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

Friday, August 2, 2013

Exalytics Journey Begins (Finally)

Tuesday morning was thrilling yet anti-climactic for the University (or at least my little corner of it) as an Oracle technician arrived on site to power up the first of our Exalytics In-Memory BI Machines. Despite the opportunities presented by the engineered solution to power our investments in Essbase and OBIEE, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about the implications of bringing this system into our environment. To what extent is this truly an "applicance"? How can we possibly integrate a "black box" into our backup and monitoring infrastructure? (Answer: it's not really a black box). What are the implications of Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM when we are standardizing on RHEL and VMWare? Is it required to have Oracle do the software installation? And so on...
Two Exalytics Machines in the Rack
Turning on the machine may have been a little disappointing to the team -- as the deployment instructions say "press and hold the power button." Some basic diagnostics passed, IP address configured, machine handed over to my OBI team for the rest.

So what has happened since then (3 whole days later)? Some minor challenges finding the latest base image and BI Foundation Suite media -- e-delivery fail, time for a few service requests. Meanwhile, the team put the finishing touches on the partner server for Exalytics: a virtual machine loaded up with the relational database (for the OBIEE repositories, OBIA data warehouse, Oracle Data Integrator, and a shadow OBIEE install because it is required to sit on the same machine as OBIA -- I really hope that situation changes).

Today the real Exalytics software installation is happening... And by the end of next week we should have a fully functioning prototype of Student Information Analytics in Exalytics (which will be just a bit more machine than we need for a prototype, but that's another story). I am eager to finally experiment with all the special features -- cube spin-off, go-less prompts, TimesTen summary advisor. You know, in my spare time. :)


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