Wednesday Jun 17, 2009

Which is Better: Forms Servlet or Socket Mode?

Many products within the Oracle E-Business Suite have screens that are built with Oracle Forms.  Oracle Forms can be run in either servlet mode or socket mode.  Apps 11i is based on Forms 6i and is configured to run in socket mode by default.  Apps 12 is based on Forms 10g and is configured to run in servlet mode by default. What are these modes, and which is better?

What is Forms Servlet Mode?

The Forms Listener Servlet is a Java servlet that delivers the ability to run Oracle Forms applications over HTTP and HTTPS connections. It manages the creation of a Forms Server Runtime process for each client, as well as network communications between the client and its associated Forms Server Runtime process.

The desktop client sends HTTP requests and receives HTTP responses from the web server. The HTTP Listener on the web server acts as the network endpoint for the client, keeping other servers and ports from being exposed at the firewall.

Forms listener servlet diagram showing firewalls desktop client and oc4j container on application tier

What is Forms Socket Mode?

Initial releases of the Oracle Forms Server product used a simple method for connecting the client to the server. The connection from the desktop client to the Forms Listener process was accomplished using a direct socket connection.  The direct socket connection mode was suitable for companies providing thin client access to Forms applications within their corporate local area networks. For the direct socket connection mode, the client had to be able to see the server and had to have permission to establish a direct network connection.

Although the direct socket connection mode is perfectly suited for deployments within a company’s internal network, it's not the best choice for application deployment via unsecured network paths via the Internet. A company connected to the Internet typically employs a strict policy defining the types of network connections that can be made by Internet clients to secure corporate networks. Permitting a direct socket connection from an external client exposes the company to potential risk because the true identity of the client can be hard to determine.

Servlet Mode Advantages

  1. HTTP and HTTPS traffic is easily recognizable by routers, while socket mode communications is generally considered suspect and treated on an exception basis. 
  2. Existing networking hardware can be used to support basic functions such as load-balancing and packet encryption for network transit.
  3. More resilient to network and firewall reconfigurations.
  4. More robust: servlet connections can be reestablished if network connections drop unexpectedly for Forms, Framework, and JSP-based pages.
  5. Is the only supported method for generic Oracle Forms customers, and therefore is more thoroughly tested by the Forms and E-Business Suite product groups.
  6. Performance traffic can be monitored via tools like Oracle Real User Experience Insight (RUEI).
  7. Socket mode is not supported on Windows-based server platforms.

Socket Mode Advantages

  1. Uses up to 40% less bandwidth than Forms servlet mode.  This may be perceived by Wide Area Network (WAN) users as causing slower responsiveness, depending upon network latency.
  2. Uses fewer application-tier JVM resources than servlet mode, due to fewer TCP turns and lack of overhead associated with HTTP POST handling.

Switching Apps Deployments Between Modes

Due to its numerous advantages, Forms servlet mode is the preferred and recommended deployment model for Forms on the web. 

There may be circumstances where you need to switch between the default Forms modes.  You might wish to switch your Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 environment to socket mode to improve performance or reduce network load.  You might wish to switch your Apps 11i environment to servlet mode as part of your rollout to external web-based end-users outside of your organization.

If you're running Apps 11i and would like to switch to servlet mode, see:

If you're running Apps 12 and would like to switch to socket mode, see:

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Monday Jun 15, 2009

Interim Update: ATG RUP 7 for E-Business Release 11i

The last major update to the E-Business Suite Release 11i's technology stack was released in late 2007.  This is available via the Applications Technology Group Rollup Patchset 6, also known as ATG RUP 6.  Since then, we've been a little preoccupied with Apps 12.  Now that we've gotten three new R12 releases under our belts, our attentions are turning back to Apps 11i.

11i Technology Stack Architecture diagram

We've been working on ATG RUP 7 for EBS 11i for a while now.  ATG RUP 7 will deliver a consolidated set of the latest security, stability, and performance fixes for all E-Business Suite technology stack components.  Here's a quick update on where we stand in the development cycle for this new patchset.

ATG RUP 7 has just completed its development phase and is now in the formal testing phase for all E-Business Suite products.  Centralized divisional testing is underway now.  This is going smoothly.  We're going through the usual process of ironing out the inevitable issues that occur when such fundamental changes are made to the foundation of the E-Business Suite. 

It's expected that we will go through multiple interim builds of ATG RUP 7.  Each iterative test cycle requires product teams to retest to ensure that existing known issues are fixed, new features function as designed, and no new bugs (regressions) have been introduced.

Supporting the Current and Previous ATG RUPs

Way back in 2006, in this blog's salad days, I posted this article:

Remember that our support baseline for the E-Business Suite is comprised of the current (N) and immediately preceding (N-1) ATG RUPs.  New EBS patches are tested and released on top of these two technology stack baseline configurations. 

What Does This Have to do with ATG RUP 7?

When the upcoming Apps 11i ATG RUP 7 is released, it will be supported along with ATG RUP 6.  In other words, if you encounter any issues with ATG RUP 6 or 7, we'll be able to release new E-Business Suite patches for those configurations as necessary.

If your Apps 11i environment is on ATG RUP 5, you will no longer be able to request new patches for that technology stack level.  If your environment is running ATG RUP 4 or earlier, you already know that you haven't been able to request new patches for those older rollup patchsets.

A Short Aside About Related Support Policies

This is similar but not identical to the support policy for our Server Technologies and Fusion Middleware products, which I've discussed in more detail in these important articles:

Remember that our Server Technologies and Fusion Middleware support policies are subtly different and from EBS policies:  they support the current (N), as well as the immediately preceding (N-1) release for 12 months after the N release.

When Will ATG RUP 7 be Released?

As usual, I'm not permitted to discuss specific dates for unreleased software on this blog.  You're welcome to monitor or subscribe to this blog for updates, which I'll post as soon as soon as they're available.

Related Articles

The preceding is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decision. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.

Tuesday Jun 09, 2009

Updating the Default JDK Installed in OracleAS 10g

[June 12, 2009 Update: Added link to JDK 1.6 Note 444462.1]

Java logo

If you run Java-based applications in your organization, you're aware that you may wish to optionally update the Java Development Kit (JDK) libraries periodically to get the latest fixes for security, stability, and performance.  This applies to the E-Business Suite, naturally, so we regularly release new certifications for the latest Java releases for EBS.

Perhaps lesser-known is that this also applies to external servers running Oracle Fusion Middleware -- also known as Oracle Application Server 10g.  You may have deployed Oracle Application Server 10g on one or more application tier servers to use Discoverer, Single Sign-On, Oracle Internet Directory, Portal, or other Fusion Middleware services with the E-Business Suite.

How Do You Update Java for other Oracle Products?

Oracle Security has published the following advisory:

That note is important reading for all Oracle administrators.  It contains links to three additional documents:

If you're looking for the latest JDK 1.4 release to update an Oracle Application Server 10g instance, you can find it here:

Special thanks to those readers (you know who you are) whose persistence helped us make this JDK patch available for all of our customers.

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Tuesday Apr 07, 2009

Power Tools: Previewing AutoConfig Changes on All Tiers

[Editor's Note:  This is the third of a series of four articles on new AutoConfig features.  These articles are written by members of our AutoConfig Development team.  This is your opportunity to interact directly with that team with your feedback on this tool.]

When we first launched AutoConfig for E-Business Suite environments, it quickly became clear that your confidence in the tool would depend upon your ability to review its actions before committing to its changes to your environments. The AutoConfig Check Config tool (adchkcfg) is used to identify the potential changes that would take effect on an E-Business Suite instance during the next AutoConfig run.

Until now, that tool has only been reporting expected changes to the file system and the database profile values. The adchkcfg tool has now been enhanced to report information about important non-profile database updates also. The enhanced report will help customers understand potential system configuration changes, thus minimizing custom configuration errors.

What Does the Check Config Report Show?

The Check Config tool generates a report in both HTML and text format. The text report for the database changes can be used for quick reference from the command line.

