Visualization Cloud Service (DVCS)
  • New Visualizations in VA
    • Donut
    • Combo (with dual axis)
    • Stacked Scatter
    • Images
  • Dashboard subpages
  • Insights, Storytelling and Presentation mode
  • Color management (change the palette)
  • Improved filtering and drill down
  • Data Wrangling
    • Wrangling interface available on the Stage (VA has Canvas and Stage)
    • Matching RPD to XSA and XSA to XSA
  • Detailed Upgrade Guide
  • BVT enhancements (for upgrading from OBIEE 11 or 12.2.1)
  • BI Publisher Enhancements
This live demonstration has been developed in collaboration with the Oracle BI SampleApp team and will include some upcoming features of Oracle BI SampleApp version 606 virtual machine image, soon to be available from the SampleApp team. Just like our previous demonstrations of new BI releases, we will give a live demonstration of as many of these features as we have time for. Registration is now open.

Deploying Oracle Business Intelligence 12c on AWS EC2 Instance

If you have ever worked as a developer inside of a larger organization and have needed to quickly and easily create a demo or research environment you may have found it difficult to provision the necessary resources and had to wait on someone else to do it for you.  I have never been a fan of waiting or having  server admins question me about the number of processors or amount of RAM I "really" need.  

Because of the flexibility, affordability and ease of deployment and management it no longer makes sense to not use cloud based compute as a part of your dev and test infrastructure.  With the maturation and competition in the compute utility space from players such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and even Oracle it has become extremely easy and affordable to fire up compute instances on demand that act just like any other compute resource inside of your network.  

AWS (Amazon Web Services) has built an excellent on-demand service that offers simple management of storage, compute and networking that anyone with basic developer skills can use. To their credit, the other players in the space are coming along very rapidly as well and which one(s) you use will most likely be a function of convenience.

This YouTube video and companion blog post is copied from a series of posts on my personal blog I've been working on around creating your own development environment utilizing AWS.  If you haven't tried using these resources before because you weren't quite sure how to do it I hope this post gives you the information and confidence you need to give it a try.

-Arthur

 

This is the third in a series of posts around putting together your own Oracle BI development environment on AWS.  Utilizing AWS can be a remarkably affordable (<$50/month assuming system up 50 hours/week) option for most developers.

See Deploying Oracle Database 12c on AWS EC2 Instance and Deploying Oracle APEX on EC2 against Oracle Database on EC2 for more information.  (Note - deploying APEX is not necessary for following this post but you do need a database available)

In this post, I will show you how to install Oracle Business Intelligence 12c on an Amazon Web Services EC2 instance.

First let me list some super helpful resources -

Posts that I use as the basis for what I show in this blog post -

Automating Database Startup and Shutdown on Linux

INSTALLING OBIEE 12C. PART 1: PREREQUISITES

SwapFaq and Swap

How To Install and Configure GUI for Amazon EC2 RHEL 7 Instance

Oracle WebLogic Server 12c: Creating a Boot Identity File for Easier Server Start Up

RPM for Linux Installation Notes

MobaXterm Download

Fix Firefox Already Running Error

Licensing Oracle Software in the Cloud Computing Environment

Workflow for Installing OBIEE 12c

This YouTube video follows the workflow I’ve created below –

 

 Make sure you have a database - See my post: Deploying Oracle Database 12c on AWS EC2 Instance

