Monday Sep 30, 2013

Standalone Log Analysis Utility

I just had a comment from Development on one of our older posts.

Good news:

The Log file Analysis Tool that was introduced in EPM 11.1.2.3.000 ( read post here ) has now been made stand-alone.

Why would that be important?
Because:  "You can use this standalone log analysis utility to analyze logs from any 11.1.1.x or 11.1.2.x deployments.  It will run on EPM servers or non-EPM servers."
That's why!

It is available as a patch via MOS under the number  17425397

As of the readme, the prerequisites are fairly lightweight and not surprising:

Prerequisites
Any user can run this utility from any machine on which log files are stored.
- Users running the Log Analysis Utility must have execute privileges on the following files:
Windows: EPM_ORACLE_INSTANCE/bin/loganalysis.bat
LINUX/UNIX: EPM_ORACLE_INSTANCE/bin/loganalysis.sh

- The user who runs this utility must have read permissions on the directory where the log files are located.

The download is just over 2 MB and it includes the readme file. This will not only tells you how to install and use the utility, it also contains the list of available commands.

Sidenote:
The comment on the blog requesting a backport was posted early in September 2013 (our first mention in May).
The answer from Development came in on September 25th 2013. Less than a month to get this done!

Thanks to Fuad and Maurice for making this happen so quickly.


Thursday Sep 26, 2013

Troubleshooting the Web Center Portal / OBIEE integration

(in via Julie)

Julie sent me her latest addition to the Knowledgebase: 

Troubleshooting the Integration of Oracle WebCenter Portal and Oracle Business Intelligence (Doc ID 1579858.1)

In her mail she explained:

"Having issues with embedding your OBIEE Reports in WebCenter Portal?
This troubleshooting document contains quick checks for you to test and solutions to issues that may arise.
There are details of log files to look at to help you identify the issue.
The integration uses SOAP connections and the impersonate abilities of OBIEE to ensure reports and data are secured correctly.
If this is not set up correctly, the integration will fail, steps of how to check this are also included in the note.
"

We hope to make the integration of the two a little easier for everyone.

Wednesday Sep 25, 2013

HPCM Community about to merge into Hyperion Other Products Community

(in via Mel)

The HPCM Community was feeling a bit lonely and wanted to be with its Product friends in another Community.

The chosen Community is the Hyperion Other Products Community.
Rest assured that all relevant posts and information has been transferred to the Hyperion Other Products Community.


With a new member joining this Community, it would very helpful if you add a abbreviation at the beginning of your subject when posting. 
e.g.:

  • "HPCM":  Performance Issues with new application
  • "Ent":        Error:"Cannot open HPAPP.DAT"
  • "HSS":      Cannot connect into Shared Services
  • "CB":        (Crystal Ball): How to activate a license
  • "DRM":    How to create ......

Did you know that the  Hyperion Certification for EPM Community is a perfect place for all your Certification questions about any of the EPM products.

With your Community contributions you will help to make this Community a success.

Using a different EPM Product? We got a Community for it:

Why not have a look and see what these Communities can do for you? You never know.....the answer to your questions may already in the Community....."


Tuesday Sep 24, 2013

BI Apps (v 7.9.6.4) - known issue document

(in via Lia)

Today I would like to point your attention to one of the KM Docs that was created just recently:

BI Apps 7.9.6.4 Release Known Issues (Doc ID 1581473.1)

The purpose of this list of known issues is described as:

  • To publish the list of known critical issues with BI Apps 7.9.6.4 out-of-the-box standard metadata.
  • It contains only the issues that will prevent an implementer to install/upgrade/configure BI Apps 7.9.6.4.
  • It does not include any other module specific (finance, procurement etc.) bug fixes.
  • BI Apps 7.9.6.4 customers (install or upgrade) should review the information in this document before performing install/upgrade 

We then see a list of issue with Bug Number, patch number (if it exist), issue short and detailed description and - most important - workarounds and patches that fix the problem.

