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Enabling the Future Today - Feature Flags in Oracle Integration Cloud

Antony Reynolds
Senior Director Integration Strategy

Enabling the Future Today

Last Updated: Friday 9 November 2018

Within Integration cloud we are moving to a model that allows us to trial new features without making them available to everyone.  Everone runs the same codebase but feature flags control what is available to a specific instance.  Why would we do this? For multiple reasons:

  • Gain feedback on new features before rolling them out to the whole user base.
  • Test new features in "the wild" in a controlled manner.
  • Be able to rollback new features that may have unforeseen problems.

How It Works

Each new feature is given a flag that is used to control its availability.  For instance the flag for the small footprint OIC agent was oic.adapters.connectivity-agent.light-weight-agent.  If this flag was enabled for a given OIC instance then they could download the lightweight connectivity agent.  Other OIC instances running the same code but with the flag turned off would not offer the new agent.

Flags are controlled from a central system and can be updated in real time by Oracle development and operations.  This means that feature flags can be turned on very quickly, and also if a problem occurs they can be disabled.

Feature Flag Lifecycle

Feature flags have a lifecycle as illustrated below.

The different stages are:

Internal Only

You may see a product manager demo features on an instance that are not currently available, if using a production pod these may only be available to internal users.  This is where we try things out internally before turning them on for any customers.  Once we are happy with the feature internally we are ready to share it with selected customers and move the feature to Feature Controlled.  Note that this change in stage does not require any code changes, it just alters our internal approval process to enable the feature.

Feature Controlled

Once a feature enters the feature controlled stage then a customer may request that the flag be enabled for one or more of their OIC instances.  If approved then those instances will have the flag enabled and the feature will become available within a few minutes of being enabled.  Again there are no code changes to the customer instance, just the change in the flag status from disabled to enabled in the central feature flag server.

Feature Controlled General Availability

Once we are happy with the stability of a feature we will enable it for all instances.  This again does not require a code change.  We leave the flag in place so that if a specific customer has a problem we can disable the feature just for them or roll it back.  This is a safety measure in case problems occur that were not caught by internal users or early adopters of the feature.

General Availability

Eventually the flag controlling the feature will be removed.  This has no impact on the end user, it just allows us to keep the code paths clean and remove unused code that has been made obsolete by the new feature.  End user will see no difference between this stage and the previous one.  So I mention it here only to explain how we keep our codebase clean.

What Flags are Available?

The following flags are currently available in the Feature Controlled stage.  We will be blogging about these features and as we do we will update the detailed explanation with a blog entry explaining the feature in detail.  As we add new features we will update this blog.

Feature Flag Name Description Detailed Explanation Earliest Version
oic.adapter.connectivity-agent.ha HA support for connectivity agent The Power of High Availability Connectivity Agent 18.3.1
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.erp.fileUpload File Upload functionality in ERP Adapter.   18.3.5
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.hcm.fileUpload File Upload functionality in HCM Adapter.   18.3.5
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.rightnow.mtom.upload File upload as MTOM in Rightnow   18.2.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.utilities.wsdlupload Option to upload wsdl for inbound Utilities adapter   18.2.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapters.epm Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Adapter (EPM Adapter)   18.2.3
oic.common.clone_service Allow cloning of an existing ICS or OIC instance

Docs for cloning an ICS instance into a new OIC instance.

Blog How to Migrate from ICS to OIC 

18.2.3
oic.ics.console.diagnostics.oracle-litmus-support Litmus support for automated testing. How to use Litmus to create OIC Integration unit tests automatically and run them to catch regressions 18.2.5
oic.ics.console.integration.invoke.local.integration Integration calling integration activity How to invoke an Integration From another Integration in OIC without creating a connection 18.3.1
oic.ics.console.integration.layout View integration as pseudo style layout. See How Easily You Can Switch Your Integration Views 18.3.1
oic.ics.console.integration.nested-try-scopes Allow user to create nested scopes A simple guide to use nested scope in orchestration 18.2.5
oic.ics.console.integration.throw-action Allow users to throw error in integration Working with Create Error Activity 18.2.5
oic.ics.console.schedule.parameter-override-support Allows user to override the schedule parameters Overriding Schedule Parameters 18.2.3
oic.ics.mapper.jetmap-enablement New Jet UI based mapper New JET based OIC Mapper 18.2.3
oic.ics.stagefile.reference.processing Allow users to configure file reference in stagefile operations   18.3.3
oic.insight.consoles.instanceprogress Support different display for Insight instance details page   18.3.3

