Monday, May 30, 2011

BI Forum: Masterclass

I spent last week in Atlanta, GA for the first ever BI Forum state-side.

I tend to write a lot during these events, but since I decided to rebuild my laptop the day before I went, I hadn't worked out all the kinks (specifically my wireless adapter), I hardly used the thing. I spent the majority of time on "my" table, the Motorola Xoom. Since getting this device, my son has owned it...which appears to be the norm in most households with young children.

Day 1, technically Day Zero
This was a Masterclass by Mark Rittman (@markrittman) and Tony Heljula (Hallelujah!) (@aheljula).

Mark was up first and spoke about OBIEE 11g Architecture and Internals (pdf). It was nice to get a big picture view from the architecture side from someone who has been working with the latest release for quite some time. From my understanding, this is the very first Fusion-like app released...but I could be wrong. Mark ran long, everyone had lots of questions which Mark graciously answered.

Big Side Note
Please bring an extra liver to these types of events, especially if you have a number of people from the UK in attendance. I have a beer or 3 regularly, but this is just nuts. I declined invitations to go out too (which got me quite a bit of ribbing). My roommate, Jason Baer (former colleague and now RM employee) was ruthless. He'd roll in around 3 AM, wake me up, give me a hard time and then get up before me, shower and dressed before I even woke up. I'm getting old.

Next up was Tony Heljula. I had never even heard of Tony before that day...either I'm losing my touch or he's hidden himself somehow on the European Internet.

BTW, you don't pronounce his name Hallelujah, but I do now. It is easier to remember.

Tony spoke after Mark on the Spatial and Mapping Integration in 11g. I've used neither of these components; the Map Viewer in OBIEE nor the spatial stuff built into the database. Very, very cool things you can do there.

Lunch. No beer. Thankfully.

Mark was up again on OBIEE 11g BI Server New Features and RPD Modeling. To summarize some of the new features:
- ID Columns for Descriptive Columns ("Double-columns")
- Lookup Tables (Yeah!)
- Support for Ragged, Skip-Level and Parent-Child Hierarchies
- Hierarchical Subject Area Columns
- LTS Priorirty Ordering
- Repository Passwords
- Deployment of Repository Files using FMW Control

I've followed the Rittman Mead blog closely since the release of 11g, so not much of this was new to me, but it was fun to see Mark speak for the first time.

To end the day, Tony spoke on SOA integration. You might wonder WTF that has to do with OBIEE...I did, at first. As he worked through his example though, it made perfect sense. The question I didn't get to ask was whether SOA was the way forward and the OBIEE write-back functionality would be deprecated eventually...I'll get an answer to that shortly I hope. Read Tony's presentation here.

For all the presentations, both in Brighton and Atlanta, check out Mark's post today.

Great first had been some time since I could just relax and take-in the presentation without worry of blogging right after, which was nice.

Brighton is on year 3, this was the first event in Atlanta. Here's to making this an annual event.