Wednesday Mar 13, 2013

OWB - Compressing Files in Parallel using Java Activity

Yesterday I posted a user function for compressing/decompressing files using parallel processes in ODI. The same code you can pick up and use from an OWB process flow. Invoking the java function from within a Java activity from within the flow.

The JAR used in the example below can be downloaded here, from the process flow OWB invokes the main method within the ZipFile class for example - passing the parameters to the function for the input, output directories and also the number of threads. The parameters are passed as a string in OWB, each parameter is wrapped in ?, so we have a string like ?param1?param2?param3? and so on. In the example I pass the input directory d:\inputlogs as the first parameter and d:\outputzips as the second, the number of processes used is 4 - I have escaped my backslash in order to get this to work on Windows.

 The classpath has the JAR file with the class compiled in it and the classpath value can be specified specified on the activity, carefully escaping the path if on windows.

Then you can define the actual class to use;

That's it, pretty easy. The return value from the method will use the exit code from your java method - normally 0 is failure and other values are error (so if you exit the java using a specific error code value you can return this code into a variable in OWB or perform a complex transition condition). Any standard output/error is also capture from within the OWB activity log in the UI, for example below you can see an exception that was thrown and also messages output to the standard output/error;

 That's a quick insight to the java activity in OWB.

Thursday Mar 07, 2013

OWB - Securing your data with Transparent Data Encryption

Oracle provides a secure and convenient functionality for securing data in your datawarehouse, tables can be designed in OWB utilizing the Transparent Data Encryption capability. This is done by configuring specific columns in a table to use encryption.

When users insert data, the Oracle database transparently encrypts it and stores it in the column.  Similarly, when users select the column, the database automatically decrypts it.  Since all this is done transparently without any change the application code, the feature has an appropriate name: Transparent Data Encryption. 

Encryption requires users to apply an encryption algorithm and an encryption key to the clear-text input data. And to successfully decrypt an encrypted value, users must know the value of the same algorithm and key. In Oracle database, users can specify an entire tablespace to be encrypted, or selected columns of a table. From OWB we support column encryption that can be applied to tables and external tables.

We secure the capture of the password for encryption in an OWB location, just like other credentials. This is then used later in the configuration of the table.

We can configure a table and for columns define any encryption, including the encryption algorithm, integrity algorithm and the password.

 Then when the table is deployed from OWB, the TDE information is incorporated into the DDL for the table;

When data is written to this column it is encrypted on disk. Read more about this area in the Oracle Advanced Security white paper on Transparent Data Encryption Best Practices here.

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