Tuesday Apr 29, 2008

Implications of OracleAS Support Policies for Apps R12 Environments

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 was built with the latest Oracle Application Server components available at the time of its release.

mzr12tech:


Whilst this is a good thing, it does mean that Apps DBAs need to be more aware of what is going on in the Oracle Application Server 10g (AS10g) world with regards to the latter's support policies.

Evaluating Impacts on the Release 12 10.1.3 ORACLE_HOME


One example of the importance of this concept is a notice in the January 2008 Critical Patch Update (CPU):

Some customers may have missed or not realized the significance for E-Business Suite environments.  It states:-

CPUJan2008 is the terminal CPU for: 10.1.3.0 Oracle Application Server


This means that in order to be able to apply all April 2008 CPU patches to E-Business Suite R12 environments, you MUST upgrade to AS 10.1.3.3.0 as described in :



Just to clarify: Oracle Application Server 10g 10.1.3.0.0 will continue to be supported for E-Business Suite Release 12 customers. However, the latest April 2008 Critical Patch Updates are not available for Oracle Application Server 10g 10.1.3.0.0.  Given my recommendation to always apply the latest CPU patches, I suggest that you upgrade your E-Business Suite Release 12 environment to Oracle Application Server 10g 10.1.3.3 if you have not done so already.

Evaluating Impacts on the Release 12 10.1.2 ORACLE_HOME


The same situation applies to the 10.1.2 ORACLE_HOMEs as well.  "Critical Patch Update April 2008 Availability Information for Oracle Database and Fusion Middleware Products" (Metalink Note 552248.1) states:



... the terminal CPU for 10.1.2.2 is scheduled for CPUJan2009


The direct implication is that eBiz customers will likely need to upgrade their 10.1.2 ORACLE_HOMEs by April 2009 to keep up-to-date with Critical Patch Updates.


Taking Time Out to Study the Documentation


Keeping your environments up to date with the latest Critical Patch Updates is an essential part of an Apps DBAs role, so it is important to take some "quiet time" in your busy schedule to carefully read through the CPU patch documentation when planning your patch rollout.  (I sometimes find myself sitting in the restaurant with a coffee if I need to read through a load of documents; the boss sometimes pays for the coffee as well!)   Whilst we do try to make the documentation as easy and concise as possible, I am sure you will let us know how it can be improved if you find it lacking.

References


Related Articles


Wednesday Apr 16, 2008

New Support Changes for Apps 11.5.9 and 11.5.10

[Apr 28, 2008 Update:  There are now separate Lifetime Support documents for Oracle Applications and Oracle Technology Products.  The former has been updated with the new information below.]

Chuck Phillips announced two important changes to the support windows for E-Business Suite 11.5.9 and 11.5.10 at the OAUG Collaborate conference in Denver this week.

What's Changed for 11.5.10 Support?

Premier Support for 11.5.10 is being extended by one year from November 2009 to November 2010. Extended Support for 11i10 will begin in December 2010 and end November 2013. 11i10 will move to Sustaining Support in December 2013.

What's Changed for 11.5.9 Support?

Premier Support for 11.5.9 still officially ends in June 2008.  However, the first year of Sustaining Support for 11.5.9 will include resolution of priority one technical assistant requests. 11.5.9 users in the U.S. will also receive 1099 support for the first year of Sustaining Support.

What Are Premier and Sustaining Support?

Each support category covers different things.  Here's the latest published summary table as of today:

Types of Oracle Support: Table showing types of support available for each Lifetime Support category, including definitions for Premier Support, Extended Support, and Sustaining Support

A Word of Advice

I understand that these changes were made in response to customer feedback provided through the OAUG Support Council. The driving force behind the request was for customers to have more time to plan for their upgrades. 

As such, although you have more breathing space now, the clock is on -- particularly for 11.5.9 users.  If you're still on that release, it's time to start considering your upgrade strategy as soon as possible.

References
Related Articles

Wednesday Feb 27, 2008

JInitiator 1.3 To Be Desupported for Apps 11i in July 2009

With the onward march of progress, I would like to draw your attention to the newly-published Obsolescence notice for JInitiator 1.3 for E-Business Suite 11i (Metalink Note 552692.1).


mzFormsArch:


As of July 31, 2009 Error Correction Support for JInitiator 1.3 will end.  In other words, the Oracle Forms group will no longer issue bug fixes via new versions of JInitiator 1.3.x as of July 31, 2009.


