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Getting started with Oracle BI: a virtual experience – Part I

Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition is a suite of that integrates a number of different applications acquired by Oracle during its shopping spree for the last 10 years. At the heart of the system is Siebel Analytics which Oracle had acquired in 2005, and at the heart of Siebel Analytics is nQuire which it gobbled up in 2002.

The Oracle analytics platform is facing stiff competition in the enterprise arena from the entrenched rivals in a rapidly consolidating market such as Cognos (acquired by IBM in 2008 ), Business Objects SA (acquired by SAP in 2007 ), Microstrategy Inc. (the only remaining independent heavy-weight) and Microsoft Business Intelligence Solutions ( MS SQL Server, MS Office and Microsoft SharePoint Server). In the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for business Intelligence Platforms all these are in the Leaders quadrant (along with SAS, Information Builders and QlikTech).

As with every enterprise piece of software the users who want to have a hands-on experience face a challenge - procuring, installing and configuring OBIEE components is a daunting experience. Realizing this Oracle had provided prebuilt virtual environments that could be downloaded free of charge - a full-blown installation of OBIEE, complete with database server , application server and demo applications built on top of the stack.

This post (and a couple of follow up) describe my personal journey of installing OBIEE on a woefully under-powered 32-bit Windows XP Pro/SP3two-core 1.86GHz machine which barely met requirements set by Oracle:

  • 4GB of RAM (the max under 32bit systems)
  • 75GB free space (double this number for better performance!)
  • NTFS file system (non-negotiable on Windows machines!)
NB: If you are using old FAT32 system for your Windows XP machine, stop right here - since the VM image files are larger than 4GB supported by the FAT32 file system you wont't be able to download/unzip files, let alone run the application. You can convert FAT32 into NTFS (e.g. by running CONVERT /FS:NTFS command from command line) but keep in mind that this will be a one-way process.

It took me several hours to download, unzip, install and configure the appliance - and I had to start from scratch a couple times... Here is my step-by-step journey of downloading, installing and running OBIEE - Sample Application (V107) virtual machine - hopefully it might help you along the way!

Step 1.  

Get Oracle VM VirtualBox application here (you might need to create an Oracle Technology Network account to download trial products); select the installation for your particular operating system - Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris or various flavors of Linux. The download is about 90MB in size.

Step 2.

Install Oracle VM VirtualBox. On my Windows XP 32-bit machine the process was rather straightforward - accept all defaults by clicking Next button.... The installation takes additional ~120MB.

The application appears in the Programs menu as shown on Fig. 1


(continued in Part II of  Getting started with Oracle BI:  a virtual experience)




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  1. Hi: thanks for this page. I am starting on my journey with OBIEE now. I work for an firm that will remain unnamed. We have an OBIEE license but are stuck on a ‘to be phased out’ release and I’m not having luck politically installing the current software getting the resources allowed to me. Also, being a bit shy on vmware installations, I’m hoping over the next few days I’ll be able to follow your instructions/experiences to load up, check out and learn about OBIEE on my own Wintel workstation!

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