Tuesday May 29, 2012

Scrambling Sensitive Data in E-Business Suite Release 12 Cloned Environments

Securing the Oracle E-Business Suite includes protecting the underlying E-Business data in production and non-production databases.  While steps can be taken to provide a secure configuration to limit EBS access, a better approach to protecting non-production data is simply to scramble (mask) the data in the non-production copy. 

You can use the Oracle Data Masking Pack with Oracle Enterprise Manager today to scramble sensitive data in cloned environments. Due to data dependencies, scrambling E-Business Suite data is not a trivial task.  The data needs to be scrubbed in such a way that allows the application to continue to function. 

Using the Data Masking Pack in E-Business Suite environments is now easier with the release of new set of templates for E-Business Suite databases:

This template works with the Oracle Data Masking Pack and Oracle Enterprise Manager to obscure sensitive E-Business Suite information that is copied from production to non-production environments. 

Is there a charge for this?

Yes. You must purchase licenses for Oracle Enterprise Manager and the Oracle Data Masking Pack plug-in. The Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3 Template for the Data Masking Pack is included with the Oracle Data Masking Pack license.  You can contact your Oracle account manager for more details about licensing.

What does data masking do in E-Business Suite environments?

Application data masking does the following:

  • De-identify the data:  Scramble identifiers of individuals, also known as personally identifiable information or PII.  Examples include information such as name, account, address, location, and driver's license number.
  • Mask sensitive data:  Mask data that, if associated with personally identifiable information (PII), would cause privacy concerns.  Examples include compensation, health and employment information.  
  • Maintain data validity:  Provide a fully functional application.

How can EBS customers use data masking?

The Oracle E-Business Suite Template for Data Masking Pack can be used in situations where confidential or regulated data needs to be shared with other non-production users who need access to some of the original data, but not necessarily every table.  Examples of non-production users include internal application developers or external business partners such as offshore testing companies, suppliers or customers.  

The Oracle E-Business Suite Template for Data Masking Pack is applied to a non-production environment with the Enterprise Manager Grid Control Data Masking Pack.  When applied, the Oracle E-Business Suite Template for Data Masking Pack will create an irreversibly scrambled version of your production database for development and testing.  


References

For additional information on the Oracle E-Business Suite Template for Data Masking Pack please refer to the following:

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Wednesday May 09, 2012

Update for Web Applications Desktop Integrator 12.1.3 Now Available

Desktop Integration Framework is a wizard-driven user interface to create and manage custom desktop integrators for the Oracle Web Applications Desktop Integrator in Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3. Custom desktop integrators allow your users to:

  • Create a formatted document such as a spreadsheet on the desktop containing application-specific fields for data entry.
  • Import data into the desktop document from the database, a text file or using Java program.
  • Work with the data in the desktop application while enforcing the owning application's business rules.
  • Upload data from the desktop document into Oracle E-Business Suite.
  • Validate the data being uploaded and receive immediate feedback about the results of the validation during the upload process.
  • Submit program to import data from staging tables, Open Interface tables to E-Business Suite base tables.
Web ADI Desktop Integration Framework screenshot

What's new in this update?

An important update for Oracle Web Applications Desktop Integrator Release 12.1.3 is now available:

This update includes a number of new fixes and consolidates previously-released patches that address issues in the Desktop Integration Framework of Oracle Web Applications Desktop Integrator Release 12.1.3. If you are using or planning to use Web ADI's Desktop Integration Framework to create custom desktop integrators, Oracle strongly recommends applying this patch.

Patch 9790225:R12.BNE.B not only fixes outstanding bugs in Web ADI R12.1.3, but also includes following usability enhancements:

  • Security Rules: Ability to add or remove multiple form functions at once. 
  • Pre-import Rules: Ability to reorder the pre-import rules.
  • The pages in the integrator definition wizard are enhanced for greater consistency in titles, formatting, and layout.  

References

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Tuesday May 08, 2012

Understanding Options for Integrating Oracle Access Manager with E-Business Suite

Integrating Oracle Access Manager with the E-Business Suite can be tricky.  This is especially true if you're upgrading from EBS 11i to 12, or perhaps also switching from the older Oracle Single Sign-On technology to Oracle Access Manager.  Thing can get even more complicated if you're interested in integrating the E-Business Suite with a third-party authentication system such Windows Kerberos, or managing your users in a third-party LDAP directory like Microsoft Active Directory.

Understanding your options for integrating EBS with Oracle Access Manager and Oracle Internet Directory has just gotten a bit easier.  First, we've just published a new document that lays out the options and our recommendations:

OAM Oracle Access Manager architecture diagram and flow

This new document discusses:

  • Single sign-on concepts
  • Options for integrating single sign-on solutions for Oracle E-Business Suite including the following:
    • How the Oracle Access Manager Integration Works
    • How the Oracle Single Sign-On (OSSO) Integration Works
    • Integration with Third-Party Access Management Systems and LDAP
  • Considerations to take into account when choosing a single sign-on solution
  • Documentation roadmap specifying which document to follow dependent upon your integration goal
  • Reference architecture diagrams depicting example components by Oracle E-Business Suite release

Reworked instructions for integrating Oracle Access Manager + E-Business Suite 

In addition to the new overview document above, we've also made extensive revisions and updates to this previously-published document:

The updated Note is the result of your emails, Service Requests, and feedback to us on how we can improve our documentation. This is still an admittedly-complex implementation, with many detailed and exacting steps.  We're examining ways of streamlining and possibly automating some of the implementation steps in a future update to this certification.