What Do You Do Now?


You need to start the upgrade process for your end-users' desktops to the native Sun Java plug-in as soon as possible.  This extract from note 552692.1 sums it up well by stating :-



All E-Business Suite customers using Oracle Jinitiator 1.3.x need to upgrade to the Sun JRE (Native Plug-in). Oracle highly recommends that EBS customers upgrade to the latest certified version of the Sun plug-in by following Metalink document 290807.1, "Upgrading Sun JRE(Native Plug-in) with Oracle Applications 11i"


Why Choose the Native Sun JRE Over JInitiator?

Nearly every business desktop has multiple Java clients installed.  These Java clients often clash; see this article for a more in-depth discussion about JRE conflicts.  The main benefit of switching from JInitiator to the native Sun Java plug-in lies in reducing  conflicts between these clients on your desktop.

In addition, Steven's previous blog article elegantly describes the reasons why Oracle is moving to using the native Sun Java plug-in in favour of JInitiator:




Oracle JInitiator was originally released as a licenced version of Sun's Java client back when specific features were required to support Oracle Forms.  This was particularly necessary for E-Business Suite Forms-based functionality, since the E-Business Suite pushed the envelope of what Forms and Java could do collectively from a user interface perspective.


Sun has since incorporated all of the enhancements needed to support Oracle Forms into their native Sun Java plug-in.  As a result, the Oracle JInitiator team is pleased that they can get out of the business of maintaining and repackaging Sun's Java client code. 


Oracle's emphasis from this point forward will be to certify future versions of the Sun Java client with the E-Business Suite.


Related



Friday Dec 21, 2007

JInitiator 1.1.8 To Be Desupported for Apps 11i

Buried deep within the bowels of our often-inscrutable certification database is a newly-published Obsolescence notice for JInitiator 1.1.8 (Metalink Note 472154.1). 

Forms Apps architecture: Logical architecture showing desktop clients running Sun JRE or Oracle JInitiator, connecting via HTTP or HTTPS to Oracle Forms running on the Application Server tier

I know that some of you continue to run JInitiator 1.1.8 with your E-Business Suite Release 11i environments for legacy compatibility reasons.  I'm afraid that the time has come for you to retire JInitiator 1.1.8.  As of December 31, 2008, Error Correction Support for JInitiator 1.1.8 will end.  In other words, the Oracle Forms group will no longer issue bug fixes via new versions of JInitiator 1.1.8.x as of December 31, 2008.

What Do You Do Now?

There are two options.  Option 1 is strongly recommended over Option 2.

Option 1.  Upgrade to the native Sun Java plug-in

The E-Business Suite Release 11i is now certified with the native Sun Java (JRE) plug-in.  See this article for details about the latest certified JRE version. This is the preferred upgrade path for existing JInitiator 1.1.8 users.

Option 2.  Upgrade to JInitiator 1.3

You can choose to upgrade your end-users to the latest certified version of JInitiator 1.3.x.  See this article for details about the latest certified JInitiator version.  This is not the recommended option, though.

Why Choose the native Sun JRE over JInitiator?

Oracle JInitiator was originally released as a licenced version of Sun's Java client back when specific features were required to support Oracle Forms.  This was particularly necessary for E-Business Suite Forms-based functionality, since the E-Business Suite pushed the envelope of what Forms and Java could do collectively from a user interface perspective.

Sun has since incorporated all of the enhancements needed to support Oracle Forms into their native Sun Java plug-in.  As a result, the Oracle JInitiator team is pleased that they can get out of the business of maintaining and repackaging Sun's Java client code. 

Oracle's emphasis from this point forward will be to certify future versions of the Sun Java client with the E-Business Suite.  You will see a similar desupport notice for JInitiator 1.3 coming soon; watch this space for updates on that front.

Therefore, upgrading your end-users to the native Sun JRE directly will be less time-consuming and disruptive than upgrading them first from JInitiator 1.1.8 to 1.3, and then upgrading them later to the native Sun Java client. 

