Monthly Archives: June 2017

Oracle BI Cloud Service (BICS) Access Options: Remote Data Connector (RDC) Overview and Configuration

June 21, 2017

Author: Doug Ross, Performance Architects

As more organizations move their business intelligence (BI) environments to the cloud, loading and accessing enterprise data will become as important as the front-end visualizations.  Oracle’s BI Cloud Service (BICS) offers several options for those data requirements that go beyond simple data upload. Each has a specific purpose, features, benefits, and limitations. Only one option allows data to remain on-premise for querying by BICS: Remote Data Connector (RDC).

Rather than moving data to the cloud, RDC enables a secure connection to on-premise data sources for analysis and visualization. RDC utilizes the BI Server Data Gateway running in the BICS environment to provide secure access to on-premise data using private/public key pairs and SSL communication.  The primary benefit of RDC is that it preserves the investment in the technology used to house and load on-premise data warehouses.  It offers a hybrid approach to transitioning to a cloud-based analytics environment without having to also migrate the entire data environment as well.

RDC enables analyses in BICS to connect directly to an on-premise Oracle database following proper configuration of the on-premise firewall, security, and WebLogic installation.  When an analysis is executed in BICS, a SQL request is generated and transmitted to the on-premise WebLogic server.  WebLogic passes that SQL onto the associated database, compresses the resulting dataset, and then returns that result to BICS where it is presented in a visualization view.

This provides organizations with very large on-premise data warehouses the ability to use BICS as a front end without having to duplicate the same data in the cloud.

A Remote Data Connector setup requires the following mandatory components:

  • The Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) BI Administration client tool that is used to create the RPD must be version 12.2.1.0.0 only. This is due to the RDC requiring the JDBC (JNDI) Data Source option for the connection to work. The configured RPD will be “lifted-and-shifted” to the BICS environment while maintaining RDC connections at the physical layer
  • The on-premise database can be Oracle, Teradata, SQL Server, or DB2
  • The on-premise environment must have either a configured WebLogic server or Apache Tomcat server. While prior versions of WebLogic should work, the latest version would be preferred
  • The on-premise WebLogic server must be accessible externally via the necessary networking, security and firewalls configuration. In the RPD, the port defined in the physical connection must accurately route to the WebLogic server port

One important item to understand is that once a “lift-and-shift” of the RPD is performed in the BICS environment, any previous connections to the co-located database ‘Schema Service’ will not be accessible.  The on-premise RPD data model will replace the Schema Service repository and will not be able to connect to Schema Service database objects.

The following diagram produced by Oracle illustrates how the RDC environment works:

Consider the following before implementing an RDC solution:

Network performance will become a much greater factor in the execution time of analyses and visualizations.   Large query result sets transferred over the network will likely introduce latency challenges.

The hybrid approach to BICS data access typically requires significant assistance and support from a customer’s network support team.  There may be resistance to RDC based on corporate policies related to opening up access to internal databases from external sources.


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Oracle BI Cloud Service (BICS) Access Options: When to Use Data Sync Versus Remote Data Connector (RDC)

June 14, 2017

Author: Doug Ross, Performance Architects

Introduction

As more organizations move their business intelligence (BI) environments to the cloud, loading and accessing enterprise data will become as important as the front-end visualizations.  Oracle’s BI Cloud Service (BICS) offers two options for these data requirements that go beyond simple data uploads: Data Sync and Remote Data Connector (RDC).

Other options range from simple manual data loads of spreadsheets using the BICS front end to advanced programmatic options based on REST APIs. Each has a specific purpose, features, benefits, and limitations. As the migration to the cloud and the tools used to support that transition are still in their early stages, this blog post discusses the current state of Data Sync and RDC with the expectation that Oracle will continue to enhance the capabilities of each over time.

Overview

The full list of available BICS data load options includes:

RDC is different from all of the options above in that data is not moved to the cloud; it remains on-premise and is available both to cloud applications like BICS, as well as existing reporting tools in the on-premise environment.

At the most basic level, BI Data Sync and RDC represent two ends of the spectrum in providing access to data in the cloud.  Data Sync is used to push data from on-premise sources to a cloud database, while RDC is used to pull data from an on-premise source database into BICS visualizations.

Data Sync provides a full-featured data transfer tool with a client interface that allows for scheduling load jobs that efficiently move data from flat files, database tables, and other cloud data sources into the BICS Database Schema Service or Oracle Database Cloud Service.  It can also directly load data as a data set source for the Visual Analyzer projects that are available in BICS.  It includes many of the features found in other data loading tools: logging of load job execution steps, restarting after failures, incremental loading of new or modified data, and configuring the sequence of load operations.

Rather than moving data to the cloud, RDC enables secure connection to on-premise data sources for analysis and visualization.  BICS RDC utilizes the BI Server Data Gateway running in the BI Cloud Service environment to provide secure access to on-premises data using private/public key pairs and SSL communication.  The primary benefit of RDC is that it preserves the investment in the technology used to house and load on-premise data warehouses.  It offers a hybrid approach to transitioning to a cloud-based analytics environment without having to also migrate the entire data environment as well.

