I've somewhat disappeared off the
blogosphere over the last couple of months, with updates to this
site pretty few and far between. In fact I've actually been
busier than ever and doing a lot of research and writing on
Oracle BI&W, plus there's been quite a few developments
work-wise that I can't really go into now but are going to have
a big impact for me over the coming few years. Whilst I can't
really talk about this now, I can talk about some of the
articles and publications I've been working on and recap on some
bits of Oracle news that you might not be aware of.
writing first of all, one big thing that I've been working on is
contributing a couple of chapters for the forthcoming Oracle
Press "Oracle Discoverer Handbook", on the OLAP support in the
10.1.2 release of Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer. If
you've tried to find documentation on Discoverer Plus OLAP you'd
have noticed that there's only a small section in the online
documentation, and so what I've done is go through all the
common tasks that you'll need to coverer using D4O, and describe
in more details some of the tips and tricks that I'd previously
published elsewhere, such as for example
from OLAP to relational or
building your first cube using Analytic Workspace Manager.
The book is primarily written by Michael and Darlene
Armstrong-Smith (you'll know Michael from the
OTN Discoverer Forum) and will go out in their names, but it
was interesting contributing towards the book and gave me a
better idea of the work involved in doing something myself. From
speaking to Michael, it should be out at the start of 2006, and
from what I've seen of Michael and Darlene's chapters, it's
shaping up to be pretty good.
Another big article I've been working on is a piece for
DBAZine on Oracle 10g OLAP Performance Tuning. Unlike "regular"
data warehousing, there's little content or material out there
for tuning the OLAP server within Oracle Database 10g, and this
article seemed a good way for me to combine my interest in OLAP
with my other interest in Oracle performance tuning. What I've
done is take a methodical, "scientific" approach to tuning
analytic workspaces, tried to back up assertions with test cases
and documented the effect of the various techniques, and I've
now passed the paper out to a few people on the OTN OLAP Forum,
plus others like Dan Vlamis, for technical review. With a bit of
luck this will be a first stab at producing an "authoritative"
OLAP tuning paper, and if I can get it tech reviewed by some of
my peers, we can try and make sure it's correct and provable.
I'm hoping to get it through review by the end of August, with a
publication date later in September.
On a personal level, I got the news through the other week
that I've been awarded the "Oracle Magazine Editor's Choice"
award for "Oracle ACE of the Year 2005", and I've just taken
part in an interview that'll appear in Oracle Magazine in
Nov/Dec 2005. I guess this is for work on the blog, and perhaps
the OTN articles, but I'll be meeting up with the OTN and Oracle
Magazine team at Open World next month, so no doubt I'll hear
more then. Also, if you're over at Open World, I'll be taking
part in the "OTN Meet The Experts" BI session at the OTN Lounge
on September 21st between 11.30 and 12.00, a non-scripted,
informal Q&A session where I'll try and answer questions on
Oracle BI & data warehousing.
Whilst I've been away there's been another spate of new
Oracle blogs arriving, including one by a member of the Oracle
BI product team (Abhinav Agarwal I think) called the "Oracle
Business Intelligence Blog" (Abhinav, if it's you, drop me a
line to get in touch). The blog starts off with a couple of
interesting postings, one on the
memory impact of hosting large Discoverer workbooks in portlets,
and one on the
install methods with the upcoming Phase 2 (10.1.2.0.2) release
of Application Server - this second posting was particularly
interesting as it appears that this next release will restore
the option to install Discoverer and Portal in the same Oracle
home, which will reduce the total footprint if you want to get
both Portal and Discoverer installed on the same machine (and
it'll save you needing to associate the Discoverer tier with the
infrastructure tier). I'll keep an eye on this blog as it
appears to be written by someone from within the product team,
so will hopefully be a good way to see what's coming along with
new product releases. Other new blogs you might want to bookmark
Clarke (fellow ACE, Brit, and UKOUG SIG committee member),
Coekaerts (OTN's Mr Linux) and
Lisa Dobson (newbie
DBA based up in Newcastle).
Finally, if you keep an eye on the
OTN BI & OLAP homepage (as you do), you might have noticed a
new utility called
OX that's available for download. It's all a bit mysterious
and unheralded but from having a play around with it and reading
readme.txt, I think OX stands for
and it's a lightweight viewer/explorer for analytic workspace
objects. Here's a few screenshots of it in action:
There's also an entry in the toolbar menu for
"Install OX Protocol" which doesn't work in the version I've
downloaded, and there's nothing in the documentation to suggest
what it does. Mysterious. The Help menu item brings up an empty
help dialog and there's nothing about it on OTN or the OLAP
Forum so it's a bit of a mystery as to what this tool is
actually about, but where it differs from AWM10g is that it
doesn't depend on their being a valid "Model View" of the AW, so
I guess it's an IDE for working directly with OLAP DML and "raw"
OLAP objects. Perhaps if anyone knows more about it, in
particular the "OX Protocol", they can drop me a line?
Anyway, that's it for now, back in a day or so.