Related

Friday Dec 07, 2007

Replacing JInitiator with Sun Java Plug-in 1.5.0_13

[Oct 24, 2008 Update:  In case you missed it, you may now use any version of the native Sun Java plug-in with the E-Business Suite as long as it meets or exceeds the minimum versions that we've certified.  Also note that we've done an explicit certification with JRE 1.6.0_10 with the E-Business Suite, given that Sun's new Java architecture introduced with that JRE release.]

The native Sun Java Runtime Engine (JRE) 1.5.0_13 is now certified and Generally Available for Windows-based desktop clients accessing E-Business Suite Releases 11i and 12.

Forms Apps architecture: Logical architecture showing desktop clients running Sun JRE or Oracle JInitiator, connecting via HTTP or HTTPS to Oracle Forms running on the Application Server tier

With this certification:
  • E-Business Suite Release 11i users can use Sun's JRE 1.5.0_13 in place of Oracle Jinitator.
  • E-Business Suite Release 12 users can use the same JRE 1.5.0_13 on their desktops

  • Users running the previously-certified JRE 1.5.0_12 to access the E-Business Suite can upgrade their desktop clients to 1.5.0_13
For an overview of why you might be interested in switching your users to the Sun Java plug-in, supported architectures, prerequisites, and other deployment considerations, see:
References

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

Friday May 11, 2007

End of Premier Support for Apps 11.5.7 and 11.5.8

[February 11, 2010 Update: Replaced outdated table with new table showing differences between support levels]

I've previously noted that E-Business Suite sysadmins need to monitor Oracle's Support Coverage windows for different parts of their environments.  Important milestones for the end of Premier Support for 11.5.7 and 11.5.8 are nearing.

Premier Support for the E-Business Suite will end for:
  • 11.5.7 on May 31, 2007
  • 11.5.8 on November 30, 2007.
What Does This Really Mean?

The following document is mandatory reading for all Apps sysadmins: 
It contains specifics about support coverage dates for E-Business Suite releases, Database releases, and Fusion Middleware releases.  It also contains the definitions for critical terms such as Premier Support, Extended Support, and Sustaining Support.

Sustaining Support for these releases starts when Premier Support ends.  Under Sustaining Support, you'll still be able to contact Oracle Support and get help with diagnosing your issues.  You'll still have access to existing patches, workarounds, and Notes.

However, if you discover a new issue -- one that needs a new patch -- then you'll first be advised to upgrade to a release that's still in Premier Support status.   If you run into this situation, by the way, my advice would be to bite the bullet and upgrade all the way to 11.5.10 with Consolidated Update 2 (CU2) or Release 12.  There's no real advantage in upgrading from, say, 11.5.7 to 11.5.9 at this point.

Most importantly, you should remember this:
  • Sustaining Support doesn't include new updates, fixes, security alerts, and critical patch updates.
If you're still on either 11.5.7 or 11.5.8, I fervently hope that none of this is news to you, and that your upgrades are already under way.  Good luck!

Related



Friday May 04, 2007

Understanding J2SE 1.3 End-of-Life Implications for Apps 11i

Sun and Hewlett-Packard have completed their End-of-Life processes for Java 2 SDK Standard Edition (J2SE) 1.3, and IBM will be doing so later this year.  If your E-Business Suite environment is still on that Java release, there are some important support implications that you should consider.

"Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow"

With apologies to the immortal Bard, I know that some of you may feel the same way about parting with J2SE 1.3.  Here are the published End-of-Life dates from three key J2SE vendors:

"End-of-Life" is a Euphemism

All three of the key vendors listed above -- Sun, HP, and IBM -- strongly recommend that you upgrade your environment to their latest supported J2SE release. 

Here's an insider's tip:  software vendors really prefer to avoid terms like "desupport" and "mandatory upgrade" since they conjure up uncomfortable images of shivering customers left out in the cold.  So, they abjure those terms for more-innocuous phrases like "end-of-life" and "strongly recommend." 

However, don't be fooled by the seemingly-innocent nature of those euphemisms.  Wherever you see those phrases anywhere on a vendor's site (including this one), you should really pay attention. 

