Sunday, May 9. 2010
Collaborate 10 Upgrade SIG Meeting ... Posted by Barb Matthews in EBS R12 at 19:48
- John Stouffer, Independent Consultant, Past Chair of the Upgrade SIG, Moderator
- Lester Gutierrez, Oracle EBS Performance Group, works on upgrades and reducing downtime
- Udayn Parvate, EBS Release Management Team, works on building and packaging the E-Business Suite software. Udayn performs installation and upgrade activities, defines and enforces standards for packaging and delivery with development teams. He works to get upgrade issues resolved so E-Business Suite customers' experience is as smooth as possible.
- Sandra Vucinic, Vlad Group, Inc., Chair of the Upgrade SIG
- Floyd Teter, Jet Propulsion Labs, functional guy on the panel
- Steven Chan, Director, Applications Technology Integration, Oracle Corporation
- Michael Rulf, Executive Director - Product Development, AT&T Hosting and Application Services (H&AS)
The Questions and Answers
We are going to upgrade from Release 11.0.3 to Release 12. We are currently running on Sun Solaris and will switch to a Linux Intel environment. Our architecture team is wondering how to do performance load simulation so we know how much hardware we need to buy to run the upgraded E-Business Suite environment. Our database is 700 gigabytes, and we have 2500 users.
- First, you need to get a sense of how many concurrent users you have, and what those users are doing. While you may have a total of 2500 users, those users probably aren't all logged on at the same time, and they likely aren't submitting data and hitting commit at the same time. The limits will not be software, but will be hardware limitations based on the degree of throughput, and read and write operations per second. The architecture team needs to understand the product mix (modules), the read/write workload, and the concurrent manager workload, and then bring in the hardware vendor to help build out a test environment. You can also use load simulation software like Mercury Interactive. Oracle has a Test Starter Kit (see http://blogs.oracle.com/stevenChan/2010/04/ebs_1211_tsk.html) for E-Business Suite Release 12.1.1 that can be helpful, but you need to choose carefully when you put together your test environment.
- As you purchase your hardware, make sure you are positioned to be scalable, so you have room to grow if you need to. You might find, for example, that when you do the first close on the new system, you need to add more hardware to deal with the extra load. If you can move to parallel concurrent processing, you can add another node easily. Given the size of your environment, you should research and understand the options available for using load balancing and shared appl tiers (see Parallel Concurrent Processing Failover and Load Balancing of E-Business Suite Release 11i and Release 12 by Mike Swing at TruTek).
- As far as hardware is concerned, we are starting to see where the Intel world is supporting more processor cores, and the hardware is hot pluggable. Be careful not to skimp on the chassis, but populate it with the number of processors you want. We're about to see a big jump in the industry from 4 core to 8 core. You should try to pick a hardware solution that allows you to make that move if you need to. Note that there's a tradeoff to buying more processing power than you need - if you overload your processor, your software fees will go up, so you have to strike a balance.
We upgraded to release 12.0.4 and saw a 25-30% increase in database size. Is there a similar increase with the 12.0.4 to 12.1.2 upgrade?
TCA, SLA, and E-Business Tax added a lot to the database size, but you've already bit the bullet on those modules, so no, you shouldn't see a significant increase.
We are currently running Release 184.108.40.206. Is there a recommended upgrade path?
You should upgrade to RDBMS Version 11gR2 and then Release 12.1.1, and then apply the 12.1.2 RUP. We've "borrowed" a wonderful diagram from Steven Chan's blog of what your E-Business Suite Upgrade Roadmap is:
Is there a plan to offer a gui screen for the Mobile Supply Chain module? Currently it uses a telnet session.
It is a high priority with the User Experience team, but we aren't sure when it will be released. The Release 11.5.10 gui version, according to someone in the audience, was too slow, so it wasn't adopted by many users.
Do people typically upgrade or reimplement?
Upgrading is less expensive, and much better supported by Oracle. Because of the nature of reimplementations, the path isn't as clear because we all have different reasons for doing it. It is much more difficult to determine what post upgrade patches to apply, and how to do validation testing. Reimplementation customers will have to blaze their own trail.
Is bifurcation still recommended?
For Release 12, the new term is Upgrade by Request. Upgrade by Request allows you to upgrade part of your data during the upgrade, and then upgrade the rest of your data after your upgrade completes. Modules that can use Upgrade by Request include Financials and Procurement, Projects, Supply Chain Management, and CRM. You can read more about Upgrade by Request in Appendix G of the Release 12 Upgrade Manual.
Are there any recommendations for preparing for a Release 220.127.116.11 upgrade to Release 12.1.2?