Your feedback is welcome

We've tried hard to make this complex area just a little bit more-accessible.  We would love to hear about your experiences with these components.  Your feedback regarding the new note and updated note is welcome.  Please either post a comment here or log a bug request against the note in My Oracle Support.

References

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(Special thanks to Allison Sparshott  and Hubert Ferst for their combined efforts in crafting these updates.)

Monday May 07, 2012

Critical Patches when Upgrading EBS 11i to 12: New Report Available

One tedious part of upgrading from Release 11i to Release 12 just got a lot easier: identifying patches for the upgrade process itself.  These pre-install patches help you avoid certain upgrade script failures, upgrade performance issues, and data corruption and upgrade integrity issues.

The new Oracle E-Business Suite Pre-install Patches Report provides a single list of essential patches that you must apply in pre-install mode before upgrading from Release 11i to Release 12.1. This report serves as a single point of reference for upgrade-related patches that can ONLY be applied prior to running the main upgrade driver for Release 12.1. The report also includes links that take you directly to the patches you want to download.

Screenshot of Oracle E-Business Suite Pre-install Patch Report

This report is intended to be used by application DBAs and functional analysts at upgrade customers who are at the Release 12.1 upgrade planning stage. Applying the relevant pre-install patches prior to the Release 12.1 upgrade will improve the overall technical upgrade experience as well as reduce occurrences of data corruption where a pre-install fix already exists.

You can download the new Pre-install Patches Report here:

Future Changes

This new tool was produced by our hard-working EBS Release Management team, and they are actively seeking your feedback. Please feel free to share your experiences with it by posting a comment here. You can also request enhancements to this tool via the My Oracle Support Community mentioned in Note 1448102.1.

The team plans to update the report approximately once a month to identify any new Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1 pre-install patches that have been released since the prior version of the report. However, if there are no new pre-install patches in a particular month, the report will not be updated that month. The change log will provide additional details about the updates added in each version of the report and access to download previous versions of the report. While you are in your upgrade test cycle, we recommend that you check Note 1448102.1 regularly for updates, review each newly identified patch, select patches to apply following the guidelines in the Selection Recommendation section, and uptake those patches.

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Friday May 04, 2012

Quarterly E-Business Suite Upgrade Recommendations: May 2012 Edition

I've previously published advice on the general priorities for applying EBS updates.  But what are your top priorities for major upgrades to EBS and its technology stack components?

Here is a summary of our latest upgrade recommendations for E-Business Suite updates and technology stack components.  These quarterly recommendations are based upon the latest updates to Oracle's product strategies, support deadlines, and newly-certified releases. 

Upgrade Recommendations for May 2012

  1. EBS 11i users should upgrade to 12.1.3, or -- if staying on 11i -- should be on the minimum 11i patching baseline,

  2. EBS 12.0 users should upgrade to 12.1.3, or -- if staying on 12.0 -- should be on the minimum 12.0 patching baseline,

  3. EBS 12.1 users should upgrade to 12.1.3.

  4. Oracle Database 10gR2 and 11gR1 users should upgrade to 11gR2 11.2.0.3.

  5. EBS 12 users of Oracle Single Sign-On 10g users should migrate to Oracle Access Manager 11g 11.1.1.5.

  6. EBS 11i users of  Oracle Single Sign-On 10g users should migrate to Oracle Access Manager 10g 10.1.4.3.

  7. Oracle Internet Directory 10g users should upgrade to Oracle Internet Directory 11g 11.1.1.5.

  8. Oracle Discoverer users should migrate to Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), Oracle Business Intelligence Applications (OBIA), or Discoverer 11g 11.1.1.6.

  9. Oracle Portal 10g users should migrate to Oracle WebCenter 11g 11.1.1.6 or upgrade to Portal 11g 11.1.1.6.

  10. All Windows desktop users should migrate from JInitiator and older Java releases to JRE 1.6.0_32 or later 1.6 updates.

  11. All Firefox users should upgrade to Firefox Extended Support Release 10.

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Thursday May 03, 2012

WebCenter 11.1.1.6 Certified with E-Business Suite 12

Oracle WebCenter Suite is an integrated suite of Fusion Middleware 11gR1 tools used to create web sites and portals using service-oriented architecture (SOA).  Applications adapters are also available.

WebCenter Development Framework

WebCenter version 11.1.1.6 (a.k.a. Patchset 5) is now certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 (12.0.6 and higher; 12.1.3 and higher). 

