Monday, November 15, 2010

Clouds are not Spheres

Yes, as you read "... Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line..". This was how Benoit Mandelbrot tried to explain how traditional geometry can not completely describe the geometry of things in nature.
To overcome this limitation he developed a new mathematical object called "Fractal".  Fractal is a mathematical object which among other properties has the property of self-similarity, i.e the object presents the same shape, pattern, form at different scales. Its importance has been proven in many areas of human life : Medicine, Economy, Technology (image, audio compression), etc.
Mandelbrot set inward zoom
Well, such object was not completely new to mathematicians but it was Mandelbrot who really took advantage of the technology of the 70's (the power of computers) and opened a new world in mathematics with Fractals.
Sierpinsky Triangle
Here goes my modest post salute to him after one month of his death (I was not catching up with my emails until today I realized of his death).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Starting and Stopping BIEE from command line

BIEE11g uses now Weblogic as application server. This means we need to know some basic commands such as how to start and stop Weblogic server (WLS). In addition to this from the previous post we know that BIEE11g does not only require WLS but also other additional processes. All this plus the need to interact with these components by means of a script in a development / test environment led us to the conclusion that we need to know how we can start or stop BIEE (or even its processes) from a command line. So let us get into this:

Starting BIEE
  1. First, read and understand the BIEE11g architecture. This is discussed in a previous post (it can be found here).
  2. So now, you know we need to start / stop basically the Java and System components respectively:

    a. The Java Components:
    i. Admin Server
    ii. Managed Server
    b. System Components (OPMN Processes)
    i. BI Server
    ii. BI Presentation Services
    iii. BI Java Host
    iv. BI Cluster Controller
    v. BI Scheduler
Fortunately we do not need to create scripts for each of the components from scratch since during BIEE11g installation some of them were already created for us. We will make use of some of them: ( Note: In our examples our Fusion Middleware home is C:\fusionMW )
1. Start NodeManager:
This process starts automatically in Windows as a service (everytime the OS is restarted). Additional reference for this component can be found here

2. Start Admin Server:
Command: startWeblogic.cmd
Path: C:\fusionMW\user_projects\domains\bifoundation_domain\bin

You will be prompted for the admin user and password. You either enter these values everytime you start/stop the services or alternatively you can set these values in file.

The WLS will have started when you see these messages:
File Name:

Enter your user name here
password= Enter your password here

The Next time WLS is restarted the password will be encrypted.

3. Monitoring the OPMN Processes:
Command: opmnctl.cmd status -l
Path: C:\fusionMW\instances\instance1\bin

Once all processes are "Alive" then you will get this screen:

Stopping BIEE
This process is almost the same but in reverse order. To stop all BIEE services you will have to perform the following commands in the respective order in the same directories where each of them started

1. Stop OPMN processes:
> opmnctl stopall

2. Stop Managed Server (bi_server1)
> stopManagedWeblogic.cmd bi_server1 t3://hostname:7001 username password

3. Stop WLS (Admin Server)
> username password t3://host.domain:7001

This is all you need to know about it to get started. If you already installed BIEE11g then you should be familiar with the Start/Stop BIEE services script that the installer produces. Well, that script uses a series of ANT commands to produce the same effect we have here described. In a future post I will explain about ANT and take such script as example.

Until next time

Friday, November 5, 2010

OBIEE 11g Architecture

Author: Jorge Anicama
Article Original Location:

It has been awhile since my last post. The main reason is because I have been busy working in different projects and also taking care of a my new baby boy (new member of the family :) ).

Hoping this new post results interesting enough this time I will discuss the new BIEE11g architecture.
If you are planning to start using BIEE11g you will notice there are a few more new components and at first glance it seems complex to understand, but let us take a look at the following picture and we will notice it is not that bad:

We can identify two main component types the OBIEE 11g: The A) Java Components and the B) System Components.
A) Java Components: These are basically J2EE applications running in Weblogic Server. There are two subcomponents here: 1. Admin Server and 2. Managed Server. Each of them running in a dedicated Java virtual machine (JVM).
  1. Admin Server: This is nothing more than a set of J2EE applications that will help us Administering the system:
    • Admin Console (WLS) — An adminstrative user interface that provides advanced management for Weblogic, JEE components, and security
    • Fusion Middleware Control — An administrative user interface that is used to manage the BI domain.
    • JMX MBeans — Java components that provide programmatic access for managing a BI domain.
  1. Managed Server: These are J2EE applications which will help the functioning of the BIEE System (highlighted in RED):
    • BI Plugin — It routes HTTP and SOAP requests to BI Presentation Services.
    • BI Security — It enables the integration of BIEE Server and Fusion Middleware security platform through webservices calls.
    • BI Action Services — It provides the dedicated Web services that are required by the Action Framework (a nice introduction can be found here, another example of use is here and here) and that enable an administrator to manually configure which Web service directories can be browsed by users when they create actions.
    • Webservices SOA — This component provides Web services for objects in the BIEE Presentation Catalog, to invoke analysis, agents, and conditions.
    • BI Office — This component provides the integration between Oracle Business Intelligence and Microsoft Office products.
                    and finally,
    • Two particular applications: BI Publisher (Reporting System) and RTD (technology platform which enable the analysis of data and provides insight by using data mining algorithms and techniques in real time).
    B) System Components: These are non-J2EE components, such as processes and services written in C++ and java.
    1. BI Server — It provides capabilities to query and access data as well as services for accessing and managing the RPD file (BIEE Metadata).
    2. BI Presentation Services — It provides the framework and interface for the presentation of business intelligence data to Web clients. It maintains an Oracle BI Presentation Catalog service on the file system for the customization of this presentation framework.
    3. BI Scheduler — Provides extensible scheduling for analyses to be delivered to users at specified times. (BI Publisher has its own scheduler.)
    4. BI JavaHost — It enables BI Presentation Services to support various components: Java tasks for BI Scheduler, BI Publisher, and Graph generation.
    5. BI Cluster Controller — It distributes requests to the BI Server, ensuring requests are evenly load-balanced across all BI Server process instances in the BI domain.
      In addition, the BI Domain requires a set of configuration files, the repository (RPD) file, the Presentation Catalog files, etc. Likewise, BIEE System uses a set of metadata tables stored in a relational database like Oracle.  

      How to Start BIEE System: There are multiple ways to start the BIEE System, but it must follow certain order. Based on the description given above we need to : 

      1. Start NodeManager : By default in Windows it runs when the OS starts (Reference about NodeManager can be found here

      2. Start Admin Server : Initiate Weblogic Server. 

      3. Start Managed Server : Initiate the main applications. Based on the picture above, these are highlighted in Red : BI Plugin, BI Security, BI Action Service, BI Webservices SOA. If you are planning to use BI Publisher or RTD then it must also be started. 

      4. Start BIEE Services : These are the main BIEE processes which are controlled by OPMN: BI Server, BI Presentation Server, BI JavaHost. If you are planning to use BI Scheduler then also start it. Or if your instance is a clustered environment then also start the BI Cluster Controller. In our next post, we will describe how to actually perform this operation and we will describe how to troubleshoot issues by looking at the log files. 
      1. Introduction to BIEE Administration (here). 
      2. Rittman Mead posts on Action Services (here).