Wednesday, July 4, 2012

 OBIEE 11g Authorization and other Security aspects.

Authorization in 10g was achieved using a combination of Users, Groups and association of privileges and object permissions to users and Groups. Two keys changes to Authorization in OBIEE 11g are:
  1. Application Roles
  2. Policies / Permission Groups

Application Roles are introduced in OBIEE 11g. An application role is specific to the application. They can be mapped to other application roles defined in the same application scope and also to enterprise users or groups, and they are used in authorization decisions. Application roles in 11g take the place of Groups in 10g within OBIEE application. In OBIEE 10g, any changes to corporate LDAP groups require a corresponding change to Groups and their permission assignment. In OBIEE 11g, Application roles provide insulation between permission definitions and corporate LDAP Groups. Permissions are defined at Application Role level and changes to LDAP groups just require a reassignment of the Group to the Application Roles.
Permissions and privileges are assigned to Application Roles and users in OBIEE 11g compared to Groups and Users in 10g. The diagram below shows the relationship between users, groups and application roles. Note that the Groups shown in the diagram refer to LDAP Groups (WebLogic Groups by default) and not OBIEE application Groups.

The following screenshot compares the permission windows from Admin tool in 10g vs 11g. Note that the Groups in the OBIEE 10g are replaced with Application Roles in OBIEE 11g. The same is applicable to OBIEE web catalog objects.
The default Application Roles available after OBIEE 11g installation are BIAdministrator, BISystem, BIConsumer and BIAuthor.
Application policies are the authorization policies that an application relies upon for controlling access to its resources. An Application Role is defined by the Application Policy. The following screenshot shows the policies defined for BIAdministrator and BISystem Roles.
Note that the permission for impersonation is granted to BISystem Role. In OBIEE 10g, the permission to manage repositories and Impersonation were assigned to “Administrators” group with no control to separate these permissions in the Administrators group. Hence user “Administrator” also had the permission to impersonate. In OBI11g, BIAdministrator does not have the permission to impersonate. This gives more flexibility to have multiple users perform different administrative functions.


Application Roles, Policies, association of Policies to application roles and association of users and groups to application roles are managed using Fusion Middleware Enterprise Manager (FMW EM). They reside in the policy store, identified by the system-jazn-data.xml file. The screenshots below show where they are created and managed in FMW EM.

The following screenshot shows the assignment of WebLogic Groups to Application Roles.
The following screenshot shows the assignment of Permissions to Application Roles (Application Policies).
Note: Object level permission association to Applications Roles resides in the RPD for repository objects. Permissions and Privilege for web catalog objects resides in the OBIEE Web Catalog. Wherever Groups were used in the web catalog and RPD has been replaced with Application roles in OBIEE 11g.
Following are the tools used in OBIEE 11g Security Administration:
·       Users and Groups are managed in Oracle WebLogic Administration console (by default). If WebLogic is integrated with other LDAP products, then Users and Groups needs to managed using the interface provide by the respective LDAP vendor – New in OBIEE 11g
·       Application Roles and Application Policies are managed in Oracle Enterprise Manager - Fusion Middleware Control – New in OBIEE 11g
·       Repository object permissions are managed in OBIEE Administration tool – Same as 10g but the assignment is to Application Roles instead of Groups
·       Presentation Services Catalog Permissions and Privileges are managed in OBI Application administration page - Same as 10g but the assignment is to Application Roles instead of Groups
Credential Store: Credential Store is a single consolidated service provider to store and manage the application credentials securely. The credential store contains credentials that either user supplied or system generated. Credential store in OBIEE 10g is file based and is managed using cryptotools utility. In 11g, Credential store can be managed directly from the FMW Enterprise Manager and is stored in cwallet.sso file. By default, the Credential Store stores password for deployed RPDs, BI Publisher data sources and BISystem user. In addition, Credential store can be LDAP based but only Oracle Internet Directory is supported right now.

As you can see OBIEE security is integrated with Oracle Fusion Middleware security architecture. This provides a common security framework for all components of Business Intelligence and Fusion Middleware applications.

Satya Ranki Reddy

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