Thursday Mar 13, 2014

Visit and Bookmark the My Oracle Support Blog

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MOS Icon The My Oracle Support Blog continues the "Get Proactive" discussion and covers all topics related to My Oracle Support.

Look there for news, tools, and resources that can help you get more value from Oracle Premier Support.

Friday Jun 28, 2013

Create a Smoother Period Close

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Do You Use Oracle E-Business Suite Products Involved in Accounting Period Closes?

GPIcon We understand that closing the periods in your system at the end of an accounting period enables your company to make the right business decisions. We also know this requires prior preparation, good procedures, and quality data.

To help you meet that need, Oracle E-Business Suite’s proactive support team developed the Period Close Advisor to help your organization conduct a smooth period close for its Oracle E-Business Suite 12 products. The Period Close Advisor is composed of logical steps you can follow, aligned by the business requirement flow. It will help with an orderly close of the product sub-ledgers before posting to the General Ledger. It combines recommendations and industry best practices with tips from subject matter experts for troubleshooting. You will find patches needed and references to assist you during each phase.

Get to know the E-Business Suite Period Close Advisor

The Period Close Advisor does more than help the users of Oracle E-Business Suite products close their period. You can use it before and throughout the period to stay on track. Proactively it assists you as you set up your company’s period close process. During the period, it helps evaluate your system’s readiness for initiating the period close procedures and prepare the system for a smooth period close experience. The Period Close Advisor gets you to answers when you have questions and gives you the latest news from us on Oracle E-Business Suite’s period close. The Period Close Advisor is the right place to start.

How to Use the E-Business Suite Period Close

The Period Close Advisor graphically guides you through your period close. The tabs show you the products (also called applications or sub-ledgers) covered, and the product order required for the processing to handle any dependencies between the products. Users of all the products it covers can benefit from the information it contains.

Structure of the Period Close Advisor

Clicking on a tab gives you the details for that particular step in the process. This includes an overview, showing how the products fit into the overall period close process, and step-by-step information on each phase needed to complete the period close for the tab. You will also find multimedia training and related resources you can access if you need more information.
PCA Tabs

Once you click on any of the phases, you see guidance for that phase. This can include:

OM & Shipping Tab

  • Tips from the subject-matter experts—here are examples from a Cash Management specialist:
    • “For organizations with high transaction volumes bank statements should be loaded and reconciled on a daily basis.”
    • “The automatic reconciliation process can be set up to create miscellaneous transactions automatically.”
  • References to useful Knowledge Base documents:
    • Information Centers for the products and features
    • FAQs on functionality
    • Known Issues and patches with both the errors and their solutions
    • How-to documents that explain in detail how to use a feature or complete a process
    • White papers that give overview of a feature, list setup required to use the feature, etc.
  • Links to diagnosticsthat help debug issues you may find in a process
  • Additional information and alerts about a process or reports that can help you prevent issues from surfacing

This excerpt from the “Process Transaction” phase for the Receivables product lists documents you’ll find helpful.

Recievables Excerpt

How to Get Started with the Period Close Advisor

The Period Close Advisor is a great resource that can be used both as a proactive tool (while setting up your period end procedures) and as the first document to refer to when you encounter an issue during the period close procedures!

As mentioned earlier, the order of the product tabs in the Period Close Advisor gives you the recommended order of closing. The first thing to do is to ensure that you are following the prescribed order for closing the period, if you are using more than one sub-ledger.

Next, review the information shared in the Evaluate and Prepare and Process Transactions phases. Make sure that you are following the recommended best practices; you have applied the recommended patches, etc.

The Reconcile phase gives you the recommended steps to follow for reconciling a sub-ledger with the General Ledger. Ensure that your reconciliation procedure aligns with those steps.

At any stage during the period close processing, if you encounter an issue, you can revisit the Period Close Advisor. Choose the product you have an issue with and then select the phase you are in. You will be able to review information that can help you find a solution to the issue you are facing.

Stay Informed

Oracle updates the Period Close Advisor as we learn of new issues and information. Bookmark the Oracle E-Business Suite Period Close Advisor [ID 335.1] and keep coming back to it for the latest information on period close

Tuesday Jun 11, 2013

Improve Your Hardware Support Experience—Part 2

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Hardware Support Best Practices

GPIcon

Part 1, discussed how to install the Service Tools Bundle, set up Oracle Explorer, and enable Automatic Service Request.

Part 2, below, addresses how to improve the speed of Hardware Service Request resolution and how to be more proactive by addressing known issues using the output of the Oracle Explorer file (installation steps are covered in Part 1).


Improving the Speed of Hardware Service Request Resolution

Did you know that the system fast tracks your Service Requests when you attach either the Oracle Explorer or the correct diagnostic files?

If the system detects a known issue, within 20 minutes there is an automatic update made to the Service Request advising which component requires replacement.

