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As you'd expect from the winners of the Specialized Partner of the Year: Business Analytics at the Oracle UKI Specialized Partner Awards 2014, Beyond work with leading edge BI Applications primarily within the UK Public Sector. We intend to share some of our ideas and discoveries via our blog and hopefully enrich the wider discussion surrounding Oracle Business Intelligence and driving improved insight for customers

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Oracle Exalytics Express is the first production release of the Oracle 12c release 2 database ( aka Oracle 12.2 ).  It comes with some amazing features such as analytic views which we have alr4eady blogged and will be expanding on shortly.

As soon as your instance has been spun up you'll want to connect SQL Developer to it, so here's a few hints and tips to assist.  Note that Exadata Express provides you with a pluggable database (PDB) so if this is your first time with a 12c database then I recommend reading up all about how container and pluggable databases work.

Firstly you'll need to enable SQL*Net access and then click on the "Download Client Credential" in your console. 


This will download a zip file to which you allocate a password and you'll need to store that somewhere in your filesystem that SQL Developer can see it.

Now you'll need at least version 4.1.5 of SQL Developer for this to work, so upgrade if you're on an earlier one.  I'm a keen user of the 4.2 early adopter.


Create a new connection and use the new "Cloud PDB" connector.  The configuration file as the one that you downloaded when you were in the console.  Press "Test" and hopefully you should see the "success" message that I have.


That should be you up and running. 

.If you're following John's blog published on the 8th of October on Analytic Views then you may find the following useful.  SQL Developer now comes with a bunch of pre-built reports that give you some great insights of the analytics and their metadata that have been created.


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In my last blog post on Oracle Database 12.2 I mentioned the new Analytics View feature. Now in this post I am going to describe the basic structure of what an Analytic View is, and then show an example of creating a very simple one. Note - the Oracle documentation for syntax is very thin at the moment and this information has therefore been taken from various sources as well as some trial and error.
Anyway, enough of that... what actually is an Analytic View? As I described previously, it's essentially a database structure to encapsulate an OLAP cube, providing an easy to use object for querying over hierarchical levels with automatic aggregation, storage of metadata and a whole lot more. Think of them as a basic RPD in Oracle Business Intelligence. Oracle describes them as:

Analytic Views (AV's) provide a fast and efficient way to create analytic queries of data stored in existing database tables and views. Analytic views organize data using a dimensional model. They allow you to easily add aggregations and calculations to data sets and to present data in views that can be queried with relatively simple SQL.

Now let's look at the structure of an AV. The model is made up of three objects.

  • Dimension Attribute - Defines a dimension along with the hierarchical levels (multiple hierarchies possible)
  • Hierarchy - Defines the hierarchical structure of a dimension (parent/child)
  • Analytic View - Brings together the hierarchies and defines the measures

A diagram can be useful here to illustrate.

Av Diagram

There are other attributes and concepts that can be used within the above, such as classifications (which allow for the holding of metadata), however I intend to cover those in a future post as that really is a whole topic within itself. So for the purposes of this post we will keep everything very simple.

Update - 23/03/2017 - I have added this as a shared LiveSQL script. Click here to view.

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Oracle Openworld 2016 saw the latest Oracle database version announced with immediate availability in the cloud - 12.2. Unfortunately this is not yet available on-premise however a free trial can be obtained over at This release contains some exciting stuff such as 128 byte identifiers (up from 30), additional approximation aggregates over and above APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT and enhancements to some existing functions such as a trimming option for LISTAGG. However most exciting to us here at Beyond is probably the Analytic View. This is a database feature which allows the representation of a star schema data model within the database (including hierarchical dimensions), with a simplified query syntax. Moreover it allows a complete set of complementary metadata to be stored within the database itself, which can then in turn be utilised by your application. Essentially an encapsulation of the OLAP cube within a database object (or several objects to be precise).

Over the coming weeks/months I'll be posting some in-depth examples and studies of analytic views so watch this space!

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Here at Beyond we recently started updating some of our internal test environments. As part of this I embarked on the rather daunting task of installing Oracle Fusion Applications. Daunting because 1) I'm not a DBA and 2) I've never personally done such as installation myself ever before! What could possibly go wrong? We picked up a copy of Pro Oracle Fusion Applications and set about modelling a quick architecture. We wanted something very basic with miminal effort needed for installation that would simply allow us to try things out. So I opted for a two node setup, partly to keep everything simple and partly because we don't want to have to commission a server farm to run the thing! The basic setup looks as follows.


Both machines are virtualized using Oracle Virtual Box, which allows for some nice options such as dynamic drive sizing and snapshotting of configuration. The latter is a particularly good feature, allowing you to snapshot the machine at key milestones of the installation, on the grounds that if anything is to go wrong you're not back at square one! I think we're going to have to pinch a bit more RAM for the fusion node though as whilst it starts up ok with 100Gb, it does end up swapping about about 10Gb throughout general use.

Oracle haven't made it very easy in getting the software - there is an 11.1.8 release for Linux x86 available on the Software Delivery Cloud, however the 11.1.9 release is only available for AIX. After hunting around Google a while I found some conflicting information whereby one source said you had to request the later versions and another said that the 11.1.9 release was for Cloud installations only. Keen to avoid making life too difficult I went for the 11.1.8 release, primarily because that's what the installation guide in the book is written on.

The Identity Manager (IDM) installation was relatively straightforward - however you can save yourself quite a bit of pain by ensuring you do at least the following as an absolute minimum upfront!

  • Set the file limits in limits.conf
  • Get all required operating system packages installed (including some 32 bit libraries)
  • Configure the hosts file correctly - you can get some difficult to diagnose errors if this isn't done.
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I've posted a few things over the previous months regarding new or changed functionality in E-Business Suite R12.2, and here is something that I think will be particularly useful. In previous versions of E-Business Suite it's possible to grant access to full account level access to another user, however as of 12.2 this has been enhanced to responsibility-level access. So you no longer have to give another user full access to your account, you can delegate just the specific responsibilities you wish.

It's probably easiest to show this via a demo. I log in using my user "beyond" and select Manage Proxies from the options menu. You might notice I'm using the Framework Simplified view here too! The reason for which will be apparent later :)

Select Manage Proxies

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