- See Sandra Vucinic's presentation, Get Ready for EBS Release 12.1! Tasks to Complete Now to Ease R12.1 Upgrade Process. Here's a list of tasks from her presentation:
- Upgrade database to 11gR1 or 11gR2
- Convert tablespaces to OATM model
- Evaluate impact of R12.1 on customizations and extensions
- Introduce BI (XML) Publisher and JDeveloper
- Introduce Web ADI and Report Manager
- Archive and purge EBS 11i data
- Convert from JInitiator to Native Sun JRE - _21 is recommended
- Integrate Discoverer Server Release 10g with EBS 11i - use Discoverer 11g if possible as Discoverer 10g is desupported at the end of 2010
- Configure Oracle iAS Release 10g for external apps (SSO, OID, Portal) and integrate with EBS 11i
- Position for high availability and scalability
- Evaluate and complete platform change based on ROI
- RDBMS 11gR2 is a major architectural change in the nature of the cluster software. DBAs need time to understand the fairly steep learning curve. The many new features may help justify doing the database upgrade separately from the E-Business Suite upgrade so DBAs can come up to speed on the technology.
- In terms of testing, have you catalogued all of your customizations? How are you going to train your user community? What tool will you use to develop training guides?
- Read the 11gR2 Upgrade Companion, and be sure to stay current throughout your upgrade on new patches. There's already a RDBMS Version 18.104.22.168.1 patch which fixes a lot of issues.
A user related his story of upgrading from Release 22.214.171.124 to Release 12.1.2. During the upgrade the patch stuck on a program, they waited a day, and got a pre-upgrade patch that needed to be applied before starting the upgrade. He noted how frustrating this was, and asked if there is any My Oracle Support note that tells all performance and serious functional issues in the upgrade.
The official My Oracle Support documents are the Release 12 Upgrade Guide, the Release Notes, and the NLS Release Notes. When Oracle encounters issues, they update the Release Notes. They may also release additional patches, including Critical Update Patches (CUP), which include a consolidation of fixes. Users must actively monitor My Oracle Support for additional patches and alerts while upgrading. Another option is to look at the Release 12 Forum, a very active, live, real time forum. Often solutions can be found there before logging a problem in My Oracle Support. Check out the forum at: http://forums.oracle.com/forums/forum.jspa?forumID=395&start=0
How close are we to desupport on Release 126.96.36.199?
Premier Support ends at the end of November, 2010. The extra cost for Extended Support is waived until November, 2011. Extended Support ends in November 2013. Premier support is what you have today, and includes certifications with Oracle products and other products. If a new MS Windows client is released, with Premium Support, Oracle will certify to that. Extended Support, however, will not include third party certifications, so if a new service pack for Windows 7 is released after November, 2010, Oracle is not bound to certify to that service pack. Odds are, they'll give it a try, but they are not likely to produce new patches. The emphasis at Oracle once Extended Support kicks in for Release 188.8.131.52 will be on Release 12.
This point is very important - E-Business Suite customers use a variety of other products besides the E-Business Suite on their computers. Once Extended Support starts, customers may find themselves needing to upgrade because of some other product that they use, but unable to do so because of certification issues with Windows or JRE or other products.
When you move to R12, JInitiator is not certified and won't work on Windows 7 or Vista. You will need to migrate to the native SUN JRE client. Don't have to worry about java conflicts between applications.
I am new to an organization that uses grants, contracts, and projects. In the past, these were considered outliers that kept us from going to the latest release. Will these modules impact our ability to go to Release 12?
Panel members pointed to several companies using those modules who are upgrading, and said they have not hit any big issues.
An audience member said that she had put together a plan for her company based on what she has heard at the conference and wanted to make sure they were heading in the right direction. They are running RDBMS Version 10.2.0.3 with Release 184.108.40.206, they are already on JRE, they have Discoverer and ADI/GL already implemented with the web, and are moving to RDBMS 11g using OATM with a 2 node shared $APPL_TOP and the latest Release 12 (currently 12.1.2). Is that where her company should be heading?
The panel agreed, her approach is correct.
What features of RDBMS Version 11gR2 would be useful to the E-Business Suite Applications?
You can save a baseline of your production RDBMS 10g performance, and 11gR2 will tell you that your current execution plan is fine, or that you need to run a different plan. You won't lose any performance by going to 11g. This feature is built into 11g. If you run into a performance problem, you can fall back to the 10g plan to get immediate relief while working with Oracle Support to get a more permanent fix.
All in all, it was a fun meeting with lots of questions and interesting answers. As one might expect, the OAUG Upgrade SIG strongly urges you, if you haven't done so already, to get ready to upgrade to Release 12. There are exciting features in RDBMS 11gR2 that will benefit the E-Business Suite Applications even if you don't upgrade to Release 12. The path to upgrading is well-laid out and tested, and the software is now very stable. If you have questions about the upgrade, feel free to contact the OAUG Upgrade SIG. Just drop a note to barb at oncalldba dot com
Sunday, May 9. 2010
An Inquiring Mind Wants to Know ... Posted by Barb Matthews in EBS R12 at 19:42
At the end of the Reimplement vs. Upgrade Panel at Collaborate 10, someone asked the panel ”Do third party products that claim to fix the issues that might make you decide to reimplement actually work?” The issues include changing the chart of accounts, calendar, and organization structures, or consolidating multiple instances to a single global instance with a shared service center.
