This section describes changes to metadata repository features for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g Release 1 (11.1.1). If you are upgrading to Oracle Business Intelligence from a previous release, read the following information carefully, because there are significant differences in features, tools, and procedures.
This preface contains the following topics:
New metadata repository features in Oracle Business Intelligence include:
A new demonstration repository called SampleApp.rpd is available for this release of Oracle Business Intelligence. This repository provides best practice information about modeling many different types of objects.
A basic version of SampleApp.rpd, called SampleAppLite.rpd, is automatically installed as the default repository when you choose the Simple Install option. The full version of SampleApp.rpd, which contains many additional examples and features, is available on the Oracle Technology Network. See "About the SampleApp.rpd Demonstration Repository" for more information.
You can now define presentation hierarchies and presentation levels in the Presentation layer. These objects provide an explicit way to expose the multidimensional model in Oracle BI Answers and enables users to create hierarchy-based queries. Presentation hierarchies expose analytic functionality such as member selection, custom member groups, and asymmetric queries. See "Working with Presentation Hierarchies and Levels" for more information.
Oracle Business Intelligence now supports unbalanced and skip-level hierarchies. An unbalanced (or ragged) hierarchy is a hierarchy where the leaves (members with no children) do not necessarily have the same depth. A skip-level hierarchy is a hierarchy where there are members that do not have a value for a particular ancestor level. See "About Level-Based Hierarchies" for more information.
Oracle Business Intelligence now supports parent-child hierarchies. Parent-child hierarchies (also called value hierarchies) contain members that all have the same type. For example, an organizational chart has a distinct parent-child hierarchy, but all members are employees. See "Creating and Managing Dimensions with Parent-Child Hierarchies" for more information.
You can automatically create one subject area (formerly called presentation catalog) for each logical star or logical snowflake in your business model. See "Automatically Creating Subject Areas Based on Logical Stars and Snowflakes" for more information.
You can configure logical columns so that Oracle Business Intelligence users can select the currency in which they prefer to view currency columns in analyses and dashboards. See "Configuring Logical Columns for Multicurrency Support" for more information.
You can now generate an XML patch file that contains only the changes made to a repository. This patch can be then applied to the old (original) version of the repository to create the new version. This is very useful for development-to-production scenarios, and can also be used for Oracle BI Applications customers to upgrade their repository. See "Performing Patch Merges" for more information.
You can also use the Oracle BI Server XML utilities to create a generic, XML-based representation of the Oracle Business Intelligence repository metadata, on any supported Oracle BI Server operating system. See "About the Oracle BI Server XML API" in Oracle Fusion Middleware Integrator's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition for more information.
The following list summarizes improvements and new features for multiuser development and repository lifecycle management:
MUD projects now explicitly include subject areas (formerly called presentation catalogs). Object security permissions no longer affect which presentation objects are included in a checked-out repository.
You can select options in the Merge Repository Wizard or set options in the MUD options file to automatically check consistency and equalize during merges.
Improved Merge Repository Wizard integration enables a single step input for repositories. You no longer have to select repositories one by one and wait for them to load.
You can now extract objects on all platforms using the command-line utility extractprojects.
The two-way merge feature (full merge without a common parent) enables easier consolidation of separate repositories.
Repositories now have a repository password that encrypts the repository contents using a strong encryption algorithm. This feature ensures that repository metadata is secure, including data source credentials in connection pool objects. See "Changing the Repository Password" for more information.
To reduce storage needs, repositories are now stored in a compressed format. Because of this, you may notice that the size of an RPD file opened and saved in this release is significantly smaller than the size of RPD files from previous releases. See "About the Multiuser Development Environment" for more information about using and storing multiple repositories.
Users and administrators can create requests by directly calling database functions from either Oracle BI Answers, or by using a Logical column (in the Logical Table source) within the metadata repository. These functions provide the ability to access custom written functions or procedures on the underlying database. Supported functions include
EVALUATE_PREDICATE. See "Database Functions" for more information.
In addition, Evaluate functions can be leveraged significantly for Essbase users. See "Examples Using EVALUATE_AGGREGATE and EVALUATE to Leverage Unique Essbase Functions" for more information.