Here is a screenshot of the new Check Config HTML report (click to enlarge):

Thumbnail of Check Config HTML Report

For complete samples of Check Config reports, download this file:

Generating a Check Config Report

The Check Config tool can be run by executing the following command on both the Application tier and the Database tier:

  • On UNIX:

    sh adchkcfg.sh contextfile=<context_file>
     
  • On Windows:

    adchkcfg.cmd contextfile=<context_file>

Downloading the Latest AutoConfig Engine

Customers on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 can obtain this new feature by installing:

Customers on 11i can get this new AutoConfig feature by installing:

Your Thoughts?

We're still working on improving this tool.  For example, we're working on ways to make it easier to ignore false positives by flagging diffs which are neither real or interesting.  Please share with us your experience on using this feature. Are there other improvements to this report that you would find useful? 

References

Related Articles

Tuesday Mar 31, 2009

Power Tools: Running AutoConfig in Parallel in EBS 12

[Editor's Note:  This is the second of a series of four articles on new AutoConfig features.  These articles are written by members of our AutoConfig Development team.  This is your opportunity to interact directly with that team with your feedback on this tool.]

Our last article discussed ways of tuning your AutoConfig runs via profiling reports that identify bottlenecks during template instantiation.  This article discusses another method of speeding up your AutoConfig runs.  In an R12 E-Business Suite instance, AutoConfig can now be run simultaneously across multiple nodes. This new feature significantly lowers maintenance downtime for multi-node installations. One beta customer of this feature improved the time it takes them to run AutoConfig across their dozen mid tiers by 45%.

How Does AutoConfig's Parallel Mode Work?

Executing AutoConfig in 'parallel mode' engages a locking mechanism so that processes running on individual nodes are synchronized. This mechanism prevents any conflicting updates to the database or the file system. The following figure illustrates AutoConfig running in parallel across multiple nodes:

Diagram showing how AutoConfig runs in parallel on EBS 12

Executing AutoConfig in Parallel Mode

The following command can be used to run AutoConfig in 'parallel mode'

Application Tier

perl $AD_TOP/bin/adconfig.pl contextfile=<CtxFile> [product=<product_top>] –parallel

Database Tier

perl $ORACLE_HOME/appssutil/bin/adconfig.pl contextfile=<CtxFile> –parallel

where

<CtxFile> is the absolute path to the context file
<product_top> is the Product short name

Note that while running AutoConfig simultaneously on multiple nodes, it is very important to ensure that the '-parallel' option is specified while starting AutoConfig on each node to prevent unstable and/or inconsistent filesystem and database states.

Downloading the Latest AutoConfig Engine

Customers on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 can obtain this new feature by installing:

This feature is currently not available for Oracle E-Business Suite 11i.  We currently do not have precise plans for delivery of this feature in 11i.

Your Thoughts?

Please let us know about your experience on using this new feature. We'd be very interested in hearing about how long it takes to run AutoConfig on your multi-node installations with and without the 'parallel' option. The new AutoConfig Performance Profiler feature can be used to collect this information. Also let us know of any issues you encounter while using this feature.

References

Related Articles

Power Tools: Optimizing AutoConfig Performance Through Profiling

[Editor's Note:  This is the first of a series of four articles on new AutoConfig features.  These articles are written by members of our AutoConfig Development team.  This is your chance to get the inside track on these advanced features and provide your feedback directly to our developers.]

Ever wonder what's taking up the time during a given AutoConfig run in your E-Business Suite environment?  Want to optimize the performance of your techstack configuration customizations?  The AutoConfig Performance Profiler gathers data about an AutoConfig run and generates a consolidated AutoConfig profile report in HTML format. The report lists all product tops processed by AutoConfig along with the total instantiation and execution time of the templates within them. A beta customer of this feature helped us fix an indexing issue to allow AutoConfig to run in one third of the time.

The generated performance report allows you to drill down on each product top and view the following:

  • Source and target location of individual templates
  • Time consumed to instantiate or execute each template
  • Execution report for each template

Here's a screenshot of the first few lines of the report:

Mini screenshot of AutoConfig Performane Profiler report

A complete sample performance profiler report can be found here.

Identitying AutoConfig Performance Bottlenecks

This report is useful in analyzing the source of AutoConfig performance bottlenecks. It also helps administrators optimize template customizations (if any). For example, if you have performed customizations to the context variable values or to any of the product templates and you find that AutoConfig is taking more time after the customization, you can use this feature and generate the profiler report to see where exactly the delay is occurring. The profiler report allows you to determine which phase or product took more time to execute.

Then by further clicking on the link for that phase or product, you can see more details at the template level. Going through these details, you can determine which templates are taking an unreasonable amount of time for instantiation or execution. You can use this to verify and optimize your customizations to the templates.

Generating AutoConfig Performance Profiler Reports

To generate the AutoConfig Performance Profiler report, you can run AutoConfig in 'profile mode' by issuing the following command:

Application Tier
 
perl $AD_TOP/bin/adconfig.pl contextfile=<CtxFile> [product=<product_top>] –profile

Database Tier
 
perl $ORACLE_HOME/appsutil/bin/adconfig.pl contextfile=<CtxFile> –profile

where

<CtxFile> is the absolute path to the context file
<product_top> is the Product short name

Note that the -profile option can be used alongside other AutoConfig command line parameters.

Downloading the Latest AutoConfig Engine

Customers on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 can obtain this new feature by installing:

Customers on 11i can get this new AutoConfig feature by installing:

Your Thoughts?

We would appreciate if you could share with us your experience on using this new feature. Please post your comments here or email your profiling results to Ivo Dumovic at:

ivo-dujmovic-email.png

We're eager to hear about your thoughts about how we can improve this feature.

References

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Sunday Mar 29, 2009

Premier Support for OC4J 10.1.3.3 ends in July 2009

Java logo

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 includes OracleAS 10.1.3 Oracle Containers for J2EE (OC4J) for running its Java-based content.  We certified Apps 12 with OracleAS 10.1.3.3 in January 2008 and with OracleAS 10.1.3.4 in December 2008. 

You should be aware that the OracleAS 10.1.3.3 grace period will end in July 2009.  After July 2009, you will still be able to download existing OracleAS 10.1.3.3 patches, but new patches will be issued only for the latest 10.1.3.4 release.

If you're running your E-Business Suite environment on OracleAS 10.1.3.3, I would strongly recommend planning an upgrade to the most-current certified OC4J release. As of today, that's OracleAS 10.1.3.4.  Future readers coming across this article should refer to this blog's one-page Certifications summary for the latest certified configurations.

Want To Know More About Support Policies?

The Server Technologies support policies have recently changed in some important ways.  I've discussed the E-Business Suite implications of those changes in these articles: 

Your Thoughts?

I don't represent Server Technologies organization (I'm in E-Business Suite Development), but I'm happy to pass on your thoughts and feedback about Oracle's support policies to management teams in those groups.  Feel free to post a comment below or send me a private email.

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Saturday Mar 28, 2009

Premier Support for Forms 10.1.2.2 Ends in April 2009

Oracle Fusion Middleware Forms Logo

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 includes OracleAS Forms & Reports 10g as part of its technology stack.  EBS 12.0.0 shipped with Forms 10.1.2.0.2.  We certified Forms 10.1.2.2 with EBS 12 in August 2007 and with Forms 10.1.2.3 in November 2008.

You should be aware that the Forms 10.1.2.2 grace period will end in April, 2009.  After April 2009, you will still be able to download existing Forms 10.1.2.2 patches, but new patches will be issued only for the latest 10.1.2.3 release.

If you're running your E-Business Suite environment on Forms 10.1.2.2, I would strongly recommend planning an upgrade to the most-current certified Forms release. As of today, that's Forms 10.1.2.3.  Future readers coming across this article should refer to this blog's one-page Certifications summary for the latest certified configurations.

Want To Know More About Support Policies?

The Server Technologies support policies have recently changed in some important ways.  I've discussed the E-Business Suite implications of those changes in these articles: 

Your Thoughts?