The question went unanswered, because no one on the panel had firsthand experience. Since Floyd Teter said “Reimplementing is like getting a root canal without anesthetic in the lobby of the IRS while you're waiting for the audit,” and others on the panel agreed, I decided to do a little digging around. If you can avoid reimplementing the full E-Business Suite and migrating your 11i data, based on everything that was said by the panel, then it would be worthwhile to do so.
So I searched for a software vendor and came across eprentise. I started with Skip Straus, an ex-Oracle Consulting Practice Manager and now an eprentise salesman, and asked him lots of questions. Then I read a paper that he wrote called Why Reimplement? I really wanted to attend the eprentise presentations at Collaborate on global instance consolidation and upgrade vs. reimplement, but that didn't work out. I spoke to Skip again over the phone, asked more questions, and finished up by looking at the eprentise website.
I also asked around to see if my consulting colleagues had any opinions.
The biggest concern raised by consultants was whether Oracle would support a customer that used eprentise transformation software to change Oracle EBS’s "implementation-time configurations." According to Skip, Oracle does not support third party tools, nor does it support the conversion scripts that you would write yourself to extract and transform the data. The assorted eprentise solutions change the data content or format (such as numeric to alpha), but not the database structure. The result is consistent and correct. He said that eprentise has lots of customers who have made the move, and they haven't had any customer report that Oracle wouldn't support them. The eprentise software changes and converts the data; the company supports the conversion and will address any issues. That does not violate any Oracle support agreement.
Also, if you're going to reimplement because your data is bad, your choice is to clean up your data anyway, or abandon it since it’s untrustworthy. If you are reimplementing because you want to change your chart of accounts, well, you'll still be changing your chart of accounts as part of the reimplementation. So it would seem like fixing the data over on your Release 11i side, making the changes to base setups in the E-Business Suite that are not easily changed, would be a good way to go. I also like the idea of changing your data first, and upgrading second, rather than trying to do both at the same time as part of a reimplementation.
Migrating all your data manually seems like a painful way to go rather than using Oracle's well-tested upgrade path. I understand the panelists who said it would take a lot more time and money to reimplement and migrate your data.
I'll leave you with these questions:
1) If you've used a third party vendor's software to avoid reimplementing, whose product did you use?
2) Did it work?
3) Were the tools easy to use?
4) Would you recommend this path to others?
5) Do you have any caveats?
6) Did you run into any issues with Oracle Support?
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, as I'd love to hear more about this.
Sunday, May 9. 2010
Collaborate 10 Database SIG Meeting ... Posted by Barb Matthews in EBS R12 at 19:26
The OAUG Database SIG held a lively meeting at Collaborate 10 in Las Vegas. Steven Chan, Senior Director in Oracle's Applications Technology Group, spoke at length about the nuances of Oracle's Lifetime Support policy. You can (and should!) read the details about Lifetime Support at http://www.oracle.com/support/lifetime-support-policy.html.
Understanding just what is included with Extended Support and Sustaining Support, and at what price, is important for customers to understand. You can also sign up for My Oracle Support notifications to receive automatic emails when the LSDs (Lifetime Support Documents) change.
Steven explained that E-Business Suite Release 11.5.10 Premier Support lasts six years from November 2004. That means that at the end of November, 2010 - that's right, this year - Premium Support ends. To stay supported on Release 11.5.10 after that, you'll have to pay a premium on support costs to run in "Extended Support". Steven strongly recommended not running in production in Extended Support unless you really need to. He described Extended Support as a dangerous place to be.
And here's where the nuances come in. With Extended Support, you can still log a P1 problem - but there's no guarantee that the resolution will come quickly - it might take months. Even within Premium Support, Oracle supports only the current and previous database releases for 12 months after the current database has been released. That's a subtle point that could cause big issues for customers - if you are running RDBMS 10.2.0.4, you're supported for only 1 year now that 11gR2 is available. If you are running RDBMS 10.2.0.3, thinking you are supported based on what you read on the support page, you aren't - that support stopped in February, 2009. These policies override the E-Business Suite support agreements.
One technical issue brought up at the meeting concerned Sun JRE. Sun JRE is required on Windows desktops for users to access the Applications. Up until JRE 1.6.0_17, the software worked fine. However, Sun introduced changes that broke session management and ordering with JRE 1.6.0_18. The recommendation at the meeting was that if you were still on JRE 1.6.0_17, you should not apply versions 18, 19 or 20, because they all have significant issues for E-Business Suite users. With automatic updates on PCs, you can imagine the issues that this might cause. Also, certain customers, particularly government customers, are required to stay current, so those customers had no choice but to upgrade to the latest version of JRE, even though it had these two major bugs.
Now add one more point - JRE 1.6.0_20 was released to correct a significant security issue that occurred between JRE 1.6.0_17 and JRE 1.6.0_20, which means that if you're on JRE 1.6.0_17, you're ok, but if you are on JRE 1.6.0_18 or JRE 1.6.0_19, you need JRE 1.6.0_21. For military organizations that are required to stay within a certain number of releases of the most current, they may have no choice but to upgrade. Steven commented that while this issue was going on, there really was no reassuring place for an E-Business Suite administrator to be right now.
