Friday Nov 22, 2013

EBS 11i Certified with DB 11gR2 for Oracle Solaris 11 on SPARC

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i (11.5.10.2) is now certified with the Oracle Database 11gR2 (11.2.0.3) for Oracle Solaris 11 on SPARC running on the database tier only.

The application tier of E-Business Suite Release 11i (11.5.10.2) is not certified with Oracle Solaris 11 on SPARC.  Customers must run the application tier on a different OS such as Oracle Solaris 10 on SPARC.

With this certification, EBS 11i customers can run their 11gR2 Databases on the SPARC Supercluster with Solaris 11 and use various engineered system performance optimizations:

  • Exadata storage cells
  • Infiniband technology
  • On-chip encryption
  • Memory improvements
  • Kernel-level acceleration of features such as Real Application Clusters (RAC)

This announcement for E-Business Suite Release 11i (11.5.10.2) includes the following database options and features:

  • Oracle Database 11gR2 version 11.2.0.3
  • Oracle Database Real Application Clusters (RAC) 11gR2 version 11.2.0.3
  • Oracle Database Data Guard 11gR2 version 11.2.0.3
  • Oracle Database Vault 11gR2 version 11.2.0.3
  • Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) Column Encryption using Oracle Database 11gR2 version 11.2.0.3
  • TDE Tablespace Encryption using Oracle Database 11gR2 version 11.2.0.3
  • Advanced Security Option (ASO)/Advanced Networking Option (ANO) with Oracle Database 11gR2 version 11.2.0.3
  • Export/Import Process for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i Database Instances
  • Transportable Database and Transportable Tablespaces Data Migration Processes for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i

Updates to certification data in My Oracle Support (http://support.oracle.com) are in progress - please review the documents below for all requirements and additional details:

Where can I find more information ?

Please also review the Oracle Database Installation Guide 11g Release 2 (11.2) for Oracle Solaris for operating system and other prerequisites.

Thursday Nov 21, 2013

Can You Use Third-Party Tools to Modify Your EBS Database?

In short: no. But it's possible to give a more-nuanced answer for one scenario where they might be useful.

Our official policy on direct modifications to EBS databases

Every Oracle E-Business Suite manual in our documentation library contains this warning (emphasis added):

Do Not Use Database Tools to Modify Oracle E-Business Suite Data

Oracle STRONGLY RECOMMENDS that you never use SQL*Plus, Oracle Data Browser, database triggers, or any other tool to modify Oracle E-Business Suite data unless otherwise instructed.

Oracle provides powerful tools you can use to create, store, change, retrieve, and maintain information in an Oracle database. But if you use Oracle tools such as SQL*Plus to modify Oracle E-Business Suite data, you risk destroying the integrity of your data and you lose the ability to audit changes to your data.

Because Oracle E-Business Suite tables are interrelated, any change you make using an Oracle E-Business Suite form can update many tables at once. But when you modify Oracle E-Business Suite data using anything other than Oracle E-Business Suite, you may change a row in one table without making corresponding changes in related tables. If your tables get out of synchronization with each other, you risk retrieving erroneous information and you risk unpredictable results throughout Oracle E-Business Suite.

When you use Oracle E-Business Suite to modify your data, Oracle E-Business Suite automatically checks that your changes are valid. Oracle E-Business Suite also keeps track of who changes information. If you enter information into database tables using database tools, you may store invalid information. You also lose the ability to track who has changed your information because SQL*Plus and other database tools do not keep a record of changes.

Can data corruption really occur?

Yes. Even if you're using SQL*Plus, which is obviously not a third-party tool, you run the risk of corrupting your EBS database.  This is true for all tools that modify an EBS database directly.

What about third-party data archiving and purging tools?

Some third-party tools reduce the size of EBS databases by deleting data.  Some use database links, aliases, and other approaches to separate older data into other databases.

These tools can be useful for reducing the size of a production database for development purposes.  It generally doesn't matter if these smaller sandbox or testbed databases have referential integrity violations.

