Oracle OBIEE Review

Exalytics within memory coupled to a Repository on Exadata


What is our primary use case?

First Off I am an Administrator of OBIEE more than a developer or User, so my review will be more from that perspective. OBIEE is now not a big focus area for Oracle given that they now have various cloud PaaS solutions available such as Oracle Analytics cloud that does a similar job. However, OBIEE has always been a complex beast with a lot of not well-integrated moving parts.

How has it helped my organization?

Oracle OBIEE has improved our organization by providing business intelligence tools and solutions as advertised. We get the dashboard reports, email blasts, and dynamic access as needed. However, to get the best performance you need to understand and tune the system appropriately. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ability to run it in Exalytics within memory coupled to a Repository on Exadata is where it flies. So it's not meant for mom and pop shops, but if you are a global 500 fortune 1000 company, this is a tool that can get you what you need on time and even in real time.

What needs improvement?

One significant improvement is the need for simplification. The set up could be more intuitive. An enterprise setup with HA and DR are pretty complex and to get a robust solution one has to play around with Real Application Cluster data sources and FAN notifications as well as WebLogic clustering and external load balancers. SSO also is not that simple to set up especially if you want all your Oracle systems to use the same SSO solution, i.e., no cheating with direct LDAP connectivity.

So there is no simple setup for HA deployment. you need to manually create a cluster deploy into the cluster , reconfigure the datasources to high availability data sources etc. Unlike hyperion for example which has automated configurator scripts that do a lot of the under covers work for the administrator and hence simplifies the ha installation.


For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a pretty stable solution. There is also good help from Oracle.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

OBIEE is an ultra-scalable solution as long as you are willing to pay the price. Exadata, Exalytics and in memory allow this to scale to any enterprise,  and we have global 500 companies who are using this solution today.

How are customer service and technical support?

Oracle's Technical support is knowledgeable and able to help with issues. We faced some challenging problems when upgrading very old versions of OBIEE to 1c but got some excellent support for the same.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

No we mostly concentrate on the opracel technology stack though there are other groups within my company that look at other vendor solutons.

How was the initial setup?

Setup can be quite complex for this system,.

What about the implementation team?

We do these kinds of implementations ourselves. We are an Oracle SI.

What was our ROI?

We implement this for our customers who have seen multifold speedup in reporting and better visibility into their organizations. It's challenging to put a dollar value, but they have recouped their investments as compared to the systems that were replaced.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Setup cost, pricing, and licensing for OBIEE are all geared towards more substantial enterprises. A full blown HA - Dr setup can have many moving parts.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluate solutions on a case by case basis based on the specific implementation as we implement BI solutions for different clients.

What other advice do I have?

OBIEE is a powerful BI tool, but it is not as agile as some of the newer PaaS based solutions, eg, Oracle Analytics Cloud

On a scale of one to ten with ten being the best, I'd give Oracle OBIEE a rating of 7 out of 10.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are Oracle Platinum partner cloud elite and hence implement Oracle technologies among others.
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