Enable your Service Request to get faster resolutions by associating the correct content as outlined:

  • SPARC Servers—see Document: 1364841.1 to learn how to log a service request with all the required information
  • Learn More—Take a few minutes to read the Oracle Explorer Information Center. Ensure you set up the explorer so that it regularly sends data to Oracle. As it is the data from these tools that help to improve your support experience.
  • Sun SPARC Enterprise M3000, M4000, M5000, M8000, & M9000 Servers—require an Explorer from the domain in question and a snapshot from the Main XSCF. See Document: 1008229.1 for details on how to run snapshot on these platforms
  • Sun SPARC Enterprise T5xx0 Servers and Sun SPARC T3 & T4 Servers—use ILOM and require snapshot from the SP. See Document: 1020204.1 for details on how to run snapshot on these platforms

Generating and reviewing an Oracle Sun System Analysis (OSSA) Report

Oracle Sun System Analysis reports provide a wealth of information that allows you to maintain your system proactively to reduce unplanned outages. The process of viewing reports is via My Oracle Support -> Proactive Hardware Services. To enable you to view the reports a number of steps need to be completed to confirm your identity, serial number access, and Oracle Explorer needs to be installed and setup correctly.

Before reviewing the OSSA report, complete the authorization steps as outlined below. If you skip this step, you might not be able to see the reports online.

Step 1—The chassis serial number has to be on the contract that is associated with the Support Identifier (SI) on your My Oracle Support Account. View My Accounts to validate you have the SI associated to your account.

Step 2—Ensure Oracle Explorer Data Collector is installed on all the system you are interested in analyzing for known faults.

Step 3—For older system the appropriate explorer field is the serial number field when running the ./ explorer -g command. SNEEP is the recommended method gathering the serial number information. The manually ended data must be identical to serial number listed on your support contract. For example, don’t add extra spaces to the start or finish of the serial number.

This is not issue for newer systems as the serial number identification is automatic.

Step 4—Setup explorer to be set to run via a cron job or manually. See the Oracle Explorer Data Collector Users Guide for more details. Send the output to Oracle Secure File Transport (SFT) or Sun Support Files. Oracle Recommends SFT view Document: 1362484.1 for a walk through of the steps.

Step 5—Oracle recommends that explorer data is sent monthly. Oracle receives the Explorer data and performs two checks.
  • Rule 1: How old is the explorer file? If it is greater than 90days then N/A appears in the explorer data field for the asset. If it is less than 90days, the next rule is run

  • Rule 2: Is there an Existing OSSA report available? If Yes, is the report greater than 28.1 days? If yes, a new report will be created. If No, and it is less than 28.1 days the report will not be created

Step 6—View the reports. Select Proactive Hardware Services.

miriam1

The Home page is displayed—it has the list of SI's and serial numbers for active reports.



Miriam2


Miriam3


View the MC Report

The Mission Critical (MC) Report shows details about your system. Under each region, there is an icon to indicate that there is more data available. Select the arrow icon to view more details about the known issue. Oracle recommends that you focus on those known issues marked with a red circle and white X MiriamBlog4_WhiteX


View the ORI Report


This report shows the system’s risk level. Severity is associated to the risk index number. Oracle recommends that Critical risks are addressed to prevent your system experiencing known issues.

MiriamBlog5

Notes

  1. The SI will only be visible when there are entitled explorer files associated to it.
  2. The SI must be associated to a contract with Hardware and Operating System coverage. This is viewable in the My Account region by selecting the SI and viewing the coverage.
If you have Questions please post them in the Using My Oracle Support Community.

 

Thursday Apr 04, 2013

Know What Changed

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Find Configuration Changes with My Oracle Support’s Configuration-Based Services

Compare
When customers log technical Service Requests, one of the first things we want to know is, “What changed?” Changes in a configuration are often the cause of newly reported issues.

Some of the most powerful uses of configuration data are the capabilities to view a configuration at a point in time (Snapshot), view a list of configuration changes between two points in time (History), and view a side-by-side comparison of a configuration at two points in time (Compare). You can use these capabilities to quickly identify and recover from issues directly related to a configuration change or a patch introduction. This information is available for proactive usage as well. The ultimate goal is to help you proactively avoid issues and, if they occur, quickly resolve them.

To view configuration data, navigate to the Systems tab in My Oracle Support. Once there, search in the Targets region to view the desired configuration.

Note: The Systems tab is visible only to:

  • Customer User Administrators (CUAs)
  • Users with at least one hardware Support Identifier (SI) and View Asset privileges in their profile
  • Users with active targets associated with the hardware or software SIs in their profile

    Snap1

Clicking on the Detach button, in the target region above, will maximize the region and display additional columns.

Snapshot

Clicking on the target Name hyperlink in the screenshot above will open the target screen below in My Oracle Support. The most current snapshot of the configuration displays in the Configuration region.

Snap3

You also have the ability to view historical snapshots of the configuration at a point in time. Choose one of the displayed dates or specify a custom dates via the Other Date option. Oracle retains one year of configuration detail. The intent is to allow you to use this data for comparative analysis.

Snap4

Selecting Nov 26, 2012 from the drop-down displays the data for that day.

Note: If you do not have a collection on the day you selected, data for the closest possible date displays.

Snap5

History

The History button displays default dates, just as the Snapshot option above. Additional options are available for custom date ranges.

Snap6

Choosing Nov 26, 2012 from the drop-down displays changes that occurred between Nov 26, 2012 and Dec 17, 2012.

Notes: In the Item Name section click on the All hyperlink to see all changes. The check boxes for the Items that changed highlight as well. If you do not have a collection on the day you selected, the closest possible date’s data displays.

