EPM Workspace 11.1 and OBIEE 10.1.3.4 (Updated)

January 16th, 2009 by

Something I’ve been trying to get working for several weeks now, is proper integration between EPM Workspace 11.1 and the various OBIEE tools. I posted an article a few weeks ago asking whether anyone else had got it working, and thanks to Venkat (of the OBIEE blog fame) and Guillaume from Analitica who tried to diagnose the problem and passed on their own installation tips. In the end the problem I had was in the end down to the reg.properties file used by the OBIEE Java Host not being in the right place, which I discovered when I looked in the Java Host log file; once the problem was fixed and OBIEE authenticated to Shared Services properly, everything then started working as it was supposed to.

So once you’ve hooked OBIEE up to EPM Workspace and single sign-on between the two tools is taking place, what do you get? Well first of all, you can provision a user in the Shared Services console, and that user will then automatically get access to OBIEE (there doesn’t, in fact, appear to be a particular Shared Services role that you assign to the user to grant access, which actually means *all* Shared Services users get access to OBIEE). If you want this user to be assigned to an OBIEE BI Server and BI Presentation Server group, you should recreate the group (with exactly the same name) in Shared Services, and then they get added to the correct groups when they go into OBIEE.

obiee_epm_v2_1.jpg

Now if you’ve configured authentication properly between OBIEE and Shared Services, when the user logs on via EPM Workspace and starts Oracle BI Answers, Oracle BI Dashboards or Oracle BI Delivers, their credentials are automatically passed by EPM Workspace to the Oracle BI Presentation Server, which then passes them to the BI Server for authentication against Shared Services using the Hyperion custom authenticator. What this then means is that the user, if they have the BI Presentation Server privilege to use Oracle BI Answers, will then have options in their EPM Workspace menu to create new reports and alerts.

obiee_epm_v2_2.jpg

So you can log straight in to Answers from EPM Workspace, and create a new request (i.e. report) from the EPM Workspace menu. When you start to create the request, you’re presented with a list of available subject areas, plus the option to create a direct database request if you’ve got the necessary permissions.

obiee_epm_v2_4.jpg

You can also open existing reports in the Oracle BI Presentation Server web catalog, though for me the user I’d provisioned in Shared Services didn’t seem to have access to the Shared area of the catalog, only his private area. This might just come down to having to explicitly allow externally-authenticated users to access the web catalog shared area, I’m not sure, but it did mean that the Oracle BI Catalog option in the Open menu was greyed out until I actually created a report and save it into the web catalog.

obiee_epm_v2_3.jpg

Notice how the tabs, reports and so on have an “EPM Workspace” theme – this follows through all of the application, so to the untrained eye the whole application, EPM Workspace and OBIEE, looks like a single system. From the limited play-around that I’ve given it, it looks as if you could properly use OBIEE as part of EPM Workspace; in reality you’re only probably likely to do this if you’re also using other Hyperion applications, but it’s a good first attempt at producing what appears to be an integrated set of operational and financial BI tools.

While I was there I thought I’d get Smart View (the replacement for the various Hyperion and OBIEE Microsoft Office add-ins) up and running. This was fairly straightforward once I’d worked out how to register all of the various data sources with Smart View. In the screenshot below, we’ve got OBIEE and Essbase plugged in as data source for Smart View, this can be extended across other products such as BI Publisher (so I think).

obiee_epm_v2_5.jpg

Once Smart View is set up, you can analyze OBIEE data along with data from Essbase, Planning and so on. The UI takes a bit of getting used to, it tends to analyze OBIEE data in the style of Essbase, but given that Essbase users were the biggest users of Excel add-ins I guess this makes sense. One thing I couldn’t seem to do was to select a particular Answers request and drag it into the Excel spreadsheet (as you can do with the standard OBIEE Excel plug-in), though it could be that it is indeed possible and I need to read the manual.

obiee_epm_v2_6.jpg

One interesting feature with Smart View is that it provides analysis across all of the Microsoft Office applications, including Microsoft Word, which was a request I heard many a time from users of Oracle’s traditional OBIEE Microsoft Office plug in.

obiee_epm_v2_7.jpg

While I was on a roll, I thought it’d be good to try and get Smart Space (the gadgets thing for Essbase etc) up and running as well. This was a bit trickier, you have to sign and publish gadgets and the Smart Space framework before you can get things working, and once it was working I wasn’t quite sure what you actually then do with it, but you can see from the screenshot below that there’s a user admin tool that lets you select gadgets, drop them on your desktop, and use them to see alerts, view reports, share commentary and so on.

obiee_epm_v2_8.jpg

So there you go, there’s all the goodies that have come in from the Hyperion 11.1 side that you can use with OBIEE. So how useful are they? Well, I’d say the EPM Workspace is quite a neat feature, and certainly it’d be useful if you’re already using Planning, Web Analysis and so on, and I doubt you’d use it otherwise. Smart View looks interesting, very Essbase-like and probably a more complete analysis environment for OBIEE users than the previous Excel plug-in. Smart Space I’m not so convinced about; I’ve got gadgets on my Mac and I never use them, and they’re far more lightweight and integrated than Oracle’s offering. That said, if I was actually doing a proper job and working as part of a team of analysts, then I’d probably find the collaboration features useful, I’ll put this one down as “potentially interesting” all I’ll keep an eye out for any of our customers using it.