Certified Platforms

Oracle WebCenter 11gR1 Version 11.1.1.6 is certified to run on any operating system for which Oracle WebLogic Server 11g is certified. For information on operating systems supported by Oracle WebLogic Server 11g and Oracle Portal, refer to the 'Oracle Fusion Middleware on WebLogic Server - System Certification' in the Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Release 1 (11.1.1.x) Certification Matrix.

Migrating to Oracle WebCenter

If you're currently using Oracle Portal, you should be aware that Portal is now in maintenance mode.  Updates with bug fixes will continue to be produced, but you should consider migrating to Oracle WebCenter for ongoing new features.

References

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Wednesday May 02, 2012

Portal 11.1.1.6 Certified with Oracle E-Business Suite

Oracle Portal 11g allows you to build, deploy, and manage enterprise portals running on Oracle WebLogic Server.  Oracle Portal 11g includes integration with Oracle WebCenter Services 11g and BPEL, support for open portlet standards JSR 168, WSRP 2.0, and JSR 301.

Portal 11g (11.1.1.6) is now certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release.  Portal 11.1.1.6 is part of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Release 1 Version 11.1.1.6.0, also known as FMW 11g Patchset 5.  Certified E-Business Suite releases are:
  • EBS Release 11i 11.5.10.2 + ATG RUP 7 and higher
  • EBS Release 12.0.6 and higher
  • EBS Release 12.1.1 and higher
If you're running a previous version of Portal, there are a number of certified and supported upgrade paths to Portal 11g (11.1.1.4):
upgrade_1111_paths.png

Certified Platforms

Oracle Portal Release 11g R1 Version 11.1.1.6 is certified to run on any operating system for which Oracle WebLogic Server 11g is certified. For information on operating systems supported by Oracle WebLogic Server 11g and Oracle Portal, refer to the 'Oracle Fusion Middleware on WebLogic Server - System Certification' in the Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Release 1 (11.1.1.x) Certification Matrix.

Migrating to Oracle WebCenter

If you're currently using Oracle Portal, you should be aware that Portal is now in maintenance mode.  Updates with bug fixes will continue to be produced, but you should consider migrating to Oracle WebCenter for ongoing new features.

References

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Tuesday May 01, 2012

EBS File Comparison Report Now Available

If your Oracle E-Business Suite customizations are still making you hesitate about upgrading from Release 11i to Release 12, we have another useful tool to help you along: the brand new EBS File Comparison Report. This new report joins the related EBS Seed Data Comparison Report and the EBS Data Model Comparison Report in our collection of handy upgrade comparison reports.

You can download the new file comparison report here:

You can download its companion reports here:

File Comparison Report Contents

The new report provides detailed information about what files were added, removed, or stubbed (made inactive) during changes between Releases 11.5.10.2 and 12.1.3 of Oracle E-Business Suite. For text-based files such as .xml files, you can drill down into the files to see the actual changes between the file versions. The File Comparison Report includes the following file types:

  • Forms (.fmb files)
  • Libraries (.pll files)
  • Reports (.rdf files)
  • Java (.class files)
  • Java Server Pages (.jsp files)
  • Oracle Application Framework (OAF) Pages (.xml files)
  • Oracle Application Framework (OAF) Personalizations (.xml files)
  • Workflow Definition (.wft files)
  • Workflow Business Event System Object Definitions (.wfx files)
  • BI Publisher (XML Publisher) Reports - Layout template formats
  • BI Publisher (XML Publisher) Reports - Data Definition formats

Using the File Comparison Report

One example of how you might use the File Comparison Report is for assessing upgrade impacts on your personalizations. Start by getting a list of your personalizations as described in “Upgrading Form Personalizations and OA Framework Personalizations from Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i to 12.1” (Note 1292611.1).

Three categories of personalizations might be affected by upgrades. Here is how the File Comparison Report can help you with those:

  1. Personalizations shipped by product teams that you might have modified further: look at “Oracle Application Framework (OAF) Personalizations (.xml files)” to see which shipped personalizations have changed. You can drill in to see exactly what has changed for each affected personalization.
  2. OA Framework Personalizations where the shipped base page may have changed: look at “Oracle Application Framework (OAF) Pages (.xml files)” to see which shipped pages have changed. You can drill in to see exactly what has changed for each affected personalization. If a page you have personalized hasn’t changed between releases, you probably do not need to change your personalizations for the page in the new release.
  3. Oracle Forms Personalizations where the shipped form may have been removed: look at “Forms (.fmb files)”. Because these are binary files, you cannot see exactly what has changed for each form, but knowing what forms have been removed will still save you time in assessing what form personalizations can be retired.

Personalization assessment is just one example of how you can use the File Comparison Report. We expect you will find many ways to use it!

Your feedback is welcome

This new tool was produced by our hard-working EBS Release Management team, and they are actively seeking your feedback. Please feel free to share your experiences with it by posting a comment here. You can also request enhancements to this tool via the My Oracle Support Community mentioned in Note 1446430.1.

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