How to Connect to Oracle BI Server with Tableau without the shortcomings of Oracle ODBC driver

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    The How to connect to Oracle BI server using ODBC article discusses an approach that uses Oracle ODBC driver to connect from Tableau to OBIEE. However, this approach poses several challenges in an enterprise deployment.

    This article discusses the pitfalls of using ODBC driver and explains how BI connector, a purpose built Tableau to OBIEE connector, makes it easy to Connect to Oracle BI Server with Tableau. 

    ODBC driver requires extensive changes to OBIEE

    Connecting using the ODBC driver requires the OBIEE team to make extensive changes to expose key fields in all the required folders(tables) at the business layer and the presentation layer.  This is a time consuming, cost-prohibitive effort and difficult to maintain on an ongoing basis. 

    BI connector does not require any changes to OBIEE.  You can connect to OBIEE with Tableau in just a few minutes and maximize the value of your Tableau and OBIEE investment.

    Not scalable

    Each subject area in OBIEE requires a separate DSN (ODBC connection) to be set up in the PC or server with Tableau.  This is not a scalable approach if you have tens or hundreds of subject areas in your OBIEE environment.

    BI connector requires only one DSN for all the Subject Areas.  You can securely connect to any Subject Area that you have access with a single DSN connection.   Optionally, you can create a separate DSN to connect to OBIEE reports. 

    Difficult to install and maintain

    ODBC driver requires the creation of a Tableau data source customization (.tdc) file in each PC or server using Tableau.  In addition, it requires the installation of a copy of Oracle Business Intelligence Developer Client Tools in each machine.  Each version of OBIEE will require a separate installation.  Installing and maintaining .tdc files and OBIEE client tools is cumbersome and an additional headache for IT and users.

    BI connector does not require either the .tdc file or OBIEE Developer Client Tools to be installed.  Installation, configuration, and maintenance is extremely simple.  BI connector works seamlessly with OBIEE 10g, 11g, and 12c.


    Performance and feature constraints

    Tableau makes a discovery query (Select * from table) when you drag and drop a folder into the join area. With ODBC driver, this could lead to performance issues since Tableau would query millions of records from OBIEE when a large folder/table is selected. In addition, ODBC driver does not offer all the query features.

    BI connector has several built-in optimizations that eliminate performance issues when you connect to OBIEE with Tableau.  For example, it will automatically prevent any performance intensive “Select * from table” queries.  Furthermore, it offers feature parity when connecting to OBIEE from Tableau.  

    Connectivity to Oracle Reports

    Finally, organizations would have developed hundreds of reports in OBIEE over several years. Oracle ODBC driver does not provide connectivity from Tableau to Oracle reports which often have outdated visualization.

    BI connector connects Tableau users to Oracle reports catalog enabling them to perform ad-hoc analysis and create modern visualization with OBIEE reports data.


    BI connector effectively addresses the shortcomings of the Oracle ODBC driver approach suggested in How to connect to Oracle BI server using ODBC.  BI connector provides an effective solution for organizations looking to connect to OBIEE with Tableau for ad-hoc analysis of highly valuable enterprise data.  For more information regarding BI connector, please visit and try it free for 30 days.