I don't represent Server Technologies organization (I'm in E-Business Suite Development), but I'm happy to pass on your thoughts and feedback about Oracle's support policies to management teams in those groups.  Feel free to post a comment below or send me a private email.

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Monday May 19, 2008

Statement of Direction: Oracle AD4J + Oracle E-Business Suite

Mondays -- you gotta love 'em.  Noon hasn't even rolled around yet and it's already turning out to be one of those days. 

AD4J Screenshot: Screenshot of Oracle Application Diagnostics for Java (AD4J) plug-in for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g

The volume of questions relating to E-Business Suite compatibility with the Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) plug-in called Oracle Application Diagnostics for Java (AD4J) has increased sharply in the last few weeks.  This plug-in allows OEM users to monitor the availability and performance of Java-based applications.

I've heard anecdotal reports that some Apps customers have successfully configured AD4J to view and monitor the Java Virtual Machines (JVM) of an E-Business Suite instance.  Our Applications Technology Integration team hasn't done any formal certifications of the E-Business Suite with AD4J yet.  On first principles alone, I can't think of any major reasons why this integration wouldn't work.  However, in the absence of our formal certification tests, we don't have any guidelines on deploying AD4J in E-Business Suite environments yet.

We're definitely interested in testing this ourselves, after we've gotten Release 12.1 out the door.  AD4J is on our list of future certification projects.  I don't have firm schedules for this certification yet, but you're welcome to this blog updates, which I'll post as soon as soon as they're available. 

Related Articles
The above is intended to outline our general product direction.  It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.   It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions.  The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle's products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle. 

Monday May 05, 2008

New Apps 11i AutoConfig + Templates Rollup Patch S Now Available

[June 18, 2008 Update: Mentioned the Oracle Diagnostics regression fix]

[May 6, 2008 Update: Clarified that Developer 6i patchset 18 was recommended in Jan2007 CPU]


[Editor's Note:  Ivo Dujmovic leads the hard-working Applications Technology Integration development team responsible for the E-Business Suite's technology stack and configuration management tools, including AutoConfig and its associated templates.  He's been providing deep technical guidance for this blog from the wings since its inception, so we're very lucky to have his direct contributions for this particular announcement.  I'm skipping the customary introductory article for him in the interest of getting this article published quickly, but we'll get a proper public welcome out for him soon.]


The latest TXK Rollup Patch S (Patch 6372396) is now released and is generally available for download from Oracle Metalink. The official name for this patch is:



TXK Rollup S: Screenshot of Metalink download page for TXK AutoConfig and Templates Rollup Patch S (APRIL/MAY 2008, Patch 6372396)



What's Included


This Rollup patch is cumulative:  it includes all E-Business Suite technology stack configuration fixes that we've previously released either individually or in patch sets such as  TXK Autoconfig Rollup Patch R (October/November 2007) and TXK AutoConfig Rollup Patch Q (Jul/Aug 2007).


But that's not all!  For completeness we have also added TXK Advanced Utilities Rollup Patch C (APRIL 2006) and other subsequent fixes in this area.


For more details about this patch's contents, see the README.  In the near future, we will also publish a couple of separate blog articles on the new features we are introducing.


Additional New Prerequisites


In addition to previous Oracle Home technology stack prerequisites (identified at patch-time via txkprepatchcheck utility), we have picked up a new ORACLE_HOME dependency on:




In the APPL_TOP, we picked up dependencies on fairly old and well-adopted rollups:



We know that part of the reason why our TXK RUPs enjoy such high adoption rates (thousands of downloads per quarter) is that they are self-contained. At this point in time, we have decided that taking up a wider set of well-adopted dependencies is a minimal price to pay for providing customers with all the latest technology configuration management functionality.


Please tell us if you find these additional requirements burdensome!

News:  TXK RUP S conflicts with Oracle
Diagnostics, introducing bug:

7126196  IZU_TOP GONE/LOST
AFTER AUTOCONFIG UPGRADE

If you use Oracle Diagnostics, please apply the patch for bug 7126196.


References


Related Articles


Wednesday Apr 23, 2008

Preparing for Apps 11i AutoConfig Updates

E-Business Suite Release 11i uses the Oracle9i Application Server 1.0.2.2.2-based components in its Applications tier. This includes an 8.0.6 ORACLE_HOME for the Developer 6i Forms and Reports run-time and an 8.1.7 ORACLE_HOME for the Apache and JServ-based run-time components. AutoConfig and its associated templates provide the configuration data for these ORACLE_HOMEs.

The latest version of AutoConfig is always included with the latest ATG Technology Stack rollup patches.  It's also possible to update the AutoConfig Engine and its associated templates separately if certain prerequisites are met.  You can download the latest version of AutoConfig via the TXK Rollup for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i:

In preparation for your AutoConfig upgrade, you can run the Technology Stack Rollup Validation Utility to get a report of the current component versions on your Release 11i Applications tier. The report also advises on the components on each tier that need to be upgraded before upgrading AutoConfig itself.

TXKRUPR:

Running the Technology Stack Rollup Validation Utility

The Technology Stack Rollup Validation Utility is a perl script that is run using the perl infrastructure delivered in the APPL_TOP by the TXK team.

Where to run

  • In a single-node install, run the utility on the Applications Tier Node.
  • In a multi-node install, run the utility on every Web/Forms, Admin/CP Node
  • The latest version of the Validation Utility is shipped with the TXK Rollup. Hence the script needs to be run from the location where the patch is unzipped.

Steps to run

  1. Source the Applications environment file as the owner of the application tier file system
  2. From the location where TXK Rollup patch was unzipped, change directory to fnd/patch/115/bin
  3. Run the Validation script as described in the table below
Unix
./txkprepatchcheck.pl -script=ValidateRollup -outfile=$APPLTMP/txkValidateRollup.html 
-appspass=<apps database password>
Windows
%ADPERLPRG% txkprepatchcheck.pl -script=ValidateRollup

-outfile=%APPLTMP%txkValidateRollup.html

-appspass=<apps database password>

Note: The arguments for the perl script txkprepatchcheck.pl can be entered manually at the prompt also.

Interpreting the Report

The report generated in the location specified by the outfile argument contains:
  1. Overall PASS/FAIL status of the Utility.
  2. Report header table with information about the host, node type and configuration file, versions.
  3. Validation table for each of the HTTP Server, Forms Server, Concurrent Processing Server, and Administration Server Node types.
  4. For each of the node types, the dependent and relevant Technology Component is displayed with its version number and PASS/FAIL status.
Sample Reports

Report Header

TXKHeader1:

TXKHeader2:

Validation for HTTP Server Node

TXKHTTPServer:

Validation for Other Nodes

TXKOtherNodes:

Before Applying the TXP RUP

The AutoConfig upgrade, as delivered by TXK Rollup patches, can be be applied only when the report displays PASS for all entries in each table and an ALLPASS at the top. All WARNING/FAIL rows should be corrected with respective actions recommended in the report row before applying the patch.

References
  1. Using AutoConfig to Manage System Configurations withOracle Applications 11i (OracleMetalink Note 165195.1).
  2. Frequently Asked Questions About Using AutoConfig With Oracle Applications Release 11i (OracleMetalink Note 218089.1)
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Tuesday Jan 29, 2008

Sharing Apps R12 File Systems Across Multiple Databases

One of the challenges an IT manager faces today is managing complex application configurations from development to production. This becomes a monster challenge with the proliferation of environments with multiple application and database tier nodes.

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12 provide flexibility in laying out file systems via a Shared File System option. A Shared File System stores application tier files on a shared disk storage that can be accessed by multiple application tier nodes. Shared File Systems have the potential to lower your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by reducing your maintenance and hardware requirements.

Note: Shared File System is  not supported on MS Windows platform

New Features in E-Business Suite R12

Release 12 Shared File System configurations allow several deployment options. Some of the key features include:
  • The ability to have multiple nodes running each of the following service types:
    • Forms
    • Web - in a load balancing configured option
    • Concurrent Processing (Batch) - in a Parallel Concurrent Processing configured option
  • Read-only node implementation for Forms, Web, Concurrent processing
In addition, a new configuration option introduced in Release 12 has the potential to save significant time and resources for an Applications DBA:  the ability to share applications tier file systems across multiple database instances.

