Certification and Support for Third-Party Products
By Steven Chan - EBS-Oracle on May 18, 2006
One of the most frequently asked questions I answer daily is this: "Is my third-party product __________ certified with the E-Business Suite?"
To understand how this affects you, we need to make a distinction between certification and support for third-party products in E-Business Suite environments.
How Are Technology Stack Components Certified?
From an E-Business Suite standpoint, our certification process looks like this:
- Creation of formal installation documentation and patches
- Installation into one or more Linux-based technology stack testbed environments, testing upgrade paths from previous older configurations, and compatibility testing with other architectural deployment options such as load-balancers and firewalls
- Manual and automated regression testing of core technology stack functions and a subset of key Apps business flows
- Installation into one or more Linux-based testbed environments shared by all Applications products
- Testing by one or more Applications product teams, including manual and automated regression tests of key product functionality
- Installation into testbed environments running on other platforms, such as HP-UX, Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, and Microsoft Windows
- Manual and automated regression tests of key product functionality
For highly-complex or potentially disruptive new technologies, we sometimes include this final phase:
We Support More Than We Certify
The number of possible configurations and third-party components far exceeds the number of things that we certify through the process above.
Our general policy is that our generic documentation should apply to all third-party components, even if we haven't certified those products specifically.
It isn't possible for us to put every single commercial firewall through the certification process above, so we've developed generic patches and documentation for this configuration. These generic patches and documentation should apply to all firewall vendors' products. Regardless of what firewall you choose, the E-Business Suite should work the same way.
So, all firewalls are supported with the E-Business Suite, provided that they meet the minimum functional requirements listed in our DMZ documentation.
What Does "Support" Really Mean?
If you encounter a problem with a third-party component, the odds are that we won't have a setup that's identical to yours. Here's what you can expect when logging a Service Request for a third-party component in your E-Business Suite environment:
- Oracle Support will check that you've followed the standard configuration documentation in setting up your environment.
- Oracle Support may attempt to replicate your issue in a generic environment that most-closely resembles your environment.
- Oracle Support may work with you to see if the problem goes away when the third-party component is temporarily removed or deactivated.
- If the problem exists in a generic environment or when the third-party component is temporarily deactivated, then Oracle Support will attempt to identify a patch or workaround for the issue. A bug may be logged to request a new patch.
- If the problem disappears when the third-party product is removed, then it suggests that the third-party product is the source of the issue. If so, Oracle Support may suggest that you contact the third-party vendor for their help in debugging their product.
The processes and policies that I've described above apply to nearly all third-party products in E-Business Suite environments. This includes software (like Citrix) and hardware (like F5 or Cisco load-balancers) and combinations such as third-party cloud-based hosting services (e.g. Amazon Web Services EC2).
Escalate As Needed
A major part of my job is working directly with customers, and I know that you can sometimes find these integration issues frustrating to work through.
Remember: we won't turn your Support Requests away -- we'll do our best to reproduce and isolate the issue in a generic environment.
If you get stuck or feel that your Service Request is going around in circles, don't hesitate to contact an Oracle Support Duty Manager and ask for your Service Request to be escalated. Sometimes, trickier architecture issues may require direct help from us in the Applications Technology Group; Support will log a bug in those cases to get us engaged.
- Oracle Support Services Policy Regarding Customizations (Note 122452.1)