Mark Farnham suggested that if you're a non-DOD compliant organization with pretty good campus-wide security, and you're a low enough target value, then you can wait for JRE 1.6.0_21, which is expected shortly. The PCI (credit card) industry has a similar issue to military organizations. They have to apply all vendor security patches within 30 days of their release. The good news, according to Mark, is that the really mercenary hackers aren't interested in most organizations.
The recommendation, therefore, is that as soon as a release becomes available that doesn't have the functionality issues, all E-Business Suite users should seriously consider moving to that release. You can read more about this issue on Steven Chan's blog at:
Another issue with versions comes with third party vendors. If third party vendors don't stay current on JRE versions, then users may find themselves working with releases that have bugs or security issues. Agile and Siebel were two examples of vendors with this issue. Steven said that the only thing customers can do in this case is apply pressure on the third party vendors. The advantage of staying current with JRE, for example, is that each new release brings new memory management capabilities, better security, and bug fixes, so, with the exception of the temporary issues with JRE 1.6.0_18 - 1.6.0_20, staying current is the way to go.
Yet another example of the need to understand the nuances of Oracle support agreements lies with the 9i Application Server used with Release 11i and the 10g Application Server used with Release 12 applications. The double edge to that sword is that Application Server 10g has its own application lifecycle, and the Application Server 10g obsolescence life cycle overrides the E-Business Suite life cycle.
One of the questions from the group was what Oracle is doing to make this situation better. Steven said that Oracle is testing better and more, taking more time to test and running more tests. Now that Sun is integrated with Oracle, there's a better chance of working better together. The Oracle team now gets early shipments of Application 10g Patchset 3, and similarly will get early builds of JRE releases at some point.
One very strong point that Steven highlighted is that Oracle can only go so far in their testing. He strongly recommended that if you are testing a combination of software that isn't documented by Oracle, then it is your job to test heavily, as there are too many possible combinations for Oracle to test.
Randy Giefer, from Solution Beacon, asked if Sun Java might merge into Oracle's CPU cycle. Steven said that while this was a nice idea, he wasn't sure it would ever happen, as we can't really afford to wait for up to 3 months for new changes. He also said that the JRE crowd marches to a different beat because of military requirements.
Also covered in this meeting was the need to stay current with Oracle's quarterly CPUs (Critical Patch Updates). Oracle has improved their CPU process by making the CPUs cumulative as of January 2010 for the Applications users. Where in the past, if you wanted to patch current you would have had to apply each CPU, now when you apply the latest CPU - currently the April 2010 CPU - you're set and don't need to apply any others until the next cumulative quarterly CPU comes out in July 2010.
One additional recommendation discussed was the need to periodically review your company's Master License Agreement. Customers need to be aware that the Oracle Account Manager can't authorize anything that flies contrary to the Master License Agreement. An example - implementing custom objects can eliminate a customer's ability to run using a runtime license. One subtlety, however, is that if Oracle directions say that you have to create an object (there are instructions, for example, that tell you to create custom indices for some of your GL objects), then you are ok and are not violating your E-Business Suite license.
Customers have run into similar issues with partitioning. If you are a licensed EBS customer and Oracle introduces a new product requirement, they can't force you to buy a new license. This caveat is driven by mandatory upgrades of the E-Business Suite that would otherwise have forced you to upgrade the technology. On a new license, for example, customers have to buy the partitioning option when licensing the database, because the E-Business Suite uses partitioning. Customers that upgrade, however, don't have to buy the partitioning software as long as they don't partition any data themselves.
Steven mentioned one area with exciting upcoming changes - for those customers who have considered Active Data Guard to create a mirror of an E-Business Suite database for hardware or software failure, it would be really valuable to be able to use that database for reporting. Currently, the database simply sits, unused, unless a failure occurs.
For Active Data Guard to work, you would have to break the mirror to query against the database, but Steven said that Oracle is working on a series of patches that would allow you to run reads against the real-time copy of the database. This functionality will be included with Version 11gR2, and there may be a port for 11gR1. The one catch is that not all reports will work in this environment. Steven asked that if anyone had E-Business Suite reports (provided by Oracle, not custom reports written by customers!) that they would especially like to be able to run on Active Data Guard, that they should send Steven a note with a list of those reports so that he could ensure that they were tested.
That said, we leave you with two pieces of valuable information - first, Steven's blog, http://blogs.oracle.com/stevenChan/about.html, and second, his email, steven dot chan at oracle dot com.
Tuesday, June 30. 2009
Implement New Modules When You ... Posted by Barb Matthews in EBS R12 at 11:54
Implement New Modules When You Upgrade from Release 11i to Release 12: Procurement Consulting Options with TruTek
Oracle iProcurement is the self-service requisitioning application that controls employee spending. Oracle iProcurement provides a Web-based shopping system that allows employees to create, manage, and track their own orders while the Purchasing department retains central control. This helps to ensure that policies and preferred pricing agreements are reflected in every transaction. Easy ordering and seamless workflow provide better service, while non-sourced or off-catalog spending gets the attention it needs from buying professionals.