We can therefore only recommend to bookmark that KM Doc for a future visit in case that you are planning an update to your OBIA installation, as it is constantly updated with the latest information about known issues and their fixes.

If you still have an issue that you can not identify - why not speak to the OBIA community as a first step on your way to a solution?

UPDATE:

The document has now been set to "published". Thanks for your pointers. Also - we are aware that the background colour of the table is slightly off - the Owner of the KM Document is working to resolve that at the moment.

Monday Sep 23, 2013

Fusion and EPM lifetime extended

Monday, eh?

I'll make this post a quick and easy one:

Good news: one less thing to worry about.

We extended the lifetime support for
Fusion and EPM

So what exactly happened?
Oracle extended the three dates for the life cycle of Fusion and EPM to be


(please be aware that this only goes for some defined versions, usually the latest ones. Older releases may still carry the previous announced dates. Make sure to download and save a copy of the current lifetime policy for your reference)

So what do the terms "Premier", "Extended" and "Sustaining" Support mean? Let us have a look at the definition:


    (click to enlarge)

    For a more detailed overview of what is included in the lifetime support policy you should visit this site.


    Friday Sep 20, 2013

    Oracle Open World 2013 - last reminder

    We wish all customers and visitors of Oracle Open World a successful conference.

    In order not to bore you to pieces with this, as you have most likely booked and planned your stay in San Francisco already, I would just want to mention the posts we had for this earlier on this blog:

    We would be happy to get to know you, learn about your experience with EPM and OBIEE and eagerly await your feedback and ideas about what you would expect of the Software and Support to make your life easier. 


    Wednesday Sep 18, 2013

    EPM / OBIEE certification general

    (in via Ian)

    We just had a series of post that talked about certification, and I hope that you liked the breakdown and the pointers that I did there.

    Now, one of the issues that we face with certification and supported versions is that we live in a world of ever evolving and changing hard- and software. So while Oracle can test and clarify what versions work together, it might be the case that the same version soon is outdated or superseded by a later patch or product update. (We had a post about how to  read supported update versions earlier)

    As Oracle does not know the patchdates, -versions or-contents of all third party products, and as we can not test products that do not exist yet, there usually is a time gap between the release of a patch and Oracle stating that this patch is supported/certified. And for legal reasons Oracle can not and will not announce the support of future versions.

    As far as we CAN say anything towards third party patching, we have tried to get a few statements from Product Management.

    Ian got a clarification in a  community thread for BI where Gerald wrote:

    "We "test" the versions that are available at the time that we release, but we "support" much more than we certify and are documented.
    If we test a base version of a 3rd party datasource and the 3rd party vendor releases a Service Pack/Patch/Release Update that addresses a product defect (functionality/security/other), we would not know about the 3rd party patching timeframe but would support the update because we tested the base version as well as cover it under the 'Generic ODBC support' (that we document).
    We have tested the configuration, the configuration passed our test, we support higher releases, and service packs.
    The Support team will address SR's on those configurations and file bugs where the defect is shown to occur with Oracle BI.
    Although we support more than we document, we only document what we tested.
    "

    I also went out and spoke to Product Management if there was any input they could give us on the topic. Bill pointed me to the second Tab of the supported Platform matrices (EPM) that states:

    "Oracle's Backward Compatibility Policy:
    Oracle acknowledges and supports the backward compatibility assertions for platform software as provided by its vendor. Therefore when vendors assert backward compatibility, subsequent maintenance releases and service packs may be used. If an incompatibility is identified, Oracle will specify a patch release on which EPM System should be deployed (and remove the incompatible version from the supported matrix) or provide a maintenance release or service fix to the EPM System product software."

    This does not only applyto Operating Systems, but all third party products that are used in combination with EPM.

    I hope this sheds some light on Oracle policies and what can and can not be said about support of updates and patches. And of course I cannot finish this post without advertising our certification matrices again ; ) , in case you still have a question.



    Tuesday Sep 17, 2013

    EPM September patch set released

    (in via Greg)

    Greg just informed us of the release of the September patch set (11.1.2.2.104, 11.1.2.1.601, 11.1.2.2.401 and 11.1.2.3.001) for the EPM System. 