The following new and revised SQL functions enable users to create time series calculations and level-based measures:
PERIODROLLING is a new function that computes the aggregate of a measure over the period starting x units of time and ending y units of time from the current time.
AGGREGATE AT is a new function that aggregates columns based on the level or levels specified.
AGO is a time series aggregation function that calculates the aggregated value from the current time back to a specified time period. In this release, the
time_level argument is optional, and there are additional syntax changes. This function was called
PERIODAGO in a previous release.
TODATE is a time series aggregation function that aggregates a measure attribute from the beginning of a specified time period to the currently displayed time. The syntax for this function has changed in this release. This function was called
PERIODTODATE in a previous release.
SELECT_PHYSICAL statements provide the functionality to directly query objects in the Physical layer of the metadata repository, and to nest such a statement within a query against the Business Model and Mapping layer or the Presentation layer. See "Syntax and Usage Notes for SELECT_PHYSICAL" for more information.
Calculated members are user-defined dimension members whose measure values are calculated at run time. You can define a calculated member within a dimension through a formula that references other members of the same dimension. See "Calculated Members" for more information.
Oracle Business Intelligence now supports Essbase as a data source. See "Working with Essbase Data Sources" for more information.
Oracle Business Intelligence now supports Hyperion Financial Management as a data source. See "Working with Hyperion Financial Management Data Sources" for more information.
Oracle Business Intelligence now supports using ADF Business Components as data sources. With this feature, users can integrate operational reporting with any application that is built on top of the ADF Framework. See "Working with ADF Business Component Data Sources" for more information.
The Oracle BI Server can now access Oracle Retail Predictive Application Server (RPAS) data stores using the RPAS ODBC driver. See "Setting Up Oracle RPAS Data Sources" for more information.
Administrators can now use the native Oracle Call Interface (OCI) when importing physical objects from an Oracle Database. Because using OCI is faster than using an ODBC connection, administrators should always use OCI when importing from or setting up connections to an Oracle Database. See "Setting Up Oracle Database Data Sources" for more information.
You can now drag and drop XMLA objects (whole XMLA database or cube tables, at the same time or one by one) into the logical layer to automatically create a consistent business model. See "Creating the Business Model and Mapping Layer" and "Automatically Creating Business Model Objects for Multidimensional Data Sources" for more information.
You can now use a standby database with Oracle Business Intelligence. A standby database is used mainly for its high availability and failover functions as a backup for the primary database. See "Using a Standby Database with Oracle Business Intelligence" for more information.
For greater performance, Oracle Business Intelligence now creates indexes and statistics on relational tables when aggregates are persisted. See Chapter 12 for more information about aggregate persistence.
Oracle Business Intelligence now includes a pruning utility to remove unwanted objects from your repository. This utility is especially useful for Oracle BI Applications customers who only need to use a subset of the objects included in the shipped Oracle BI Applications repository. See Appendix E, "Deleting Unwanted Objects from the Repository" for more information.
To improve session logon time and save resources, administrators can defer execution of selected session variable initialization blocks until the associated session variables are actually used within the session. See "Creating Initialization Blocks" for more information.
Many Administration Tool screens, wizards, and other parts of the user interface were updated and streamlined for this release of Oracle Business Intelligence. Updated wizards include the Create New Repository Wizard, Aggregate Persistence Wizard, and Merge Wizard. Expression Builder and the Consistency Checker also contain usability enhancements in this release.
Additional changes include updated and improved icons, a simpler process flow to create joins, improvements to the Query Repository feature, and a simplified way to add some repository objects. Also, shortcuts were added to enable keyboard access to menu options, dialog navigation, and navigation in the Physical and Business Model Diagrams.
Be aware of the following upgrade considerations:
You must upgrade your repository files from previous releases before they will work in this release of Oracle Business Intelligence. See Oracle Fusion Middleware Upgrade Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence for full information about upgrading a repository from a previous release.
Many configuration settings that affect repository development, including the default published repository, are now centrally managed in Fusion Middleware Control. You can no longer manually change these configuration settings in NQSConfig.INI. See Oracle Fusion Middleware System Administrator's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition for more information.