Oracle iProcurement is among the better known and most widely used tools within the Oracle Advanced Procurement suite. R 12 includes ongoing improvements – some of which improve the cosmetics, while others represent major architectural advances. Major enhancements include:
Oracle Sourcing is the enterprise application that drives more and better sourcing through online collaboration and negotiation. It is a key component of Oracle Advanced Procurement, the integrated suite that can dramatically cut all supply management costs.
Because strategic sourcing is typically time-consuming and complex, few organizations are able to exploit all available sourcing opportunities. Oracle Sourcing increases the sourcing bandwidth of procurement professionals, so they can exploit many more savings opportunities and capture more value from each. Online collaboration and negotiation makes it easy for experts from multiple organizations to exchange information, define requirements, conduct negotiation, and create new contracts. Buying professionals, business experts, and suppliers can all collaborate to create agreements that provide the best terms.
Implement Services Procurement
Oracle Services Procurement R 12 includes advancements that will propel its use beyond its traditional role of automating simple services and contingent labor. From service specification, through contracting, and payment, R 12 has been designed to tame complexity and drive visibility. Note that in some cases other modules (e.g. Procurement Contracts) are required to fully leverage enhancements. With R 12 procurement organizations can:
Implement Oracle Procurement Contracts
Negations don't save money. Procurement organizations save money when they hold suppliers to negotiated terms and conditions. That's the premise behind Oracle Procurement Contracts, namely to equip procurement professionals to close the gap between forecasted savings and realized savings. Major enhancements to R12 include:
Implement Oracle Procurement & Spend Analytics
Gain Visibility into the Complete Procure-to-Pay Process
Oracle iSupplier Portal is the enterprise application that structures all supplier communication through a secure internet-based portal.
Phone calls, faxes, and e-mails with suppliers waste time, introduce errors, and create latency in your supply chain. Oracle iSupplier Portal, with its powerful platform for online collaboration, enables you and your suppliers to become more efficient. Suppliers access the latest information, including purchase orders, delivery information, and payment status. The rich two-way collaboration enables suppliers to submit change requests, ship notices, payments, and profile data. Now you can gain better service, reduce processing costs, and get relief from costly supplier inquiries. The bottom line is that your buying organization has time to focus on what really matters-getting more savings.
Oracle iSupplier Portal was built with the recognition that suppliers' active participation in the procurement process improves efficiency. In many ways it will increase the value of R 12 as a whole by providing a 'supplier facing' view of new capabilities. Major enhancements include:
Monday, June 29. 2009
In today’s environment, highly skilled DBAs and System Administrators are hard to find, especially those willing to work the graveyard shift, or support operations around the world and around the clock. Every organization needs to continue to operate when their DBA takes a vacation or goes to training - or worse, gets sick. TruTek can monitor and correct issues before users even notice there is a problem.
TruTek has remote customers around the world, operating 24 X 7. There are three shifts of DBAs supporting clients at all times. Each customer is assigned a primary DBA and System Administrator. If a critical problem is encountered, TruTek will assign as many support specialists as necessary to solve the problem.
TruTek has developed its own monitoring software that is guaranteed to provide notification. This software is reliable, predictable and it can be easily customized. It monitors the database server, the application, and web servers. This approach minimizes the need for reactive problem management.
The Alert Engine is at the heart of TruTek monitoring. The Alert Engine manages the notification of TruTek consultants and the client’s staff, based on rules defined by the client. TruTek not only monitors the system, it responds and fixes any issues. During the resolution, the client’s staff will be provided a summary of the problem and TruTek can mentor the client staff.
TruTek's remote DBA service is the cost-effective alternative to employing more full-time DBAs or contractors. TruTek allows you to cut your Oracle DBA overhead and improve quality. Remote services provide access to some of the most experienced DBAs and Application DBAs in the country. Proactive scripts and tools help prevent potential problems. Your DBAs will love working with TruTek; they will learn and have additional help for those difficult situations.
Call 877-486-6655 to schedule a demonstration or visit the TruTek booth at any OAUG or IOUG conference.
Try TruTek’s Remote DBA Service, and we guarantee that we can fix your hardest problem, or you get your money back.
TruTek offers remote database services, remote Oracle applications functional support and Unix system administration support.
TruTek's Remote Database service is reliable and guaranteed. TruTek DBAs are certified experts and can solve your problems quickly, instead of waiting for a solution.
TruTek Remote Database services monitor your database, application server, URL, database listener, Oracle Applications (concurrent processing, form and web servers, and web listeners), log files and alert logs. We also monitor the network and machine state.
TruTek not only provides 24 X 7 monitoring, we will also fix your problems and/or mentor your DBAs. Our DBAs are experts with Oracle Applications. TruTek also has an expert development staff ready to solve your toughest application issues.
TruTek's Remote Database Services for Oracle include: Backup and Recovery services, performance tuning, technical support, mentoring, database design and configuration, database audit, monitoring, sizing and capacity planning, and projects including Upgrades, Custom Development, Reporting and Data Warehousing.
