The Secretive Catalog Crawler in OBIEE

Well, Catalog Crawling had always been the unexplored little area of OBIEE. A Google search on it returned me no results.OK Good, I thought, let myself write-up on it and here goes an intro of it….

You guys might have landed up at my post through many ways; you might have hit the link straight away, you might have been going through my posts, or you might have even Googled to hit this post. So, if you had Googled, here is what you would have probably queried for

Muralidhar / Muralidhar Kintada/ Kintada/ OBIEE/ Catalog/ Crawler/ 2014/ 02/ MuralidharKintada/ Archived etc.

If you had noticed, the query key words are just not the plain name of the post, but they include the Author, Website, First Name, Last Name, Year, Month, Post Name, Archival etc; Yup the METADATA, and Google would have returned you the results. This kind of search is called the “Full Text Search”; Users can search for objects by various attributes, such as name, description, author, and the names and values of columns of data that the object references. Users obtain search results that correspond to the objects that they have access to open.

Imagine if we had this kind of search available on our Presentation Catalog too, yes, our own presentation catalog!! Imagine, a manager in your company looking for “# of business intelligence projects last year” through your corporate search engine, and your report showing up there in the results!! Wow, what a great piece of idea!!!

So, how to let the presentation catalog be crawled (yes, I just used it!! Crawling is nothing but, browsing/ running through) for this full – text search ??
The answer is through the “Full text Catalog Search”, which runs as a service in the same weblogic instance as OBIEE. Yes, it is copied during the OBIEE installation itself and is available with the name “bisearch” in the deployments tab in weblogic console, if you might want to look at it. However, we cannot use this service straight away, and should be deploying Secure Enterprise Search Engine(SES) as its buddy. SES is a standalone product by Oracle (at the time of writing, and I read that they are gonna take it off the shelf soon) and enables a secure, high quality, easy-to-use search across all enterprise information assets. Key features include:

  • The ability to search and locate public, private and shared content across Intranet web-servers, databases, files on local disk or on file-servers, IMAP email, document management systems, applications, and portals
  • Highly secure crawling, indexing, and searching
  • A simple, intuitive search interface leading to an excellent user-experience
  • Excellent search quality, with the most relevant items for a query shown first, even when the query spans diverse public or private data sources

Here are the steps,

  1. Install Secure Enterprise Search Engine.
  2. Open SES’ Admin page, and configure the presentation catalog as a data source by pointing it to the full text catalog search config.
  3. Once done, a schedule in SES for crawling, and indexing the presentation catalog is created, and we could choose to customize it.
  4. First time, the catalog is fully crawled and indexed, by SES. However, from the next time we could choose to configure it to do an incremental crawl only for the edited/deleted/created objects in the catalog.

On a high level, here is how this works

The way Full Text Search Works in OBIEE
The way Full Text Search Works in OBIEE

All is good, but how about a case of someone not really interested in SES crawling the catalog and finding their objects? Simple, if you happened to notice for every object in the presentation catalog, there is a “Do not index” option in its properties. Turn it on, and your object is hidden away from the crawl.

Looks interesting, Would like to get more on configuring Full text Search; Follow on at http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E25054_01/bi.1111/e10541/prescatadmin.htm#CACHJIEG

Hope, I could blow the cover of the Crawl mechanism for OBIEE’s Presentation Catalog and hope you guys enjoyed it too.
Note: If you have some interesting observations that I missed here, please do write to me, and I would be glad to include them with due-credit.

Signing Off for now, Adios!!

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