Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oracle VirtualBox and OBIEE

Where have you been my whole life, Oracle VM VirtualBox and the OBIEE image? Lurking in plain sight, probably advertised on Oracle corporate and partner Twitter posts just outside the latest 50 each time I pulled out my iPhone between meetings, in elevators, or waiting on line at SBUX. We went through so much trouble configuring a demo machine (with Windows Server 64-bit… ouch) when all we needed to do was hook up to a fat pipe, download you, and turn the key to start.

I learned about the VirtualBox Image last week at #OOW11 in San Francisco, in a throw-away comment from the product manager for OBI Scorecards and Strategy. Flew home and checked the specs – 4 GB RAM? I’ve got that on my home laptop. Fat pipe, not so much. It took nearly 12 hours to download the install packages from ftp.oracle.com but only another hour to get OBIEE up and running.

Other than 4 GB of RAM, what does one need for this install? 7zip (http://www.7-zip.org/) and an FTP client (FileZilla - http://filezilla-project.org/). And Oracle VirtualBox, which you can download from here: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/virtualbox/downloads/index.html

The real heavy lifting (for you network, anyhow) comes with the SampleApp V107 Image. As you can see at this link the download is roughly 25GB. This took forever over my slow Wifi on my slow at-home Comcast connection. The installation guide steps through all the (rather straight-forward) installation steps from that point forward; it also contains all the passwords one needs to get the party started.

Once connected, the “General Index” provides a learning map – literally hundreds of dashboard pages devoted to individual concepts and terminology in OBIEE. For example, dig into Section 0.2 to learn about the security set-up in the Sample App as well as key features in OBIEE such as the “Act As” proxy option. Or navigate to 3.20 to see various options for formatting your Answers reports. Or visit 8.7 to see how OBIEE allows fidelity of interactivity between both relational and flat-file data sources. After traipsing through each dashboard and drilling down to “Edit” with the objective of sorting out the underlying configuration, the power and flexibility of the technology become obvious—and far more tangible than literature, conference presentations, or canned demos.

More later this week after my hands are a little dirtier…

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