It's extremely painful and costly to support very old software releases.  For example, here at Oracle, we maintain thousands of E-Business Suite environments.  These environments run on J2SE 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 (5.0), and 1.6 (6.0).  At some point, older environments are decommissioned, making it very difficult for us to validate issues reported on old releases.

At some point, a vendor's ability to reproduce or even investigate issues with obsolete releases dwindles asymptotically to zero.  So, if a vendor strongly encourages you to upgrade, they're dead serious.

Implications for E-Business Suite Release 11i Users

With those basics out of the way, here are the implications if your Apps 11i environment is running on servers with J2SE 1.3:
  1. If you log a Service Request for your environment, Oracle will continue to perform its usual diagnosis, triage, and search through our knowledge base for existing patches and workarounds.   This assistance may be constrained by limited access to a small number of remaining environments running J2SE 1.3.  It is extremely unlikely that we will issue new Apps patches for new compatibility issues identified with the E-Business Suite and J2SE 1.3.
  2. Issues isolated to J2SE 1.3 itself will be referred to your operating system vendor for more assistance.  Depending on your vendor, you may be able to purchase extended support for J2SE 1.3 directly from them.
  3. Issues that can't be reproduced in E-Business Suite environments running on J2SE 1.4 or 1.5 (5.0) will likely result in a recommendation to upgrade to those later releases.
  4. Oracle will continue to support JInitiator 1.3.x for Apps 11i users.  Sun's desupport of J2SE 1.3 doesn't affect Oracle's JInitiator 1.3 support policies.
A Well-Trodden Path

Many Apps 11i customers have already upgraded to J2SE 1.5 (5.0) successfully, and we strongly recommend this release.  This latest release has many significant improvements in memory management, garbage collection, performance optimization, and monitoring and tuning capabilities.  For details on upgrading your E-Business Suite environment to J2SE 1.5 (5.0), see:
Related

Friday Mar 23, 2007

Oracle 9iR2 DB Waiver of First Year Extended Support Fees

I attempted to clarify some of the implications of this year's upcoming change in support status for the 9iR2 database for E-Business Suite customers in a previous article:

If you haven't read that article, I'd recommend digesting that before digging into this one.  To recap briefly, customers on 11.5.9 or 11.5.10 were required to upgrade their databases from 9iR2 to 10gR2 due to the end of 9iR2 Premier Support in July 2007:

Database Support Coverage:

Things have changed since that article was published.  If you're still on the 9iR2 database, there's been an important new development that you should know about:  fees for the first year of extended support for 9iR2 have been waived.  Here are the key points excerpted from Metalink's March 20 announcement about this news:

Oracle9i Database Release 9.2 moves into the Extended Support stage of Lifetime Support effective August 1, 2007... we've waived the first year Extended Support fee for Oracle9i Database Release 9.2. Extended Support for Oracle9i Database Release 9.2 will be available for three years following the expiration of Premier Support.

Oracle9i Database Release 9.2 Extended Support details:
  • Extended Support fee waived for period August 1, 2007 to July 31, 2008.
  • Access to Fixes and Critical Patch Updates (CPUs) during the first year of Extended Support at no additional cost.
  • Patch set 9.2.0.8 will be the last patch set available for Oracle9i Database Release 9.2.
  • Effective August 1, 2007 all CPUs and Fixes will be created against the 9.2.0.8 code line.
For more details about this announcement, log on to Metalink and select the following article in the "News and Notes" section (the link below may not work unless you've logged into Metalink first):
Implications for E-Business Suite Customers

This means that 11.5.9 and 11.5.10 customers can continue to run on the 9iR2 database until July 31, 2008 without paying Extended Support fees.  You'll continue to get new 9iR2 database patches for your E-Business Suite environment during that time.

Note that we're nearing the end of the line for this database version.  9.2.0.8 is expected to be a terminal release.  Therefore, you'll be well-served to use this extra time to plan your upgrade to 10gR2 as soon as possible.

Related

Tuesday Dec 19, 2006

Understanding 9iR2 Support Coverage Implications for Apps 11i

An important area that E-Business Suite systems architects and DBAs need to monitor are Oracle's Support Coverage windows for different parts of their environments.  Even if you do keep track of these things, however, it can be tricky to understand how different support windows relate to each other, and some of the implications might not be immediately obvious.