Comments

  1. Microsoft Consultant Says:

    The updates just recently came down the pipeline for me so I have been able to completely familiarize myself with them, but from what I have seen so far I am impressed. These updates seem to address the issues I had with the previous iteration.

  2. rsri Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great content on the blog!!

    I have followed all the 8 steps mentioned in the OBIEE 10.1.3.4 New Features Guide. After sucessfully finishing all the steps I login to workspace and under preference I see ${OBIEEPrefs} and a box saying “communication error” and pointing to this location http://rsri-idc.idc.oracle.com:45000/analytics/workspace/conf/BIEEConfig.xml

    Did you also get any similar issues while integration?

  3. Sachin Says:

    Hi,
    Can someone show me a sample of the “Manage EPM Workspace Connection” screen with the values.

    1. JDBC URL
    2. JDBC Driver

    -Thanks

    Sachin

  4. Sachin Says:

    1. rsri – try using the 19000 port instead of the 45000 port to connect to the workpspace and the menu will show properly and the link will work too.

    2. for my own query above :
    instead of manually typing the url and java driver values, I loaded the file reg.properites. the file was available at
    OracleBIData/web/hyperion/common/config/9.5.0.0
    -sj

  5. Sanjaya Balasuriya Says:

    Hi Mark,
    2 questions;

    1.
    Is Workspace 11.1 just a part of “Oracle EPM Workspace” referred at http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/bi/epm/images/bi-foundation-large.gif or Workspace 11.1 is the whole “Oracle EPM Workspace”?

    2.
    How Smart Space is licensed? Is it covered under Oracle BI EE Plus liceses?

  6. sweta Says:

    Hi,
    How do i access hyperion planning from hyperion EPMA? i created user in shared services, but i m nt able to synchronize this user in EPMA. please let me know the steps.
    Thank u

  7. Pablo Bryan Says:

    Excellent post! I am configuring this integration, but getting stuck in the first step when registering OBIEE with Shared Services I get the following error messages:

    —>
    The EPM Workspace Connection program resulted in a non-zero return code (4294967295). Details: Deleting component BIEE_WEBAPP
    Deleting component LOGICAL_WEB_APP
    Deleting component BIEE_PRODUCT
    —>

    Any clues?

    Regards,
    Pablo

  8. Mark Rittman Says:

    Pablo,

    This is a known issue when configuring EPM and OBIEE on Linux (and perhaps Unix). The docs say to ignore this and carry on, when we hit this issue we did this and the config then completed successfully.

  9. Gianluca Nigro Says:

    Hi Mark,

    thanks for your work… I’m struggling to get the integration between EPM 11.1.1.2 and OBIEE 10.1.3.4.1 working.

    I followed the oracle doc and I got the Application menu working in the workspace, but authentication is not working. I found some error messages in OBIEE saying connection refused, so I think that OBIEE is trying to authenticate but can’t connect to shared services

    Do you have a working config.xml and instanceconfig.xml published somewhere?

    TIA & best wishes

    Gianluca

  10. Jerry Says:

    Mark,

    I’m running on Unix and having the same problem as Pablo Bryan. What do you mean by ignoring this and carrying on? The config stops at this point. It doesn’t seem to go on and complete and registration with Shared Services doesn’t seem to happen.

    The doc says to log off and ‘back in to ensure that all changes have taken effect.’ What changes should have taken effect? What should I see? It doesn’t look like anything has changed.

  11. Jerry Says:

    Looks like you can just ignore the message that Pablo got. I plugged on and got the integration and SSO working. The only thing not working are the addtional menu options for OBIEE.

    I can open Answers from Workspace but I don’t get the additional menu options.

    Also, it takes almost 2 minutes after selecting Applications in Workspace to see the list of OBIEE apps. And then another 1-2 minutes for the OBIEE app to actually open. Is anyone else experiencing anything like this?

  12. Pablo Bryan Says:

    I had forgotten about this, but yeah you can ignore the message and carry on with the configuration. I have OBIEE 10.1.3.4.1 and Hyperion 11.1.1.2 and .3 integrated. There are still a few bugs but it mostly works fine.

  13. Borja Colina Says:

    Hi all,

    I have made the obiee integration with workspace, but now, all my shared services native users can login on OBIEE. Should it happen? is it normal?

    Thanks in avance and best regards,
    Borja.

  14. Seth Says:

    Borja and All

    I have Hyperion Workspace and OBIEE installed and running on 2 different Windows 2003 servers. can anyone help me what is the Source File Path value (how to call Hyperion server path reg.properties)to be entered in OBIEE->Administration->Manage EPM Workspace Connection screen . I know the source File Path as C:\Hyperion\common\config\9.5.0.0\reg.properties.

    Thanks in advance

    Seth

  15. Seth Says:

    Borja and All

    I have Hyperion Workspace and OBIEE installed and running on 2 different Windows 2003 servers. can anyone help me what is the Source File Path value (how to call Hyperion server path reg.properties)to be entered in OBIEE->Administration->Manage EPM Workspace Connection screen . I know the source File Path as C:\Hyperion\common\config\9.5.0.0\reg.properties if both Hyperion workspace and OBIEE installed on the same server

    Thanks in advance

    Seth

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