You should never use these tools to reduce the size of your production EBS database.

Why are these tools dangerous?  They claim that they're safe.

The E-Business Suite data model is partially documented here:

Unfortunately, that manual is not comprehensive. Third-party tools that rely on it to determine data relationships in the EBS data model will miss important dependencies.

EBS data dependencies are implemented through seed data, business logic, and other undocumented areas.  These hidden and undocumented dependencies mean that only current EBS Development staff are qualified to determine whether data can be safely removed. 

It is certain that third-party tools will violate EBS database referential integrity in some manner.  This is true even for third-party tools that are produced by people who used to work for Oracle EBS development.  EBS products continue to evolve and new dependencies are introduced on a regular basis.  These new dependencies may be undocumented.

What are the support implications of using third-party tools?

Oracle regards the use of third-party database tools to be customizations. Oracle's official policy is detailed here:

You should also review the support implications for using third-party tools.  They boil down to this:

  • Issues that are isolated to the E-Business Suite will be investigated by E-Business Suite Development.
  • Issues that are isolated to third-party tools should be directed to the third-party vendor.
  • E-Business Suite Development will provide E-Business Suite Development patches for issues that can be reproduced in environments built using E-Business Suite documented procedures and tools.
  • If the third-party vendor cannot resolve issues isolated to their tools, you should restore from a backup and revert to using Oracle’s documented tools and procedures.

Related Articles


Tuesday Nov 19, 2013

Quarterly E-Business Suite Upgrade Recommendations: November 2013 Edition

We've previously provided advice on the general priorities for applying EBS updates.  This article will help you understand your top priorities for major upgrades to EBS and its technology stack components.

The following 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, latest support timelines, and newly-certified releases. 

Upgrade Recommendations for November 2013

  1. EBS 11i users should upgrade to 12.1.3 or 12.2.  Before upgrading, 11i users should be on the minimum 11i patching baseline.

  2. EBS 12.0 users should upgrade to 12.1.3 or 12.2.  Before upgrading, 12.0 users should be on the minimum 12.0 patching baseline,

  3. EBS 12.1 users should upgrade to 12.1.3 or 12.2.

  4. Oracle Database 10gR2 and 11gR1 users should upgrade to 11.2.0.4 or 12.1.0.1

  5. EBS 12 users of Oracle Single Sign-On 10g users should migrate to OAM 11gR2 Patchset 1 11.1.2.1.0.

  6. EBS 11i users of  Oracle Single Sign-On 10g users should migrate to OAM 11gR2 Patchset 1 11.1.2.1.0.

  7. Oracle Internet Directory 10g users should upgrade to Oracle Internet Directory 11g 11.1.1.7.

  8. Oracle Discoverer users should migrate to Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), Oracle Business Intelligence Applications (OBIA), or Discoverer 11g 11.1.1.7.

  9. Oracle Portal 10g users should migrate to Oracle WebCenter 11g 11.1.1.7 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_65 or later 1.6 updates or JRE 1.7.0_45 or later 1.7 updates.

  11. All EBS 11i, 12.0, 12.1, and 12.2 users must sign their environment's JAR files now.

  12. All Firefox users should upgrade to Firefox Extended Support Release 24.

  13. All EBS 11i, 12.0, 12.1, 12.2 users should apply the latest Critical Patch Update.

    Related Articles

    Friday Nov 15, 2013

    Oracle VM Templates Available for E-Business Suite Release 12.2.2

    Oracle VM Templates for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.2 are now available here:

    Templates are available for:

      • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.2 Vision Demo Database Tier Install (64-bit Linux)
      • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.2 Production Database Tier Install (64-bit Linux)
      • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.2 Application Tier Install (64-bit Linux)
      • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.2 Sparse Application Tier Install (64-bit Linux - Oracle Linux 5.9)
      • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.2 Sparse Application Tier Install (64-bit Linux - Oracle Linux 6.4)

      These Oracle VM Templates allow you to quickly build E-Business Suite 12.2.2 environments on Oracle Linux virtual machines for demonstration, development or production use.  The templates deliver the full software stack, including the operating system, required technology components, and Oracle E-Business Suite itself.

