Year In Review: Top EBS Techstack Developments of 2009

What's new, you ask?  That's always a tough question to answer succinctly.  2009 was an exceptionally busy year for us in E-Business Suite Development.  In the spirit of the inestimable Harper's Weekly Review, here's a summary of the most-important developments and news for Apps architects and system administrators this year.

E-Business Suite releases:  With Premier Support for Apps 11i ending in November 2010, interest in upgrading from 11i to R12 apparently seemed to surge this year.  This was unquestionably the year that Release 12 shone brightly in the spotlight.
[May 10 2010 Update: Safari 3 is the latest version certified, not Safari 4; corrected]

We released EBS 12.1.1 with a new Rapid Install in May, and released the EBS 12.1.2 Release Update Pack, a maintenance pack for EBS 12.1, in December.  We released a new certified method of upgrading R12.0 techstacks to the 12.1 techstack painlessly.

On the Database Tier

We certified EBS 12 on the 11gR1 patchset in February, and Premier Support for ended in October.  The eagerly-anticipated 11gR2 release came out in September, and we certified it five weeks later with Apps 11i in October.  We rounded out that certification for Apps 12 in December

Premier Support for the Database ended in February, and our tireless Applications Platforms Group continued to issue many new platform-specific certifications for throughout the year for both Apps 11i and 12.

We certified the use of the 11gR1 Transportable Database feature, and we continued to evaluate the Cross-Platform Transportable Tablespaces feature with a small number of early adopter customers.

Our database and performance architects made several important changes to their default and recommended database parameters for EBS 12 and EBS 11i.  They also issued a major rewrite to their database partitioning whitepaper with new product-specific examples and recommendations.  They capped off the year with a superb session on tuning all EBS tiers at OpenWorld in October.

In March, our cloning team clarified options for cloning Real Application Clusters (RAC) databases.  They followed this up with a new whitepaper with guidance for cloning techniques in April, and an in-depth session on cloning at OpenWorld in October.

Exadata V2:  The next generation Exadata V2 Database Machine optimized for OLTP applications was announced at OpenWorld in October.  Any application certified on the 11gR2 database is supported on Exadata V2, including Apps 11i and 12.

Quarterly updates:  PSUs and CPUs

We released new Critical Patch Updates (CPU) in January, April, July, and October.  The Server Technologies division began releasing new Database Patch Set Updates (PSU), which were usable but viewed somewhat quizzically by EBS sysadmins.

On the Application tier

We released the long-awaited Apps 11i ATG RUP 7 in July.  Premier Support ended for Forms in April, and in July for OC4J  We certified the latest version of OracleAS (for OC4J) with EBS 12 in October. 

Apps 12 also saw over a dozen new architectural and administrative enhancements, including the ability to run AutoConfig in parallel on multiple midtier nodes simultaneously, preview AutoConfig changes, run new advanced configuration wizards, integrate with Oracle Connection Manager, look up specific AutoConfig variables, and manage services selectively per node.

The Fusion Middleware division released instructions for updating the default JDK that comes with Oracle Application Server 10g.   

News for Desktop clients 

We certified EBS on the latest versions of Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.5, and Safari .  Premier Support for EBS JInitiator ended in July, ushering in a new era of EBS 11i desktop clients running Forms6i on the native Sun Java Runtime Engine (JRE) plug-in.  Some Apps 11i customers initially struggled with focus-related issues following their JRE conversions, but new patches and a revamped troubleshooting guide addressed the majority of issues.

We certified the latest 32-bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista SP2 with the E-Business 3Suite, and we started to consider the implications of certifying 64-bit desktop clients.

The iPhone effect drove a huge surge of interest in accessing the E-Business Suite from smartphones.  Oracle released several iPhone apps for the E-Business Suite.

Updates for external integrations and tools

We certified a large number of externally integrated components, including Application Management PackApplication Change Management Pack, Secure Enterprise Search, Oracle Application Testing Suite, WebCenter, and Tutor

We certified Single Sign-On and Oracle Internet Directory in February, and Premier Support for SSO and OID ended in November.  Fusion Middleware 11g was released in July, and we began our certifications of various FMW 11g external components with the E-Business Suite in earnest.  We released our first certification of Oracle Internet Directory 11g in December.

Changes to Support policies 

The Server Technologies group revised their support policies to provide new patches for the current database release and previous releases for 12 months after the current release.  This caused consternation amongst some Apps users concerned about the rapid pace of mandatory database upgrades. 

The Fusion Middleware soon followed suit with an equivalent support policy for Oracle Application Server 10g and other middle-tier components.

Extended Support fees for EBS 11.5.10 and the 10gR2 database were waived through 2011.  

Developments for this little blog

We welcomed Nick Quarmby, Allison Sparshott, Rekha Ayothi, Vani Subramnian, and Ramya Damodaran as new guest contributors to this blog.

This blog underwent a massive migration to Movable Type in August, which allowed me to rework my consolidated summary of all Apps certifications and introduce new summaries for products and concepts.  We had a banner year for traffic, with over 1.5 million pageviews this year and thousands of readers subscribing via email and RSS.  And last, but certainly not least, I was humbled to receive the OAUG Ambassador of the Year award once more this year. 

Your ongoing support and enthusiasm for this blog have been a tremendous source of inspiration to all of us in EBS Development.  Thank you for your contributions to our EBS community this year.  I look forward to seeing what 2010 brings.

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