Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Upgrading OBIEE 11g to - ** STOP PRESS **

Having now performed both and upgrade and a fresh install of and compared the two I can report that the upgrade does not entirely work - it seems to miss off or not completely install some components.

I'd already mentioned that the Essbase components were not included in the upgrade and this is perfectly ok - you'd want to install Essbase in a seperate middleware home anyway (if not a separate server), however some other new features don't seem to work after the upgrade and I can only assume the upgrade process doesn't install the components correctly.

An example is the new percentage tiles. the upgraded version doesn't have the correct screen when editing percentage tiles - it tries to edit them in the pivot table editor and it doesn't quite work properly - there isn't even any 'done/revert' buttons to save/discard your changes.

I also had a problem with drilling not working - clicking on a dimension value to drill down in a pivot table didn't do anything - even on a report which worked perfectly ok before the upgrade. This may be a problem specific to my environment, I've no way of knowing, but I don't have time to investigate it.

I'm going to keep my upgraded environment (it was only a test environment) and when the next patch set comes out see if that fixes these issues - upgrading would still be an easier option than reinstalling especially if there were lots of custom configurations. For now though if anyone wants to upgrade I'd recommend a re-install.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Upgrading OBIEE 11g to

The new version of OBIEE, was released last week with a whole host of new features – an updated look and feel, enhancements to tables, graphs & dashboards, support for Endeca and enhancements to Essbase integration. For the full list see the Oracle documentation at the following URL:

The installation process for a new installation appears almost identical to with a few extras on the install screens for Essbase which is has now been combined into the OBIEE install set. Rather than run through that I thought I’d try my hand at upgrading an existing installation, so below is the (remarkably painless) process I went through – successfully completing the upgrade in a couple of hours.

The environment I upgraded was an OBIEE patched to on Windows 2008 64bit server that had been configured with AD authentication and auto start up with window services.
I started with downloaded the usual zip files from technet, in this case the following and unzipped them to a single temporary directory.

There are three basic steps to the upgrade:

  1.   Perform a software only install of the new version 
  2.   Run the Patch Set Assistant to configure Weblogic 
  3.   Run the Configuration Assistant for OBIEE

To start with I manually shutdown all OBIEE and Weblogic services:

For the duration of this upgrade I actually set these services to manual so I could test the upgrade and start up procedures separately. I’ll put them back to automatic at the end.

From the directory where the upgrade files where unzipped, go into the bishiphome\Disk1 subdirectory and run setup.exe (if you are not logged in as Administrator, right click and select ‘run as administrator’ – I never do, I prefer to install software under a ‘oracle’ account with Admin access)

This brings up the usual OBIEE installer screen:

I never enable software updates, I prefer to control them myself, so I turn this option off.

The upgrade process initially only requires the software to be installed, the configuration will be handled later on.

The prerequisite checks passed ok…

It detected the Oracle Middleware Home by itself. If you had more than one home on the server you would probably need to choose the correct one. The Oracle Home Directory should be Oracle_BI1. 

As OBIEE only used Weblogic, this should be auto selected.

 The summary screen then lists what’s going to be installed.

The installation progress image still shows Lawrence Fishburne in one of his less action packed roles…

 And the install should finish successfully…

That’s the new version of the software installed. Now to configure it. The first step is to use the Patch Set Assistant to upgrade Weblogic and the repositories. Before doing this it’s advisable to take a backup of the database repositories – the xxx_BIPLATFORM and xxx_MDS schemas for the environment being upgraded.
From the middleware_home/oracle_common/bin directory run psa.bat (again choose “run as administrator” if necessary)

 Choose Oracle Business Intelligence to upgrade.

Before continuing you need to confirm that you’ve taken a backup of the database repositories and that the database is of a version supported by this version of weblogic. You can check the support versions at the following URL:

From here you can download the excel certification spreadsheet for OBIEE, but in a nutshell the following database versions are supported: 10g or better, 11gR1 or better and 11gR2 or better.

Enter the connection details for the xxx_MDS schema and click Connect

The xxx_MDS schema name will appear in the Schema user name field. Note that if this database has the repositories for more than one OBIEE environment you must make sure the correct one is selected. Enter the password for this schema.

This step is repeated for the xxx_BIPLATFORM schema, again make sure the correct one is selected.

The PSA will then examine the repositories to make sure they are ok for upgrading.

Finally you get the summary screen from where you can start the upgrade

The upgrade process only takes a few seconds to perform.

Click close.
Now start Weblogic and the Node Manager.
From middleware_home\user_projects\domains\bifoundation_domain\bin directory run startWebLogic.cmd

 Then the node manager:  middleware_home\wlserver_10.3\server\bin\startNodeManager.cmd

Now we need to run the Business Intelligence Configuration Assistant.
From middleware_home\Oracle_BI1\bin run config.bat (again choose “run as administrator” if necessary)

The prerequisite checks should pass ok (they did in the install earlier…)

Choose the Update BI Domain option and enter the connection details for the Weblogic server.

 The details of the BI Domain should be picked up automatically

Again the summary screen appears before the upgrade begins.

 If took around 20 minutes to perform the upgrade, stopping and starting services a few times along the way.

And finally completes ok.

That’s it, the upgrade is complete. A quick check of the version number in the Administration screen:

Rebooting the server and starting the BI services manually revealed one minor problem:
The file had been deleted under:


Although the file under:

was still intact. For good measure I recreated both. (They just have two lines: username=weblogic, password=password

The look and feel has been improved…but playing will have to wait for another day…

Importantly the two custom configurations I mentioned at the top of this blog – starting OBIEE via windows services (after returning the services back to automatic) and the AD authentication both worked perfectly after the upgrade without any additional changes, so existing configuration settings have been retained correctly. Given the change to the look and feel I’d be surprised if customisations to the look and feel (e.g. logo’s, alternative colours etc.) are still perfect after the upgrade, I suspect some tweaking would probably be needed, but it should be fairly minor.

I also can’t see any sign of the Essbase tools that a normal install includes, but that’s probably not a bad sign – even though Essbase is included with the OBIEE installation I’d still recommend splitting Essbase off onto a different server, or at very least a different middleware home on the same server. Later on I’ll re-run the installer to add in Essbase and see how that goes.