      Screenshot of Oracle VM template download site


      You can deploy these templates on any industry-standard x86-based hardware certified for Oracle VM and Oracle Linux.

      An Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.2 installation requires two templates, one for the database and one for the primary application tier.   You can choose from two database templates, depending on whether you will deploy a Vision demonstration system or an empty production instance.  In addition to the database template and the primary application tier template, you can optionally deploy a "sparse middle tier" template to add secondary application tiers.

      References

      Related Articles

      Thursday Nov 14, 2013

      Firefox ESR 24 Certified with Oracle E-Business Suite

      Firefox ESR logoMozilla Firefox 24 Extended Support Release (ESR) is certified as a Windows-based client browser for Oracle E-Business Suite 11i, 12.0, 12.1, and 12.2.

      What is Mozilla Firefox ESR?

      Mozilla has begun offering an Extended Support Release based on an official release of Firefox for organizations that are unable to mass-deploy new consumer-oriented versions of Firefox every six weeks.  From the Mozilla ESR FAQ:

      What does the Mozilla Firefox ESR life cycle look like?

      Releases will be maintained for approximately one year, with point releases containing security updates coinciding with regular Firefox releases. The ESR will also have a two cycle (12 week) overlap between the time of a new release and the end-of-life of the previous release to permit testing and certification prior to deploying a new version.

      Firefox ESR schedule

      Maintenance of each ESR, through point releases, is limited to high-risk/high-impact security vulnerabilities and in rare cases may also include off-schedule releases that address live security vulnerabilities. Backports of any functional enhancements and/or stability fixes are not in scope.

      At the end of the support period for an ESR version:

      • the release will reach its end-of-life
      • no further updates will be offered for that version
      • an update to the next version will be offered through the application update service

      E-Business Suite to be certified with Firefox Extended Support Releases

      New personal versions of Firefox are released roughly every six weeks.  It is impractical for us to certify these new personal versions of Firefox with the Oracle E-Business Suite because a given Firefox release is generally obsolete by the time we complete the certification.

      From Firefox 10 and onwards, Oracle E-Business Suite is certified only with selected Firefox Extended Support Release versions. Oracle has no current plans to certify new Firefox personal releases with the E-Business Suite.

      As of this announcement, Oracle E-Business Suite is certified with Firefox ESR 10, 17, and 24.

      EBS patching policy for Firefox compatibility issues

      Mozilla stresses their goal of ensuring that Firefox personal versions will continue to offer the same level of application compatibility as Firefox Extended Support Releases. 

      Oracle E-Business Suite Development will issue new E-Business Suite patches or workarounds that can be reproduced with Firefox Extended Support Releases.  If you report compatibility issues with Firefox personal releases that cannot be reproduced with Firefox Extended Support Releases, your options are:

      1. Deploy a certified Firefox Extended Support Release version instead of the Firefox personal version
      2. Report the incompatibility between Firefox ESR and Firefox personal to Mozilla
      3. Use Internet Explorer (on Windows) or Safari (on Mac OS X) until Mozilla resolves the issue
      EBS Compatibility with Firefox ESR security updates

      Mozilla may release new updates to Firefox ESR versions to address high-risk/high-impact security issues.  These updates are considered to be certified with the E-Business Suite on the day that they're released.  You do not need to wait for a certification from Oracle before deploying these new Firefox ESR security updates.