Snap7

Compare

The Compare button provides a side-by-side comparison of a configuration between two dates. The functionality for this regions works the same way as the History button.

Snap8

Choosing Nov 26, 2012 from the drop-down displays changes that occurred between Nov 26, 2012 and Dec 17, 2012 and a side-by-side view of the values. This view does not indicate when changes occurred.

Note: If you do not have a collection on the day you selected, the closest possible date’s data displays.

Snap9

Print or Export Data

Many customers want the ability to analyze this data outside of My Oracle Support. Under the View button, customers have the option of creating a Printable View or Export CSV.

Resources to Learn More

To learn more about how to leverage configuration data and the configuration-based services, please go to the Collector tab in My Oracle Support. For assistance on setting up the collector, please refer to the blog entry from October 18th, 2012.

You can find more information under the Help link in the upper right corner of My Oracle Support. Navigate to the Table of Contents link and select the Systems link from the window that opens. You will see links that provide detailed information on Systems, Targets, and Configurations.


Related articles on configuration-based services in My Oracle Support

 

Tuesday Mar 19, 2013

Improve Database Performance

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Best Practices: Proactive Data Collection for Performance Issues

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A common problem for analysis of performance issues is having the right diagnostic tool or trace in place during the first occurrence of the problem. This is not always possible, but chances for a quicker resolution and potential Root Cause Analysis (RCA) are possible if you adopt a proactive best practice around performance data collection.



The best practice described here includes a methodology around data collection:

  • Top-Down approach to data collection
  • Establishing multiple baselines
  • Having the right tools already installed and running before the problem occurs
  • Deploying specialized tools for unstable environments

The performance of the Oracle database depends upon the performance of the hardware and operating system that it runs on. This is why it is important to consider operating system metrics as part of a "big picture" when diagnosing performance problems. Oracle support has a utility named OSWatcher Black Box, which will capture information about the operating system. We strongly recommended all customers run OSWatcher Black Box because it provides a "look back" capability on the OS. If for example, we had a node eviction at 2:00 in the morning, we can look back in time to see what happened on the OS at 2:00 or more importantly, what happened at 1:59, just prior to the actual event.

Document 301137.1 OSWatcher Black Box User Guide (Includes: [Video])

If we drill down from the operating system into the different layers of Oracle, we can take advantage of utilities which have been available since version 10g. The Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) and Active Session History (ASH) are two very important utilities to allow us to see what is happening on the database both from a holistic point of view and also at the session level. These 2 utilities are part of the Oracle Diagnostic Pack and require a special license to use. In order to obtain the most effective diagnostics possible, it is strongly recommended that an Oracle Diagnostic Pack license is obtained.

Document 1363422.1 Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) Reports
Document 243132.1 Active Session History (ASH)

The AWR reports can be taken at regular intervals and then used to determine what if any performance problems exist on the database. The use of ASH allows us to see specifically what individual sessions are waiting on or what resources these sessions are consuming.

Red path The good news is that if you proactively take advantage of these tools, it may be possible to diagnose a system or database hang, just by having these tools in place. Many times bug signatures are available within AWR and hangs can be matched to these bug signatures. This may allow for a diagnostic analysis without the need to take more intrusive diagnostics such as systemstate dumps, hanganalyze dumps, etc.

It is very important for you to establish baselines using OSWatcher Black Box and AWR. Baselines should be used as points of reference and are extremely valuable for differential analysis when problems arise. AWR has a compare utility when can be run on two different reports such as your baseline report and the report from the period when the problem actually occurred. This facilitates quick identification of any differences in statistics between the two reports and allows us to focus and identify specific problems. Baselines should be taken during different phases of your business cycle. Examples would be at the busiest time of the day, batch reporting at night, monthly or quarterly end of business cycles, etc.

In addition to OSWatcher Black Box, AWR and ASH, there are other support tools worth considering when it comes to being proactive.

Oracle support has a tool which automates the collection of hang diagnostics. This tool, hangfg, is a simple UNIX shell script that allows users to choose how intrusive they want hang diagnostic traces like systemstate dumps and hang analyze dumps to be on their production servers. The complex syntax and kind of diagnostic trace is embedded in the utility. This frees you from having to know the kind and level of trace and the cryptic syntax to generate these traces. All you need to do when experiencing a hang is run the shell script, which will collect the appropriate diagnostic trace depending upon how intrusive you choose to make it.

There are 3 levels:

  1. Light impact on system. This option collects 2 hanganalyze level 3 traces and then determines whether it can also collect 1 hanganalyze level 4 trace with minimal impact to the system. If so, it collects the hanganalyze level 4 trace. If not, it does not collect an additional trace file.
  2. Medium impact on system (default value). This option collects 1 hanganalyze level 3 trace and then determines whether it can also collect 2 hanganalyze level 4 traces with minimal impact to the system. If so, it collects the 2 additional hanganalyze level 4 traces. If not, it collects an additional hanganalyze level 3 trace. This option also collects 1 systemstate level 266 trace.
  3. Heavy impact on system. This option collects 2 hanganalyze level 4 traces and 2 systemstate level 266 traces.

