Managing Your Oracle Business Intelligence Infrastructure using the Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Rel 4 BI Management Pack
By Mark Rittman
You can now manage business intelligence services in the same centralized way that you manage the rest of your Oracle, and non-Oracle, estate.
Published February 2009Oracle Business Intelligence 10g Enterprise Edition is a complete solution for analyzing information across an enterprise. Delivered primarily through an interactive dashboard, Oracle Business Intelligence EE comprises a set of servers that access data from disparate sources, present it to users via a semantic model, allow them to create calculations and alerts, and distribute reports to users via the Web and other delivery mechanisms. Part of the Oracle Fusion Middleware family of products, Oracle Business Intelligence EE works alongside your databases, application servers, and applications to provide insight into your business.
As business intelligence becomes pervasive within organizations and changes from being a "nice-to-have" to a "must-have", the importance of managing the performance, availability, and configurations of your business intelligence components has become increasingly important. DBAs and systems administrators now need to count business intelligence components in their list of systems that they need to manage, a situation that takes on more and more significance as business intelligence becomes the "eyes and ears" of the business.
Oracle Enterprise Manager Background
Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control is a family of products designed to help administrator manage their estate of Oracle-based, and non-Oracle, applications, and servers. Designed to make administrators and DBAs more productive and better able to spot potential issues before they arise, Oracle Enterprise Manager contains components to monitor server performance, maximize quality of service, manage configurations centrally and monitor availability against thresholds and service level agreements.
The Business Intelligence Management Pack
Traditionally, Oracle Enterprise Manager has been used by administrators to monitor and managed databases and application servers, together with the applications that run on them. With the release of version 10.2.0.4 of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10g, this capability has now been extended to Oracle Business Intelligence EE. Using metrics and data collected from agents running on the servers hosting your business intelligence components, together with data collected from database tables populated by server components, it is now possible to manage your business intelligence components together with your other enterprise servers and applications.
Setup and Configuration
To start using the Oracle Business Intelligence Management Pack, you will need to install and configure the following software components (see Downloads portlet):
The Oracle Business Intelligence Management Pack is automatically installed when you upgrade Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10g Release 2 to Release 4 (10.2.0.4), although it has to be licensed separately. If you do not already have an installation of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10g, you will need to download and install the base 10.2.x release from OTN and then upgrade it, using the 10.2.0.4 Patch Installer, to this latest version, remembering to also install, configure and upgrade any Oracle Management Agents on your managed servers including those used to host your Oracle Business Intelligence components.
Once you have Oracle Enterprise Manager 10.2.0.4 installed and configured, your next step is to ensure that Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition is configured to work with the Business Intelligence Management Pack. The Business Intelligence Management Pack relies on the usage tracking tables and scheduler tables that are configured post-installation, together with a JMX agent that has to be separately configured before it can be started. For full details on how to configure Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, lease refer to Oracle Business Intelligence Management Pack Getting Started Guide 10g Release 4 (10.2.0.4 ) . If you are planning to use the Oracle Business Intelligence Management Pack to manage your Oracle Data Warehouse Console repository, no additional configuration is necessary.
Discovering Your Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Targets
Now that Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10g Release 4 is installed and configured, you can use the Discovery Wizard to register your business intelligence targets with Enterprise Manager. With the 10.2.0.4 release of Enterprise Manager, the following list of business intelligence targets can monitored and managed:
Using the set of tabs at the top of the Web page, select Targets and then All Targets to show the list of all targets currently registered with Oracle Enterprise Manager. Then, use the drop-down list next to the Add button to select Oracle BI EE as the type of target to discover, as shown the in the screenshot below.
Go to start the Discovery Wizard.
After entering your connection details, the Web page for the wizard should look as in the screenshot below:
After pressing Next and then reviewing the discovery settings, the wizard will then automatically connect to and introspect the settings for your Oracle Business Intelligence components. After completing these components, you can follow a similar process to discover your Oracle BI DAC components; see the Oracle Business Intelligence Management Pack Getting Started Guide 10g Release 4 (10.2.0.4) for more details.
When all your business intelligence components have been discovered, you can return to the Targets > All Targets page and see your business intelligence servers listed alongside any other targets you are monitoring. In the screenshot below, the Oracle BI Server and Oracle BI Presentation Server are listed as being "up", whilst the Oracle BI Scheduler and Oracle BI DAC servers are listed as being "down".
Monitoring Business Intelligence Server Performance
As an administrator responsible for the performance of your databases and application servers, you use Oracle Enterprise Manager to amongst other things monitor application throughput and response levels. Now that you have added your Oracle Business Intelligence targets to your Oracle Enterprise Manager repository, you can do the same for your business intelligence servers as well.
For example, be aware that the performance of queries has been erratic over the past few days. As the Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Management Agent monitors Oracle BI Server query performance via the JMX Agent and usage tracking data, together with activity data generated by the Oracle BI Presentation server, you can view a summary of the performance of these components using the Oracle Business Intelligence Management Pack.
