Vlamis Test Drive Updates

We at Vlamis Software Solutions, Inc. have been working hard to give you some updates to Vlamis' Oracle Test Drive program, and we wanted to let you briefly know about them. 

As a reminder, our test drives run with the actual Oracle software running on the Amazon Web Services EC2 environment.  They give you hands-on experience with the software and a tour of the features. If, after registration, you need additional time or need further instructions, simply send an email to testdrive@vlamis.com and we would be glad to help you.

First, we are offering Oracle's new Big Data test drive, which is made up of five individual hands on labs that explore both Big Data and NoSQL Access to the Oracle Database.  The data used is from Oracle Big Data Lite's MoviePlex.  You can sample and see the inner workings of a movie streaming company.

Second, the Oracle Advanced Analytics test drive is now using Oracle R version 1.4 as well as SQL Developer 4.0. In addition, both the Advanced Analytics and Big Data test drives are using Amazon Web Services’ new test drive launch platform, version 3.0. The new launch process is more user friendly. Once a test drive is launched, there is a video as well as written instruction that takes you through the start-up process, typically taking no longer than ten minutes.

Lastly, we are in the process of migrating our OBIEE and Map Viewer test drives to Amazon’s new platform, and when they move, they will also be migrating to the newly released SampleApp 406.  These changes are rapidly approaching, so stay tuned!  In the meantime, you can still access both of test drives in their current version.

Thank you for allowing Vlamis to be your Oracle test drive resource!  We appreciate your support.

BIWA Summit 2014 is a Wrap

The Vlamis team at BIWA SummitLast week saw several of us in Redwood Shores, CA at Oracle’s World Headquarters for the 2014 BIWA Summit.  BIWA (Business Intelligence Warehousing and Analytics) is the special interest group (SIG) of IOUG that focuses specifically on the analytic options to the database such as Oracle Advanced Analytics including Oracle Data Mining and Oracle R Enterprise, Oracle Spatial and Graph, and Oracle OLAP and also on the various business intelligence offerings from Oracle including OBIEE, Essbase, Endeca, and more.

Vlamis Software Solutions was *very* involved in the conference. Dan served as co-conference chair and hosted many of the general sessions, Cathye Pendley was also on the conference committee and did yeoman’s work on several aspects of the conference including registration and the promotional email marketing campaign (Cathye was recognized by receiving the annual John Haydu Award for Outstanding Contribution to BIWA for all her contributions and effort), Jon Clark organized and managed the computing environment for all of the hands-on labs at BIWA, and I delivered several presentations and hands-on labs.

The keynote presentation from James Taylor (author of Smart (Enough) Systems) was a highlight of the conference. James focused on how decision support and evidence-based analysis formed the foundation of best practices among leading firms and organizations. A clear fan of business rules, predictive analytics, decision support systems, strongly encouraged everyone to “begin with the decision in mind” and to leverage the power of modern systems for operational decision making.

Social HourBalaji Yelamanchili, Senior Vice President of Oracle and the head of the Business Intelligence Product Development, kept everyone in their seats Wednesday evening (and away from the beer) by addressing the future of Oracle BI by showing off several new (yet to be released) versions of the product line in live demos (handled ably by Chris Lynskey). Lots of interesting new data visualization and interaction features are in the offing including BI Ask (a semantic search capability), BI Analyzer (new UI), and Mobile App Designer (already released, but lots of new capabilities). Suffice it say that Oracle is investing heavily in the future of its business intelligence line up.

Philippe Lions gave a fast-paced and engaging view of Sample App V309 and the integration of Oracle Advanced Analytics and in-data base analytics with OBIEE 11g. I followed the demo along on my laptop on our own instance so that I could soak up as much detail as I possibly could. SampleApp remains as a tremendous resource for technical tricks and methodologies for getting the maximum out of OBIEE.

Below is a list of the sessions in which we were involved. We feel very lucky to associated with such a tremendous event. Be sure to mark your calendars for the week of January 26, 2015 for next year’s conference. Thanks to everyone for attending, contributing, participating, and making this year’s conference such a success.

Vlamis's Sessions

Smart New Choices for Oracle Data Mining (part 2)

Data visualization is near and dear to my heart (as it is for the majority of folks engaged in advanced analytics). The new Graph node in Oracle Data Miner, the GUI extension in SQL Developer 4.0 for, adds important visualization capabilities directly in the workflow interface where analysts graphically build data mining workflows. This allows analysts to output a standard graph or chart at any point in the workflow.

Once again, simplicity and efficiency guided the Oracle product management development team in terms of deciding what capabilities to add to the interface. The choices for chart types cover the fundamental options for visualizing data including: Line Chart, Bar Chart, Scatter Plot, Histogram, and Box Plot. While this is no means a comprehensive list, it does allow for an analyst to make a chart in a manner of minutes (the interface is clean and simple and again demonstrates a “utilitarian” emphasis on achieving fast results rather than a bloated interface with every bell and whistle requiring extensive time learning the interface. The inclusion of the Box Plot graph which visually shows the distribution of data within a set is particularly welcome.

Let’s say, for example, that you are doing a clustering analysis and discover an interesting correlation among two of the parameters that is important in creating your cluster definitions and you want to highlight it directly in a graph. Sure, you could use the built-in explore capabilities for the clusters which have their own graphing features (perhaps how you discovered it in the first place), but there is all kinds of other information included in those graphs and short of taking a screen shot, it would be hard to export it. You can simply attach an apply and your original data source node to your cluster node (remember, you need a data flow node to create an export table or graph) and create a simple scatterplot that highlights the relationship (graph the two important attributes on the X and Y axes and group by cluster number) in a matter of just a few minutes. This graph can then be exported or copied to the clipboard (and it can remain in the workflow and be updated just as any other object would be.)

While there were already some very powerful visualization capabilities built in to the Explore Data node and within each of the Model Nodes themselves, this new Graph node further extends Oracle Data Miner capabilities to be a powerful, everyday tool for in-database data mining. Furthermore, it completely lives up to Oracle Data Mining’s strategic vision of extending ODM with powerful, smart capabilities that focus on delivering value quickly rather than including every knob and dial under the sun.