      E-Business Suite Prerequisites

      EBS 11i
      • Oracle E-Business Suite 11.5.10.2 
      • Oracle Developer 6i patchset 19 (6.0.8.28.x) or later (Note 125767.1)
      • Oracle Applications Technology 11i.ATG_PF.H Rollup 6 (RUP 6) (patch 5903765) or higher
      • Applications Framework Patch 7651759
      • Patch 7567782 which removes the use of the jpi-parameter and switches Firefox to a non-static versioning model.
      EBS R12.0.x
      • Oracle Applications Technology R12.ATG_PF.A.delta.6 (patch 7237006) or higher
      • Applications Framework Patch 7602616
      • Patch 7567840 which removes the use of the jpi-parameter and switches Firefox to a non-static versioning model.
      EBS 12.1.x:
      • Base release

      EBS 12.2.x:

      • Base release

      Certified desktop operating systems

      • Windows 8
      • Windows 7 SP1
      • Windows Vista SP2
      • Windows XP SP3

      References

      Your feedback is welcome

      I'd be very interested in hearing about your plans for adopting Firefox Extended Support Releases in your environments.  Please drop me a private email or post your comments here with your thoughts on this.

      Related Articles

      Wednesday Nov 13, 2013

      E-Business Suite Plug-in 12.1.0.2 for Enterprise Manager 12c Now Available

      [Nov. 14, 2013 update: corrected "Getting Started" Note number]

      Oracle E-Business Suite Plug-in 12.1.0.2.0 is now available for use with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.  Oracle E-Business Suite Plug-in 12.1.0.2 is part of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12 Application Management Suite for Oracle E-Business Suite.

      This latest plug-in extends EM 12c Cloud Control with E-Business Suite specific system management capabilities and features enhanced change management support.

      The Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Application Management Suite for Oracle E-Business Suite includes:

      • Functionality that was available in the previously-standalone Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite and Application Change Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite
      • Oracle Real User Experience Insight
      • Oracle Configuration & Compliance capabilities 

      Licensing information 

      A license for Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control is required to use this product. There is an additional licensing cost for the Application Management Suite for Oracle E-Business Suite.  A license for the Application Management Suite includes licenses for the E-Business Suite Plug-in, Oracle Real User Experience Insight, and Oracle Configuration & Compliance products.

      This is a Development blog, and we don't have the background to discuss licensing in more detail.  We'd recommend contacting your Oracle account manager for more information about licenses.

      Updates to product bundling

      Features that were previously available in the standalone management packs are now packaged in the Oracle E-Business Suite Plug-in, which is certified with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control: 

      • Functionality previously available for Application Management Pack (AMP) is now classified as “System Management for Oracle E-Business Suite” within the plug-in.
      • Functionality previously available for Application Change Management Pack (ACMP) is now classified as “Change Management for Oracle E-Business Suite” within the plug-in.

      The Application Configuration Console and the Configuration Change Console are now native components of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

      EBS Plug-in 12 screenshot

      New enhancements in this release

      General
      • Support for managing E-Business Suite R12.2 technology stack including monitoring of Web Logic Server services.
      • New ADF pages that allow personalization of System Management home page and E-Business Suite landing page.
      • New landing page displays all available E-Business Suite targets, Compliance summary, least compliant targets, and related Incidents summary.
      • All tabs and links have been moved to drop down menus for easy navigation.

      Compliance Framework

      • Integrated with Enterprise Manager Compliance Framework and includes shipped Security Compliance Standards for Oracle E-Business Suite.
      Customization Manager
      • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2 Readiness Report: Customization Manager now includes an option to generate the Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2 customization readiness report for online patching directly from the UI. Customers who are currently on Oracle E-Business Suite Releases 11i, 12, or 12.1 can run this report to validate if their customizations are ready for Oracle E-Business Suite Releases 12.2 online patching. Customers who are currently on Oracle E-Business Suite Releases 11i, 12.0, or 12.1 can run this report to validate if their customizations are ready for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2 online patching.
      • Auto-correction of invalid custom applications
      • Support for source code branches and tags
      • Option to hide unused custom applications
      • "Create like" feature for file source mapping and Oracle E-Business Suite Mapping
      • Detailed status messages for packages
      • Option to download a consolidated log for package creation
      • New file type to support force upload of seed data LDT files
      Patch Manager
      • Simplified Oracle E-Business Suite R12.2 online patching deployment procedures.
      • New Patch Manager Dashboard allows patch management for all releases of Oracle E-Business Suite instances. Patch Manager dashboard provides a consolidated and personalizable view of all patching activities for all Oracle E-Business Suite instances.
      • Customers now can view all the AD worker log files without the need for command line operations.
      Setup Manager Installation & Upgrades
      • Customers currently running on Enterprise Manager 12c, can use Self Update to download and install AMP 12.1.0.2.0.
      • All others can download it here:
      • Oracle Software Delivery Cloud