Document 362094.1 HANGFG User Guide

SQL Tuning Tools

Oracle support also has specialized tools around SQL tuning. SQLT and SQLHC are recommended best practice tools to have downloaded and installed on you systems if possible. SQLT is the best diagnostic tool support has to resolve complicated SQL tuning issues. Both tools extract statistical and environmental data from the database. SQLT is a far more extensive diagnostic tool but does require a separate scheme to be installed on the database. SQLHC does not have a footprint on the database and provides quick health check information. Both tools can be explored in more detail by clicking on the links associated with them.

Document 215187.1 SQLT (SQLTXPLAIN) - Tool that helps to diagnose a SQL statement performing poorly
Document 1366133.1 SQL Tuning Health-Check Script (SQLHC)

Hopefully these tips will encourage you to become more proactive with data collection. Our ultimate goal is to reduce your resolution time if you have a performance problem.

Related Resources: Advisor Webcast Recordings

Tuesday Mar 05, 2013

Improve Your Hardware Support Experience

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Use These Hardware Essentials

GPIcon

Oracle Hardware customers who are running Oracle Solaris or Oracle Solaris x86, can improve their support experience. Oracle Support recommends these three Hardware Essentials to all Oracle Hardware customers:



  1. Download and install the Services Tools Bundle. This bundle has Oracle Explorer Data Collector, Oracle Remote Diagnostic Agent, Oracle Serial Number in EEPROM (SNEEP), and Oracle Automatic Crash Dump Tool (ACT). The bundle is available for Solaris and Solaris x86, release 8 onwards.
    1. Download—Log into My Oracle Support and follow the links on this document to download the latest.
    2. Learn More—Take a few minutes to read the Oracle Explorer Information Center. Ensure you set up the explorer so that it regularly sends data to Oracle. As it is the data from these tools that help to improve your support experience.

  2. Set up Oracle Explorer. How healthy are your Oracle Systems? Did you know that once you set up Oracle Explorer to send data to Oracle you can view two reports that will help you understand their health? The first is a mission critical report and the second is the Systems Risk Index based on the Sun Alert Program.  If the Oracle explorer was correctly configured, and you have access to the same Support Identifier as the system you would like to review, then you can get started today. If you cannot view reports please verify the following setup:

    1. Validate the chassis serial number is on contract with a valid Support Identifier. Using the Assets Tab, enter the serial number if it does not come back then you don’t have access to the CSI it’s associated with or it’s not on contact.
    2. Validate in My Oracle Support, via My Account that you have the same Support Identifier associated to your account as the chassis serial number.
    3. Install Oracle Services Tools Bundle for Solaris on any system you are interested in viewing reports on.
    4. Set up Oracle Explorer ensure the serial number is entered into the appropriate Oracle Explore Data Collector Field and that it matches exactly to the Serial Number as displayed in the Assets Region of the Systems Tab on My Oracle Support.
    5. Configure the explorer output to be sent to Oracle every 30 days.

  3. Enable Automatic Service Request (ASR) for known hardware issues. This is a secure, scalable, customer installable software solution that automatically generates a Service Request for specific hardware faults. Available for all ASR capable systems that are covered by an Oracle Support Contract.

    Learn MoreReview the ASR page for documentation and downloads.


Thursday Feb 14, 2013

Learn How from the Product Experts with Advisor Webcasts

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Advisor Webcasts Are Available on a Wide Range of Topics

Webcast Watcher











New this month to the Insider’s track is a quick “how to” to stay informed about the upcoming product based Advisor Webcasts.

Here is the 5 step process:

  1. Find your product in the drop down menu on doc id: 740966.1. Current webcasts and archives for the current schedule. For February, the summary of events is listed below.
  2. Select the register link to view the announcement document. Select the link to the Webex Event Address. In webex, update your timezone Language and Locale. Select “Ok” to continue.
  3. Select Not Started (Register) this allows you to fill in your contact information. The output of this is that you will get an event for your calendar so that you can plan your day around your attendance.
  4. Finally, after the event you will be sent a quick survey. Please take the time to provide some feedback or suggest new events.
Below is a summary of events for the rest of February. Selecting any of the links below will present a document and you will be at step 2 of the process listed above.

E-BUSINESS SUITE—APPLICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES GROUP (ATG)

February 12—EBS ATG AD Utilities Overview & Troubleshooting EMEA
February 13—EBS ATG AD Utilities Overview & Troubleshooting US
February 26—EBS Attachments Overview & Troubleshooting EMEA
February 27—EBS Attachments Overview & Troubleshooting US

E-BUSINESS SUITE—AGILE

February 12Oracle Product Lifecycle Analytics (OPLA) Installation Best Practices

E-BUSINESS SUITE - FINANCIALS

February 13Overview and Usage of Oracle Receivables Information Centers
February 27Oracle Receivables Receipts Workbench - How To Enter A Claim

E-BUSINESS SUITE - HCM

February 22WEB ADI Presentation

E-BUSINESS SUITE - MANUFACTURING

February 13Oracle Demantra 7.3.1.4 New Features
February 13How To Perform Standard Purchase Order Receiving Using MSCA Mobile
February 14Introduction to Service Parts Planning (SPP)
February 20Setup and Use of Event GMD ERES Formula Status Change Approval in OPM E-Records
February 21
The Latest & Greatest eAM Product Enhancements

