An Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Primer for EBS Sysadmins

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i runs Oracle9i Application Server 1.0.2.2.2 as its internal application tier.  Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 runs Oracle Application Server 10g.  Both EBS 11i and 12 can optionally be integrated with externally-deployed Fusion Middleware 11g components such as Oracle Internet Directory, Discoverer, Portal, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, and others.

Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g is Oracle's latest suite of related and interoperable application tier server products.  Some Fusion Middleware products have dependencies on other Fusion Middleware products.  As an E-Business Suite DBA or systems administrator, it is essential that you have a good conceptual understanding of Fusion Middleware 11g concepts before jumping into administration or installation tasks. 


Fusion Middleware 11g overview diagram showing development tools identity management oem bi and other components

This information is covered in the Fusion Middleware 11g guides themselves, of course, but it's spread across many different documents.  This is the first in a series of articles in which I'll cover the essential concepts that E-Business Suite sysadmins need to know about Oracle WebLogic Server, Webcenter, Oracle Internet Directory, Portal, and Discoverer.  These concepts are important for Fusion Middleware architectural design, installation, administration, integration, configuration and troubleshooting.

Key Fusion Middleware 11g Concepts

Oracle WebLogic server (WLS) is the application server for Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g.  Most Fusion Middleware components require WLS, with notable exceptions being Oracle Internet Directory (OID) and Oracle Virtual Directory (OVD). Oracle Internet Directory and Oracle Virtual Directory can be configured with or without a WebLogic domain.

Fusion Middleware components are divided into two types:

  • Java Components:  Deployed as one or more Java applications and a set of resources.  Examples: Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle WebCenter. 
  • System Components:  A manageable process that is not deployed as a Java application.  System components are managed by Oracle Process Manager and Notification (OPMN).  Examples: Oracle Internet Directory, Oracle Virtual Directory, Oracle HTTP Server, Discoverer, Forms & Reports.

What's in a typical Fusion Middleware environment?

A typical Fusion Middleware environment includes the following:

  1. Fusion Middleware Home (MW_HOME)
  2. Oracle WebLogic Server Home (WLS_HOME)
  3. ORACLE_HOME 
  4. ORACLE_INSTANCE

1.  Fusion Middleware Home (MW_HOME)

  • A top level directory for all Fusion Middleware products installed on same machine, including WebLogic Server..
  • Created at time of WebLogic Server installation.
  • Serves as a repository for common files used by multiple Fusion Middleware products installed on the same machine.

TIP:  Do not include spaces in the name of your Middleware home directory. If the name of this directory contains spaces, the CLASSPATH may not be resolved properly. 

2.  WebLogic Server Home (WLS_HOME)

  • A WebLogic Server home containing binary files necessary to host a WebLogic Server.
  • Created under Fusion Middleware Home at time of WebLogic Server installation.
  • Contains mostly 'read only' files until either patched or upgraded

TIP:  You can install only one instance of each version of a WebLogic Server product in a single Middleware Home directory.

3.  ORACLE_HOME

  • Contains installed files necessary to host a specific product. For example, the WebCenter Oracle home contains a directory that contains binary and library
    files for Oracle WebCenter.
  • Can be created before product install, but if not, will be automatically created by the installer. It must reside under Middleware Home directory.
  • Contains mostly 'read only' files until either patched or upgraded
  • Each ORACLE_HOME can be associated with multiple Oracle instances or Oracle WebLogic Server domains 

4.  ORACLE_INSTANCE

  • Contains modifiable files such as configuration files, log files, and temporary files for one or more system components.
  • System components in an Oracle instance must reside on the same server.
TIP:  You can install this anywhere on the same server; it need not be within the Middleware home directory.

Key Oracle WebLogic Server Concepts

To manage an Oracle WebLogic Server instance, you need to understand the following concepts:

  1. WLS Domains
  2. Administration Server
  3. Managed Server
  4. Default Domain Directory
  5. Farm

WLS Domain

  • A group of logically related Oracle WebLogic Server resources and services.
  • You can use a single Oracle WebLogic Server installation to create and run multiple domains, or you can use multiple installations to run a single domain.

Administration Server

  • A special Oracle WebLogic Server instance which is the central point from which configuration and management of all resources in the domain occur.
  • Each Oracle WebLogic Server domain must have one server instance that acts as the Administration Server.
  • Can be used to deploy other components, but it is not recommended 

Managed Server

  • To deploy additional Fusion Middleware products such as SOA Suite, WebCenter, or Oracle Internet Directory, you usually should configure an additional domain instance: a Managed Server
  • You can configure this domain either during or after product install.
  • You can configure separate domains for different Fusion Middleware components.  Example: one domain for SOA Suite, one for WebCenter, and one for Oracle Internet Directory.  Alternately, you can have a single domain for multiple components; depending on your requirements
  • You can configure managed servers as clustered and non-clustered
  • In a cluster, most resources and services are deployed identically on each Managed Server instance and are running simultaneously and working together
  • All Managed Servers in a cluster must reside in the same domain; you cannot split a cluster over multiple domains
  • The key difference between clustered and non-clustered Managed Servers is support for failover and load balancing

Default Domain Directory

  • By default, Oracle WebLogic Server creates domain directories under the MW_HOME/WLS_HOME/user_projects/domains directory
  • It can reside anywhere; it need not be within the Middleware home directory.
  • A domain is a peer of an Oracle instance. Both contain specific configurations outside of their Oracle homes 

Farm

  • A collection of components managed by Fusion Middleware Control.
  • Can contain Oracle WebLogic Server domains, one Administration Server, one or more Managed Servers, and the Oracle Fusion Middleware components that are installed, configured, and running in the domain.

Coming up next in this series:  EBS Sysadmin Primer: Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Management Tools.

References

Related Articles


Comments:

Hi

Thanks for the info. As a apps DBA, i wonder after seeing many products from oracle like fusion. My question is that how should a
Apps DBA plan his growth in oracle field.
for ex. now i am Apps DBA spent almost 4 yrs.
what shall i learn next to compete in todays world.
Is there any specific path defined from oracle for Apps DBA.

Please suggest.

Posted by ibnhussain on June 29, 2010 at 01:49 PM PDT #

Thanks Nirzari. I wish I had read this two months ago when I manged to installed the new Discoverer 11g. My next task will be to turn on SSL for discoverer 11g. I have read quite few documents and notes at metalink. Frankly, there were not much out there. Are you going to cover the subject?

Thanks,

T Wu

Posted by Tianhua Wu on June 30, 2010 at 03:56 AM PDT #

Hi,

Thanks for the nice article!

I was hoping to get some introduction about Oracle Fusion and Weblogic, something like the differences between the following products:

- Oracle Fusion Applications
- Oracle Fusion Middleware
- Oracle SOA
- Oracle SOA Suite
- Oracle Weblogic
- Oracle Applications Server

.. etc.

I have already gone through the documentation, but I could not find a single document that explains how those products are integrated.

Thanks!!!

Posted by AppsDBA on June 30, 2010 at 07:13 AM PDT #

Tianhua Wu,

I will definitely cover this in one my upcoming posts.

Thanks,
Nirzari.

Posted by Nirzari on June 30, 2010 at 09:11 PM PDT #

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