Be aware of the following security-related changes:
Repositories now have repository-specific passwords that are used to encrypt the repository contents. The repository password is stored in an external credential store when you publish a repository in Fusion Middleware Control, so that the Oracle BI Server can retrieve the password to load the repository. See "Changing the Repository Password" for more information.
Note that a blank repository password is not allowed.
Groups no longer exist in the repository as objects. Instead, you implement data access security based on the application roles to which a user belongs.
Application roles are managed in an external policy store. Application role objects exist in the repository, but these objects are pointers (references) to the externally managed roles.
Users are managed in an external authentication provider and are no longer managed in the repository. User objects exist in the repository, but these objects are pointers (references) to the externally managed users.
See Oracle Fusion Middleware Security Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition for information about these and other security changes. See also Chapter 13, "Applying Data Access Security to Repository Objects" for additional information.
The connection parameters in the default ODBC DSN for the Oracle BI Server are now centrally managed by Fusion Middleware Control and cannot be manually changed.
In addition, Oracle Business Intelligence is now deployed in a clustered configuration by default. Because of this, the default ODBC DSN for the Oracle BI Server points to the Cluster Controller by default, rather than to the Oracle BI Server.
See "Integrating Other Clients with Oracle Business Intelligence" in Oracle Fusion Middleware Integrator's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition for more information about ODBC DSNs for the Oracle BI Server.
This release of Oracle Business Intelligence has additional dependencies for a running system, including:
The relational database specified upon installation must be running. This database must contain required Oracle Business Intelligence schemas loaded using the Repository Creation Utility (RCU).
Oracle WebLogic Server must be running.
You can no longer restart the Oracle BI Server using the Administration Tool in online mode. Instead, you can restart the Oracle BI Server and other system processes using Fusion Middleware Control and the Oracle WebLogic Server Administration Console.
You can also use the BI Systems Management API to programmatically start and stop Oracle Business Intelligence. This feature is especially helpful for automating rolling restart of Oracle BI Servers in a cluster, to enable repository upgrade with zero end-user downtime.
For more information, see "Starting and Stopping Oracle Business Intelligence" and "Starting and Stopping Oracle Business Intelligence Using the BI Systems Management API" in Oracle Fusion Middleware System Administrator's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.
Before you can run any of the Oracle BI Server command-line utilities, you must now run bi-init.cmd (or bi-init.sh on UNIX) to launch a command prompt or shell window that is initialized to your Oracle instance. See "Running bi-init to Launch a Shell Window Initialized to Your Oracle Instance" for more information.
If you want to use a net service name in a connection pool for an Oracle Database data source, you must set up a tnsnames.ora file in the following location within the Oracle Business Intelligence environment, so that the Oracle BI Server can locate the entry:
You might need to create the admin directory, if it does not exist.
You can no longer open the Administration Tool by double-clicking a repository file. The resulting Administration Tool window is not initialized to your Oracle instance, and errors will result later in your session. Instead, always use the Start menu to open the Administration Tool, or launch the Administration Tool from the command line using bi-init.cmd. See "Opening the Administration Tool" for more information.
Presentation catalogs in the Presentation layer are now called subject areas.
Static repository variables must now have default initializers that are constant values. See "About Repository Variables" for more information.
If you configured write-back capability in a previous release of Oracle Business Intelligence, you must now explicitly select the Writeable option for each logical column for which you want to enable write-back. See "Enabling Write Back On Columns" for more information.
Repository objects can no longer have leading or trailing spaces in their names. Leading and trailing spaces in object names can cause query and reporting issues.
Logical columns that are mapped to logical table sources that are disabled are reported as consistency errors, because the logical table source mappings are invalid and would cause queries to fail. These consistency errors appear similar to the following:
 Logical column DIM_PO_Offer_Start_Date.YEAR_QUARTER_NBR does not have a physical data type mapping, nor is it a derived column.  Logical column DIM_PO_Offer_Start_Date.YEAR_QUARTER_NBR has no physical data source mapping.
See "About Converting Older Projects During Repository Upgrade" for information about how projects are upgraded when you upgrade a repository from Oracle Business Intelligence versions before 10.1.3.2.
For more information about upgrading to Oracle Business Intelligence 11g, see Oracle Fusion Middleware Upgrade Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence.