OBIEE Step by Step Guide

July 6, 2010

OBIEE Interview Questions

Filed under: OBIEE FAQ — harikv @ 5:21 pm

Dear folks,

These are just something that I have found to be some of the very general questions coming around from many different interviewers for the last 3 quarters. I have divided them by complexity and hope these questions help you in bossting your confidence.

Remember that “Practice and Experience are the best learning methods for your next job” but getting to know what kind of questions that people ask for is also good.

We will start with easy questions first and slowly gear towards the complex questions that may make your head spin :)

To make this more relevant, lets assume you are running 0n OBIEE version

1. What is the default location of a repository file?

2. How many repository files can be loaded to a BI Server simultaneously? Assume its a single server with single instance of BI Server running just to keep things easy :)

3. If you have more than 3 repository files mentioned in your NQSConfig.ini file as default, which one gets loaded to the memory when the BI Server is started?


Star = SamplerRepository1.rpd, DEFAULT;

Star = SamplerRepository2.rpd, DEFAULT;

Star = SamplerRepository3.rpd, DEFAULT;

4. How do you import Essbase Cubes into your repository?

5. Whats XMLA and where is it used for in OBIEE context?

6. Can you change the location of your rpd file in your OBIEE Configuration? If Yes, Where would you mention the new location of this rpd file for Bi Server?

7. What kind of joins would you perform in the physical layer of the repository file when opened with Administration tool?

8. What are the minimum services needed to load a repository file onto memory and view a dashboard which has reports that have been refreshed on a scheduled basis?

9. Can you use an OLTP backend database for creating a dashboard?

10. How many tables are needed in minimum to pass through the Consistency Checking in Logical Layer (Business Mapping and Modeling Layer) of the repository?

11. Can you create new views in the database using OBIEE Administration tool? Can you explain the procedure for doing this?

12. What is a complex join in OBIEE and why, where is it used?

13. Is it mandatory to have hierarchies defined in your repository? If Yes, where does it help? If No, what happens in the reports?

14. How do you create outer joins in physical layer?

15. What does Consistency Checking perform; What are the minimum criteria to pass consistency checking for a given repository?

16. Does OBIEE store physical sql ? How is physical sql generated in OBIEE environments?

17. Are there any occasions where physical sql is not generated when running against a backend database like Oracle, SQL Server or any other relational database?

18. What is the best default logging level for production users?

19. What is the difference between logging level 1 and 2?

20. What are the different places (files) to view the physical sql generated by an Answers report?

21. Where does the BI Server logs its start, stop and restart times in the file system?

22. You have two tables Table 1 and Table 2 joined by a foreign key in the database? They are imported together from the database into your physical layer. Is this relationship still preserved in the OBIEE physical layer?

23. Same as question 22 but what happens if you import each table seperately?

24. If Table 1 and Table 2 are dragged from physical layer to BMM layer, which table becomes a Fact Table and which table becomes a Dimension Table?

25. What if the tables (Table 1 and Table 2) are not joined, then what happens in BMM layer?

26. What is the difference between logical table and logical table source?

27. How many LTS (Logical Table Sources) can a logical table have? Whats the minimum and maximum?

28. How many server instances can coexist in an OBIEE cluster?

29. Whats a dimension only query in OBIEE?

30. Aggregation rules are set on top of …………… columns (Physical Columns or Logical Columns or Both)

Lets get to questions that are little more complex in my opinion :)

31. What is alternative drill path? How do you set alternative drill path in OBIEE?

32. What are the pre-requisites for using aggregate persistence wizard? What does aggregate persistence wizard create and what does it help with?

33. Can you import data in multiple sheets from an Excel file? How do you import data from an Excel sheet? (Forget about csv files for now)

34. What are the uses of “Execute Direct SQL” feature in Answers? Is it a good practice to allow this feature for production users?

35. How do you disable “Execute Direct SQL” feature for all the users of your repository?

36. I want to store the value of the last time the respository was updated and show it in the dashboard? What type of variable can be used for this purpose?

37. Is there any way to see a list of all the repository variables defined in your repository using Answers tool?

38. What are Chronological Keys in OBIEE? How are they different from Logical Keys?

39. You want to use a database built-in function bypassing the functions defined in OBIEE? What OBIEE function helps in achieving this? Whats the syntax for this function?

40. What are the different ways to authenticate an user in OBIEE system? Can OBIEE authenticate a user passing through multiple authentication methods?

41. How do you resolve M:M relationship between tables in OBIEE? Explain a scenario where this would help?

42. Does OBIEE support ragged hierarchies? What is the procedure to import ragged hierarchies from Essbase?

43. You are trying to open a repository using Admin tool and when you click to say “Open Online”; a dialogue box pops up saying “Your rpd is available in read-only” mode. How can you edit this repository by opening online?

44. How do you set up usage tracking in OBIEE? Is the Usage Tracking mechanism in OBIEE configurable to capture new identified metrics by your department?

45. What is the default configuration for caching in NQSConfig.ini file? How method does the OBIEE use for clearing its cache?

46. Table 1 and Table 2 are joined together in an Answers query. Table 1 is defined as cachable and Table 2 is defined as not cachable? What happens to the resultset used in the Answers tool? Is the result cached or not cached?

47. What is MUDE/ MUD in OBIEE? On what basis would you create projects?

48. Two people (Developer A and Developer B) are assigned to the same project inside MUD and opened the same project simultaneously. Developer A made some changes to the project and merged his changes to the original repository. Developer B also made some changes and commited his changes to the original repository? Does the MUD environment preserve both Developer A and Developer B changes?

49. In MUDE, Can two resources checkout the same project simultaneously?

50. In MUDE, what happens if the physical tables are shared between projects?

51. What are the different types of utilities provided in OBIEE? Explain any two utilities used in your previous projects and what are they used for?

52. What are the different documentation mechanisms available in Admin tool? How do you create documentation for your Answers users against all objects available in your subject areas?

Please comment if you would like to add any new questions or suggestions to this list.

Until next time, Kudos to all OBIEE evangelists :)

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  1. Abt Q.3 we r supposed to leave only one line uncommented right the rest of them should be commented. So, Is it really possible to open 2-3 repositories at the same time. ID yes how?

    Comment by rss — July 10, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

    • rss,
      Test it yourself on what happens if you leave all of them uncommented. Dont take these questions just for interview but take them towards towards your test box for implementation and see what happens.

      Comment by harikv — July 11, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

  2. Can you please give answers for the above questions.

    Comment by prabhanjan — July 11, 2010 @ 11:38 am

    • Prabhanjan
      While I like to give you the answers, some of the questions do have mutiple answers and would let others give their answers as comments. Do not like to give you a question and answer bank as some of these questions will make you go and test various scenarios on your test box. So, go ahead and test all the different questions and if you would like to share the answers with the world, post them as comments.

      I am, for sure, going to post answers in the very near future as need arises and if there are good number of people requesting answers.

      Comment by harikv — July 11, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

  3. Wonderful questions…

    Comment by Ashfaque — July 12, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  4. Hello Hari,

    Here are few more questions.. I tried to answer these questions but for some question still i am researching. I would appreciate if you comment and give some pointers on the unanswered questions..
    1. In one dashboard can we display objects from two subject areas.
    2. While defining a dimension the entry for “No of elements at this level” is for performance not precision, please explain how.
    3. Why it is not recommended to use physical join in BMM layer.
    4. Can you update/change value of session variable in Answers?
    5. Using Answers, is it possible to insert/update a column in the source system?
    6. How do you get data from 2 dims without any measure?

    Thank you,
    ~ Ash

    Comment by Ashfaque — July 13, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  5. Ans for Q2:

    I’m not sure about the limit of number of repositories loaded at same time but to make one rpd online we need one saw server so for multiple rpds to be online we need as many saw servers.

    Ans For Q3:

    If we don’t specify comment the last repository will be loaded online, so in this case SamplerRepository3.rpd will be loaded.

    3. Why it is not recommended to use physical join in BMM layer.

    If we do physical join in bmm layer the BI server will consider only this join, any other combination join (complex join) specified will not be considered. Its not good practice to do this join in BMM layer

    Comment by Prabhanjan — July 14, 2010 @ 4:45 am

  6. Hari
    Can you please elaborate on complex join vs physical join?If possible please give an example. i think this question has been haunting many of the obiee freaks.

    Comment by Rajat — July 18, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

    • @Rajat
      Think of physical join as your primary key-foreign key join between two tables when imported. Lets say that these two tables do have common column but not enforced in your database, you can create that relationship using physical join in Physical Layer.

      In Short, When you want to create relationships in your logical layer, then you would use a complex join (this can be full inner join or full outer join or whatever your criteria was) but physical join is always an inner join.

      Comment by harikv — July 19, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

  7. Can you please provide answer for Que no. 6 about the location of rpd file.

    Comment by Ashfaque — July 19, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

    • Ashfaque,
      Read the NQSConfig file “Repository Section”. You will easily find the answer. The answer for this is “It cant be changed”.

      Comment by harikv — July 19, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

      • Thanks Hari,

        I was really a googly question; i googled a lot. :) It is nice tricky worded question.

        Comment by Ashfaque — July 19, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

      • The repository location can be changed, this must be done when clustering the BI Server. The parameters in the NQSCONFIG.INI file are

        Comment by Richard Chan — November 17, 2010 @ 9:28 pm

      • thank you friend

        Comment by syam sundar — October 22, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  8. Hi Hari,

    These are very usefull questions in googling.
    possible also mention some of usefull sites for OBIEE.
    thank you

    Comment by praveena — July 20, 2010 @ 9:05 am

  9. Hi Hari,

    These are very usefull questions.
    possible also mention some of usefull sites for OBIEE.
    thank you

    Comment by praveena — July 20, 2010 @ 9:07 am

  10. What the Answer to question 3 ??

    I did the same test but its opening the RPD which was DEFAULT last time(before modifying the config file)

    Comment by tdhsaurabh — August 1, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

  11. hey can you post the answers please????

    Comment by Duddu — September 9, 2010 @ 3:55 am

  12. Hi Hari,
    Can you shed some light on Que-37.
    I know using “Admin Tool” one can see the list of repository variables. But is it possible to see the variable list in Answers?

    37. Is there any way to see a list of all the repository variables defined in your repository using Answers tool?


    Comment by Ashfaque — September 10, 2010 @ 10:12 am

  13. maybe it can be done using Narrative veiw….

    Comment by Duddu — September 11, 2010 @ 11:06 pm

    • Using narrative view you can display a variable. But the question to to display list of ALL the repository variables.

      The word ALL is important in the question, else it is simple.


      Comment by Ashfaque — September 13, 2010 @ 9:06 am

  14. Hi Harikv,

    It seems like you have lots of knowledge in OBIEE. Can you please share with us some information like:
    . How OBIEE works behind the scene like how different part of OBIEE like ‘Intelligent request generation’ works?
    2. What is the algorithm or step that OBIEE use to decide which particular table from a set of aggregate tables to use?
    3. How OBIEE convert the report request to the logical execution plan and then to the SQL?

    The answer to these question will not be short. You can also email me at ‘’. Please let me know if you have any specific documentation regarding these stuff.

    Thanks for your help.

    Thank You
    With Regards,
    Sanam Shakya

    Comment by Sanam Shakya — September 13, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  15. Hi Gurus,

    What woould be the contains for Unit test plans in obiee

    This will typically include the list of things to be Tested, Roles and Responsibilities, prerequisites to begin Testing, Test Environment, Assumptions, what to do after a test is successfully carried out, what to do if test fails, Glossary and so on

    can u elaborate some details on this

    Comment by chinmay — October 6, 2010 @ 10:12 am

    • Chinmay,
      Nice idea.. Will create a blog on this pretty soon.

      Comment by harikv — October 6, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  16. very good quastions but i want answers for the above quastions………….plz

    Comment by kajesh — October 8, 2010 @ 11:13 am

    • kajesh
      sorry but you have to practice to get the answers. I dont like this site to be OBIEE Q&A site for OBIEE interviews.

      Comment by harikv — October 22, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

  17. excellent site for obiee learners.
    could you please explain me about IBOT and its use in real time.

    Comment by suman — October 14, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

  18. Hi ,

    Great questions. Would you please email me the answers.


    Comment by Shiva — October 27, 2010 @ 5:33 am

    • Shiva,
      Practice them and you will be amazed at the results. I dont like this site to be OBIEE Q&A site for OBIEE interviews.

      Comment by harikv — November 1, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

  19. Please post answers to the questions which would be of great help.

    Comment by Prathima — November 1, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

    • Prathima
      Sorry but you have to practice to get the answers. I dont like this site to be OBIEE Q&A site for OBIEE interviews.

      Comment by harikv — November 1, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

  20. Hi Hari,

    Please post the answers also as you said if more people will ask you will provide the answer.

    Thanks in advance.


    Comment by Ash — November 11, 2010 @ 3:43 am

  21. Questions are great ….it will be so nice if the answers could also be posted please….
    It’s time to post the answers please….

    Comment by Anubh — November 14, 2010 @ 9:43 am

  22. It will be really nice if a brilliant mind can post the answers.

    Comment by Rajita — December 25, 2010 @ 6:08 am


    Comment by KORRAPATI RAMESH — December 29, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

    • Ramesh
      Google around and you will be overwhelmed

      Comment by harikv — January 13, 2011 @ 7:35 am

  24. Can any one pass the answers please ass I’m attending interviews.

    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Jane — January 4, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

  25. it can be very helpful if the answers will be given as well :D

    Comment by roland — March 30, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

  26. These are the best scenario based questions i wud say..

    Comment by ratheesh — May 13, 2011 @ 7:56 am

  27. Hi friends!Really nice questions.I am interested in learning OBIEE .Any suggestions please….

    Comment by Lakshmi — May 31, 2011 @ 7:43 am

  28. Answer for Q3.
    You get an error when you try to open any of the 3 rpd files in the BI Admin tool
    You get an error when you try to start the ‘BI Server’ Service (on windows)

    Comment by AdiAtu — June 7, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  29. it will be good,if all the answers too will be posted’ll be of great help to others

    Comment by naeem — August 4, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  30. very good quastions but i want answers for the above quastions………….plz any can help me for getting the brief answer.
    or amil to my Emai id

    Comment by surender — September 7, 2011 @ 10:05 am

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