Our Remote Database Services can help with critical system upgrades, extra coverage for your DBAs, and temporary DBA support. TruTek's DBA Support Services is the cost effective alternative to employing additional full-time DBAs or contractors.
If you want to improve your DBA effectiveness and quality, call TruTek at (877) 486-6655.
For more information about TruTek and what we offer please visit our website at www.trutek.com.
Thursday, April 2. 2009
E-Business Suite Users, Hold off on ... Posted by Barb Matthews in EBS 11i, EBS R12 at 14:06
Steven Chan, Oracle's Senior Director of Oracle Applications Technology, says that Oracle has not yet certified IE8 for the E-Business Suite. Steven says there are issues with launching forms, and further states that "it is imperative that your Apps users stay on IE7 until we complete our certification of IE 8". Fortunately, Microsoft has been kind enough to come out with an IE8 Blocker Toolkit, so check that out.
And while you're at it, Steven says, don't expect JInitiator to run on Vista desktops. Steven recommends moving off of JInitiator for this reason, and because JInitiator will be desupported on July 31, 2009. So if you haven't made the leap to Native Sun JRE, now's the time to get going.
Thursday, April 2. 2009
What We've All Been Waiting For... a ... Posted by Barb Matthews in EBS R12 at 14:04
TruTek's Oracle E-Business Suite R11i/R12 Technical Upgrade class is 4 days long and starts with an 220.127.116.11 Vision Instance and upgrades that instance to Release 12.0.6. Basic concepts and downtime-reducing steps, such as staging from the Release 12 DVDs, are covered. The class size is limited to 4 to 6 students to allow plenty of instructor attention for dealing with problems that arise, and questions that students have. Each student uses a quad core Linux server with 4-8 GB of memory and 1 TB of disk space to perform the upgrade.
Minimizing downtime is a common theme throughout the R12 Upgrade class. Techniques include merging patches, using fast IO, snapshots and other downtime reducing techniques.
Mike Swing's the little r12 upgrade guide describes the process we follow during the class. Can you skip the class and do it yourself with just this book? Sure you can. We think there are advantages to taking the class, most importantly having others to bounce questions and problems off of. Taking the class also offers the advantage of helping to build confidence levels. Will this book work perfectly for every environment that users have in place? Probably not. Since Oracle continues to provide patches for issues that are reported by customers, there is always a chance that after we publish this book a new patch will become available. This book is no substitute for using the power of your own analytical skills. And of course, our hardware will likely not be exactly the same as your hardware configuration, so there may be differences due to operating system and other variations.
If you'd like to be notified when the little r12 upgrade guide is available, just fill out our survey and we'll let you know when it's ready. We're planning on selling it at our booth at Collaborate 09, so look us up there if you are attending the conference. If you want to be the first to get a copy, sign up for either of our upcoming classes in Las Vegas, April 14-17, or in Scottsdale, April 27-30.
Friday, February 6. 2009
Oracle R11i/R12 Applications DBA ... Posted by Barb Matthews in EBS 11i, EBS R12 at 11:46
Barbara Matthews attended Mike Swing's Oracle R11i/R12 Applications DBA Concepts and Admininstration class last week. Here's her review:
So last week, I decided to refresh my E-Business Suite Applications DBA skills. I spent a week in lovely Salt Lake City at the TruTek offices. My goal when I take training, read a paper, or attend a presentation, is to walk away with what I'll call a "golden nugget". A golden nugget for me is something that I wouldn't have known otherwise, something that caught my attention and that I knew would be very useful. As it turns out, I picked up several golden nuggets in this class, so I'll share some of them with you here.
First off, this class is a mixture of lecture and hands on work. Mike has a very deep understanding of the Applications. His biggest difficulty appears to be clamping down on the firehose of information that he wants to share. "Better too much than too little!", I say. Well, I said that until I had to hand my luggage over at the airport, where I worried that Mike's 7 pound class handout would tip me over the luggage weight limit.
The class covered topics that I knew would be useful for an Apps DBA. On Monday we covered the 11i architecture, a hands on workshop where we installed Release 18.104.22.168, information about oraInventory, the 11i file system, and the shared $APPL_TOP. I found the shared $APPL_TOP discussion to be particularly helpful, because I knew that companies should use it, but didn't know the exact details of how to implement it. Mike's reviews of the Release 11i and Release 12 architectures tend to be a bit overwhelming, but I agree with Mike that you really need to understand the architecture and where it came from to be able to support it as a DBA. And nobody ever said anything about the Oracle Applications was simple, particularly the underlying architecture.
Now, I have to admit, we had a little mishap on our first day. Mike's equipment had last been used by Release 12 instances, and it turns out that those instructions that you've heard time and time again about how you need to carefully review the Operating System Release Notes really are important - we had to de-install some operating system packages and install other versions to make the Release 22.214.171.124 install work. Who would have thought?
On Tuesday, we covered the admin utilities and autoconfig. We tried our hand at changing an autoconfig template, and we used admergepatch to merge some patches. Ah, admergepatch. If you don't know how to use this, you absolutely must learn. It really helps decrease upgrade time. We also started cloning our Release 11i instance. I took great comfort from the knowledge that Oracle's cloning scripts have improved tremendously over the years.
