At long last, Oracle Analytics Cloud – the Oracle Cloud offering that includes Essbase Cloud along with BICS and DV – is on sale. I’m going to have a lot to say in more detail about this product over the coming weeks, but as a long-time “Essbase guy”, my first blog post will be aimed at people who already use Essbase on-premises, and some of the questions I think they’ll have: Why would you want to consider Essbase Cloud? How does it differ from the on-premises product? If Essbase Cloud is compelling, how would you move existing applications to test it out?
I’ve been working on tuning aggregate views with a test copy of a large ASO cube to which I added some additional dimensions. Tuning aggregate views can be tricky, because aggregate views make query performance heavily dependent on the exact combination of levels being queried. And there’s always some user that comes along with an unusual query that happens to hit a combination of levels that performs particularly poorly. So when I handed the system over for front-end certification by users, I enabled query logging. By parsing the log for “worst case” query times, I could proactively monitor and then investigate any particularly nasty cases the users encountered. Unfortunately, I was being a little bit too smart for my own good.
This post is a quick follow-on to my last, inspired by the same piece of client work. Fair warning: it’s only going to make sense if you are already somewhat familiar with aggregate views and view definition scripts (.csc). If you’re not already familiar with the concepts but want to read this anyway, I’d refer you to a presentation given at Kscope11 as an excellent (ahem) primer on the topic (free associate membership of ODTUG required).
But in summary: Many people maintaining larger or complex ASO cubes have developed very carefully crafted sets of aggregate views to optimize query performance. They also know that, unfortunately, some structural changes can invalidate those view definitions – adding levels to stored dimensions and adding new stored dimensions to name two. This can necessitate a lot of painstaking, trial-and-error optimization to generate a new set of aggregate views that provide equivalent performance to the original set.
In the course of adding a new dimension to an existing cube, I realized that there was a straightforward way to preserve the validity of my existing set of aggregate views.
A long gap since my last blog entry – for which I’m going to mostly blame Kscope…
I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy the Unix tools and am working at becoming more competent with them. In this post, I’m going to explain why adding a new dimension to an ASO cube while retaining existing data is slightly harder than doing the same to a BSO cube, and then show how I used a very simple script (ksh, but these are such basic commands that I’m sure it can be translated easily if not used exactly as is) to modify native export files and solve the problem.
When using bitmap compression, squeezing a given set of data into a denser arrangement doesn’t always result in a space saving of the same magnitude
Yet again, a post prompted by a question on OTN (this one from my UK-based co-worker Russell). And yet again, a question on OTN that results in me appreciating a feature of which I was almost completely ignorant. This one has some remarkably useful, and, as far as I know, unique applications. With format strings you can, for example:
- Return values from Essbase including a — potentially variable — unit of measure (e.g. USD99.99, JPY250,000)
- Return values in specific or complex formats (e.g. 22 September 2015)
- Return values using mixed measures (e.g. 3’6″ for 42″, 12lb 5oz for 197oz)
Even better than advanced formatting, however, is the fact that Format Strings can be hacked to do some completely non-format-related but very useful things. The documentation does not discuss this possibility at all, and searching for information on this I could find only one example online in a blog post from Brian Marshall. Because Format Strings allow the use of any MDX function, we can choose to ignore data altogether and return information from metadata or other functions:
- Retrieve a datestamp from the Essbase server on to a report
- Show both a member and its parent (and / or grandparent, and / or great-grandparent, etc.) on the same row
- Show the attribute associations of a member without time-consuming drill and suppress shenanigans
- Show UDA associations
This post describes the basic Format String functionality, shows some simple and then more complex format examples, and concludes with the fun non-format ‘hacks’.
I’ve been using UltraEdit (actually, UltraEdit Studio but this technique works fine with ‘regular’ UltraEdit too) as a text editor / SSH client / FTP browser for a couple of years now, although I’ve barely scratched the surface of its capabilities. In this series of posts, I’m going to show some simple but helpful features that I use when working with UltraEdit and Essbase. First up will be turning UltraEdit into a bare-bones MaxL environment.
A couple of weeks back I was writing some automation scripts on a *nix system (using KornShell, in this case) and needed to do something I haven’t previously tried – grabbing the value of a couple of Essbase substitution variables to use elsewhere in the shell script. I’m sharing a generic version since (as a relatively inexperienced programmer on Unix-like systems) I was pleasantly surprised by how simple the toolset made meeting this requirement, and more generally, the solution I came up with demonstrates several useful techniques from which other *nix neophytes may benefit:
- Command substitution
- Inline redirection
- Filtering multiple lines with grep
- Extracting tokens from a single line with AWK
Constructive criticism and comments are most welcome!
Security filters can be difficult beasts at the best of times, especially when it comes to the interaction of multiple filter rows / multiple filters (I glaze over on reading the DBAG statement that “a filter that defines a more detailed dimension combination list takes precedence over a filter with less detail”). In this post I’m going to discuss a particularly confusing behavior involving the interaction of calculation privileges with filter access. I’m not the first to discover or comment on the following phenomenon, but I don’t think it’s been written up comprehensively. The DBAG entry for filters certainly doesn’t make any mention of it, which seems like an oversight.