Oracle BI Cloud: FAQ's on data & security (part 1)

Published on: Category: Oracle

These days, people are talking about the cloud. Any solution should be cloud-enabled today. With Business Intelligence there is no difference, the cloud is the way forward.

Customers are asking about Business Intelligence in the Cloud and they have a lot of questions and worries. But no more worries. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (OBICS) as of today, version 16.2.6 as we have it right now.

How do I migrate on-premise data to the Oracle BI Cloud?

Answer: If you just run OBICS you typically start with adding data through either the Data Sync utility or you create so called Data Sets with Visual Analyzer. Data Sync allows you to store relational data inside the Oracle Database Cloud Schema Service. Data Sets are created by VA when you upload a file like an Excel sheet or through a special configuration within Data Sync. Data Sets cannot be added to the BI Model as a source, currently.

How do I deploy a table to the Oracle BI Cloud?

Answer: Similarly as with migrating data to the Oracle BI Cloud you can use Data Sync to accomplish this. Data Sync also creates tables that do not exist yet. You can also use the Oracle APEX interface from Oracle Database Cloud Schema Service. Use the SQL Workshop to create one. Lastly you can use SQL Developer ‘Carts’ to upload data as well as other DDL and DML.

How do I use a SQL Developer Cart?

Answer:  You create a cart in Oracle SQL Developer to collect all the things you need to deploy to the Oracle Database Cloud Schema Service. Once created, SQL Developer creates a ZIP file and transfers it to the server where the Schema Service is running. You use dedicated SFTP credentials to connect and transfer your ZIP file. The Oracle Database Cloud Schema Service automatically detects this ZIP file, and extracts the contents into your own schema. Automatically, check for statuses in SQL Developer at the Cloud Connection.

Is there an easier way to upload data than Data Sync or Carts?

Answer: Yes, you can start building your visualizations on top of the so called External Subject Area’s that are created when you upload a file to VA. But remember that it is not yet possible to build a BI Model on top of Data Sets. Other disadvantages are that you cannot use Oracle Database functions, or BICS row level security on this data and the files need someone to take care of them (naming, data quality, ownership, etc).

Is there a way to set up jobs to upload data on a schedule?

Answer: Yes, with Data Sync utility you can create jobs and schedule your data uploads to the Oracle BI Cloud Service.

How can I use datapump for migrating Oracle data to Oracle BI Cloud Service?

Answer: There would be several ways, if you already use Oracle Database Cloud Service and not just the Schema Cloud Service. You could use datapump to create the files, use SFTP to transfer the files and use datapump to import the files into Oracle Database Cloud Service. This has the advantage of transferring encrypted data to the Oracle Database Cloud.

Will my Oracle BI Cloud Service content still be available after I end my subscription?

Answer: Well, I hope not. Unless Oracle provides a new kind of Cloud Service for this kind of enterprise archiving specifically. The problem is that no one is able to tell whether a user requesting for a restore is actually the same user that originally created the data in the previous OBICS. This is only possible if the Identity Domain is maintained and corresponds with some kind of Oracle global unique worldwide user ID that is recognized by all governments, I guess. To secure your OBICS files create a snapshot of your OBICS instance and download all you need with this file. Don’t forget the BAR-file password!

Is there a storage size limit to Oracle BI Cloud?

Answer: To be honest, no! When you decide to use OBICS you immediately decide on how much data you are going to store and analyze. If the standard 50GB is not enough, you have the option to go for Oracle Database Cloud with appropriate storage. Another option is to connect to certified datasources on other infrastructure; think of AWS, Oracle IaaS Cloud or even on-premise.

Currently, we think that no-one will reach the physical limitations of the BI Model and BI Catalog storage.

What options are available for free Oracle Database Cloud Service functionality?

Answer: There are several great options. First think of what you want to accomplish. Have a look at each website and try to figure out which one fits your usecase. They may not all be called cloud by some.

What security options does Data Sync offer?

Answer: Data Sync transfers data over HTTPS to the Oracle BI Cloud Service. The metadata from the Data Sync utility must be stored in a safe place. From the documentation:

“Passwords, though encrypted, are stored in the client machine's file system. While accessing critical environments, like Production environments, clients connecting to the repository may not be trustworthy.”

This means you need to run Data Sync in a safe place, cause if someone gains access, they may get access to the configuration.

Finally, although the connection is over HTTPS and the password is stored encrypted, the data you send over to OBICS is not yet encrypted. That would require sharing SSL certificates between source and target. And as far as we know, that is not available, today.

So your connection is secured by encryption. Data Sync sends data over in binary format. So if someone gains access to your HTTPS connection, however unlikely, he can start collecting the binary data after decrypting the HTTPS connection. Currently there is no solution for data in transit other than the industry standard SSL.

How do I add another layer of security to the data transfer?

Answer: To build another layer of security you could use some security precautions based on network security. OBICS has the option to configure IP whitelisting. This enables to close down any traffic between OBICS and the chosen network configuration. You own public IP address (range) could be used.

More questions?

Do you have more questions you would like to be answered? Please contact us or let me know through email or LinkedIn.

Next blog, we will discuss other functionality.

Have fun with your data!

Hasso Schaap

Hasso Schaap
About the author Hasso Schaap

I help Qualogy's clients achieve the next level of maturity in Business Analytics with Oracle. My focus lies within architecture, design, development and integration with source - and targetsystems. I'm an Oracle Certified Specialist in several Business Analytics related categories. I dive into the processes and business issues of our customers, I look for ideal solutions which are often based on multiple Oracle products combined into 1 solution.

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