Sharing Applications Tier File Systems Across Multiple Database Instances

Release 12 customers can now install and configure the application tier file system on a central machine that is used by two or more database instances. This configuration option is useful in cases where you would like your test and development environments to share the same applications tier file system. 

Shared File System across DB:

Minimum Requirements
  1. This option is only valid for the Applications tier file system and not for the database tier file system

  2. All the database instances are patched up to the same level
References

For a walkthrough and other details required for this configuration and deployment option,  see: [Editor: Sharing application tier file systems between multiple environments has the potential to reduce your overhead but is the IT equivalent of placing all of your eggs in a single basket.  If the shared file system goes down, multiple Apps environments are impacted.  Accordingly, prudent system administrators should put backup and recovery procedures in place for shared servers.]

Related Articles

Monday Jan 28, 2008

Java 6 Certified for Apps 11i on IBM AIX and HP-UX PA-RISC

There's been lots of progress on the Java 6 certification front for Apps lately.  Java 6 was certified for E-Business Suite Release 11i application tier servers on Solaris, Linux, and Windows in September 2007.  Adding to that list of certified platforms, IBM AIX and HP-UX PA-RISC are now certified for Java 6 for Apps 11i.

HP-UX Java 6 screenshot: Screenshot of HP's download website for HP-UX JDK, JRE, and Plug-in downloads for Java 6 for HP-UX PA-RISC platforms

Upgrade Documentation

Full details for upgrading your E-Business Suite Release 11i environment to JDK 6 can be found here:
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Tuesday Jan 22, 2008

Discoverer Cumulative Patchsets Now Certified for Apps 11i & 12

If you're using Oracle Discoverer to analyze your E-Business Suite data, you know that we have always taken a very selective approach to the certification of Discoverer patches.  Our historical strategy has been to specify the smallest number of essential patches needed to use Discoverer with the E-Business Suite. With the introduction of Cumulative Patchsets for Discoverer, things have changed in an important way.

Discoverer 10g Architecture:

What Are Discoverer Cumulative Patchsets?

Release vehicles for Discoverer bug fixes have evolved.  The latest iteration is the introduction of Cumulative Patchsets for Discoverer 10g.  As you might infer from their name, Cumulative Patchsets include the latest versions of all patches produced since the last major Discoverer release.  In other words, they include:
  • Patches contained in prior Cumulative Patchsets 
  • Latest versions of essential patches needed for compatibility with the E-Business Suite
How Are Discoverer Cumulative Patchsets Different?

The key difference boils down to the quality assurance stage.  One-time emergency patches for Discoverer are tested only to ensure that they fix a specific problem.  Very limited testing (if any) is performed to ensure that a given emergency patch doesn't introduce other issues in other areas.  Virtually no testing is done to check whether a given emergency patch conflicts with other emergency patches.

Discoverer Cumulative Patchsets receive more systematic testing across the board to ensure compatibility with other emergency patches.  All of the released emergency patches are tested together as part of the release process for Cumulative Patchsets. 

What About Compatibility with the E-Business Suite?

As of today, E-Business Suite + Discoverer users have two certified options:
  1. Apply only the specific emergency patches needed for integrating Discoverer 10g in your E-Business Suite environments
  2. Apply the latest Discoverer 10g Cumulative Patchset. 
This new certification policy applies to both E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12 environments.  You can apply Discoverer 10g Cumulative Patchset 3 or higher to your Apps environments. 

The key phrase is, "or higher."  My E-Business Suite certification team will continue to certify selected Discoverer 10g Cumulative Patchsets, but you will no longer have to wait for our certification to be completed before applying a patchset that includes a fix for a bug that you're encountering.  The use of any Discoverer 10g Cumulative Patchset from 3 onwards is now fully supported with your E-Business Suite environment.

References
Related Articles

Saturday Jan 19, 2008

New AutoConfig Patchset Available for Apps 12

The fourth update to the Release 12 Autoconfig Templates and Engine is now available for download now via:
AutoConfig Update 4 screenshot: Screenshot of download page for E-Business Suite Release 12's AutoConfig R12 TXK.A.Delta.4 Patchset (Patch 6329757)

This patchset is cumulative and includes all previous R12 AutoConfig updates such as TXK.A.Delta.3 (patch number 6077487) released with the Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.0.3 Release Update Pack.

TXK.A.Delta.4 can be applied standalone on top of base R12.0 or any of the later R12 Release Updates (12.0.1, 12.0.2, 12.0.3). This patchset is also included in:
If you have already applied either of the two 12.0.4 updates listed above, you don't need to apply this AutoConfig patch separately.  On the other hand, if you're looking for the latest AutoConfig templates and don't wish to apply the larger 12.0.4-related updates, this is a smaller and more granular alternative.

This Patchset contains fixes required for support of some of the upcoming Application Server and Database patchset certifications with E-Business Suite R12.  For more details, refer to the README of the Patchset.

Tuesday Dec 11, 2007

Performance Tuning for the E-Business Suite

It's said that death and taxes are the only certainties.  I beg to differ.  There's at least one other for IT professionals:  regardless of the amount of network bandwidth you've dedicated to E-Business Suite traffic, no matter how many application servers you have in your load-balancing pool, no matter the turbocharged fire-breathing database server you've got in your data center, it's inevitable that your users will complain about performance. 

Apps DB Console Screenshot: Screenshot of E-Business Suite Database Console showing Host queues,Waiting and Working Sessions, Instance Throughput, and other performance metrics

In my promised but much-belated recap of OpenWorld 2007 highlights for Apps DBAs, here's a presentation from Isam Alyousfi and Lester Gutierrez that you much check out:
Isam and Lester are key members of our Oracle Applications Performance Group -- the same group that publishes all of the official Oracle Apps benchmarks, white papers, and performance metrics.

In this sprawling presentation, they cover the following topics:
  •  E-Business Suite Architecture and techstack from a performance perspective
  • Tuning the Applications Tier, including:
    • Forms & Reports tracing and tuning
    • Concurrent Manager tracing and tuning
    • PL/SQL Profiler usage and tips
    • Apache JServ/OC4J optimization and configuration tips
    • How to debug Java memory and connection leaks
    • OA Framework tracing
    • AOL/J Connection Pool monitoring
    • Discoverer tuning
  • Tuning the Database Tier, including:
    • I/O considerations
    • Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) data interpretation
    • Use of the DB Console
    • How to gather and interpret statistics
    • Use of the Applications Tablespace Migration Utility
    • 10g DB upgrades from a performance perspective
  • Client and Network Tuning, including:
    • Memory usage and profiles for Apps 11i and R12
    • Network performance and bandwidth considerations
  • Application Tuning, including specific tips for:
    • Workflow
    • Order Management
    • Payroll
    • Financials
    • TCA/DQM
    • Logging
    • Profile usage
    • Purging and archiving
  • And much, much more
This presentation is chock full of tips, pointers, and hard-won knowledge.  It represents the distillation of countless performance-related Service Requests and customer escalations.  If you're grappling with performance issues in your environment, or simply trying to squeeze more performance out of existing hardware, I'd strongly recommend downloading this presentation.

Related

Friday Oct 12, 2007

Latest Apps 11i Techstack (ATG RUP 6) Now Available

Here's another big release this week:  the latest Family Pack H Rollup 6 for the E-Business Suite Release 11i technology stack is now available for download from Metalink.

ATG RUP 6 download page screenshot: Screenshot of download page for patch 5903765 (technology stack update) for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i

The official name for this patch is:
In other words, this is the sixth consolidated rollup of patches released on top of 11i.ATG_PF.H.  For the Oracryptoanalysts out there who like to track nomenclature variants of these things, this patch is also referred to as the Applications Technology Group (ATG) Family Pack H Rollup 6. 

