Friday, 11 March 2011

Oracle Business Intelligence Repository Tuning

I am trying to collect the few steps that might help in repository tuning. The benefits of tuning something up the ladder will be less than the benefits of fixing things at the base of the ladder

Designing the OLAP data model -> Tuning of the database -> Design of the repository

The following are the few things which I feel are worth considering
1.       The most important thing is obviously the data model. Typical OLAP systems are mostly denormalized, preferably star schema.
2.       The next important thing is that your database should be tuned to OLAP requirements
3.       The design has to take care of the loading mechanisms because a typical system can be optimized for a set of requirements. A system optimized for running huge analytical queries will not be good for the loading process and sufficient care has to be taken while designing the ETL process
4.       Proper load calculations should be done from time to time to take care of the increase in load as the system matures
5.       Bench marking the system at a particular point is required so that the same can be compared during problematic times
The 3 steps mentioned in the above ladder are the base of an efficient system. Apart from the above steps a constant monitoring and change of strategy is required to meet the increasing requirements and load shift. Below ladder briefly mentions the important steps for this
Performing the DBA activities and scheduling it to benefit system performance -> Tuning of the repository -> Load distribution and planning -> Presentation server reporting strategy

We are trying to talk broadly about the repository tuning here
The following are the topics which are worth considering

1.       Fragmentation
Fragmentation is a process in which we advice the BI server to pick a particular table to satisfy a specific type of request. Aggregate tables are a subset of fragmentation where we advice the BI server to use a set of tables.
The following is an excellent blog on this topic
2.       Aggregation
We can either configure aggregation tables separately or can use the aggregation persistence wizard of OBIEE which would create scripts for the creation of aggregate tables and configure them in the repository. Aggregation is an extended functionality of caching.
Details for the process of using the aggregation can be found in the following blog
3.       Cache management 
Cache can be managed at both the presentation server level and the BI server level. An intelligent cache management strategy can have serious impact on system performance
BI server query cache: BI server saves the query result set on the disk and fulfils the request from this result set. This result might become stale with updates on the database and hence it is important to sync the cache management strategy with the load of OLAP database from ETL processes.
Various mechanisms like event pooling tables, disabling the cache for physical tables, manually removing the cache entries and using ODBC-extension functions (which provide a lot of liberty for programming cache management) can be used for cache management of BI server.
Cache seeding is an important mechanism to load the cache with the result set so that subsequent queries will hit the cache instead of the database. It is important to note that if a cache hit will happen if the subsequent query requires a subset of the query in the cache. So it is an intelligent step to seed the cache with no filters selected. Delivers are one of the better options to seed cache because they can be scheduled at off peak hours.
Apart from the query cache in the BI server, there is a html cache in the presentation server. This cache also holds the charts that are generated in the result. These are sufficient parameters that can be configured in instanceconfig.xml file for this cache
4.       Strategy to use the connection pools
Conn pools reduce the overhead of connecting to the database for every new request and also allow multiple concurrent requests
We must calculate the sessions that we will allow for a particular connection pool because if this threshold is reached and other connection pools to the same data source are not available then the users will have to wait for getting their requests handled. Again if this is set at a very high value then it might overload the underlying database and also of the BI server.
Since the time required for logging in the application is the most important metric to judge an application’s performance and since many initialization blocks are used during logging in so it is always advisable to have a separate connection pool for all the initialization blocks
We can use the permissions tab to streamline the users who would use a particular connection pool. This feature can be used to dedicate a connection pool to privileged users
Again persist connection pool property can be used to perform generalized subquery which can reduce the data movement between BI server and database. Again there is more than 1 thing to consider before using this property

5.       Exchanging metadata with databases
Oracle database summary manager can be used to create materialized views and index recommendations on optimizing performance
A utility called SAMetaExport is used for this purpose. It takes an input file containing information like physical database, business model etc and generates a sql file with info on different business models (This file is generated in case of Oracle Database Metadata Generator). We can specify that we want to use Oracle Database Metadata Generator while executing SAMetaExport utility.

6.       Using the session variables
Session variables can be fed with values or an array of values if the values will remain the same throughout the session and if it is not affecting the login time. This session variables could then be used for various purposes in the reports.
7.       Using complex join in the physical layer
      If we do complex join in the physical layer then there is a high probability of unnecessary tables in the final query fired on the database. So we should avoid this practice
I will update this blog if I find some new mechanisms of tuning the repository




John Minkjan said...

Hello Vishal,

Welcome to the OBIEE blogging community! I will add you to my Blog List.



Vishal Pathak said...


Your comment means a lot to me

This is huge. Many thanks for going through my work

I will try to put my best work in this blog

Thanking you in anticipation of your guidance in future :)


Leigh Wilson said...

Hey Vishal, i've added you to my blogroll too... nice blog!! :-)