Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.0 – Provisioning Service

With perhaps the exception of scatter plots as an added visualization, the Provisioning Service is easily the coolest new part of OEID 3.  This feature allows business users to very easily load data through the Studio interface to create a data domain back on the OES server. 

This offers the business 3 impressive advantages.

  1. Business users are not dependent on IT support to be able to use Studio to analyze their data.   They can independently add pages, components, charts and build for themselves a complete and fully interactive dashboard.  This not only accelerates the return value for them, but reduces the workload on IT.
  2. Users can share their application directly with colleagues to share any conclusions.  With the addition of components like bookmarks, alerts or web content components they can work with spreadsheet data in a more collaborative and rich environment than is generally available.
  3. Users can use the service to assess data they’ve received or to prototype design for IT projects.  More than one project has seen users waiting for a GUI they can engage with.  With this sort of tool they can start to flush out design, validate data, and even let their application be reconnected to a more complete data source as it comes online.

From an enterprise level this feature will still remain secondary to a more IT directed effort for three reasons.

  1. The ingestion exercise is a onetime effort.  Once loaded the source data isn’t directly updatable.   Any new data files would require a new application to be created and the old data domain would still remain.
  2. The created data domains would sit on the OES server and need to be managed.  There are space considerations, backups, and the overall performance of the server itself that is an IT responsibility.
  3. The flexibility of OEID for blending records from different systems, defining managed attributes, and leveraging lexalytics is only available through integrator.  You can’t take complete advantage of OEID through Provisioning Services.

Despite those shortcomings the advantages of leveraging provisioning services are very high and this will be a popular feature for business users.  IT departments may be more reserved with respect to the risk of a proliferation of data domains appearing on their OES server.  Nevertheless it is a very empowering feature and nicely supports the OEID paradigm of freely exploring data.

Installation

The following steps will set up Provisioning Service on a Windows WebLogic server, without SSL.

  1. Confirm all the prerequisites are in place.  If this is an existing Studio server then they should be.
    1. Java JDK 1.6
    2. WebLogic Server 10.4.6
    3. Make sure a database such as derby is installed:  (derby is an optional database engine).
      1. Check the following location:
        1. ..\Oracle\MiddleWare\wlserver_10.3\common\derby
      2. If derby was not installed before rerun the installation of WebLogic (java –jar wls1036_generic.jar.
        1. Select to install to the existing folder.
        2. Make sure you select:
          1. WebLogic JDBC Drivers
          2. Evaluation Database
    4. Create a data domain profile.
      1. Open up a command prompt (Run as Administrator).
      2. Browse to the Endeca-cmd folder and run the following commands:
        endeca-cmd put-dd-profile prov_dd_profile --description "Default profile for Provisioning service created data domains"
      3. Note:  You can adjust numerous parameters on the profile, the recommended settings simply happen to already be the defaults.
    5. Create a domain for the Provisioning Service.
      1. Open up a command prompt (Run as Administrator).
      2. Browse to the source folder:
        1. C:\Oracle\Middleware\wlserver_10.3\common\bin
      3. Run:  config.cmd
      4. Select the option to “Create a new WebLogic domain”.
      5. Select the option to “Base this domain on an existing template” & browse to the location of the file:  eidProvisioningTemplate.jar
      6. Name the domain as desired, default is “oracle.eid-ps” which I’ll use for this document.
      7. Domain location will default to:  ..\user_projects\domains
      8. Application location will default to: ..\user_projects\applications
      9. Specify whatever password you like:
        1. Username: weblogic
        2. Password:  4endeca
      10. Select the option to configure the Administration Server
        1. Change the listening port to be 7770
        2. Uncheck the option for SSL
      11. Click Create. 
      12. Update this file
        1. ..\user_projects\domains\prov_domain\eidProvisioningConfig\plan.xml
          <variable>
            <name>endeca-server-ws-port</name>
            <value>7001</value>        
          </variable>
          <variable>
            <name>endeca-server-data-domain-profile</name>
            <value>prov_dd_profile</value>
          </variable>
          <variable>
            <name>endeca-server-security-enabled</name>
            <value>false</value>
          </variable>
          <variable>
            <name>transport-guarantee</name>
            <value>NONE</value>
          </variable>
          <variable>
            <name>protected-url-pattern</name>
            <value>/DISABLED</value>
          </variable>
      13. Start the service:
      14. Open up a browser and log in to your existing Studio application:
        1. http://localhost:8080
        2. From the control panel select the “Provisioning Service.
        3. Update the JSON string to be as follows:
          {
            "port": "7770",
            "server": "localhost"
          }
        4. Save the generated service and confirm it was able to connect.  If the service is not set up properly the message will display that the server could not be connected to.

 

Verifying the Installation

  1. From the home page select the link to “Create New Application”
  2. Identify a name and then [Browse] to select an Excel file.
    1. Only Excel files are supported, even .csv files will need to be resaved as .xls or .xlsx files.
    2. Click “Next” to continue.
    3. You should receive a preview of the first 25 rows in the first worksheet.  You can switch to another worksheet within that excel file if it exists.
      1. Note there is also a checkbox to identify whether your first row contains column headers
      2. Click “Next” to continue.
      3. The next sheet will allow you to define the metadata on the attributes, as well as which to ingest.
        1. Include – Controls whether the attribute will be loaded or not
        2. Attribute Name – What name would want that attribute to have
        3. DataType – Whether it’s a string, number, date, geo, boolean
        4. Edit Rules provide a few helpful options to keep the data clean on each individual attribute:
          1. If the value doesn’t match your specified data type you can replace it with a blank, replace it with a default, or omit those records from being ingested.
          2. If the value is missing you can leave it blank, replace it with a default, or omit those records from being ingested.
        5. Searchable – A flag to whether the string fields can be text searchable.  This is not an option for any datatype other than a string.
        6. Click “Create Application” when complete
      4. At this point a data domain will be created back on the OES server.  You can recognize its name fairly obviously, it will start with a “ps_”, and then a unique identifier.
    4. Go to the home page and start exploring your data!
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