This Rollup patch is a collection of technology-stack patches that can safely be applied on top of the ATG Family Pack H. This Rollup patch is cumulative:  all previous patches released for Family Pack H since the initial 11.5.10 release, including Rollup 5, are included in this latest patch.  Rollup 5 is superceded by this latest Rollup.

Why Is This Rollup Important?

As with the previous ATG Rollup 5, we've spent a huge amount of effort both within the Applications Technology Group and across the entire Applications Suite to test and certify this Rollup patch.

Our focus for this latest Rollup has been to consolidate all known safe defect fixes, performance improvements and security enhancements into one well integrated and fully certified update.  We also focused on eliminating as many "co-requisite" patches as possible (application product patches required to interoperate with new ATG Rollups), by working to restore backward compatibility with earlier application levels wherever possible.

Our standing recommendation is that all customers should make plans to move to Rollup 6 as quickly as possible, especially any customers who are not already at ATG Rollup 5.

Changes and Fixes in Rollup 6

Oracle Applications Technology 11i.ATG_PF.H.delta.6 (RUP6) contains Oracle Applications Technology (ATG) security fixes for core ATG products from the January 2005 Critical Patch Update (CPUJan2005) through the July 2007 Critical Patch Update (CPUJul2007).

The following core ATG products are included in 11i.ATG_PF.H.delta.6: FND, OAM, OWF, FWK, JTT, JTA, TXK, XDO, ECX, EC, AK, ALR, UMX, BNE, and FRM.

ATG Family Pack H Rollup 6 (11i.ATG_PF.H RUP 6, Patch 5903765) includes a range of new features and bug fixes for:
  • Oracle Applications Framework (OAF)
  • Oracle Application Object Library (AOL)
  • AutoConfig
  • Oracle Workflow
Prerequisites

Oracle Applications Technology ATG_PF.H RUP6 can be applied only to an existing Oracle Applications Release 11i system running Oracle Applications Technology Family Pack 11i.ATG_PF.H, which is included in Oracle Applications Release 11.5.10. If you don't already have a running Release 11.5.10 system, then you must first install the Oracle E-Business Suite 11.5.10 or patch up to Applications Technology Family Pack 11i.ATG_PF.H.

Special Advisory for Single Sign-On 10g Users

The SSO 10g Integration patch for Rollup 6 (Patch 6117031) has been released concurrently with this patch.  It is available immediately for download.  Details about upgrading your SSO-integrated environment to use this patch can be found in the latest version of Metalink Note 233436.1.

Related

Thursday Sep 20, 2007

Java Caching for Oracle Applications 11i: Part 2

In my previous article "Java Caching for Oracle Applications 11i: Part 1" I talked about the basics of Java Caching and how it works conceptually.   


mzJavaD1:


My original intention with "Part 2" was to discuss how to diagnose issues with Java Caching, but I got a bit carried away with scripts and the like so ended up creating some Metalink notes instead. 

Diagnosing Database Invalidation Issues

Here's the first one:




As it says on the tin, this note covers diagnosing issues with Database Invalidation.   The classic symptoms being that when Responsibilities are added to a user, they are not appearing immediately (but do after Apache is bounced).


Although the scripts are listed in the note, you can also download a soft copy via the link mentioned in the note.

Diagnosing Issues with Responsibility Assignments

This issue is not actually a Java Caching problem, but the symptoms initially look similar to those described above.  The key difference here is that the affected responsibilities still do not appear after Apache is bounced.  For details, see:




More on NoClassDefFoundErrors

This one seems to be a bit of a "phantom illness" as I have seen two or three customers hit this issue, but after following the Action Plan in the note the problem is not reproducible anymore.   Even more bizarrely, after reverting the changes introduced by the Action Plan, the problem doesn't come back!    This one has piqued my interest, so if anyone out there has the same symptoms and can still reproduce the problem after reading the following note, then I would be happy for you to email me your SR number.


Hopefully you will find these notes useful towards understanding and diagnosing any Java Cache issues you find yourself facing.

Related

Understanding JDBC Connections From the eBusiness Middle Tier

 

In this article I will describe the basics of configuring and monitoring JDBC connections between the eBusiness Web Tier and the Database, then cover some common issues to help identify root causes for both Release 11i and Release 12 of eBusiness Suite.


11i Architecture:


Brief overview


In general, whenever a functional page requires data from the database, it makes a call to a lower code level (the Java layer in the Application Object Library, also known as AOL/J) which handles the database connectivity.  The AOL/J code provides a JDBC connections to the database through the Database Connection Pool.


You should note that the Java Connection Pool mechanism for eBiz is completely provided by eBiz code and does not use the mechanisms provided to pool connections through Java language directly, nor through the Application Server configuration.


Configuring JDBC connection pooling


The JDBC connection pool is created using the settings in the DBC file. The name, location and contents of this DBC file is controlled through AutoConfig. To modify any of the JDBC connection pool parameters, you should therefore use the techniques described in the following document to ensure changes are maintained in a supportable and consistent way:



The "s_dbc_file_name" variable in the CONTEXT.xml file provides the dbc filename and is located in the $FND_TOP/admin/< INSTANCE>_<HOST> directory.


JDBC connection pool parameters and their use are covered in the following documents:



When considering any changes, you should also take into account that every JVM has its own JDBC connection pool. For example, if you have one Web Node with three OACoreGroup JVMs plus one XmlSvcsGrp JVM configured, then you will have a total of four JDBC connection pools with connections to your eBiz database


Monitoring the JDBC connection pool


It is always a good idea to understand how your environment looks when things are going well, to give you a baseline to compare against if you need to investigate any issues. 


You will most certainly need to review the JDBC connection data if you are experiencing issues.



Monitoring JDBC Connections through Oracle Applications Manager (OAM)

Login to OAM directly or via the "System Administration" responsibility.


  1. Select the "JServ Usage" under the Monitoring section in OAM
  2. Click the "Expand all" link to list the Servers and all the JServ processes for OACoregroup.  This shows memory usage, connections (including "Potentially Leaked") and Application Module information.  You can click the "Add to support cart" to capture this page if Oracle Support are assisting your investigation.
  3. If there are any non zero values for "Potentially Leaked" then click on this number to drill down into the details
  4. Select "Yes" for the "Filter by Potentially Leaked" option and click "Go" button
  5. Click "Show all details" to display the Java Thread dump for all the potentially leaks Java connections

mz_jdbc_oam:


The "old" way of gathering this data was to use the URL http://host.domain:port/OA_HTML/jsp/fnd/AoljDbcPoolStatus.jsp but this will only give data for the one JVM you happen to connect to, so may not be so useful in multi-JVM environments.


Run SQL scripts to monitor database connections


Using SQL scripts will not give so much information as OAM, but can be used to provide useful summary information on a periodic basis. For example you may wish to include the information from the SQL below as part of your baseline data:


REM
REM START OF SQL
REM
REM Connections by machine and instance
select s.machine, s.username, s.module, s.inst_id, count(*) how_many
from (select distinct PROGRAM, PADDR, machine, username, module, inst_id from gV$SESSION) s,
 gv$process p
where s.paddr = p.addr
and p.inst_id = s.inst_id
group by s.machine,s.username, s.module, s.inst_id
/
REM
REM END OF SQL
REM


NOTE - when looking at V$SESSION, the STATUS of JDBC connections tend to show as INACTIVE, this is normal and does not indicate a specific problem


Where Could It Go Wrong?


Issues with the JDBC connection pool tend to be of a nature whereby the number of database connections increase over time and do not seem to be released again. If this continues unchecked, then you may find the database will run out of sessions/processes and/or the Middle Tier JVM will run out of connections or memory.


A "quick fix" would normally be to restart Apache, but the underlying cause would need to be investigated further.


Issues can potentially occur at five different levels:



  1. Core Java Code
  2. AOL/J JDBC Code
  3. OA Framework
  4. Functional Code
  5. External Influences

I'll discuss each of these areas next.