    The detailed list of released patches is:

    The list of defects fixed and the installation documentation can be found in the readme for the patches.

    You find the readme if you follow the links to the patch(es), click on your chosen patch and select "readme" in the pop up in MOS.

    The list is a little too long to be posted here, and I will not go into detail of it. But I would like to mention that this patch (11.1.2.2.104) is cumulative, and contains all fixes from the patches 11.1.2.2.101, 11.1.2.2.102, 11.1.2.2.103, so there is no need to install these once you have installed the latest one.

    The same goes for the patches to R&A (11.1.2.2.401 - cumulative) and BR (11.1.2.1.601 - cumulative).

    HSS (11.1.2.3.001 - LCM fix only) fixes only one issue and there was no previous patch to that code line.


    OBIEE Charts & Graphs Not Displaying

    (in via Tanya)

    We have been advised that where Internet Explorer 8 and Adobe Flash 11.8.800.168 is being used, OBIEE Charts and Graphs fail to render and do not display.

    Those environments using Adobe Flash version 168 should upgrade to version 174.  By upgrading to this latest version will resolve the issue.

    For additional information as it comes to hand - stay tuned to:

     [Doc ID 1584676.1] OBIEE Charts &Graphs are Not Displaying on Machines with IE 8 & Adobe Flash Version 11.8.800.168


    Monday Sep 16, 2013

    RDA 8.1 has been released

    (in via Maurice)

    Remote Diagnostic Agent (RDA) 8.1 was released Tuesday, 10 September 2013.

    Download this most recent version of RDA via  My Oracle Support and KM Doc "Remote Diagnostic Agent (RDA) - Getting Started" (314422.1).

    A number of significant features have been added to the preinstall tool (health check validation engine, HCVE) of RDA relating to Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Server 11.1.2.x:

    1. Accesses an Oracle database repository using the SID
    2. Detects important Oracle database parameters (OPEN_CURSORS, SESSION_CACHED_CURSORS)
    3. Collects various library environment variable values (LD_LIBRARY_PATH, LIBPATH, SHLIB_PATH, PATH)
    4. Detects whether Oracle database variable NLS_LENGTH_SEMANTICS has a value of "CHAR" in EPM 11.1.2.1 and earlier
    5. Detects whether Oracle database parameter 'sessions' has appropriate value depending on EPM version.
    6. Determines whether database owner has appropriate rights and roles for Oracle database repository with respect to EPM version.
    7. Link established between EPM applications and .NET framework on Microsoft Windows.
    8. Redundant prompts for tablespace names have been removed.

    Note:
    The value of several of the database parameters may not by default be readable by the Oracle database repository owner, so temporarily that owner's rights may be increased:

    sqlplus / as sysdba
    grant dba to <username>;

    Run the hcve tool and confirm the database parameter values are as recommended.

    To withdraw the role added above, run the following in sqlplus as sysdba:

    revoke dba from <username>;
    commit;


    It might prove useful to run the RDA hcve tool on a post-installed/post-configured EPM environment, but interpret the 'clean' environment analysis rules differently. 

    Thursday Sep 12, 2013

    Business Analytics - Support News Vol 9 now available

    Recently released - Business Analytics Support News Volume 9

    The Volume 9 of the Support News for Business Analytics was recently released (September 2013).  This quarterly edition covers the Business Intelligence (BI) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) products.

    Volume 9 available at: KM Doc ID 1347131.1

    In this edition the featured articles includes:

    • Oracle BI Mobile App Designer
    • Smart View 11.1.2.5
    • OBIEE 11.1.1.6.12 Final Bundle Patch
    • Remote Diagnostic Logging (RDA)
    • OBIEE Assistance

    In addition you will find the latest information for OBIEE & EPM Patch Set releases, Product Retirement and changes in My Oracle Support Communities.

    This edition also features a video that provides assistance on locating the various EPM Documentation on Oracle Technology Network (OTN).