On Wednesday, we finished up our clone. Somehow I managed to mess up the permissions on mine, but eventually I got things pointed to where they were supposed to point. We also covered more architecture topics - this time on Release 12. We talked more about Apache, 10gAS and configuration, and we installed Release 12. Packing two installs and a clone into this class really gave us a workout.
On Thursday, we covered Release 12's OPMN. We didn't have enough time to do a Release 11i/Release 12 upgrade (Mike has a separate class for that), but Mike walked us through his notes, as he has done this upgrade many times. Then we moved on to failover, load balancing and parallel concurrent processing, three topics near and dear to Mike's heart. He did a terrific demo with three machines that showed how failover kicks in. Incidentally, you don't have to be a RAC user to take advantage of failover - Mike showed us how the concurrent manager could be set up to fail over to another server. He's done some very interesting research on the parameters that affect how quickly failover takes place. Mike also showed how failover behaves differently between Release 11i and Release 12. I considered that information to be a golden nugget for sure, because with Release 11i, you don't have to specify your failover server in your concurrent manager setup. You do with Release 12, so if you didn't know that, you might be in for a rude awakening!
On Friday we covered troubleshooting issues. We looked at some of the log files and Mike showed us where to find them and how to interpret them. We also covered how to change the APPS password, and finished up with a rousing presentation about security.
All in all, it was a great class. I highly recommend it, particularly if you're transitioning from being a DBA to being an Applications DBA. The amount of knowledge that you have to have to take on the Applications DBA role is daunting, and this hands on class really provides you with the necessary information to do that job well.
Next on my list? I think I'll take a whirl at the Release 11i to Release 12 Upgrade Class, but not until I've practiced my cloning and install skills a bit more.
Monday, January 5. 2009
opatch, Release 12 and What Do You ... Posted by Barb Matthews in EBS R12 at 08:17
opatch is simple and straight forward. In fact, patching the E-Business Suite is fairly straight forward. Right? My last article talked about how to tell when a patch had been applied successfully. So, I thought I would follow that up with a discussion on the opatch utility. But, don't tune out just yet, even if you are an old pro at using opatch, you're going to want to read this, really...
The basics: opatch is used by Oracle to apply patches to the database kernel. opatch requires the database to be shutdown, and an opatch can be rolled back. So, what is new about any of that? Nothing, unless you are new to “opatch-ing”. If you are somewhat new, then I suggest you read MetaLink Note 189489.1 for further detail. This note is specifically for 9i database opatch-ing, but it does provide a good explanation of some of the finer points. In fact, this MetaLink note does a really good job of explaining the basics, so let's move on to our new information.
Did you know that using opatch is related to your oraInst.loc file? One of the most common uses of opatch is checking for on-board patches that have already been applied. To do that, run the command opatch lsinventory to list the patches that have been applied, as well as some additional information about the ORACLE_HOME you are working in. The following is a screen shot of what a client's system looks like:
Now, let’s look at this same output if the oraInst.loc file is pointed at a different oraInventory:
Looking at the “Central Inventory” section we see that it has a different mount point and DBSID. Interesting? I thought so. Now, why is this important? This knowledge may not be important if you use a single global inventory for all of your systems. At my current client we have chosen to use totally self-contained systems. This means that even the oraInventory is specific to the system we are working on. We do this by changing the oraInst.loc file pointer. So, in the case where I had encountered this interesting occurrence, I had just finished cloning another system, even though I was working in a different instance. Therefore, the oraInst.loc file was pointed to a different instance. Will you hit this issue? Who knows, but it was a point of knowledge that was new to me.
Okay, so where does all of this tie into the title for this article? Well, as we stated above, opatch is primarily used for applying patches to the Oracle database kernel. In my career, I have used opatch against the Oracle Application Server as part of a Oracle Portal system. But, I have never used opatch in the E-Business Suite application tier, until now. Recently, a colleague called to discuss some confusing input. It seems that he was trying to address an error in the concurrent manager server, and some good investigating yielded a patch to be applied. I should point out that he is working on a Release 12 E-Business Suite instance. So, he identified a patch to be applied, but when he worked through the readme, he discovered that it was an opatch patch. Hmmmm… The patch id was 6116405, which was aimed at the rwrun / rwbuilder engine. When we read through the patch readme, we were a little confused, since it read like a standard opatch readme. We went back to the original note that had pointed him to this patch (Note# 549657.1), and there it was. The bottom of the note specifically stated:
1. Review the readme of Patch 6116405.
2. Apply Patch 6116405, which uses Opatch, to the AppsTier.
And shazam….. We now have an additional patching methodology to add to our Release 12 kit. If you are new to Release 12, maybe this article will help you get past the confusion a little faster. If you are a new Apps DBA, hopefully you have some additional paths for learning now. I would highly encourage everyone to read the MetaLink notes that I outlined above as well as MetaLink Note 293369.1, which provides links to additional opatch documents.