Starting with the Oracle BI Analytics Server, locate this target in the list of all targets to display its key metrics. These metrics are shown in three parts, with the initial page showing an overview of uptime together with recent response time and load.
Next, click on the Performance tab to see metrics on CPU Usage, Memory Usage, Physical DB Connections, Execute Requests, Fetch requests and other indicators of the throughput on the Oracle BI Server. Use the View drop-down menu to switch between General Performance metrics, Cache Performance metrics and Database Performance metrics.
Finally, selecting the Dashboard Reports tab displays information on dashboard usage, by dashboard and by user, for a given period of time. Selecting the corresponding set of reports for the Oracle BI Presentation Server and the Oracle BI Scheduler shows similar metrics for these servers. Each of the Oracle Business Intelligence server components has a number of predefined metrics that can be used to monitor performance, the most significant of these being displayed on these dashboards. To see a complete list of the metrics that can be monitored, return to the Home tab for any of the Oracle Business Intelligence servers, and click on the All Metrics link in the Related Links section. Oracle Enterprise Manager will then display the list of available metrics, with the metrics available for the Oracle BI Server displayed in the screenshot below.
Setting Thresholds and Alerts
As well as monitoring metrics on the Oracle Enterprise Manager Web site, you can also define thresholds and alerts to warn you if performance falls outside of agreed limits. You wish to define such an alert to warn you if the average query response time falls below 5 seconds, and so you click on the Metric and Policy Settings link below the list of metrics to define the alert.
Using the Metric and Policy Settings page, you can set warning and critical thresholds for a number of key Oracle BI Server metrics. In the screenshot below, you define the warning threshold as 5 seconds, and the critical threshold as 10 seconds. Using the Edit link, you can define actions to be taken should these thresholds be exceeded, including alerting you via email or SMS, or even bringing up another clustered Oracle BI Server to spread the workload.
If you are familiar with database performance analysis tools such as Statspack and the performance views provided by Oracle Enterprise Manager, the information provided by the Oracle Business Intelligence Management is of a similar nature in that it shows aggregated activity, across all users and reports. Whilst metrics can be shown at the individual dashboard level, for information on the performance of individual reports, you should install the usage tracking reports and dashboards that now ship with Oracle Business Intelligence 10g 10.1.3.4, and correlate this with the information provided by the Business Intelligence Management Pack reports. For more information on usage tracking, take a look at the Oracle BI Server Administrators Guide for further details.Monitoring Service Levels
As well as monitoring the overall performance of your Oracle Business Intelligence server components, your organization may wish to monitor the availability and response time of key reports and dashboards, in the form of service level agreements. For example, you may have a service level agreement that users can log on to their dashboard, view their standard dashboard and view results with the process taking no more than ten seconds.
You wish to define a service test that checks that users can log onto their dashboard and navigate to a key dashboard page. To create this service test, click on the Targets tab and then the All Targets sub-tab to display the list of available targets. Locate the target type Agent in the list, click on it and when the Agent page is displayed, from the Add drop-down menu select Beacon and press Go.
On the next page, name the beacon (for example, OBIEE NYC Server), enter any proxy server information as necessary and press
OK to create the beacon.
Next, click on the Service Tests and Beacons link, and from the Service Tests section, select Web Transaction from the Test Type drop-down menu, and press Go to start recording the transaction.
Name the test and press Go in the Transaction section to start recording your test; you can now log in to Oracle Business Intelligence and navigate to the required dashboard and report, and Oracle Enterprise Manager will record all of your steps for playback later on. Note that recording your steps in this way requires Internet Explorer as your Web browser, as it relies on a browser add-in to record the steps you perform.Managing Your Business Intelligence Configurations
One more useful feature of the Oracle Business Intelligence Management Pack is the ability to record, and compare, the configuration of your business intelligence servers over a period of time. If performance or reliability of one of your business intelligence components has changed recently, one of the first places that you should check is the configuration settings for each server, and this feature allows you to record and then compare these settings from a central location.
To record the configuration settings for one of your business intelligence servers, for example the Oracle BI Presentation Server, locate the target in the list of all targets as before and click on its link to display the server details. Scroll to the bottom of the page and locate the View Configuration link within the Configuration section, as shown in the screenshot below.
Click on the View Configuration link to see the current configuration for your Oracle BI Presentation Server. Using this page, you can view and save the configuration of this server, storing the configuration details in the Oracle Management Server Repository. In the screenshot below, the current configuration details for your Presentation Server are listed, broken down into sections for the Display configuration, Server Client configuration and Server Cache configuration amongst others.
Click on the Compare or Compare to Multiple buttons to compare this configuration to one or more historical configurations stored in the Oracle Management Server Repository.
Mark Rittman [ firstname.lastname@example.org] is an Oracle ACE Director and is co-founder of Rittman Mead Consulting, a specialist Oracle Partner based in the UK with a focus on Oracle business intelligence, performance management, and data warehousing. He runs at blog at www.rittmanmead.com/blog