    Support News - your “one-stop” reference point for Oracle Business Analytics

    Wednesday Sep 11, 2013

    EPM / OBIEE certification with Java 7

    the final part 4 of our little series about compatibility will deal with :

    • Internet Explorer 10 compatibility
    • Windows 2008 support
    • Office 2013 compatibility
    • Java 7 support

    So here we go

    "Java 7 compatibility" 

    Before we begin talking about Java compatibility, we need to understand a few specifics about our products and Java, that are a little more complex than e.g. the OS the products run on.

    First of all, Java is more a technology than a product - there are multiple JDKs (Java Development Kits) and JREs (Java Runtime Environments) out from various vendors, and only specific parts of the EPM System and OBIEE make use of these in their server and client components.

    One way to get into the topic is to check the download site for "Java 7" as it shows up in e.g a google search:
    Here we get some of the common aliases that Java uses:
    "Java software for your computer, or the Java Runtime Environment, is also referred to as the Java Runtime, Runtime Environment, Runtime, JRE, Java Virtual Machine, Virtual Machine, Java VM, JVM, VM, Java plug-in, Java plugin, Java add-on or Java download."

    This makes answering the question "Is EPM (or OBIEE) compatible with Java 7" close to impossible.The question is simply not specific enough as an EPM Systems usually consist of a multitude of servers and clients, all running different parts of the System, and all of them in need of different aspects of Java.

    A more specific question would need to include the version, the component, the OS and e.g the Application Server.

    For example: "If our 11.1.2.3.0 Essbase Administration Services Server runs on Oracle Weblogic 10.3.5 (11g R1) on Windows 2008 R2 (64-bit), can we install Oracle JRE 1.7.0_21 on that machine without a problem?". And the answer as it comes from the support matrix is - yes, this is a supported version (stated is: JRE Plug-in 1.7.0_07+).


    (click to enlarge)

    The additional information section of this also gives us an idea of what modules/parts of the EPM System actually make use of the JRE version mentioned, and we can work backwards from there to find out which parts actually do NOT make use of it and simply ignore it.

    Another example: the Excel Add In and SmartView are not mentioned and therefore do not need or use the installed JRE on a client.

    Likewise will the EAS Server ignore the installed JRE on the server box, as it simply does not use it, while the JDK that is used by weblogic 10.3.5 can only be of version 1.6.0_35+ (as of certification tab). So - yes, you can install the JRE 1.7.0_21 and will not run into trouble - as the EAS Server component does not use it anyway.

    So much for the introduction. Java 7 seems not to be easy to tackle. But let us give it a shot:


    EPM and Java 7

    A search for "EPM Java 7" on KM gives us a good hit:

    KM Doc "Java 7 Compatibility With Hyperion EPM Products (Doc ID 1546957.1)"
    (last update August 13 2013)

    This states:

    "Currently Java 7 is not supported with any Hyperion EPM products, so it should not be upgraded to this release on EPM servers. Java version that is shipped by default with EPM System should be used."

    This seems to be rather clear, but does not say anything about the JRE on the clients (where potentially nothing gets installed by the system, if we access EAS Console via a Web Browser).

    So second stop - the certification tab - with the result:


    (click to enlarge)

    We see that no JRE is mentioned at all, but at least we now have an idea about the JDKs that we can choose from on the server side.

    Next stop is the  compatibility matrix. We get the information as above on the "EPM System Basic Platform" Tab of the sheet. And see that indeed JRE Plug-in 1.7.0_07+ may be used on the client.

    So - this is EPM pretty much covered. On to:


    OBIEE and Java 7

    A search on KM for "OBIEE Java 7" and for "OBIEE "Java 7"" does return a number of Documents but none of then appear helpful.

    So second stop - compatibility matrices:


    (click to enlarge)

    in which we see the Oracle JDK 1.7.0_0.7 listed along with e.g HP 7.0.3- an indicator that Java 7 is on the list for this one

    and


    (click to enlarge)

    again, we see a number of JDKs with a "7" in them (HP, IBM, Oracle) so based on this we can conclude that OBIEE is (at least partially) certified with Java 7.

    Having said that - we better check back to the compatibility matrices, to see if we can find more details:


    (click to enlarge)

    Surprisingly enough we find that the only supported JRE version for the client part of OBIEE (11.1.1.7.0) is 1.6.0_35+ !
    So from a client perspective Java 7 is a no-go, while the server part seems to be fine with it.


    General Certification Information

    I would like to close today's post with a definite - maybe !

    The question of Java 7 compatibility is simply not specific enough for a System like EPM or OBIEE. Some modules do support some brands and versions of Java 7 while others do not. I have tried to get you closer to an answer with this, but chances are, that your specific issue at hand may not correlate to what I outlined above.

    My ideal post would have included a clear Yes or No answer to the Java 7 support question. Eventually I can only give you a starting point for your research, and an idea about the complexity of the system architecture.

    Overall it can be said that the Java 7 issue is something that needs a closer look about the architecture in question, the versions used and what part/module of the software is touched.

    So here is where you find the answers:

    A word to the wise

    Keep in mind, that not being in these lists does not necessary mean, that things do not work.
    It just means that it has not been tested, is not certified, and Oracle does not say anything about it working or not, and therefore does not guarantee its behaviour.
    Chances are - it might just work anyway, but do not come running if it does not.
    Oh and - a lot of people post their findings in the comment section here or in the Communities - so make sure to check there for real-life experience.

    Tuesday Sep 10, 2013

    OBIEE and EPM search helpers are online

    (in via Mel, Tara, Lia)

    In order to make finding information easier, Oracle Support has created a series of what we call search helpers (aka Resolution Wizards, Task Assistant, Troubleshooting Assistant, Installation and Configuration Assistant or Integration Assistant depending on what it is each of them does : ) ).

    One of the problems that our customers face when working with KM is digging up the information they need to overcome a problem.

    This is rather easy when you have an error message to start with. Error messages are great for classifying the type of problem that you have, and you also instantly note if a KM Doc deals with your problem, or not.

    So - what if you do not have an error message? There are many reasons for that. From How to questions, product configuration questions or any other proactive task (like - best backup practice etc.).

    The wording people may use when they write a KM note, may simply not match how you would describe the issue (we see that on a daily basis where people search for "compatibility" while throughout KM "certification" is used) so it might be difficult for the search to match your issue with existing KM notes.

    Would it not be nice if you could run through a kind of interactive checklist that filters down the available KM notes based on your input?

    That's what the search helpers are.

    They are in NO way related to this little chap


    I would describe them as "hand picked, engineer selected, automatically updated, classifying filters to KM".

    With the right search terms you can locate any KM Doc that they display. Alas - that is the trick! You do not need to come up with your own search terms. This is what the search helpers provide.

    Now - where do you find them?

    You can find them via the KM Doc 1378677.2 ( Resolution Wizard ). I have also put a list of available search helpers at the bottom of this post. As this list is constantly growing the question remains: how to keep track of these?

    Good news: You do not need to.

    The search helpers appear automatically when you log an SR.


    (click to enlarge)

    Notice in the above picture, that the search helper comes up as the first KM note offered during the SR logging process (step 2). As the helper is using JQuery for its content, loading the selections happens without opening a new KM Doc - all you see is already pre-loaded. It now offers a choice of search topics that it can assist with.

    When following the selections in this one, it eventually give you a list of KM notes directly related to your issue.


    (click to enlarge)

    So - yay! 

    Search helpers are created as another layer within MOS KM that tries to make information more accessible for you as a customer. Let us know what you think of them. We have a community thread about them ( here for OBIEE ) and are waiting for your feedback.

    Oh, one last remark: search helpers are a work in progress and they do not exist for all our products yet. As we add more, you will encounter them more often, but for now the list below is all we have live.



    List of KM search helpers (as of Sept 09.2013)

    1545233.2 - Troubleshooting Assistant: Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE)
    1560184.2 - Installation and Configuration Assistant for Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE)
    1558400.2 - Integration Assistant with Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE)
    1563079.2 - Server Related Issues - Task Assistant for Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE)
    1558378.2 - Security/Access Control Assistant for Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE)
    1562668.2 - Administration Task Assistant for Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE)
    1562361.2 - Presentation Service Task Assistant with Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE)
    1562934.2 - Delivers and Schedulers Task Assistant for Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE)

    1550461.2 - Troubleshooting Assistant: Hyperion Financial Management Technical Issues 11.1x
    1548628.2 - Task Assistant: Hyperion Financial Management 11.1.x
    1566812.2 - Task Assistant: Hyperion Financial Management and Oracle Data Integrator Issues
    1566505.2 - Task Assistant: Hyperion Financial Management and EPMA Issues
    1553294.2 - Troubleshooting Assistant: Financial Data Quality Management (FDM)

    Monday Sep 09, 2013

    OOW: Best Practices Session with Dave Valociek

    (in via Lia)

    We would like to draw your attention to one of the sessions that's being hosted at Oracle Open World:

    Best Practices for Supporting Oracle Business Analytics [CON8293]
    (Monday, Sep 23, 1:45 PM - 2:45 PM - InterContinental - InterContinental Ballroom B)
    find more information here: http://bit.ly/17FCXi0

    Session content:

    Learn how to take advantage of your software with the great tools, resources, and product updates you’re entitled to through Oracle Support. In this session, Oracle product experts provide proven best practices to help you work more efficiently, plan and prepare for upgrades more effectively, and manage risk. Topics include My Oracle Support best practices, remote diagnostic tools, the My Oracle Support Community, and the Lifecycle Advisors feature of Oracle Premier Support.

    Our thoughts:

    Now - there are may sessions during Oracle Open World and this one might slip your attention, as it does not carry any of  our products in its title. So why would you attend this one?

    Well - what could be more important than tackling issues?

    Any complex enough software will sooner or later confront you with update, troubleshooting or simple how to questions. This session will give you an overview of what Oracle Support has to offer to make this easier and faster. RDA will collect system information for you, so Support does not need to ask for each and every detail, as it is already there. The Lifecycle and Upgrade Advisors give you a step by step guide through System updates, and the Communities are always there in case you have a question.

    We have blogged about these tools before - so why would you still want to attend this session?

    Because Dave is there.

    This is one of the rare occasions where you as a customer have the chance to meet our Senior Customer Support Director for EPM and BI David Valociek in person.

    This is your chance to pass over your feedback directly to Support Management and make your suggestions be heard. Your chance to turn our assumptions of what you think into factual knowledge. After all - conferences are a place of exchange and communication and should work both ways. 

    So with this we invite you to attend this Best Practices Session, learn about how Oracle thinks you can leverage our Support offerings to your best, and give us your feedback during Oracle Open World. We are looking forward to meet you there.

    Thursday Sep 05, 2013

    OBIEE 11.1.1.6.12 is the Final Regular Bundle Patch

    (in via Ian)
    In addition to the information we shared at the beginning of the week about OBIEE 11.1.1.6.12 being available, we would like to inform you,

    that 11.1.1.6.12 is the Final Regular Bundle Patch and that

    Error Correction Support in Product Life Cycle for OBIEE 11.1.1.6.x ends April 2014.

    With the release of 11.1.1.6.12, the bi-monthly cadence of bundle patches for the OBIEE 11.1.1.6.x series will be suspended.We will continue to support the product and issue additional patches and updates as needed.

    Please be aware that the Error Correction Support product life cycle for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher 11.1.1.6  ends April 2014.

    We are encouraging you to move to OBIEE 11.1.1.7.


    For more details on upgrading, please see the following documents on
    My Oracle Support (  https://support.oracle.com):

    About


    This blog talks about the latest news and upcoming events initiated by the EPM/BI Proactive Support Team.

    Authors:

    italia.nowodworska@oracle.com
    paul.anderson@oracle.com





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