Confused About E-Business Server vs. Desktop Operating System Certifications?

The E-Business Suite is designed to support a three-tier architecture, with functions running on a client tier, an application server tier (also called a middle tier), and a database tier.  I handled a customer question on an internal Oracle mailing list today that suggested that there was confusion about our certification policies for these tiers.  I then realized that I've answered variants of this question many times lately, so it's clearly of broader interest. 

These two questions are mirror images of each other:
  • Can I install the E-Business Suite on a desktop operating system like Windows Vista?
  • Can I run end-user E-Business Suite functions on a server operating system like Oracle Enterprise Linux?
EBS-R12-architecture-diagram2.png
Certifying End-User Functions on Desktop Operating Systems

The first guiding principle is that we certify E-Business Suite end-user client functions on end-user desktop operating systems.  Examples of EBS end-user client functions include:
  • Accessing web-based Self-Service applications from browsers
  • Running Forms-based applications under the native Sun JRE plug-in.
The certified end-user desktop operating systems are:
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Mac OS X
We intend to certify Microsoft Windows 7 and Apple Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) desktop operating systems to run EBS end-user client functions in the future.  I can't discuss schedules for these certifications, but you're welcome to monitor or subscribe to this blog for updates.  

We have no current plans to certify Linux desktop operating systems (e.g. Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, CentOS, etc) to run E-Business Suite end-user client functions.

Certifying Server-Based Components on Server Operating Systems
 
The second guiding principle is that we certify E-Business Suite's server-based components on server-based operating systems.  Server-based components are designed to run on application tier servers and database tier servers.  Server-based components include the Oracle Database, Oracle Forms, JServ, OC4J, and so on.

Server-based operating systems include:
  • Microsoft Windows Server
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux
  • Sun Solaris
  • IBM AIX
  • IBM Linux on System z
  • IBM Linux on POWER
  • HP-UX
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)
Mixing and Matching Server vs. Desktop Certifications

We have no plans to certify E-Business Suite end-user client-based functions on server operating systems. 
 
Likewise, we also have no plans to certify E-Business Suite database or application-tier server components on end-user desktop operating systems. 

Security Implications of Running Something on the Wrong Platform
 
The security implications of running the wrong thing on the wrong platform must be considered.  Today's question from a customer asked whether it's possible to run the E-Business Suite's end-user functions from geographically-distributed machines running Windows Server. 

Now, I'm assuming that those distributed machines are acting as real servers running mission-critical multi-user applications.  If I were a security administrator, I wouldn't want an end-user to use that server to do email, surf the web, or run other end-user applications.  Given the propensity of end-users to click on suspicious email attachments, hit questionable websites, and install dodgy P2P apps, that's a good way of contaminating the server and breaching security.  I can't think of any scenario where this would be a good idea.

Support Implications of Running Something on the Wrong Platform

We can't prevent customers from doing dangerous things with machines connecting to the E-Business Suite.  I'm reminded of Robin Williams' piece on unarmed bobbies in the UK: "Stop, or I'll yell, 'Stop' again!"  [No, no, I'm not making any statements about gun control either way, I'm just underlining Oracle's lack of omnipotence.]

What we can do is ensure that you get fixes for issues that occur on the tiers on which EBS components were designed to run. 

From a support perspective, we can produce E-Business Suite patches only for end-user client issues that can be reproduced on a certified desktop operating system configuration.

Likewise, we can produce E-Business Suite patches only for server-based component issues that can be reproduced on a certified server operating system.

Related Articles

Comments:

What is Oracle's client certification stance for Windows Terminal Services? As you know, Terminal Services run on Windows Server (2003 or 2008), but they are intended as a client environment. Does Oracle certify the client functions on this environment? A large number of shops use Terminal Services to provide remote desktop capability and to provide an insulation layer between their dispersed workforce and their critical data and systems, such as E-Business Suite installations, so this certification is a key concern. Particularly when you consider the fact that Oracle doesn't certify many popular desktop environments (e.g. Linux) and certification lags quite a bit behind OS software releases (e.g. Vista release, IE 7 release, IE 8 release), often resulting in desktop enviornments needing to move forward before Oracle certifies (and, thus, necessitating the use of mechanisms such as terminal services to potentially provide a certified environment).

