A few months ago Charles Elliott and I were tasked with assessing OBIEE performance for a client here in the US. Queries were taking hours to run (literally) and obviously users weren’t happy. In the context of BI, there are many places where performance can be improved (database tuning, data warehouse modeling, query writing, etc.) but we decided to start with the RPD.One of our resources at this client pointed to us that every query they ran used a database view (no, not a materialized view) which in turn sourced a handful of physical tables. These tables were all joined in the view using outer joins. So, every single query the BI Server ran, had to go through all the joins contained in this view, even if it didn’t need data from all the tables in question. We called this the “Inception Effect” (remember the movie?) because you always had to go 5 levels deep, and each one took longer than the last.
In this post, I want to demonstrate this problem and how we can “trick” the BI Server into behaving the way we want.
IMPORTANT: Please keep in mind that for this first example, we are using version 188.8.131.52.0. This detail will be very relevant later.
The ProblemFor this test, we’re obviously not using our client’s data. We will be working with data from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and our tables are GOALS, PLAYERS and MATCHES. The GOALS table will be the source for both the logical dimension and fact, while PLAYERS and MATCHES will also provide additional information for our logical dimension. This is our physical model:
The SolutionThe solution in these situations is to “trick” the BI Server into using the outer-joined logical table sources only when needed. It requires a little more development time, but in the end it is well worth it. Let’s take a look at what our model looked like with this approach and what the results were.
In our multiple LTS test, I added an extra column to our model called ‘LTS ID’ that will help us identify in Answers the LTS being used for each query.
So this is our first result set:
The New World OrderRecently, we heard a rumor from Oracle Product Management that with the 184.108.40.206 release of OBIEE, the BI Server would be a little smarter around pruning outer-joined logical table sources. We decided to put it to the test, and the results were encouraging.
We went back to the one LTS idea:
When we run a request in Answers with columns from all three tables:
And finally, if we leave only columns from the GOALS table in our query, no outer joins are included:
Now, I’m not claiming that the newer versions of OBIEE will be able to prune every unnecessary outer join in every single situation. This was a simple example, with only a few tables, but it does show that Oracle has been working on this. And that’s very good news if you are a RPD developer.
Until next time!