Critical Reading for Upgrade Planning

Despite its somewhat innocuous and misleading title, the following document contains specifics about support coverage dates for E-Business Suite releases, Database releases, and Fusion Middleware releases.  It also contains the definitions for critical terms such as Premier Support, Extended Support, and Sustaining Support.

This is mandatory reading if you're evaluating upgrade options and schedules for your Apps 11i environment:
Premier Support Coverage Ending in 2007 for 9iR2

Here's the E-Business Suite Release 11i table from that document:

Applications Support Coverage:

And here's the Database table from that document:

Database Support Coverage:

Unraveling This Skein

If you're running your Apps 11.5.9 or 11.5.10 environment on the 9.2 database, you should begin planning your upgrade to the 10gR2 database as soon as possible.  Since that upgrade path is available for your Apps release, Premier Support for the 9.2 database for your environment will end in July 2007, as shown above.

If you're on Apps 11.5.8, it's a little trickier.  As you can see, Premier Support coverage for the 9iR2 (9.2) database and Release 11.5.8 both end in 2007, but at different times:
  • 9.2:  Premier Support ends July 2007
  • 11.5.8:  Premier Support ends November 2007
However, the tricky part is that 11.5.8 users can't upgrade their 9.2 database, since the use of the 10gR2 database requires 11.5.9, at minimum.

In a situation like this, Oracle's general support policy has you covered:  E-Business Suite 11.5.8 users running the 9.2 database will automatically be eligible to receive Premier Support for database issues until November 2007.  However, if you're still on 11.5.8, it may be worthwhile upgrading to 11.5.10 well-before November 2007.

Safest Policy:  Staying Current

It might sound obvious, but this underlines our general recommendation to stay current with the latest releases of the E-Business Suite and associated technology stack components.  Users on the latest releases (i.e. Apps 11.5.10 and the 10.2 database) don't have to worry about these kinds of complexities around timing of support coverage windows.

Related

Wednesday Nov 08, 2006

Mod_plsql Not Supported in E-Business Suite Release 12

[July 11, 2008 Update:  Many readers have raised questions about why mod_plsql was removed from Release 12. Others have asked what to do about their mod_plsql-based Apps 11i customizations and extensions when upgrading to R12.

George Buzsaki,our preeminent E-Business Suite architect, has put together an excellent new whitepaper that addresses these topics.  For a pointer to that whitepaper, see this article.]

[June 4, 2008 Update:  It should be stressed that the Oracle E-Business Suite is distinct from Oracle Application Server.  Oracle E-Business Suite Development chooses to use specific Oracle Application Server components in the E-Business Suite technology stack.  These decisions by E-Business Suite Development should not be interpreted to represent the release policies or plans for Oracle Application Server. 

It must be emphasized that Oracle is fully committed to supporting
mod_plsql as part of Oracle Application Server and as part of the Oracle Database distribution into the indefinite future.]

One of my degrees is in psychology -- cognitive science, to be exact -- so it's interesting when that world intersects with my present work in the IT industry.  A landmark text in grief counseling is Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' On Death and Dying, in which she described the general grieving process as proceeding in roughly five stages:
  • Denial and isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
Floyd Teter has astutely pointed out that OpenWorld's news of mod_plsql's demise in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 may trigger this process for some of you.  So, to help you through the first stage of denial, on behalf of the Applications Technology Group, I'll officially reiterate that here:
  • Release 12 will not support the use mod_plsql
Switching to Oracle Application Framework in Release 12

If you're planning on upgrading to R12 and you currently have Release 11i customizations that depend on mod_plsql, you would be well-advised to do the following things immediately:
  1. Inform your management about this upcoming change

  2. Prepare a comprehensive inventory of all of your existing 11i mod_plsql customizations and dependencies

  3. Review R12 capabilities with your business users and stakeholders, to see if your customizations are still needed

  4. If yes, budget time in your R12 upgrade cycle for:
  • A test install of an R12 demonstration environment to support a functional review with your business users, to see if the customizations can be further weeded out by relying on native R12 functionality

  • Training yourself and your developers in the Oracle Application Framework (OAF)

  • Doing the actual conversion from mod_plsql to the OA Framework model
For obvious reasons, the Release 12 Oracle Application Framework documentation is not available publicly yet.  In the meantime, it can't hurt to review the existing OA Framework documentation for Release 11i, which will help you get a general sense of the migration process. 

