Security in OBIEE 11g, Part 1

Continuing the series on OBIEE 11g, our guest blogger this week is Pravin Janardanam. Pravin has been working with OBIEE since his days with Siebel and is one of our top architects. In this two part series, he will be tackling the differences in security between OBIEE 11g and 10g, and providing some hints on migration of security from a 10g environment.

OBIEE 11g Security Overview, Part 1

by Pravin Janardanam

One of the key enhancements in OBIEE 11g are the changes in Security Architecture. OBIEE 11g implements the common security architecture as the rest of the Fusion Middleware stack. While this approach has many advantages , it does represent a significant shift in both the approach and architecture of OBIEE for authorization and authentication of users.

Oracle Platform Security Services

The architectural components of Fusion Middleware that OBIEE 11g leverages are the Oracle Platform Security services (OPSS) and WebLogic authenticators. These are the components that FMW usees to provide a common security framework across the many Oracle applications that run on FMW, including OBIEE 11g and Fusion Applications.

OPSS is standards based, portable, integrated enterprise grade security framework for Java applications. OPSS provides an abstraction layer in the form of standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs) that insulate developers from security and identity management implementation details.

OPSS is used as security platform by Fusion Apps & Fusion Middleware including WLS, OES, SOA & WC. More information on OPSS can be found at:

Key Security Changes for Release 11g:

Some of the key changes in OBIEE security in 11g are

1.   User and Groups are no longer defined in RPD

2.     User Profile is derived from LDAP server

3.     RPD is protected by RPD Password

4.     RPD is encrypted

5.     Introduction of Applications Roles

6.     User Administrator and Group Administrators not hard-coded in RPD

7.     Administrator user not used for Inter-Process Communication (component to component)

8.     Credential Store storage mechanism

OBIEE 11g provides a scalable default security mechanism available for immediate implementation after installation. The default security mechanism provides controls to manage users and groups, permission grants and credential store. Following are the security controls that are available after the installation.

1.     An embedded LDAP server in WebLogic available to store users and groups known as “Identity Store

2.     A file to store the permission grants information known as the “Policy Store

3.     A file to store user and system credentials for inter process communication known as the “Credential Store”.


Let’s look at the differences based on some of the common security concepts, Authentication and Authorization.


In 10g default Authentication is RPD based. In 11g, the user and group definitions are moved to a LDAP server embedded with WebLogic server known as the “Identity Store”. Users and Groups can no longer be created in the RPD. Creation of Users and Groups and the association of members to groups are managed in the WebLogic administration console. WebLogic provides the default authentication provider for OBIEE 11g. Users are authenticated by the WebLogic server based on the credentials in the embedded WebLogic LDAP server. The embedded LDAP server is default Authentication provider for WebLogic and hence OBIEE.

OBIEE 11g gets user, groups and other user attributes from the WebLogic LDAP server. This also eliminates the limitation we had with previous versions of OBIEE where only one Group for a user can be read directly from an LDAP server.

The following screenshot shows the default Authentication provider.


WebLogic supports integration with commercial identity management products (also known as Authentication providers). The screenshot below lists some of the Authentication Providers. OBIEE 11g certification matrix provides a list of all supported Authentication Providers.


At this time, the following Authentication providers are supported by OBIEE 11g.

·       Active Directory 2003, 2008

·       SiteMinder 6

·       OpenLDAP 2.2.x

·       Sun Java System Directory Server version 6.3

·       eDirectory 8.8

The following screenshot shows the users created in the WebLogic administration console. By default users and groups are created using Oracle WebLogic Server Administration Console.  The following screenshot shows the groups created using WebLogic administration console


The following screenshot shows the groups created using WebLogic administration console.


The following screenshot shows the members associated to the groups in the WebLogic administration console.


The users and groups created in the WebLogic administration console can be viewed in the OBIEE administration console. Before looking at the users in the RPD, since we are discussing about the changes in Authentication, I would like to cover the RPD password. In OBIEE 11g, every RPD is protected by an RPD password. Remember, there are no “Administrator” user and “Administrators” group in OBIEE 11g. Look at the RPD creation screenshot below. The RPD creation utility, requests a password to protect the RPD. The same password is also used to encrypt the password. In 10g only a few critical elements in the RPD were encrypted. In 11g, the entire RPD is encrypted.


Let’s take a look at the users that were created in the WebLogic admin console in OBIEE administration console. Note that the menu item “Security” in 10g got changed to “Identity” in 11g.


In the screenshot below, we see that the users created using the WebLogic administration console and stored in the WebLogic embedded LDAP server is being displayed by the OBIEE administration console.


Note that there is no option to create a user or a group in the menu from the screenshot below. The OBIEE administration tool only displays users defined in the WebLogic embedded LDAP server. There is a new menu item “Application Roles”. I will cover this when discussing the changes in Authorization.


Even though the underlying embedded WebLogic identity store is a LDAP server, OBIEE server does not use the “Authentication” initialization block for the default LDAP server embedded within the WebLogic server. The default WebLogic authenticator is a replacement for the OBIEE authentication for users defined in the RPD in 10g. This gives us two options to integrate an external LDAP server with OBIEE for authentication. The external LDAP server can be integrated with WebLogic server as an additional authentication provider or by integrating the LDAP server with OBIEE like in 10g by registering the LDAP server in the RPD and creating an “Authentication” initialization block based on the registered LDAP server. The recommended approach going forward is to integrate all authentication providers at the WebLogic level.

In my next blog entry I will discuss about the changes to “Authorization” in OBIEE 11g, the applications roles, policy store and the credential store.


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