JD EDWARDS ENTERPRISEONE

February 20JD Edwards EnterpriseOne: Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Overview
February 27JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and IBM i: 9.1 Platform Pack Install on IBM i

JD EDWARDS WORLD

February 13Advanced Pricing Free Good & Reprice Adjustment Enhancements in Release A9.3
February 21JD Edwards World: Direct Ship A9.3

ORACLE CRM

February 13EBS CRM - Contact Center - An Overview

ORACLE DATABASE

February 19Data Guard: Overview and Usage of the Data Guard Broker
February 27Introducing the Oracle Data Provider For .NET Managed Driver

ORACLE ENGINEERED SYSTEMS

February 12Using Exadata's healthcheck tool: Exachk
February 14Using Exadata's Diagnostic Tool: Diagnostic Assistant

ORACLE FUSION MIDDLEWARE

February 13Overview of the Database Service Cloud
February 27Diagnosing Thread Dumps with Tools

ORACLE INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS - RETAIL/COMMUNICATIONS

February 26RIB Retail Integration Hospital Administration Tool (RIHA) Installation and Usage

PEOPLESOFT ENTERPRISE

February 13Oracle Live Webcast for Financial Aid Regulatory 2013-2014 Release 2 (9.0 Bundle #28)
February 26Upgrading to PeopleTools 8.53

SIEBEL

February 26BI Publisher Siebel Security Configuration



Tuesday Nov 20, 2012

Find Knowledge Quickly

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Get to relevant knowledge on the Oracle products you use in a few quick steps!

Customers tell us that the volume of search results returned can make it difficult to find the information they need, especially when similar Oracle products exist. These simple tips show you how to filter, browse, search, and refine your results to get relevant answers faster.

Filter first: PowerView is your best friend

Powerview is an often ignored feature of My Oracle Support that enables you to control the information displayed on the Dashboard, the Knowledge tab and regions, and the Service Request tab based on one or more parameters. You can define a PowerView to limit information based on product, product line, support ID, platform, hostname, system name and others. Using PowerView allows you to restrict:

  • Your search results to the filters you have set
  • The product list when selecting your products in Search & Browse and when creating service requests

     

The PowerView menu is at the top of My Oracle Support, near the title

PVS1

You turn PowerView on by clicking PowerView is Off, which is a button. When PowerView is On, and filters are active, clicking the button again will toggle Powerview off.

Click the arrow to the right to create new filters, edit filters, remove a filter, or choose from the list of previously created filters.

PVS2

You can create a PowerView in 3 simple steps!

  1. Turn PowerView on and select New from the PowerView menu.
  2. Select your filter from the Select Filter Type dropdown list and make selections from the other two menus.
    • Hint: While there are many filter options, selecting your product line or your list of products will provide you with an effective filter.
    • Click the plus sign (+) to add more filters. Click the minus sign (-) to remove a filter.
  3. Click Create to save and activated the filter(s)

You’ll notice that PowerView is On displays along with the active filters.

PVS3

For more information about the PowerView capabilities, click the Learn more about PowerView… menu item or view a short video.

PVS4


Browse & Refine: Access the Best Match Fast For Your Product and Task


In the Knowledge Base region of the Knowledge or Dashboard tabs, pick your product, pick your task, select a version, if applicable. A best match document – a collection of knowledge articles and resources specific to your selections - may display, offering you a one-stop shop.

PVS5


The best match document, called an “information center,” is an aggregate of dynamically updated links to information pertinent to the product, task, and version (if applicable) you chose. These documents are refreshed every 24 hours to ensure that you have the most current information at your fingertips.

Note: Not all products have “information centers.” If no information center appears as a best match, click Search to see a list of search results.

From the information center, you can access topics from a product overview to security information, as shown in the left menu.


PVS6

Just want to search? That’s easy too!

Again, from the Knowledge Base region, pick your product, pick your task, select a version, if applicable, enter a keyword term, and click Search.

Hint:
In this example, you’ll notice that PowerView is on and set to PeopleSoft Enterprise. When PowerView is on and you select a product from the Knowledge Base product list, the listed products are limited to the active PowerView filter. (Products you’ve previously picked are also listed at the top of the dropdown list.)


PVS7

Your search results are displayed based on the parameters you entered.



PVS8

It’s that simple!


Related Information:

My Oracle Support - User Resource Center [ID 873313.1]
My Oracle Support Community

For more tips on using My Oracle Support, check out these short video training modules.
My Oracle Support Speed Video Training [ID 603505.1]

Wednesday Oct 24, 2012

Run Oracle E-Business Suite Period Close Diagnostic

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Be Proactive & Save Time—Use the Period Close Diagnostic During the Month

RedPath

Have you ever closed your books at the end of the month and, due to problems with your Oracle E-Business Suite Period Close, you found yourself working all night or all weekend to resolve your issues?

You can avoid issues by running the Oracle E-Business Suite Period Close Diagnostics throughout the month, prior to closing Oracle Financial Assets, General Ledger, Payables, and/or Receivables. You can identify issues that will interfere with your period close early, preventing last minute fire drills. Correct your errors or, if you need Oracle Support’s assistance, attach the output to a service request for faster resolution by the support engineer.