As an aside, I thought I would include some additional screen shots of the opatch help facility so that you can do some additional exploring. Running opatch help gets you:
And, running opatch lsinventory help gets you the screen shot below:
Have fun and hopefully happy learning…
Thursday, September 25. 2008
Installations Gone Wild - Guest ... Posted by Barb Matthews in EBS R12 at 07:04
Recently, I was installing a Vision instance on a development computer at home. This meant that I alone was responsible for the installation of the operating system and various Oracle products that I was interested in. The first hurdle was getting everything downloaded. For those who do not know, you can download the various Oracle products from http://edelivery.oracle.com. There are some agreements you have to sign regarding the software's use as well as agreeing not to export the software. After giving Oracle your name, email address and the name of your company, you are good to go on downloading just about everything Oracle has.
So, I started with downloading Oracle's Unbreakable Linux. I chose an older version to insure that everything I was going to be installing for testing was already certified. The download went smooth, the burning of the iso image to a compact disk for bootup installation worked well. But, as soon as I tried to complete the install I ran into the first of a few issues. The computer hung on the initial screen. What the heck? Why won't this dog-gone computer boot into the installation phase? A weekend to mull it over and several google sessions got me an answer. The SATA hard drives I was using were being adversely impacted by the USB mouse and keyboard. One forum note pointed out the exact solution. Boot into the BIOS and change the compatibility mode from IDE to RAID. How easy is that? Well, wouldn't you know, it worked like a charm. Bang.... the rest of the install went smoothly. What's next?
The whole intent of this project was to install an E-Business Suite R12 Vision instance. Have you ever tried to download the E-Business environment from Oracle? I'll pick this article back up when I am done...
Okay, it has been 3 days and I am ready to install. Yep, you heard me say it. Three days to get the whole suite downloaded. Soooooooo painful. But, I'm ready to rock. Everything is unzipped and here is the size you can expect:
To re-phrase, let's get ready to installllllllllllll. Just kidding. Now that everything has been unzipped we can navigate to the following directory:
and execute ./rapidwiz. Make sure you use the dot convention since you are doing this install as root and will not have the requisite path set up. Of course, you may have taken the time to set all of this up, in which case you should be good to go. This install will require X windows graphical libraries, which I got at by kicking off a vnc session. VNC has various flavors, all of which can be downloaded free off the net. So, I started my VNC session using the command:
vncserver :25 -depth 8 -cc3
This command input set the right pseudo color levels per Oracle's instruction, and the install began. You can test if it worked by executing the "xclock" command, which should produce a graphical clock. If you see the clock continue on. If you do not, use MetaLink to look at the error you just got. Now it's time to execute the rapdwiz command as illustrated below:
We have our graphical Oracle Universal Installer window now. The remainder of the install is very straight forward and kind of beyond some of the things I wanted to cover here. If you want a blow by blow of the install, leave us a comment and we'll write that up for the next newsletter. By the way, if you are planning for the space needed for the install you will need the following:
But, enough about that. One of the primary drivers for this article was an interesting error I got: RW-20019.
I encountered this error after working through all of the configuration options from the various screens. At the end, you get to a screen that allows you to add an additional node into the install. As this was a single node install I went right past it by clicking "Next". But after doing so, I got this dreaded RW-20019 error. The error seems straight forward but I did just go through every configuration screen, so how could there be no actions? Clicking on "Add Server" allowed me to put the server name information in, but then it errored out saying the name was already being used. Starting the install over and insuring every box was filled out correctly did not change help at all. I looked at MetaLink but found nothing of use. I googled this error and came up with several other folks asking the same question but no answers.
What was left? I went ahead and jumped on Red Hat's knowledge base and found some help from a forum note saying this was related to a network problem. That is the pitts since I am not a network guy! The actual article that gave me the thought process on solving this issue was a development article talking about how some programs look at the /etc/hosts file for network information even when there is not a real need. So, I opened up the /etc/hosts file and there was nothing in it. There was some header information but no network entries at all. Not even my localhost information. While I am not sure why that happened it was an easy fix. I added a line for my localhost designation as follows:
127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost
I also added an entry for my statically assigned IP address as follows:
192.168.1.1 srvr1.localdomain srvr1
Pow... the configuration phase completed and after the install, the instance fired up right nicely... So, I was talking to other people and decided that detailing my brush with the RW-20019 error might give others a quicker resolution. So, here it is...
Lon White, Chief Technology Officer, Triora Group
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Steven Chan about Collaborate 10 Database SIG Meeting by Barbara Matthews
Sun, 09.05.2010 23:52
Barb, you take amazing notes. Thanks for sharing them with the members of our EBS communi ty who couldn't make it [...]
Jack about Installations Gone Wild - Guest Author Lon White
Fri, 04.09.2009 11:06
Lon, I am getting same RW-2 0019 error while installing Or acle Release 12 on Linux. I ha ve setup my network as D [...]
Dave Hiller about OAM Patch Search Responsibility - Guest Author, Kathy Duret
Mon, 09.02.2009 10:36
This is extremely helpful!