How to Request a Feature Flag

To request a feature flag be enabled for one of your environments raise a Service Request via My Oracle Support.  Provide the following information in the SR:

  • Name of the feature flag that you want to be enabled.
  • URL of your OIC instance
  • Content of the About Box from your OIC instance which should include the following:
    • Version e.g. 18.3.3.0.0 (180823.1018.14180)
    • Database Schema Version e.g. 18.08.16
    • Service Instance e.g. myinstance
    • Identity Domain e.g. idcs-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    • Service Type e.g. Autonomous - 2
  • Justification
    • Explain why you want the feature enabled, providing a use case.

Your request will then be submitted to a product manager for approval.  Once approved then the request will be forwarded to enable the feature on your requested environment.

Caveats

Features are in controlled availability because they may still have some defects in them.  Be aware that by using feature flag controlled items ahead of general availability means that you are being an early adopter of new features and although we do our best to ensure a smooth ride you may experience some bumps.  Occasionally we may have to make changes to the functionality enabled in the feature flag before it becomes generally available.  Just something to be aware of.  However the feature flag enables us to release new features to customers whose use cases will benefit from them before we are ready to make a feature generally available.  We think this is good for both you, the customer and us, Oracle,  A win-win situation!

Previous Flags Now Generally Available

The following flags are no longer used as the features they controlled are now available to all instances of Oracle Integration Cloud. Note that if you are using User Managed Oracle Integration Cloud then you may need to upgrade to the latest release to get these features.

Feature Flag Name Description Detailed Explanation Earliest Version
oic.adapters.connectivity-agent.light-weight-agent Lightweight Connectivity Agent Managing the Agent Group and the On-Premises Connectivity Agent 17.4.3
oic.adapters.hcm-cloud.atom-feed-support Atom Feed support for HCM Adapter Subscribing to Atom Feeds in a Scheduled Integration 18.1.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.aq.rawobjectqueues This feature enables RAW and Object type Queues for consuming and producing messages via AQ Adapter in OIC   18.3.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.database.batchInsertUpdate Oracle Database Adapter - Operation On Table - Insert and Update   18.2.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.database.batchSelect Oracle Database Adapter - Operation On Table - Select and Merge   18.3.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.db2database.batchInsertUpdateSelectMerge DB2 Database Adapter - Operation On Table - Insert, Update, Merge and Select   18.3.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.dbaasdatabase.batchInsertUpdateSelectMerge Oracle DBaaS Adapter - Operation On Table - Insert, Update, Merge and Select   18.3.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.ebs.enableOpenInterface Support for Oracle E-Business Suite Open Interface Tables and Views in Oracle E-Business Suite adapter   18.4.1
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.hcm.dataExtract Data Extract for HCM Adapter Configuring the Extract Bulk Data Option in an Integration 18.2.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.mysqldatabase.batchInsertUpdateSelectMerge MySql Database Adapter - Operation On Table - Insert, Update, Merge and Select   18.3.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.rest.oauth10aPolicy OAuth for REST Adapter   18.1.5
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.rightnow.fileDownload Rightnow (Service Cloud) Adapter file download feature   18.1.5
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.rightnow.noSchema     18.1.5
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.rightnow.queryCSV.Validation Rightnow adapter query CSV Validation Specifying QueryCSV Statements when Configuring the Oracle RightNow Cloud Adapter as an Invoke 18.1.5
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.soap.enableMtom MTOM Support for SOAP Adapter   17.4.5
oic.cloudadapter.adapter.sqlserverdatabase.batchInsertUpdateSelectMerge SQL Server Database Adapter - Operation On Table - Insert, Update, Merge and Select   18.3.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapters.dbaasdatabase Oracle DBaaS Adapter - Operation On Table - Insert, Update, Merge and Select   18.2.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapters.oraclehcmtbe Taleo Business Edition (TBE) Adapter   18.2.3
oic.cloudadapter.adapters.rest_opa Oracle Policy Automation Adapter   18.2.3
oic.ics.console.connection.soap.uploadzip Support Zip File Upload in SOAP Adapter   18.2.3
oic.ics.console.integration.inline-menu Allow user to add actions/trigger/invoke inline from canvas instead of drag and drop   18.3.1
oic.ics.mapper.encode-decode-on-files Base64 Encode/Decode for Files   18.1.3
oic.insight.jetui.production Jet UI for Insight   18.3.1

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