One of the main features of Oracle Business
Intelligence Publisher (BIP) is its ability to connect to pretty
much every major RDBMS on the market. By default, the
configuration for connecting to the Oracle RDBMS is present out of
the box. Being a Java-based application at heart, the connection
setup to Oracle uses JDBC. Letís venture out a bit and establish a
connection to SQL Server.
Overall, what weíre trying to do is create
another data source. The types of data sources appear under the
Clicking the JDBC Connection link and then the
Add Data Source link brings up the interface below.
As far as the default Driver Type is concerned
with respect to Oracle, been there done that. Expand the drop down
list to see what the other currently support database sources are.
Select the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 option and
note the similarity as far as the JDBC connection string is
NOTE: In some references at My Oracle Support
and OTN, you may see the driver class written as com.microsoft.jdbc.sqlserver.SQLServerDriver.
Accept the default string BIP provides, which uses com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerDriver.
So far, this looks to be trivial. Iíve
installed SQL Server 2005 on the same PC hosting the BIP
installation, and have gone a bit further by installing some
sample databases. The database of interest here will be
AdventureWorks, which you can obtain from MSDN. Iíve also created
the highly original username/password combination of scott/tiger
as a Login. Scott has also been added to the Users folder under
the Security folder for the database, and has the appropriate
roles to see tables in the database (select db_owner if you donít
know what else to pick).
At this point, the completed fields look as
shown below, and weíre ready to click Test Connection.
NOTE: To avoid wasting hours looking up error
messages related to output such as...
com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerException: The port number  is not valid.
com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerException: Cannot open database "[AdventureWorks]"
...be sure to NOT use the square brackets in
the boilerplate text provided by BIP (in the Connection String
A good, final example is shown below.
I named the data source as MSSQL5 to help
identify the source in an expedient manner. The MSSQL part should
be obvious, and the 5 relates to 2005 so as to separate it from
the 2000, 2005 and 2008 named versions of SQL Server. The port
number can be found by examining the output from netstat, logs
within MSSQL, and also knowing that 1433 is the standard port
number similar to 1521 or 1526 in Oracle. You can also go into the
configuration manager and examine the TCP information.
Upon clicking Test Connection, we get the
highly informative message shown below.
What went wrong with the connection setup?
Actually, nothing went wrong; itís just that we havenít done
everything necessary yet. Going back to the Add Data Source
picture, note the tip at the top of the frame: ďPlease make sure
to install the required JDBC driver classes.Ē Such a simple tip,
and as you may already be guessing, it implies a good bit of work
or research to get those classes, and the path (the work needing
to be done) is not entirely clear either.
The short and sweet of this is that three jar
files (msbase, mssqlserver, and msutil) need to be acquired and
placed into the ORACLE_HOME (for BIP) and under the path below:
Once these files are in place (where to get
them is coming up) and the OC4J instance is started, enter the
connection information as shown, modified for your particulars,
and test the connection. This is a go/no-go situation; you either
get the error message just shown, or a success message.
Donít forget to assign a role (BI_USER will
likely be the only role available if you havenít created
non-default roles yet) and then click Apply at the top right of
the page to finalize the setup. If all goes well, youíll see the
new data source in the available list.
Where to get
the MSSQL jar files
A quick and easy way to get the requisite files
is to download them from MSDN. The SQL Server 2000 JDBC files
work; you donít need the single 2005 version named sqljdbc.jar (at
least as far as BIP is concerned, and even though we did the setup
using a 2005 database).
The tar or exe file as appropriate for your platform is available
from Microsoft, as well as the JDBC installation for 2000.
Within this folder, you will find the three jar
files. Copy them to the applib folder as mentioned earlier. A note
on My Oracle Support (Doc ID: 445157.1, How to Install JDBC
Connection for MS SQL Server in BI Publisher Enterprise) makes
reference to a how-to note at OTN (SQL Server Walkthrough)
Within this walkthrough, there are instructions on how to
configure OC4J to work with foreign datasources.
This section discusses editing the
application.xml file in the <OracleHome>/j2ee/home/config
directory. You simply add in three library path tags with the path
and file name of each jar file. To be a bit more precise, the
example shown at OTN (shown below) has had the closing tags
corrected to use ď/>Ē instead of just ď>Ē (just like strict HTML
with self-closing tags).
<library path="C:\Program files\Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Driver for JDBC\lib\msbase.jar" />
<library path="C:\Program files\Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Driver for JDBC\lib\msutil.jar" />
<library path="C:\Program files\Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Driver for JDBC\lib\mssqlserver.jar" />
You can go this route if you want (it works
just as well, and if you test this, be sure to move or rename the
files in the applib folder so you know the jar files are only
being referenced via the application.xml file). The edited file
also has each tag on one line; the line returns above are for
formatting in this article.
NOTE: The link to get the JDBC files in the
walkthrough document at OTN is broken or outdated, so use one
shown earlier, or do a search at MSDN.
From this point forward, you should be able to
create folders and reports in a normal fashion.
Once some of the gotchaís were taken care of in
setting up a data source, getting BI Publisher to connect to SQL
Server was fairly straightforward, in fact, it was no more
difficult than creating a new data source within Oracle. Once the
jar files were placed and connection details were identified for
the MSSQL database, the setup was trivial.
Can you find this information in the
installation guide or release notes? Unfortunately, no, and even
the notes on My Oracle Support are a bit lacking. The product as a
whole is improving by leaps and bounds, but some time needs to be
spent on administration and documentation. Oracle recently
released a patch (8284524) for version 10.1.3.4. The patch apply
or upgrade process will be the focus of a future article. You may
find it worthwhile to apply the patch forthwith as it has two
major enhancements (numbers to words, and better support for
Single Sign-On) and lots of bug fixes.