Oracle E-Business Suite Diagnostics are included in your Oracle Premier Support agreement at no extra charge. They are proactive, easy to use, tools provided by Oracle Support to ease the gathering and analyzing of information from your E-Business Suite, specific to an existing issue or setup. Formatted output displays the information gathered, the findings of the analysis, and the appropriate actions to take if necessary. These tools are designed for both the functional and technical user, providing no EBS administration features, so you can safely assign this responsibility to users who are not administrators.

A good place to start with the Support Diagnostics is the install patch Note 167000.1. Everything you need is in this patch and you install it on top of your E-Business Suite. If you are on EBS 12.0.6 or below, Oracle delivers the diagnostic tests in a standard Oracle patch and you apply it using the adpatch utility. If you are on EBS release 12.1.1 or above, your diagnostics are already there.

Oracle E-Business Suite Diagnostics:

  • Prevent Issues—resolving configuration and data issues that would cause processes to fail
  • Identify Issues Quickly—resolving problems without the need to contact Oracle Support
  • Reduce Resolution Time—minimizing the time spent to resolve an issue by increasing support engineer efficiency

In the example below, you will see how to run the EBS Period Close Diagnostic step-by-step using an SQLGL Period Closing Activity Test. This allows you to check throughout the month to identify and resolve any issue that might prevent closing the period in the General Ledger on schedule.

 

  1. Click the Select Application button. Select your Application. In this example, we will use the Period Close test. Scroll down to Period Close


  2. Step 1

  3. Place a check mark in the Period Closing box in the Select column. Click the Execute button at the bottom of the page

  4. Step 2

  5. Input the parameters. Click the Submit button


  6. Step 3



  7. Click the Refresh button, until the Status of the test changes from “In Progress” to “Completed”


  8. Step 4

  9. Click the icon under, View Report to view the test results


  10. Step 5

 

The report will complete successfully or show completed with errors. The report will show where the error is located, what the error is, and what action(s) to take for resolution. Remember, if you need to work with Oracle Support to resolve your issue, attach the report to your Service Request so the engineer can start working the issue.

With errors Completed with errors

Without errors Completed successfully with no errors

If you have questions, please ask in the E-Business Suite Category’s Diagnostic Tools Community. You may find the answer waiting for you in a prior community discussion or in one of the resources posted by an Oracle Support moderator.

Oracle’s Period Close Diagnostic, and the other E-Business Suite Diagnostics, save you time and help keep you on schedule. If you run the Period Close Diagnostic throughout the month, you can identify issues to resolve and get help, if needed. When opening a Service Request, attaching the output from the diagnostic report, speeds resolution. With the issues resolved ahead of time, your Period Close should complete without errors. Avoiding the unexpected, helps to close your books on time and without late nights or working through your weekend.

Recommended Reads

E-Business Suite Diagnostics Period / Year End Close [ID 402237.1] lists all of the Closing Period Diagnostic Tests. I highly recommend that customers execute these tests prior to closing a period. The period closing tests listed in this document help you identify known issues that prevent a successful period close. Use these tests prior to closing a period. To learn about all the available EBS Diagnostics, please review the E-Business Suite Diagnostics Overview [ID 342459.1].

Thursday Oct 18, 2012

Install Oracle Configuration Manager's Standalone Collector

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The Why and the How

InsideTrack

If you have heard of Oracle Configuration Manager (OCM), but haven’t installed it, I’m guessing this is for one of two reasons. Either you don’t know how it helps you or you don’t know how to install it. I’ll address both of those reasons today. First, let’s take a quick look at how My Oracle Support and the Oracle Configuration Manager work together to gain a good understanding of what their differences and roles are before we tackle the install.

Oracle Configuration Manger is the tool that actually performs the data collection task. You deploy this lightweight piece of software into your system to collect configuration information about the system and OCM uploads that data to Oracle’s customer configuration repository. Oracle Support Engineers then have the configuration data available when you file a service request. You can also view the data through My Oracle Support.

The real value is that the data Oracle Configuration Manager collects can help you avoid problems and get your Service Requests solved more quickly. When you view the information in My Oracle Support’s user interface to OCM, it may help you avoid situations that create problems.

The proactive tools included in Oracle Configuration Manager help you avoid issues before they occur. You also save time because you didn’t need to open a service request. For example, you can use this capability when you need to compare your system configuration at two points in time, or monitor the system health. If you make the configuration data available to Oracle Support Engineers, when you need to open a Service Request the data helps them diagnose and resolve your critical system issues more quickly, which means you get answers more quickly too.

Quick Installation Process Overview

Before we dive into the step-by-step details, let me provide a quick overview. For some of you, this will be all you need. Log in to My Oracle Support and download the data collector from Collector tab. If you don’t see the Collector tab, click the More tab gain access. On the Collector tab, you will find a drop-down list showing which platforms are available. You can also see more ways to the Collector can help you if you click through the carousel of benefits.