Core Java code


Although eBiz does not use native Java connection pooling methods, we do rely on the underlying Java APIs generally.   Any issues at this level will generally require the latest Java version to be installed


If you need to upgrade your Java version, see:



AOL/J JDBC code


As this is the code that handles JDBC connection, it is often the first area to be blamed, but the JDBC connection pool can only drop database connections where the calling application has released the JDBC connection it holds in the pool, so it often turns out to be an issue higher up the code stack.


Number of JDBC connections increase after ATG Rup 5 because jdbc parameters are lower case (Metalink Note 459072.1) describes a known issue with Apps 11i.


It is prudent to be on the latest JDBC driver patch, but should have at least applied one of the following patches:-



The latest JDBC patch can be found in:



You should note that the JDBC driver version has no relation to the Database version, as it is installed on the eBiz Middle Tier.    For example, the latest version of JDBC drivers provided by patch 4899697 (9.2.0.8) is the same patch for all RDBMS versions.


OA Framework (OAF)


OA Framework calls AOL/J when it needs a database connection, and it is up to OAF to release any such connection when it has finished with it. There is an added complexity, in that OAF also has its own pooling mechanism for the OAF Pages, which is the "Application Module pool" (AM pool).  This means that although a user may have finished with a page, the page and its associated database connection are retained for a period of time.


The AM pool is controlled by profile options, which are described in :-



Issues at this code level would tend to be either:



1. Issue with AM Pooling


You can test the effect of disabling AM pooling by setting the profile option "FND: Application Module Pool Enabled" to "No".  Use this technique with caution if considering this for a production environment.


2. Specific bug where database connection is not released.


This would generally require patching.


Functional Code


Issues at this code level would tend to be a specific bug where a connection is not released.


External influences


Firewall timeouts are known to potentially cause an issue for JDBC connections.  For details, see:



Although this note is for Apps 11i, the technical issue can also apply to Release 12 as well


Configuring eBiz to minimize JDBC connections


If investigating issues with JDBC connections increasing, it may be useful to minimise the database connections as much as possible by de-tuning the JDBC pool. This may reduce end user performance, so should be used with caution if considering this for a production environment.


To do so, you need to do both these steps:



1. Disable Application Module (AM) Pooling


This is necessary as the AM objects hold a JDBC connection whilst they are alive, even if they are not currently used.


Set the profile option "FND: Application Module Pool Enabled" (AMPOOL_ENABLED) at SITE level to a value of "No"

2. Set the JDBC connection pool parameters to release connections:


    FND_JDBC_BUFFER_DECAY_INTERVAL=180
    FND_JDBC_BUFFER_MIN=0
    FND_JDBC_BUFFER_MAX=0
    FND_JDBC_BUFFER_DECAY_SIZE=50


Conclusion


Identifying issues with JDBC connections can sometimes be a frustrating process, as the investigations may need to consider multiple failure points and complex architectures. I hope this article has given you a better understanding of JDBC Pooling and where to start looking for issues.


References



Related


Friday Sep 07, 2007

Java SE 6 Certified With Release 11i

[Jan 28, 2008 Update:  Added IBM AIX and HP-UX PA-RISC to the list of certified platforms]

Out with the old, in with the new.  I'm very pleased to announce that the E-Business Suite Release 11i is now certified with Sun Java SE 6 for use on application tier servers.

Sun Java SE Download page screenshot: Screenshot of Sun Java SE download page

A Rose by Any Other Name

Before getting into the details about this new certification, it's unavoidable that I spend some time on terminology.  Apparently, the latest iteration of the full name of this product family delivered by Sun Microsystems is:
  • Sun Java Platform, Standard Edition 6
  • Short form:  Java SE 6
The full name of the specific product within this family that we require for E-Business Suite application tier servers is:
  • Java Standard Edition Development Kit 6
  • Short form:  JDK 6
This release version is called JDK 6, 1.6, or 1.6.0.  All three version numbers are equivalent to each other.  When the base release is updated, the version number looks like one of the following (which are all equivalent): 
  • JDK 6 Update 2
  • JDK 6u2
  • 1.6.0_2
The previous release was Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition 5.0, with the short form being J2SE 5.0Other related terms equated over the years with this product family are Java SE Development Kit (JDK), and Java 2 Enterprise Edition Software Development Kit (J2SDK). 

For simplicity, for the remainder of this article (and in our official certification documentation), we'll use the term JDK 6.

What's Newly Certified?

Sun JDK 6u2 (1.6.0_2) is certified for use on application tiers for:
  • E-Business Suite Release 11.5.10.CU2 with ATG_PF.H RUP 5 or higher
  • E-Business Suite Release 11.5.9.CU2 with ATG_PF.H RUP 5 or higher
Supported Platforms
  • Sun Solaris (SPARC) 8, 9, and 10
  • Linux:
    • SLES-9
    • SLES-8
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS/ES 4
    • Red Hat Enterprise AS/ES 3
    • Red Hat Enterprise AS/ES 2.1
  • Microsoft Windows 2003 (x86)
  • IBM AIX
  • HP-UX PA-RISC
Note:  HP-UX PA-RISC and IBM AIX are pending the release of JDK 6 Update 2 by those operating system vendors.  I'll post updates on these remaining platforms here as soon as they're available.

Why Bother Upgrading?

JDK 1.3 has since passed its end-of-life threshold, so if you're still on that release, I'd strongly recommend upgrading to one of the supported versions:  1.4, 5 (1.5), or 6.

If you're still running on JDK 1.4 and are having trouble with JVM performance, I'd strongly recommend upgrading to either JDK 5 or 6.  These latest two releases offer dramatically improved JVM monitoring and tuning tools not available in previous releases.

Upgrade Documentation

Full details for upgrading your E-Business Suite Release 11i environment to JDK 6 can be found here:
Related

Tuesday Sep 04, 2007

Using Forms + Reports 10g Builders with Release 12

[Oct 19, 2007 Update:  A bug prevented the execution of any Oracle Reports on 10.1.2.2 on the IBM AIX platform.  Patch 6341158 has been released to resolve this issue]

Good things always seem to happen while I'm out of the office.  This may be a good incentive for me to spend more time on vacation (even though my groaning inbox begs to differ).

Expenses R12 Screenshot:

While I was out, a new Note was published externally:
The newly-published Note 444248.1 provides the rest of the picture outlined in this companion document:
How Do These Notes Relate?

We now have a complementary set of documents.  Once you've upgraded your E-Business Suite Release 12 environment with the latest version of Forms & Reports 10g using Note 437878.1, you can configure your development environment using the guidelines and procedures in the newly-published Note 444248.1.

The latter Note is full of tips on:
  • Running the Forms 10g Builder
  • Running the Reports 10g Builder
  • Setting up an R12 environment with a separated Developer Suite 10.1.2 instance
  • Compiling forms and reports

Related

Monday Aug 13, 2007

Upgrading Release 12 to Forms 10.1.2.2

I'm pleased to announce that you can now upgrade your Release 12 environments to use the latest version of Forms & Reports 10g.  This caps off a string of recent new certifications, including Single Sign-On 10.1.4.0.1, Portal 10.1.4.1, and Web Cache 10.1.2.2.

Expenses R12 Screenshot:

This update allows Release 12 users to take advantage of the latest stability, performance, and security updates in the latest Forms & Reports 10g 10.1.2.2 release. 

Supported Platforms
  • Linux x86-32
  • Linux x86-64
  • Sun Sparc Solaris
  • HP-UX PARisc
  • HP-UX Itanium
  • IBM AIX
  • Microsoft Windows 2003
For More Information
Related


Sunday Aug 12, 2007

WebCache 10g (10.1.2.2) Certified with Apps 11i and 12

Oracle Web Cache 10g (10.1.2.2) is now certified with E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12.  E-Business Suite administrators may use the latest version of Oracle Web Cache 10.1.2.2 to provide caching, reverse-proxy, and failover and surge protection for their environments.

