Book Review – Oracle Warehouse Builder 11G Getting Started – OWB for beginners

October 17, 2009

Bob Griesemer’s Oracle Warehouse Builder 11G – Getting Started is the first and so far (as of Oct 2009) only book published on Oracle Warehouse Builder.
It aims to introduce data warehousing in general and Oracle Warehouse Builder in particular, to absolute beginners in the field.
In chapter 1 the author guides us through the installation process for OWB 11G. A typical installation of Warehouse Builder in a client/server environment is explained. More complex architectures with the Control Center service on a different server are not explained.
In chapter 2 we are introduced to the data model of the source system for the data warehouse. We are shown how to import or create the metadata for our source system. What I found useful here is that the author explains how we can use a non-Oracle RDBMS (in this case SQL Server) as a source system via heterogenous services. This can be a pain to set up so it is helpful to have a step by step walkthrough for this.
Chapter 3 gives an introduction to the basics of data warehouse design. It then explains how we can implement such a design as a target structure in Oracle Warehouse Builder.
In chapter 5 the author gives an overview on the basics of ETL processes and introduces us to some of the more important OWB operators that will allow us to implement ETL process in Warehouse Builder. I found that more space should have been given to explain the operators in detail. Some more detailed examples for each would have been useful also.
Chapters 6 and 7 then show us how we can bring the source metadata from chapter 2, the target metadata from chapter 3, and the operators from the previous chapter together in a Warehouse Builder mapping to extract, transform, and load data from source to target. What is completely missing here though is an introduction to process flows. Process flows are fundamental to glue ETL mappings in Warehouse Builder together and should have been part of an introduction to the subject.
Chapter 8 gives an overview on the deployment and execution of objects via the OWB Control Center. It also includes a good troubleshooting section with regards to deployment. As expected from a beginner’s book, more advanced topics such as deployment via OMB+ and TCL scripts is not explained. What is also missing is an explanation on how to schedule objects once they have been deployed.
In chapter 9 the author introduces us to various OWB features. The book gives a good overview on version management via snapshots and export/import of metadata.
The book does pretty much what it says on the tin and gives a good introduction to novices in the area of data warehousing and Oracle Warehouse Builder. So if you have never used Oracle Warehouse Builder this book is for you. If you have used OWB before you will not learn anything new here. Also this book can only be a starting point for your OWB career. A lot more OWB features than are outlined in this book need to be learned to become a master in the area (if you think about it the OWB user manual in PDF format has about 1000 pages and in some areas only scratches at the surface). Also the timing of the publication of the book is a bit unfortunate as only recently OWB 11GR2 was released with a lot of important new features and a redesigned User Interface. Hopefully there will be a 2nd edition soon that addresses this shortcoming.