After you download the software for your platform, use FTP to move that file (.zip) from your PC to the server that hosts the Oracle software. Once you have that file on the server, locate the $ORACLE_HOME directory, and unzip the file within that directory. You can then use the command line tool to start the installation process. The installation process requires the

  • My Oracle Support credential (Support Identifier, username, and password)
  • Proxy specification (Host IP Address, Port number, username and password)

Installation Step-by-Step
  1. Download the collector zip file from My Oracle Support and place it into your $Oracle_Home
  2. Unzip the zip file you downloaded from My Oracle Support – this will create a directory named CCR with several subdirectories Step 2
  3. Using the command line go to “$ORACLE_HOME/CCR/bin” and run the following command “setupCCR”
    Step 3
  4. Provide your My Oracle Support credential: login, password, and Support IdentifierStep 4
  5. The installer will start deploying the collector applicationStep 5
  6. You have installed the Collector
  7. Step 6

Post Installation

Now that you have installed successfully, the scheduler is ready to collect configuration information for the software available in your Oracle Home. If you want to run an instrumentation script to start the configuration collection of your Oracle Database server, E-Business Suite, or Enterprise Manager, you will find more details on that in the Installation and Administration Guide for My Oracle Support Configuration Manager.


Related documents available on My Oracle Support

Wednesday Sep 19, 2012

Get the Information You Need. Delivered.

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Don’t Take Chances with Alerts—Get Hot Topics

HotInfo

When Oracle Support publishes an alert, how do you find out about it? I can see any number of ways you might stumble onto an alert that you need. For example, if you are visiting My Oracle Support in search of answers under the Knowledge tab and happen to notice, and click on, the Alert tab the under the Knowledge Article region, you might see an alert listed for one of the products you use.

There are other ways… like subscribing to one of the Oracle Blogs and finding the alert in your RSS feed because the blogger decided to write up that topic for the latest post. I’m sure your colleagues sometimes pass on critical alerts for your products, I hope, giving you the information before you needed it.

Well, no matter how you learn about an alert, the important point is that you get the correct information in a timely way. Right?

I must admit, the ‘magic’ required to find out via these methods makes me nervous. Rather than leave it to chance, I think you need a more reliable way to stay informed and receive alerts for your products when Oracle publishes them.

You may not be aware of it, but there is a better way. Oracle Premier Support Customers can leverage the “Hot Topics E-Mail.” You select the products and topics that interest you. Based on your choices, the system sends you the support related information when Oracle Support publishes it.

This way you and I can both relax, knowing you’ll have ready access to the alerts you need, and enjoy the breadth of support related information you choose to subscribe to. This can include recently updated Knowledge base articles, new bugs, and product news.

If I’ve convinced you, you will want to know how to set up and subscribe to the Hot Topics E-Mail. The complete guide, Doc ID 793436.1, is waiting for you. Follow the instructions in the document, and you will always stay on top of the latest information from Oracle Support.

Wednesday Sep 12, 2012

Get More Value From Your Oracle Premier Support Investment

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The Return on Investment in Support Training

Learn Lead
I’m a typical software user. I’ve been using spreadsheets almost daily for the past 10 years or so. I know how to enter simple formulas, format cells, import files, and I can sort and filter. Sometimes I even use a pivot table. I never attended training. I learnt everything I know on the fly. Sometimes it was intuitive and easy, other times I had to spend minutes and even hours searching for a solution.

Yet when I see what some other people can do with their spreadsheets, I know I’m utilizing maybe 15% of the functionality. Pity, one day I really have to sign up for training. Why haven’t I done it yet? Ah, you know, I’m a busy person, I have work to do. And if I need to use a feature that I am unfamiliar with, I’ll spend time on it only when I really need it.

Now wait. When I recall how much time I spent trying to figure how things work compared to time I spent doing the productive work, I realize it was not insignificant. I’m unable to sum up all the time I spent ‘learning’ on the fly, but I’m sure it’s been days or even weeks. And after all this time, I’ve mastered 15% of its features. If only I had attended training years ago. That investment would have paid back 10 times!

Working with My Oracle Support is no different. Our customers typically use simple search, create service requests, and download patches. They think they know how to use My Oracle Support. And they’re right. They know something but often they’re utilizing only a fragment of My Oracle Support’s potential. For the investment that has been made, using only a small subset of the capabilities offered in My Oracle Support leaves value on the table. There is much more available in My Oracle Support. Dozens of diagnostic tools and proactive health checks will keep verifying your Oracle environments against best practices that Oracle gathers every day thanks to our comprehensive knowledge management process. Automated patch recommendations will help prevent known issues, and upgrade planning and more is included in My Oracle Support.

Why are you not utilizing all of these best practices, capabilities and tools? Is it because you don’t have time to invest 2-3 hours of your time to learn about the features? Simply because you think you can learn on the fly like I thought I could?

Training Headlines

Does learning on the fly how to properly use the Service Request escalation process when you already have critical issue sound like a good idea?

My advice is: Invest your time now to learn how My Oracle Support can help you prevent issues on your systems. Learn how to find answers faster and resolve problems more efficiently. Understand how to properly complete a service request. Invest in Support training, offered at no additional cost to Oracle Premier Support customers. It will pay back quicker than you think. It will bring you more value than you think.

Discover your advantage with Oracle Premier Support's Proactive Portfolio.

Friday Aug 31, 2012

When Do OS Questions Belong on Hardware Service Requests?

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My Oracle Support—Logging an Operating System Service Request


One of the concerns we hear from our customers with Premier Support for Systems is that they have difficulty logging a Service Request (SR) for an operating system issue.

Because Premier Support for Systems includes support for the hardware and the associated operating system, you log any operating system issues through a hardware Service Request.

