Oracle provides one of the best resources for learning to use it’s extensive BI stack of tools. The company freely distributes an ‘OBIEE’ virtual machine that runs, of course, on VirtualBox. Not a bad thing, Virtualbox runs equally well on Windows, Macs and Linux. This VM has many of its most powerful products already configured. Not only are the products configured, they are also integrated with SampleApps deployed, a BI project highlighting product features for Oracle’s Apps.
Points to note
- It is a fairy hefty download at about 25GB and they do not host a live version anywhere for preview that I know of.
- You must agree Oracle Technology Network’s License Agreement.
- If you are going to turn on Exadata, you need a lot of memory (about 4GB) to dedicate to this VM, along with a generous number of cores for crunching decent development.
The upside of this is that it includes a complete Oracle stack of tools for BI. It comes with a fully configured database server, a WebLogic Server, Oracle OLAP, OBIEE and even Exadata, among other things.
For me, the best part of this is using this VM as a turnkey development environment. Just configuring a development environment for all these is very time consuming. This alone makes that 25Gb download worth the time.
For a large percentage of the common reports created everyday, the examples provided are a great starting point. They illustrate best practices and provide a good visual guide to the features available in these Oracle products. You will be on your own as you get deeper into building your reporting suite as a lot of these examples are not fully developed (you will eventually start clicking broken links to non existing reports) but by then you would have developed some insight to guide you further.
For the price, this VM has proved indispensable in guiding me by example as I wrap my head around the Oracle Flavor of BI.