Thanks,

Tom

Posted by T Ackenhusen on August 12, 2009 at 12:22 PM PDT #

Hi Steven,

What is your thought process behind certifying EBS environments with the TimeTen database (Now 11g IMDB). On metalink I see a note mentioning there are no such plans in the near future, is there a technological rational behind that or just that there are other higher priorities. At first pass use of this could give our end-users major performance benefits especially on Self-Service applications.

Thanks,
Anindya

Posted by Anindya Roy on August 12, 2009 at 10:18 PM PDT #

Hi, Anindya,

Our Applications Performance group has conducted formal benchmarking of TimesTen with EBS 11i. Their testing demonstrated that the potential TimesTen technology benefits were not justified by the rather large memory requirements just to instantiate the TimesTen metadata for the APPS schema. As you know, the APPS schema contains a very large number of database objects. Their tests showed that memory exhaustion occurred extremely quickly even when all of the TimesTen metadata tables were left empty.

Their current conclusion is that the TimesTen technology -- in its current iteration -- may incur a high overhead without notable improvements in EBS performance, given the large APPS object footprint. I would expect that they will revisit their analyses with future TimesTen versions as appropriate.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on August 13, 2009 at 12:34 AM PDT #

Hello, T Ackenhusen,

We support and recommend Windows Terminal Services, Citrix and other similar products (e.g. Tarantella) for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i's client-server products only; i.e. those EBS products that required a local desktop client installation. Our recommendations for EBS 11i are documented in Note 277535.1.

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 has no client-server components; they're all web-based in that release. WTS or Citrix are not required for EBS 12. We haven't performed any testing with client virtualization technologies with EBS 12.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on August 14, 2009 at 07:03 AM PDT #

Steven,

Thanks for the info on Terminal Services, but this doesn't address client certification for the web/JRE client on terminal services. How can I, as a customer, understand if running, say, IE 7 with a certified JRE release on Windows Server 2003 terminal services is certified by Oracle for EBS access? This is the certification I am primarily interested in. I am concerned the statements in your blog post indicate that Windows Server categorically isn't certified as a client environment, so it would appear Oracle doesn't certify the use of certified web clients when run on Terminal Services - is this the case? Or is this certified?

Posted by T Ackenhusen on August 20, 2009 at 04:47 AM PDT #

Hello, T Ackenhusen,

I'm afraid that your last statement is correct: we do not certify the use of web clients running via tools like Windows Terminal Services.

We certify only the EBS 11i client-server components listed in Note 277535.1 for use with tools like Windows Terminal Services, Citrix, or Tarantella.

We only certify standalone Windows or Mac desktops. I have no data that indicates whether certified web client configurations (e.g. IE7 + JRE 1.6) will work differently under Citrix, Windows Terminal Services, or similar tools. We don't test those configurations at all, so I lack empirical data to support any compatibility or risk statements about such architectures.

We would be able to provide Oracle patches only for issues that can be reproduced using either standalone Windows or Mac desktop clients.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on August 20, 2009 at 05:27 AM PDT #

Sir,
We are contemplating EBS R12.1.3 and we have Red Hut Linux as the Server Operating System. We are given to understand that Oracle is yet to certify the same and Oracle recommends HP-UX as the OS.

We will be happy to get a clarification on the same please.

Thanks

Surhit

Posted by Surhit Bhattacharyya on October 24, 2010 at 01:38 AM PDT #

Hello Surhit -
Various Linux operating systems including Oracle Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SLES have been supported and certified by Oracle for a very long time.
EBS 12.1.3 is certainly certified with RHEL as indicated in our Linux Installation and Upgrade Notes (12.1 Linux x86 - MOS Doc 761564.1; 12.1 Linux x86-64 - MOS Doc 761566.1).
Please let me know if you have any questions.
thanks,
John

Posted by John Abraham on October 27, 2010 at 01:45 AM PDT #

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