Oracle Data Visualization Update

Throughout 2016, I posted a series of blogs introducing Oracle’s recent additions to its Data Visualization portfolio – Data Visualization Cloud Service (DVCS) and Data Visualization Desktop (DVD).

My summary blog at the end of that series, highlighted that throughout 2016, Oracle appeared to be focusing its attention on developing DVD rather than DVCS.  A series of releases to DVD (up to 12.2.2.0 at that time) had extended the product functionality, whereas DVCS remained largely unchanged.

DVCS New Features

I felt that this was a shame because DVCS was more easily suited to collaborative working, and was a better fit for organisations expanding their Cloud operations.

But, in June this year, Oracle upgraded the features of DVCS to be more in line with DVD version 12.2.2.0.  So DVCS now includes, amongst other things, the following features that were previously available in DVD:

  • Advanced Analytics functions  such as forecasting, clustering and outliers
  • Redesigned Data Sources page
  • .csv files as data sources
  • Extended list of available visualisation types
  • Data Flows, that allow data sources to be joined or transformed, with the new data flow referenced by the Visual Analyzer (VA) project
  • Smart Insights used to gain quick visual insights into the data sources and how best to represent the data using the VA Prepare canvas
  • Print canvas
  • Output visualisations to PDF or Powerpoint
  • Import/Export individual VA projects

Further details of many these features are illustrated in my earlier blogs.

Database Connectivity

One of the most significant enhancements to DVCS, in the upgrade since last year, is the ability to connect directly to a database. Previously a tool, such as DataSync, was needed to create a data source from database data.  However, there are caveats.

At the moment, the database connections available are limited to Oracle databases, and because DVCS is in the Oracle Cloud, a network connection is required between the database and the cloud where DVCS is running.

Therefore, in order to connect to a database, the options are to:

  1. Use a database, which is already in the Oracle Cloud, such as Oracle DBaaS
  2. Make your database accessible over the internet (not typically recommended)
  3. Set up a VPN between your data centre and the Oracle Cloud, which requires running VPN in the cloud as well as your data centre
  4. Employ Remote Data Connector (RDC), which opens secure connections between Oracle Cloud and on-premise databases using certificates/SSL.

Unfortunately, option c) is only available to Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) and option d) is only available using BICS or OAC.

Since option b) is undesirable, the only feasible current option is to connect to a database in the Oracle Cloud.  However, this is a step forward for DVCS.

I was able to create a connection to a cloud database, the steps for which are identical to connecting to an on-premise database using DVD.  These steps are described in my earlier blog about managing data sources.

DVD 12.2.3.0

While DVCS has seen a significant upgrade, there have also been a few enhancements to DVD (version 3 released at the end of June).

  • New connection types available: Oracle Docs, OData, generic JDBCs and ODBCs
  • Improved Oracle Application data source: select columns from subject areas
  • Transform data with more date formatting options
  • Accepts any separator for delimited text data
  • Enhanced Data Flows including new steps and saving data flows directly as database connections
  • VA enhancements: automated confidence intervals for trend lines, setting default time level for date columns, more controls on chart properties, new boxplot and waterfall visualisation types
  • New Console to manage custom plugins and map layers

Summary

While DVD still remains ahead of DVCS in terms of Data Source availability and VA functionality, with the latest upgrade of DVCS it is closing the gap.  This is great news.  With this additional functionality, including the ability to connect to your cloud databases, plus the ability to share your content more easily than DVD, including embedding content into other web-based applications, DVCS has become a much more attractive product.

Next time I will demonstrate how to integrate your DVCS visualizations with your APEX applications.

Trial Data Visualization

Both DVCS and DVD are available to use to trial / evaluate:

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About the Author

Philip Ratcliffe

Oracle APEX Development Consultant

Explorer (UK) Ltd – Oracle awarding winning Platinum Partner and UKOUG Database Partner of the year 2015 & 2016

Philip is a Development Consultant at Explorer. Building on considerable experience in development including using Oracle PL/SQL and supporting Oracle EBS, Philip is employing APEX to provide quality, bespoke software solutions to a range of organisations.

Blog, Data Visualization, Oracle Data Visualization, Reporting / Cloud, reporting

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