OBIEE and Essbase - Defining OLAP Integration

Published December 18 2008 by Communications Team
Back to insights

In this second part of our OBIEE series, the integration between OBIEE and Essbase is a seamless transition from our OLAP cube to the OBIEE suite managed by using OBIEE’s Administration Tool.

OBIEE Administration Tool view

This Administration tool has been designed with wizards, utilities, and interface design elements to help administrators work more efficiently.

Essbase test outline

Using an existing Essbase outline called ‘test’, this outline can be used to import an OLAP connection to OBIEE.

From the Administration Tool, select

File | Import | from Multi-dimensional

Enter the provider type, Essbase Server name, and its login credentials. The physical layer table, connection pooling, etc. will be automated and established once the import completes. You can also manually set each individual component in the physical layer if you want this level of control.




When the Physical layer has been established, simply drag and drop the folder of your Essbase outline from the Physical layer to the Business Model and Mapping layer to define a mapping between the business model and the physical layer schemas.

Physical Layer in Administration Tool


Once the business model mapping has been established, move the business model to the Presentation layer to make it available for user views.

Business Model & Mapping Layer in Administration Tool


This Presentation layer allows the Administration tool to present customized views of the business model to users. The business models can be managed in this presentation layer by removing unwanted or unneeded columns, restrict certain columns from view, or maybe rename a column to a more user-friendly name.

Presentation Layer in Administration Tool


Once adjustments to column views have been completed and ready in the presentation layer, it can be made available in the Subject Areas for users to develop reports using the Answers component of OBIEE.

Subject Areas in OBIEE Answers


So the three layers within the OBIEE Administration tool are defined as follows:

  • Physical layer - Represents the physical structure of the data sources to which the Oracle BI Server submits queries. This layer is displayed in the right pane of the Administration Tool.
  • Business Model and Mapping layer - Represents the logical structure of the information in the repository. The business models contain logical columns arranged in logical tables, logical joins, and dimensional hierarchy definitions. This layer also contains the mappings from the logical columns to the source data in the Physical layer. It is displayed in the middle pane of the Administration Tool.
  • Presentation layer - Represents the presentation structure of the repository. This layer allows you to present a view different from the Business Model and Mapping layer to users. It is displayed in the left pane of the Administration Tool.


Some of the features of the Administration tool make management of metadata and data much less complicated. The change management feature makes it easy to change multiple object names, text, case, and adding prefixes and suffixes. This allows for drag and drop capabilities from the physical to the business model layer.

Organization of metadata is straightforward using a feature called metadata administration. This feature grants users the ability to create folders to manage dimension tables and hierarchies.

The multi-user collaboration feature regulates the off-line/on-line modes for read only or to take effect immediately. This enables metadata repositories to be checked out or checked in and authorizes multiple administrators to work on a repository concurrently.

The Export/Import feature supports the export and import of metadata to move systems from staging to production and provide documentation.

Defining how OLAP is presented to OBIEE has been explained in basic format within this blog article but readers should know that this Administration Tool is much more powerful and can allow for more focused control within each of its layer process managing metadata and data. It is integrated and is flexible and its goal is to help move disparate source data to the OBIEE suite.

The end result can be a visual dashboard that makes sense of data utilizing charts, graphs, stop lighting, embedded images, tickers, etc. to organize and present data in a manner your audience will embrace and use.

Dashboard created with Answers from Essbase test outline


This concludes part 2 of the OBIEE & Essbase integration. Keep an eye out for my next article where I’ll review RDBMS integrated with OBIEE and how it can be used in conjunction with Essbase in Answers reporting.

Contact us