To create a hardware Service Request, you enter the information into the Hardware tab of the Create Service Request screen, but to ensure that the hardware Service Request you enter is recognized and routed appropriately for an operating system issue, you need to change the product from your specific hardware to the operating system that the hardware is running.

The example below shows you how to create a Service Request for the operating system when the support level is Premier Support for Systems. The key to success is remembering that the operating system coverage is part of the hardware support.

To begin, from anywhere within My Oracle Support, click on the Create SR button as you would to log any SR:


Step 1

Enter your Problem Summary and the Problem Description


Step 2


Next, click on the Hardware tab.


Step3


Enter the System Serial Number (in this case “12345”) and click on Validate Serial Number:



Step 4


Notice that the product name for the hardware indicates “Sun Fire V490” with an option for a drop down List of Values.


Step 5


Click on the product drop down and choose the correct operating system from the list. In this case I have chosen “OpenSolaris Operating System”

Step 6


Next, you will need to enter the correct operating system version:

Step 7


At this point, you may proceed to complete and submit the Service Request.

If your company has Premier Support for Systems, just remember that your operating system has coverage under the hardware it runs on, so start with a Hardware tab on the Service Request screen and change the product related information to reflect the operating system you need help with.

Following these simple steps will ensure that the system assigns your Service Request to the right support team for an operating system issue and the support engineer can quickly begin working your issue.

Friday Aug 24, 2012

Get More From Your Service Request

Leveraging Service Request Best Practices

Use best practices to get there faster.

Best Practices

In the daily conversations I have with customers, they sometimes express frustration over their Service Requests. They often feel powerless to make needed changes, so their sense of frustration grows. To help you avoid some of the frustration you might feel in dealing with your Service Requests (SR), here are a few pointers that come from our best practice discussions.



  1. Be proactive. If you can anticipate some of the questions that Support will ask, or the information they may need, try to provide this up front, when you log the SR. This could be output from the Remote Diagnostic Agent (RDA), if this is a database issue, or the output from another diagnostic tool, if you’re an EBS customer. Any information you can supply that helps us understand the situation better, helps us resolve the issue sooner. As you use some of these tools proactively, you might even find the solution to the problem before you log an SR!

  2. Be right. Make sure you have the correct severity level. Since you select the initial severity level, it’s easy to accept the default without considering how significant this may be. Business impact is the driving factor, so make sure you take a moment to select the severity level that is appropriate to the situation. Also, make sure you ask us to change the severity level, should the situation dictate.

  3. Be responsive! If this is an important issue to you, quickly follow up on any action plan submitted to you by Oracle Support. The support engineer assigned to your Service Request will be able to move the issue forward more aggressively when they have the needed information. This is crucial in resolving your issues in a timely manner.

  4. Be thorough. If there are five questions in the action plan, make sure you provide an answer for all five questions in one response, rather than trickling them in one at a time. This will allow the engineer to look at all of the information as a whole and to avoid multiple trips to your SR, saving valuable time and getting you a resolution sooner.

  5. Be your own advocate! You know your situation best; make sure Oracle Support understands both how and why this issue is important to you and your company. Use the escalation process if you're concerned that your SR isn't going the right direction, the right pace, or through the right person. Don't wait until you're frustrated and angry. An escalation is as simple as a quick conversation on the phone and can be amazingly effective in getting your issues back on track. The support manager you speak with is empowered to make any needed changes.

  6. Be our partner. You can make your support experience better. When your SR has been resolved, you may receive a survey request. This is intended to get your feedback about how your SR went and what we can do to improve your overall support experience.
SupportEngineer
Oracle Support is here to help you.

Our goal with any Service Request is to provide the best possible solution as quickly as possible. With your help, we’ll be able to do this with your Service Request too.

 

Thursday Aug 16, 2012

Why should you listen to us?

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Are you on the Oracle Premier Support inside track?

InsideTrack If your answer is ‘yes’ then you probably already know how to ‘Get Proactive.’

If your response is ‘no’ or ‘tell me more,’ then through this blog we invite you to join us; learn from Get Proactive power users and subject matter experts all of whom have great insights, war stories, tips, tricks, and best practices that help make them successful and reduce their reactive footprint.

Your time is important to us, so let’s cut to the chase.

Here is an example of a common scenario for which proven best practices, tools, and capabilities exist….

Did you know that more than 50% of Oracle support issues reported by Oracle Premier Support customers already have a proven and documented solution available?ExclamationPoint

The real surprise is that we maintain more than 400,000 active articles in the My Oracle Support Knowledge Base. We make this knowledge directly available to Oracle Premier Support customers, without taking a single additional bit of your hard-earned capital.

And more importantly, we dine in our own restaurant!

When an Oracle Support Engineer begins working a Service Request, one of the first resources they use is the My Oracle Support Knowledge Base to locate a known, proven, documented solution.

Would you like to shorten your troubleshooting steps and move directly from issue to resolution?

In future posts we will tell you exactly how you can accomplish this and much more. Stay tuned for a featured Get Proactive 'insider best practice' post here every week.

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Let the 'Get Proactive' team help you achieve resolution faster; simplify your daily operations; reduce risks and maximize uptime through preventative maintenance.

How? By sharing our own best practices, tips, and tricks. Get on the ‘Insider's Track.’

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