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Evaluating Pentaho Analysis Using Your Own Data

This document contains instructions and information that helps you evaluate Pentaho Analysis using your own data. This document should be used with the current version of the Pentaho Open BI Suite, version 1.6. It is assumed that you are familiar with the Pentaho Design Studio, the Pentaho BI Platform, and you know your data.

Pentaho Analysis is built on the popular Mondrian OLAP engine. The Pentaho BI Platform embeds the Mondrian engine as part of its architecture. Along with the Pentaho BI Platform, the Mondrian engine processes MDX requests with the ROLAP (Relational OLAP) schemas. These schema files are XML metadata models that are created in specific structure used by the Mondrian engine. These XML models can be considered cube-like structures which utilize existing FACT and DIMENSION tables found in your RDBMS. It does not required that an actual physical cube is built or maintained; only the metadata model is created. The structures and related API are outlined in the Mondrian Technical Guide that accompanies the Mondrian distribution as well as the Schema Workbench.

This XML-based metadata structure can be created using a text editor, Pentaho Cube Designer, or the Schema Workbench. I have found the Schema Workbench to be the best tool for this task; however, there are some additional steps necessary to create the Pentaho Analysis View. This process will be made easier in future releases.

Additional information is available at the following locations:

Pentaho Analysis Services Mondrian Project 

Pentaho Analysis Product Offering 

Mondrian Schema Workbench Software 
(software to build Pentaho Analysis Schemas)

Pentaho Cube Designer 

Pentaho Design Studio Software

This document adheres to the following assumptions:

  • Oracle data is used in this example.

    Note: When using Oracle JDBC data connections make sure you use "thin" not "oci" as in: jdbc:oracle:thin:@localhost:1521:XE

  • There is one fact table and some dimension tables
  • References provide supplementation when additional information may be necessary
  • The Java application server being used is Tomcat
  • Your application server and the way Java JNDI data sources are configured may vary
  • Java 1.5 must be used for the Schema Workbench to run
  • Schema Workbench will be referred to as "SW" in this document

Creating a Pentaho Analysis View Using the Schema Workbench

Follow the five basic steps below when creating a Pentaho Analysis View using the Schema Workbench to create the ROLAP model:

  1. Configure your RDBMS JNDI data source for your Java application server so that the Pentaho BI Platform accesses the desired data.
  2. Create your Pentaho Analysis Schema Model using Schema Workbench
  3. Publish your Pentaho Analysis Schema Model to the Pentaho BI Server
  4. Create the Pentaho Analysis View Action Sequence
  5. Execute the Pentaho Analysis view using a Web browser

Configuring your RDBMS JNDI data source on your application server

Use the resources listed below to find instructions for configuring your RDBMS JNDI data source:

Other: Refer to your Java application server's documentation on how to configure JNDI datasources

Creating your Pentaho Analysis Schema Using the Schema Workbench

Follow the instructions below to create your schema:

  1. Download Schema Workbench and unzip the Schema Workbench
  2. Create a "drivers" folder in the location where you extracted the files: C:\Pentaho\Install\workbench-\drivers
  3. Copy your JDBC driver to that folder. For example for Oracle 10g, the latest ojdbc14.jar file (found from Oracle's Web site) to that location were copied.
  4. Follow the schema_workbench.pdf documentation; it can be found in the "doc" sub-directory: C:\Pentaho\Install\workbench-\doc.
  5. The best way to learn how to create a simple schema using the Schema Workbench is to open an existing *.mondrian.xml file provided with the Pentaho Open BI Server, such as the one found in the ..\pentaho-solutions\samples\analysis directory in the solution repository.

    Note: The sample *.mondrian.xml files require you to place the Hypersonic or MySQL JDBC driver in the "drivers" directory and set up the appropriate connection URL and CLASS in Tools > Preferences section prior to opening them.

  6. Use the Mondrian Technical Guide documentation as a reference to understand what the Mondrian structures are. When developing using the GUI you can add additional elements that the Schema Workbench might not expose in the GUI.

Creating a Simple Schema

Make sure data types used in the schema are appropriate with what is in your RDBMS. Sometimes dates in RDBMS need to be defined as Strings in the schema design depending on how your RDBMS reads and uses the date data type. Notice in the example below that GAME_DAY is a DATE, GAME_MONTH is a VARCHAR, and GAME_SEASON (which is YEAR) is a number. Make sure your data types in the schema match accordingly.


Follow the instructions below to create a simple schema:

  1. Go to Tools > Preferences to enter your JDBC parameters for your RDBMS

  2. Make sure database is running before you click Accept.
  3. If an error occurs, start database, close then restart Schema Workbench.
  4. Go to File > New > Schema to name the schema in name attribute value.
  5. Right-click Schema > Add Cube to name the cube in name attribute value.
  6. Select Table:Table, select schema ID, if applicable, and the fact table name.
  7. Make sure that Table: displays Table:<your_fact_table_here>
  8. Right-click the cube name and select Add Measure.
  9. Name the measure, select aggregator such as sum; select the column and data type
  10. Right-click the cube name and select Add Dimension.
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