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How to Create Data warehouse Test Environment using Oracle, IBM DataStage & IBM Cognos OR Microsoft BI Stack

Hi Guru
For some of you it might be a silly questions but I'd like to create, test & Reporting data warehouse environment(Database, ETL, Reporting) for learning purpose on my laptop, laptop is enough memory (8gb) to handle basic the Oracle Virtual machine environment, I've build Oracle 11g2 VM machine with IBM Cognos 8.4.1 on WinXP. Now I would like to know from here where I can start. OR Should I follow the Microsoft BI Stack? I just want to get my hands dirty with practically learn technologies in data warehousing, ETLs and Reporting.

I've skills in Oracle 10g2, 11g2, IBM Cognos (Report Studio, Framework manager, Transformer). Please advise/share your experience for my learning curve. It would be greatly appreciated.

2 Solutions
Cognos is only a reporting software; building a data warehouse is something that needs to be done properly independently of the reporting solution.  You want to read up on Inmon and Kimball style data warehouses; both are suitable for use in Cognos, but Inmon requires more work to model (since you need to convert the 3rd normal form of the Inmon design to a star-schema within FM).  

Don't use transformer unless you have a specific need; that technology is going away, and isn't optimal for the newer Cognos 10 systems.  A properly implemented database/DMR in Cognos 8 can be migrated to the better performing Cognos 10 DQM easily if it's designed well, and if you need an OLAP solution, you can use the new Dynamic Cube to implement a ROLAP.  But first, make sure you understand the general differences and advantages/disadvantages between an OLAP solution vs. a Relational solution; one is not better then the other, they have to be used for the right reasons.

The Cognos Samples provide a good basic core for understanding how data can be put together and used, and it comes with Oracle backup files that can be imported.
Rainer JeschorCommented:
with your set of skills I would not go the route with MS SQL BI stack unless you have a specific requirement for it.

First of all if you really want to do fully MS BI you would need at least 32GB of RAM for hosting SQL and SharePoint (which is the reporting frontend). Second setting up MS BI stack requires a lot of knowledge in various MS products, SQL Server, Active Directory, SharePoint - so it would not be that easy learning curve.

I have built a couple of BI solutions and huge data warehouses but I have nearly no knowledge about Cognos and Datastage only some on Oracle (for importing data into SQL server using SSIS :-) - so I am a pure MS BI guy.

Just my 2ct.

For a successful deployment of a data warehouse, you may need to read some of these:

Data warehouse

Best Practices for a Data Warehouse on Oracle Database 11g

Oracle® Warehouse Builder User's Guide
adnankhAuthor Commented:
Thank you RWrigley I really appreciate your advise,  RainerJ Thank you so much to give an idea about BI, I've little BAU experience SQL Server 2005 so hopefully it will help me in future.  MikeOM_DBA Thank a lot for these information.
Eugene ZCommented:
I think you have all what you need
just need to set some Schema -data
set connection for\ from Cognos and learn

for BI / Data warehouse -  can be used OLTP/OLAP/SSAS (sql server)

also you may read

Setting Up Your Data Warehouse System
from /Oracle® Database 2 Day + Data Warehousing Guide
 11g Release 2 (11.2)/

and all book

Oracle® Database 2 Day + Data Warehousing Guide
 11g Release 2 (11.2)/
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