OBIEE 12c - Repository Password Corruption Issue

Here at Rittman Mead we’ve been working with OBIEE 12c for some time now, as part of the beta programme and more recently with clients looking to get the most out an upgrade to OBIEE 12c. We’ve also been hard at work on our brand new OBIEE 12c training course. What we’ve seen in terms of the stability of OBIEE 12c has been pleasantly surprising. Anyone who’s worked with software long enough will be familiar with the reputation that first releases in general have for nasty bugs, and it’s probably fair to say that with the first release of 11g (11.1.1.3) this was proven out. With the first release of OBIEE 12c, however, we’re seeing a stable tool with very few issues so far.

That said...I’m going to demonstrate an issue here that is a bit of a nasty one. It’s nasty because the trigger for it appears innocuous, and what it breaks is one of the really new things in OBIEE 12c—the way in which the RPD is stored on disk and accessed by the BI Server. This makes it a bit of a tough one to get to the bottom of at first, but it's a good excuse to go digging!

Summary

If you open the RPD in online mode (use File –> Copy As and then use the Save option), the password on the server gets corrupted.

[nQSError: 43113] Message returned from OBIS  
[nQSError: 13042] Repository password is wrong
obiee 12c repository password corruption

From this point on you cannot checkin any changes, and when you restart the BI Server it will fail to start up.

Details

In OBIEE (12c, and before) it is possible to open the RPD as a straight binary file on disk (“Offline” mode), or by connecting directly to the BI Server and opening the copy that it is currently running (“Online mode”). Offline mode suits larger changes and development, with the RPD then being deployed onto the server once the development work is ready to be tested. Online mode is a good way for making changes on a dedicated dev server, minor changes on a shared server, or indeed just for viewing the RPD that’s currently being run.

Here’s what we’ve seen as the problem:

  1. Open RPD in online mode
  2. File -> Copy As
  3. Enter a password with which to protect the RPD being saved on disk.
  4. Do one of:
    • File -> Close, and then when prompted to save changes click Yes
    • File -> Save
    • Click the Save icon on the toolbar
    • Ctrl-S
obiee 12c repository password error

What happens now is two-fold:

  1. You cannot check in any changes made online—the check in fails with an error from the Administration Tool:
    [nQSError: 43113] Message returned from OBIS  
    [nQSError: 13042] Repository password is wrong
    
  2. The BI Server will fail on restart with the same error:
    Opening latest versioned cached RPD for : /app/oracle/biee/bi/bifoundation/server/empty.rpd which is /app/oracle/biee/user_projects/domains/bi/bidata/service_instances/ssi/metadata/datamodel/customizations/liverpd.rpd_5  
    [nQSError: 13042] Repository password is wrong. [[
    

We saw this on SampleApp v511, as well as on vanilla installations of OBIEE. Versions on both were 12.2.1.0.0.

After we reported this to Oracle, they agreed it was a bug and have logged it as bug number 22682937, with no patch currently (February 10, 2016) available.

Workaround

If you open the RPD online and use File -> Copy As, don’t hit save or check in, even if prompted by the Admin Tool. Close the RPD straightaway.

Often people will use File -> Copy As to take a copy of the current live RPD before doing some changes to it. At Rittman Mead, we'd always recommend using source control such as git to store all code including the RPD, and using this approach you obviate the need to open the RPD online simply to get the latest copy (because the latest copy is in source control).

You can also use the data-model-cmd downloadrpd option to download the actual live RPD—that’s exactly what this option is provided for.

Solution - if BI Server (OBIS) has not yet been restarted

If you’ve hit this bug and are hitting “Repository password is wrong” when you try to checkin, and if the BI Server is still running, then redeploy the RPD using the data-model-cmd uploadrpd tool. By redeploying the RPD the password appears to get sorted out.

If the BI Server is down, then this is not an option because it has to be running in order for data-model-cmd uploadrpd to work.

Solution - if BI Server (OBIS) has been restarted and failed

At this point using data-model-cmd uploadrpd is not possible because OBIS is not running and so the data-model-cmd uploadrpd will fail with the error:

[oracle@demo ~]$ /app/oracle/biee/user_projects/domains/bi/bitools/bin/data-model-cmd.sh uploadrpd -I /home/oracle/rmoff.rpd -W Password01 -U weblogic -P Admin123 -SI ssi  
Service Instance: ssi

Operation failed.  
An exception occurred during execution, please check server logs.

The only option from this point is to use importServiceInstance to reset the service instance, either to an empty, SampleAppLite, or an existing .bar export of your environment. For example:

/app/oracle/biee/oracle_common/common/bin/wlst.sh  
importServiceInstance('/app/oracle/biee/user_projects/domains/bi','ssi','/app/oracle/biee/bi/bifoundation/samples/sampleapplite/SampleAppLite.bar')

This will enable OBIS to start up correctly, from which point the desired RPD can then be re-uploaded if required using data-model-cmd uploadrpd.

Conclusion

The easiest thing is to simply not use File -> Copy As in online mode. Whilst this on its own is fine, the UI means it's easy to accidentally use the Save option, which then triggers this problem. Instead, use data-model-cmd downloadrpd, and/or use source control so that you can easily identify the latest RPD that you want to develop against.

If you do hit this repository password corruption problem, then keep calm and don’t restart the BI Server—just re-upload the RPD using data-model-cmd uploadrpd. If you have already uploaded the RPD, then you need to use importServiceInstance to restore things to a working state.

As part of the diagnostics that we did to get to the bottom of this issue, we found some interesting things in OBIEE 12c, such as a web service endpoint for RPD upload/download, as well as the detailed workings of the RPD upload process and that infamous liverpd.rpd file. Stay tuned for a blog post on this and more soon! And in the meantime, be sure to get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you with your OBIEE systems, including OBIEE 12c upgrade, and OBIEE 12c training.

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