The decision of whether to use Data Sync versus RDC would be based on a number of factors:

  • Concerns over data security in the cloud
  • Data volumes in the local data warehouse tables that might be difficult to transfer to the cloud in a timely manner
  • Synchronization of data transmissions to the cloud with current load processes
  • Ongoing investment in ETL tools, processes, and employees that would not be ready to transition completely to the cloud

A Data Sync solution would more likely lend itself either to new development of data load processes or to a more agile analytics environment that allowed for changing processes and data models more rapidly than would be possible with an on-premise database.

Conclusion

Regardless of where a BI environment is located, it truly is all about the data. And with the push to migrate more of the analytics functions into the cloud, it is necessary to determine the optimal strategy for using data visualization tools to access that data.  Oracle provides many options to do this, whether it is the relatively simple process of configuring access to existing on-premise databases by using RDC or implementing a fully formed data loading strategy into the cloud using BI Data Sync.   The capabilities and tradeoffs for each method should be reviewed thoroughly before proceeding with a cloud-based BI solution.


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Your Guide to Oracle Developer Tools User Group (ODTUG) Kscope17

June 7, 2017

Author: Melanie Mathews, Performance Architects

Oracle Developer Tools User Group (ODTUG)’s annual Kscope17 conference is coming up soon, and you’re probably starting to try to build your schedule! Since there are a bunch of networking opportunities and special events at Kscope, we thought we should share some of the ‘must attend’ happenings!

Keep in mind that Performance Architects’ focus is the business analytics arena, which we define as the intersection of business intelligence (BI), data discovery, and enterprise performance management (EPM)…and in Oracle product speak, that means Oracle Business Intelligence, Endeca Information Discovery (OEID), and Hyperion, as well as supporting/enabling technologies such as data integration, data warehousing, etc…so if you’re focused on other areas, this blog post may not provide a comprehensive guide for you!

This year Kscope17 is hosted in sunny San Antonio and if you are lucky enough to get in a couple of days early, take advantage of the absolutely gorgeous resort that is hosting this year. Perhaps some cocktails while you float in the JW Marriott’s lazy river?! We also recommend kicking off your conference experience with the Community Service event on Saturday.  This year, ODTUG has partnered with Haven for Hope in its mission of radical compassion, driven by hope, to move people from a feeling of worthlessness to the pursuit of excellence.  Haven for Hope provides drug treatment, job training, education, medical services, and so much more all on one campus. They strive to provide participants with the opportunity to better their own lives by moving from homelessness to full employment and stability in their lives. You will have several options to help at Haven for Hope: activities such as meal prep, campus beautification, helping in the free store, serving coffee, and playing bingo with residents.

Sunday is where you can really start to dig in and to get the benefit of the conference experience.  The first “must do” of the conference is the BI and/or EPM Symposiums. These are all-day, substantive learning opportunities that provide a forum to interact with Oracle product management and other experts in these solution areas that you won’t experience during other times at the conference.

In terms of the conference sessions that kick off Monday, there are simply too many to list in this post.  For those of you who don’t get to attend more than one Oracle conference in a year, we strongly recommend that you try to fit in Oracle’s product and technology roadmap sessions in whatever product areas interest you.  Below is a list of our sessions:

  • Monday, Jun 26, 2017, 10:30 am – 11:30 am (Grand Oaks I): Cloudy with a Chance of PBCS: Tips and Tricks for Migrating On-Premise Oracle Hyperion Planning to Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS)
  • Monday, Jun 26, 2017, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (Wisteria/Sunflower): It’s All About The Data: Oracle BI Cloud Service (BICS) Data Sync and Remote Data Connector
  • Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017, 8:30 am – 9:30 am (Magnolia): Advanced Data Visualization Techniques Using Oracle BI Cloud Service (BICS): A Cal State Pilot Case Study
  • Wednesday: Jun 28, 2017, 8:30 am – 9:30 am (Grand Oaks I): Moving The University of Pennsylvania Hyperion Planning On-Prem to the PBCS Cloud: A Journey of Consolidation, Migration, and Enhancements
  • Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017, 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm (Grand Oaks A/B): Diagnosis Close: How Vertex Pharma Uses Planning, Essbase, and OBIEE to Close the Books

We also want to invite you to play a fun game with us this year: KScope Session Quest! Simply stop by our Booth (#217) on Sunday or our first session on Monday and get your Performance Architects Session Quest card.  If you get stamped at each one of our five sessions at Kscope (or as many as you possibly can given your travel schedule), we will enter you into our drawing to win a $200 Amazon gift card! Simply email us a pic of your completed card to enter the drawing. We encourage you to take time to walk the exhibitor hall during breakfast/happy hours. This conference does a particularly good job of making sure most of the top consultants and software vendors are available to talk about the latest and greatest in this field in the exhibit area.

Monday night events are also a “must do” because they provide another good opportunity to mix and mingle with the folks in your functional/technical focus area in a fun, low-pressure environment. You will likely see us at the BI Texas-Style Trivia in Grand Oaks H and at the EPM Cloud Lounge in Grand Oaks G.

Lastly, Tuesday’s Lunch and Learn sessions are information-packed Q&A panels from 12:45 – 1:45 PM led by Oracle ACE Directors, ACEs, and ACE Associates.

Finally, Performance Architects is hosting a very special, invite-only friends and family dinner during ODTUG Kscope17. We are also happy to schedule some 1:1 time with you at the show if you have any particular questions.  For either item, please send an email to communications@performancearchitects.com and we’ll send you details.

Enjoy the show! – and we hope to see you there.

 


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.