E-Business Suite WebCache: Diagram showing Oracle Web Cache in front of an E-Business Suite environment

Supported Configurations

Release 11i
  • E-Business Suite 11.5.9 or higher
  • Web Cache 10g 10.1.2.2
Release 12
  • E-Business Suite 12.0.0 or higher
  • Web Cache 10g 10.1.2.2

Upgrading to Web Cache 10.1.2.2

E-Business Suite users can upgrade to the latest version by installing Oracle Application Server 10g 10.1.2.0.2, and then applying the Oracle Application Server 10g Release 2 Patch Set 2 (10.1.2.2).

For More Information
Related

Tuesday Aug 07, 2007

New AutoConfig Rollup Patch Q Now Available

The latest AutoConfig Rollup Patch Q (Patch 5985992) is now released and is generally available for download from Oracle Metalink.

AutoConfig Flowchart 3:

The official name for this patch is:
This Rollup patch is cumulative:  it includes all E-Business Suite technology stack configuration fixes that we've previously released either individually or in patchsets such as AutoConfig Rollup Patch P (Mar/Apr 2007, Patch 5759055).

This Rollup includes a large number of enhancements and fixes, including the following:
  • A new s_startServers context variable, used to customize the number of child processes created by Oracle HTTP Server on startup
  • Apache access_log now logs the amount of time taken by Oracle HTTP Server to serve
  • Enhancement allowing the use of the JConsole tool to locally monitor Apps 11i JVMs.  This feature is backported from Release 12.  You can find out more on enabling remote monitoring in this blog article.
  • Enhancements to the URL Firewall to allow iPayment servlet access for customers deploying the Oracle Lease Management (OKL) product as an external application.
  • Context file customizations from Oracle Application Manager (OAM) are now reported by the adchkcfg utility
  • Fixes for the Inventory Utility Report
  • TXK Pre-patch Check Utility reports all database nodes in RAC setups
  • During the execution of AutoConfig, the log file path will be printed at the beginning instead the end of the AutoConfig run.
  • Enabled context variable s_discostatus on Windows
  • Unset the environment variable LD_ASSUME_KERNEL for SLES10 or higher
  • Enabled adbldxml.pl to run on Solaris SPARC 64bit.
  • Enhancement to log files (stderr and stdout) to include JVM startup timestamps
  • Several changes to improve autoconfig performance
  • Corrected the issue of having to disable Discoverer 4i each time AutoConfig was run on Windows. Now the default setting for Discoverer 4i is set to disable.
  • Removed unwanted parameters from init.ora template to enhance performance of Release 11i with the 10gR2 database
  • Fixed bug in Autoconfig to run the job afcpgsm without errors.
  • Enabled AutoConfig to run in parallel on multiple middle tiers with Jserv load balancing enabled
For more details about this patch's contents, see the README.

Related

Friday Aug 03, 2007

End of Premier Support for Portal and Login Server 3.0.9

We deliver new patches and fixes for products while they're covered by Premier Support.  As of July 31, 2007, Premier Support has officially ended for Portal 3.0.9, Login Server 3.0.9, and Oracle Internet Directory 3.0.1 for E-Business Suite customers. 
Portal Upgrade Paths:

In addition, in December 2006 Sun has since desupported JDK 1.3, the prerequisite for Portal and Login Server 3.0.9.  So, there's no putting it off any longer:  it's really time to upgrade now.

Possible Prerequisites for Future ATG Rollups?

If Oracle's desupport of Portal 3.0.9 combined with Sun's desupport of JDK 1.3 aren't sufficient to convince you that it's time to upgrade, here's one more thing to consider:  future ATG Rollups may include dependencies that force existing Portal 3.0.9 users to upgrade to Portal 10g.

We are considering updating our ATG Family Pack Rollup packaging to include the heretofore-separate Single Sign-On 10g integration code.  The latter patch has been released separately for customers interested in integrating their environments with Oracle Application Server 10g. 

If the Single Sign-On 10g integration code is included in a future ATG Family Pack Rollup, say -- strictly hypothetically --ATG RUP 7, then existing Portal 3.0.9 users will have to upgrade to Portal 10g before they can apply the latest ATG Family Pack Rollup. 

It is expected that Release 11i environments using FND_USER-based authentication (instead of Login Server 3.0.9) will be unaffected by this change in packaging.  That is, if you're using FND_USER-based authentication today, you should be able to continue doing so even if the SSO 10g integration code is included in the latest ATG Family Pack Rollup.  But (and this is an important "but") this is subject to our internal validations of this configuration. 

Bottom Line:  Upgrade to Portal 10g Now

Regardless of what transpires with our inchoate changes to future ATG Family Pack Rollups, the following conclusion is inescapable:  if your Apps 11i environment is still on Portal 3.0.9, you should start your upgrade to Portal 10g immediately.

Related

Monday May 21, 2007

Preventing Apps 11i Performance Issues in Four Steps

In my previous article, I talked about what to look for once you have a performance issue with Apps 11i.  In this article, I'll discuss four maintenance activities that you can do proactively to reduce the chances of encountering certain types of performance issues:

  1. Check performance against a baseline
  2. Follow a regular purging schedule
  3. Gather schema statistics regularly
  4. Follow a systematic pinning strategy

mzPerfIssues:


1.  Check Performance Against a Baseline

  • Create a baseline so you can monitor performance in response to changes or over time. For example, you may create 6-10 repeatable short transactions of at least 10 seconds each, which represent common functions and/or areas of particular concern.
  • Always execute this baseline test from the same PC and the same location in order to get consistent results.
  • Rerun the test as part of your normal User Acceptance Testing for any system changes.
  • Review and update your performance baseline as part of any upgrade project.

2.  Follow a Regular Purging Schedule

You need to ensure that any data that needs to be purged is scheduled on a regular basis. The data that can (or should) be purged will vary between different products, so confirm the recommendations for the specific products you are using.  All customers will generally need to schedule purging activities for the FND and Workflow products.


Concurrent Jobs to Purge Data

Most customers will need to schedule these Concurrent Purge processes:

  • Purge Obsolete Workflow Runtime Data (FND)
  • Purge Debug Log and System Alerts (FND)
  • Purge Signon Audit data (FND)
  • Workflow Control Queue Cleanup (FND)
  • Delete Data from Temporary Tables (ICX)
Naturally, your business requirements may be unique; review our purging documentation for suitability and establish your own list of jobs to run.


Workflow Specific Purging Tips

Review the following documents for Workflow-specific tips on purging:
Also keep track of number of rows in underlying Workflow tables to ensure they are not continually increasing, to ensure the data really is being purged

3.  Gather Schema Statistics Regularly


In general, running this monthly to bi-weekly should be sufficient with 10%, unless there is any known data skew. As with any generic suggestion, this would need to be proven for suitability on your own environment. For example, it is more important to run this when your data distribution changes, rather than when the amount of data changes.

If your environment is a 24x7 system, you should pick "N" for "Invalidate Dependent Cursors" to prevent fragmentation of the shared pool

For more details about gathering statistics, see: 4. Follow a Systematic Pinning Strategy

Despite new 10g features making ORA-4031 errors a rare occurrence, it is still recommended to have a pinning strategy, even with Apps 11.5.10 running on 10gR2 databases.

General guidance


  • Monitor X$KSMLRU for candidates to pin (> 4100 bytes)
  • Do not pin more than 20% of the Shared Pool
  • Review your Pinning Strategy for changing business cycle, such as month end or overnight batch runs
  • No need to pin objects used only for batch jobs
  • Also have an "un-pinning" strategy
For more information about pinning in Apps environments, see:


Conclusion

Running regular maintenance tasks and ongoing monitoring are essential activities to ensure that your system is performing to the best of its ability. This article highlights a few of the areas that are sometimes overlooked in Apps DBA schedules.

Related

Tuesday May 08, 2007

New AutoConfig Rollup Patch P Now Available

The latest AutoConfig Rollup Patch P (Patch 5759055) is now available for download from Metalink. 

AutoConfig Flowchart 3:

The official name of this patch is:
This patch is cumulative:  it includes all E-Business Suite technology stack configuration fixes that we've previously released either individually or in patchsets such as AutoConfig Rollup O (the letter "O" and not the number zero). 

This patch is also included in the latest ATG RUP 5 patch.  If you've installed ATG RUP 5, you don't need to install AutoConfig Rollup Patch P separately.