      Prerequisites

      • Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c
      • One or more of the following Oracle E-Business Suite Releases
        • Release 12.2.2
        • Release 12.1 with R12.ATG_PF.B.delta.3
        • Release 12.0.4 with R12.ATG_PF.A.delta.6
        • Release 11.5.10 CU2 with 11i.ATG_PF.H.RUP6 or higher

      References

      Tuesday Nov 05, 2013

      Securing Flexfield Value Sets in EBS 12.2

      Separation of Duties in Flexfield Value Set Security

      Release 12.2 includes a new feature: flexfield value set security.

      This new feature gives you additional options for ensuring that different administrators have non-overlapping responsibilities, which in turn provides checks and balances for sensitive activities.  Separation of Duties (SoD) is one of the key concepts of internal controls and is a requirement for many regulations including:

      • Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act
      • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
      • European Union Data Protection Directive.
      Its primary intent is to put barriers in place to prevent fraud or theft by an individual acting alone. Implementing Separation of Duties requires minimizing the possibility that users could modify data across application functions where the users should not normally have access.

      For flexfields and report parameters in Oracle E-Business Suite, values in value sets can affect functionality such as the rollup of accounting data, job grades used at a company, and so on. Controlling access to the creation or modification of value set values can be an important piece of implementing Separation of Duties in an organization.

      New Flexfield Value Set Security feature

      Flexfield value set security allows system administrators to restrict users from viewing, adding or updating values in specific value sets. Value set security enables role-based separation of duties for key flexfields, descriptive flexfields, and report parameters. For example, you can set up value set security such that certain users can view or insert values for any value set used by the Accounting Flexfield but no other value sets, while other users can view and update values for value sets used for any flexfields in Oracle HRMS. You can also segregate access by Operating Unit as well as by role or responsibility.

      Value set security uses a combination of data security and role-based access control in Oracle User Management. Flexfield value set security provides a level of security that is different from the previously-existing and similarly-named features in Oracle E-Business Suite:

      • Function security controls whether a user has access to a specific page or form, as well as what operations the user can do in that screen.
      • Flexfield value security controls what values a user can enter into a flexfield segment or report parameter (by responsibility) during routine data entry in many transaction screens across Oracle E-Business Suite.
      • Flexfield value set security (this feature, new in Release 12.2) controls who can view, insert, or update values for a particular value set (by flexfield, report, or value set) in the Segment Values form (FNDFFMSV).
      The effect of flexfield value set security is that a user of the Segment Values form will only be able to view those value sets for which the user has been granted access. Further, the user will be able to insert or update/disable values in that value set if the user has been granted privileges to do so.  Flexfield value set security affects independent, dependent, and certain table-validated value sets for flexfields and report parameters.

      Initial State of the Feature upon Upgrade

      Because this is a new security feature, it is turned on by default.  When you initially install or upgrade to Release 12.2.2, no users are allowed to view, insert or update any value set values (users may even think that their values are missing or invalid because they cannot see the values).  You must explicitly set up access for specific users by enabling appropriate grants and roles for those users.

      We recommend using flexfield value set security as part of a comprehensive Separation of Duties strategy. However, if you choose not to implement flexfield value set security upon upgrading to or installing Release 12.2, you can enable backwards compatibility--users can access any value sets if they have access to the Values form--after you upgrade.

      The feature does not affect day-to-day transactions that use flexfields.  However, you must either set up specific grants and roles or enable backwards compatibility before users can create new values or update or disable existing values.

      For more information, see:

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