  1. Provision AWS ol7 Instance
  2. Attach volumes
    • 5GB Swap
    • 15GB /u01
    • 15GB /inv
    • 15GB Root
  3. Login via MobaXterm as ec2-user and change password
    • sudo passwd ec2-user
  4. Install packages needed for instance
    • sudo yum install wget zip unzip -y
    • sudo yum install perl-libwww-perl.noarch -y
    • sudo yum install oracle-rdbms-server-12cR1-preinstall -y (this is used for installing database but works wonderfully for OBIEE too)
  5. Make Swap and mount volumes
    • df -h
    • lsblk
    • sudo mkswap /dev/xvdb (the volume id (xvdb here) is instance dependent)
    • sudo swapon /dev/xvdb
    • sudo vi /etc/fstab
    • /dev/xvdb none swap defaults 0 0
    • sudo mkfs -t ext4 /dev/xvdc (the volume id (xvdd here) is instance dependent)
    • sudo mount /dev/xvdc /u01
    • /dev/xvdc /u01 ext4 defaults 0 0
    • /dev/xvdf /inv ext4 defaults 0 0 (this is for software install files, you may need to format a drive separately for this)
    • sudo mount -a (remount everything to make sure it worked)
  6. Change password for oracle user and make it possible for user to connect remotely (Managing User Accounts on Your Linux Instance)
    • sudo passwd oracle
    • sudo chown -R oracle.oinstall /u01
    • sudo chown -R oracle.oinstall /inv
    • su oracle (switch to oracle user)
    • cd ~(make sure your are in oracle user home)
    • mkdir .ssh (create location for key file)
    • chmod 700 .ssh (set permissions)
    • touch .ssh/authorized_keys (create file)
    • chmod 600 .ssh/authorized_keys (set permissions)
    • GET http://169.254.169.254/latest/meta-data/public-keys/0/openssh-key>.ssh/authorized_keys (copy public key to file)
    • log out and login as oracle user
  7. Install desktop (borrowed from this post at DevOpsCube)
    • su root
    • sudo yum groupinstall -y "Server with GUI"
    • sudo systemctl set-default graphical.target
    • sudo systemctl default
    • sudo rpm -ivh http://li.nux.ro/download/nux/dextop/el7/x86_64/nux-dextop-release-0-1.el7.nux.noarch.rpm
    • sudo yum install -y xrdp tigervnc-server
    • sudo chcon --type=bin_t /usr/sbin/xrdp
    • sudo chcon --type=bin_t /usr/sbin/xrdp-sesman
    • sudo systemctl start xrdp
    • sudo systemctl enable xrdp
    • sudo firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=3389/tcp
    • For OBIEE go ahead and open 9500 and 9502 as well
      • sudo firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=9500/tcp
      • sudo firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=9502/tcp
    • sudo firewall-cmd --reload
  8. Install gconf-editor and disable lock screen
    • yum -y install gconf-editor
    • alt-f2 gconf-editor
    • To disable the lock screen and log out functions, set the /desktop/gnome/lockdown/disable_lockscreen_and_logout key to true.
  9. Install java & set JAVA_HOME in bash profile
    • su root
    • rpm -ivh jdk-8u73-linux-x64.rpm
    • vi /home/oracle/.bash_profile
    • export JAVA_HOME=/usr/java/jdk1.8.0_73
    • export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$PATH
    • source ~/.bash_profile (reloads profile)
  10. Install SQL Developer
    • su root
    • rpm -ivh
    • find -name sqldeveloper*
  11. Install Infrastructure and OBI (borrowed from series of posts starting here by Red Stack Tech)
    • $JAVA_HOME/bin/java -d64 -jar fmw_12.2.1.0.0_infrastructure.jar
    • ./bi_platform-12.2.1.0.0_linux64.bin
    • cd /u01/home/oracle/Oracle/Middleware/Oracle_Home/bi/bin
      ./config.sh
  12. Setup auto start for your pluggable database
    • To set up your pluggable database to autostart on the database you can use a trigger.  Login as the SYS user on the container database and execute the following -
      • create or replace trigger sys.after_startup
        after startup on database
        begin
        execute immediate 'alter pluggable database YOUR_PDB_NAME open read write';
        end after_startup;
      • I have links to Tim Hall's post on how to autostart your database in this post on Deploying Oracle Database 12c on AWS EC2 Instance
  13. Setup auto start for OBIEE 12c
    • To make sure your weblogic instance doesn't prompt for user name and password set up a boot identity file
      • cd /u01/home/oracle/Oracle/Middleware/Oracle_Home/user_projects/domains/bi/servers/AdminServer
      • mkdir security
      • cd security
      • vi boot.properties
        • add lines -
          • username=YOUR_WEBLOGIC_USER
            password=YOUR_WEBLOGIC_PASSWORD
    • To make your OBIEE instance auto-start when you start the machine instance I have borrowed from Tim Hall's post on auto-starting the Oracle database look under the heading The "rsh" Command for the auto-start script for a database
    • Create a file called "/etc/init.d/dbora" as the root user and copy the script on Tim Halls page to the file
      • Change the line ORACLE_HOME line to your OBI startup script location
        • ORACLE_HOME=/u01/home/oracle/Oracle/Middleware/Oracle_Home/user_projects/domains/bi/bitools
        • and the dbstart and dbshut lines to reference the start and stop scripts respectively
          • runuser -l $ORACLE -c "$ORACLE_HOME/bin/start.sh "
          • runuser -l $ORACLE -c "$ORACLE_HOME/bin/stop.sh "
      • Your final script should look something like the following
      • #!/bin/sh# chkconfig: 345 99 10# description: Oracle auto start-stop script.## Change the value of ORACLE_HOME to specify the correct Oracle home

        # directory for your installation.

        ORACLE_HOME=/u01/home/oracle/Oracle/Middleware/Oracle_Home/user_projects/domains/bi/bitools

        #

        # Change the value of ORACLE to the login name of the

        # oracle owner at your site.

        #

        ORACLE=oracle

        PATH=${PATH}:$ORACLE_HOME/bin

        export ORACLE_HOME PATH

        #

        case $1 in

        'start')

        runuser -l $ORACLE -c "$ORACLE_HOME/bin/start.sh "

        touch /var/lock/subsys/dbora

        ;;

        'stop')

        runuser -l $ORACLE -c "$ORACLE_HOME/bin/stop.sh "

        rm -f /var/lock/subsys/dbora

        ;;

        *)

        echo "usage: $0 {start|stop}"

        exit

        ;;

        esac

        #

        exit

    • Lastly change the permissions and add entry for startup
      • chmod 750 /etc/init.d/dbora
      • chkconfig --add dbora