This Rollup includes sixteen enhancements and fixes that affect areas such as:
  • Compatibility with Oracle Fusion Intelligence (running on Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 10.1.3.2)
  • JDK upgrades
  • Technology validation scripts
  • 10gR2 Database configuration (for SGA sizes)
  • IBM AIX and zLinux compatibility
  • Cloning
For more details about this patch's contents, see the README.

Related

Wednesday May 02, 2007

Latest E-Business Suite Technology Stack (ATG RUP 5) Now Available

This is significant news:  the latest Family Pack H Rollup 5 for the E-Business Suite Technology Stack is now available for download from Metalink.  

ATG Family Pack H Rollup 5 screenshot:

The official name for this patch is:
If that's not a big-enough mouthful, it's also referred to as the Applications Technology Group (ATG) Family Pack H Rollup 5. 

This Rollup patch is a collection of technology-stack patches that can safely be applied on top of the ATG Family Pack H. This Rollup patch is cumulative:  all previous patches released for Family Pack H since the initial 11.5.10 release, including Rollup 4, are included in this latest patch.  Rollup 4 is superceded by this latest Rollup.

Why Is This Rollup Important?

Like the previous ATG Rollup 4, we've spent a huge amount of effort both within the Applications Technology Group and across the entire Applications Suite to test and certify this Rollup patch.

Our focus for ATG Rollup 5 has been to consolidate all known safe defect fixes, performance improvements and security enhancements into one well integrated and fully certified update.  We also focused on eliminating as many "co-requisite" patches as possible (application product patches required to interoperate with new ATG Rollups), by working to restore backward compatibility with earlier application levels wherever possible.

We recommend that all customers make plans to move to Rollup 5 as quickly as possible, especially any customers who are not already at ATG Rollup 4.

Changes and Fixes in Rollup 5

ATG Family Pack H Rollup 5 (11i.ATG_PF.H RUP 5, Patch 5473858) includes a range of new features and bug fixes for:
  • Oracle Applications Framework (OAF)
  • Oracle Report Manager
  • Oracle Web Applications Desktop Integrator
  • Oracle Workflow
  • Oracle Alert
  • AutoConfig (includes TXK Rollup Patch P)
  • Configuration changes for the Oracle Database
  • Configuration changes for Oracle9i Application Server
  • Cloning
  • XML Publisher version 5.6.3
Prerequisites

Oracle Applications Technology ATG_PF.H RUP5 can be applied only to an existing Oracle Applications Release 11i system running Oracle Applications Technology Family Pack 11i.ATG_PF.H, which is included in Oracle Applications Release 11.5.10. If you don't already have a running Release 11.5.10 system, then you must first install the Oracle E-Business Suite 11.5.10 or patch up to Applications Technology Family Pack 11i.ATG_PF.H.

Special Advisory for Single Sign-On 10g Users

The SSO 10g Integration patch for Rollup 5 (Build 5.0, Patch 5674941) has been released concurrently with this patch.  It is available immediately for download.  Details about upgrading your SSO-integrated environment to use this patch can be found in the latest version of Metalink Note 233436.1.

Related

Friday Mar 16, 2007

Upgrading Oracle HTTP Server for Release 11i

The Oracle HTTP Server (OHS) 1.0.2.2 is based on Apache with Oracle mods, and serves as the web listener for the E-Business Suite Release 11i.  I suspect that one our best kept techstack secrets is that Oracle HTTP Server used in Apps 11i can -- and should -- be upgraded to the latest version available. 


11i Architecture:

We periodically release new versions of OHS to address performance, stability, and security issues.  These new versions are released in "rollup" patches and are certified with a minimum level of the ATG Family pack.  These rollup patches also include fixes for the Database Client, Mod_Plsql, and WebCache.

The latest patch available is Rollup 5, which can be downloaded via patch 4393827.  This patch can be used with TXK (FND) AUTOCONFIG TEMPLATE ROLLUP PATCH K (July 2005) Patch 4104924 and higher.  This rollup contains a large number of important fixes, too many fixes to list here comprehensively.  Here's an excerpt from the README:
  • 4393898 - SECURITY BUGS FIXED IN
    CPUJUL2005
  • 4199473 - SECURITY BUGS FIXED IN CPUAPR2005
  • 4049349 - SECURITY BUGS FIXED IN CPUJAN2005
  • 3811838 - SECURITY BUGS FIXED IN ALERT 68

  • 2169002 - HTTP 1.1 SUPPORT IN MOD_PROXY
  • 3267065 - SSL FAILS WITH SSLPROTOCOL WHEN ROLLUP4 APPLIED
  • 3351007 - ENABLING ROTATE LOGS INTERMITANTLY DELAYS SHUTDOWN
  • 3501964 - ALLOW EVENT.OCCURRED() TO NOT BE CALLED FROM SESSION.GETVALUE() IN
    APACHEJSERV
  • 3698788 - PROXY_HTTP.C CHANGES FOR SITEMINDER REVERSE PROXY SOLUTION
  • 3840903 - APPS:URL'S REWRITTEN WITH REWRITE NOT WORKING  ON NT (SAME RULES
    WORK ON UNIX)
  • 3477543 - SCRIPT_NAME AND PATH_INFO CANNOT HANDLE 0X5C IN THE URL

  • 3197147   - JVM CRASHES ON AN E-BIZ 11.5.9 ENVIRONMENT CONFIGURED TO
    USE SSL

  • 3889519   - UPLOAD IN SSL DOES NOT WORK WITH IE AFTER SECALERT 68 OR
    DB PATCH 9015
  • 2363247   - UNNECESSARY BITMAP PATH GENERATION AND BITMAP MEM
    ALLOCATION
  • 2379325   - WRONG COST CALCULATED AT KPRCDT
  • 2410612   - CONVENTIONAL EXPORT HAS WRONG DATA ON IMPORT
  • 2528524   - CLEAR TEXT PASSWORDS IN TRACE FILE
This patch is highly recommended for all E-Business Suite Release 11i customers.  Judging from the download statistics for this patch, it's likely that you don't have the latest release in your environment.  Given the inclusion of security-related fixes in this patch, I'd urge you to schedule an upgrade to this version at your earliest convenience.

For more details about Oracle HTTP Server rollup certifications with the E-Business Suite, see:
Related

Wednesday Mar 07, 2007

Getting Started with the Release 11i Technology Stack

Regular readers of this blog might speculate that I spend a lot of time either working on or reading our seemingly-vast array of Metalink Notes and the E-Business Suite documentation library for various Apps techstack configurations.  That's not too far from the truth, actually, given the volume of email inquiries that I handle every day. 


11i Architecture:

Who Needs to Ask For Directions?  We've Got a Roadmap

If you have Apps techstack questions, assuming that you don't have the same amount of time to wade through our massive library, I strongly recommend taking a look at the following key Apps 11i technology stack documents.  Two of these documents have received major updates in the last few weeks.  The first is:
The Documentation Roadmap has been expanded to include over fifty new references to the key Metalink Notes from the Applications Technology Group:
  • Installation and Configuration 
    • AutoConfig, Cloning, Daylight Saving Time
  • Database and High Availability
    • Database initialization parameters, Real Application Clusters (RAC), Automated Storage Management (ASM), Export/Import, Interoperability, Split Configurations)
  • Application Server
    • Shared Filesystems, Staged Filesystems, Patching Best Practices, Forms Servlet, Developer6i, External Oracle Application Server 10g integrations with Single Sign-On, Oracle Internet Directory, Portal, Discoverer, Web Cache
  • Java
    • JDK and Jinitiator Upgrades, Recommended Browsers
  • Security
    • Security Best Practices, Demilitarized Zones (DMZ), SSL, Oracle Label Security, SQL*NET traffic encryption, Transparent Data Encryption (TDE)
Any Lingering Questions?

If you're looking for a couple of good FAQs for 11i, I'd recommend starting with the following two documents.  In particular, the Application Server FAQ has recently undergone a major review:
Related
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