We plan to release some specific technical guidance on preparing your custom development for R12 soon; watch this space for that announcement.

Related
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 decision.  The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle's products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle. 

Monday Sep 11, 2006

Reminder: Discoverer 4i Desupport in October 2006

Reminder:  the official desupport date for Discoverer 4i for E-Business Suite Release 11i users is at the end of next month -- October, 2006.

Discoverer 10g Portlets Dashboard:

If you haven't already upgraded to Discoverer 10g by now, you should do so immediately.  See the articles below for pointers to the official desupport notice and resources for upgrading your Apps 11i environment to use Discoverer 10g.

Related

Thursday Jul 27, 2006

Login Server and Portal 3.0.9 Desupport... Again

[Aug 3, 2007 Update:  That's it, folks.  Portal 3.0.9 and Login Server 3.0.9 are now officially out of Premier Support.  For a final discussion about this, see this article.]

Three months ago (an eternity in blog years), I noted that Login Server & Portal 3.0.9 will likely be effectively desupported this fall.  To recap:  this will be an unfortunate side-effect of Sun's upcoming release of Java 6 (a.k.a. 1.6), which triggers the desupport of Java 1.3.  Login Server & Portal 3.0.9 are only certified with Java 1.3, so this trumps Oracle's own planned desupport of Login Server & Portal 3.0.9 in July 2007.

Portal Upgrade Paths:

No Last Minute Reprieves

In that original article, I alluded to a slim chance of extending our support window for these elderly products.  Unfortunately, this has turned out to be technically infeasible.

After Sun's desupport of Java 1.3, E-Business Suite customers reporting problems with Login Server & Portal 3.0.9 will be advised to upgrade to the latest certified Portal 10g release.

Bite The Bullet

As you can see from the Portal Upgrade Path flowchart above, getting from Login Server & Portal 3.0.9 to the latest certified release may not be a walk in the park.

If you're running these products in production today, I strongly urge you to begin your upgrade planning to Oracle Application Server 10g, Portal 10g, and Single Sign-On 10g immediately

Related

Friday Jun 02, 2006

Desupport for E-Business Suite 11.5.1 through 11.5.6

The desupport notice for E-Business Suite Releases 11.5.1 through 11.5.6 has been published for about a year now.  Since the sun's at the horizon for these releases, it's worth highlighting the issue here.

July 31, 2006 is the date at which we're no longer going to release patches for Releases 11.5.1 through 11.5.6.  If you're on those releases, our recommendation is that you upgrade to 11.5.10 Consolidated Update #2.

Upgrading Other Techstack Components

An old axiom comes to mind:  "If you don't have time to do it right the first time, you definitely won't have time to do it again." 

This applies to E-Business Suite upgrades as well as life in general.  If you're going to upgrade, you might as well consider the upcoming Discoverer 4i, Login Server 3.0.9, Portal 3.0.9, and Oracle Internet Directory 3.0.1 desupport dates, too. 

Support Terminology Confusion

If you read the official desupport notice below, you'll see references to "Error Correction Support" (ECS) and "Extended Support" (ES). 

If you read Oracle's Lifetime Support website, you'll see references to "Premier Support," "Extended Support," and "Sustaining Support."

I've had a number of well-meaning Support managers try to explain how these concepts map to each other.  Unfortunately, even after multiple rounds I confess that this remains largely impenetrable to me; I just can't seem to digest marketing terms devoid of semantic content.  No matter, there are (thankfully) other people whose jobs it is to explain this. 

If you really desire an explanation, it would be worth asking your Oracle Account Manager to decrypt these terms for you in the context of your current contract.

The Pragmatic View:  New Patches

From a pragmatic perspective, what you need to know is that after July 31, 2006:
  • All E-Business Suite patches will be tested only with 11.5.7 and higher
  • You won't be able to request patch backports to 11.5.1 through 11.5.6
From a systems and risk management perspective, your best and safest bet is to upgrade to the 11.5.10 Consolidated Update #2 as soon as you possibly can.

Reference:

Monday Apr 17, 2006

Login Server and Portal 3.0.9 To Be Effectively Desupported... in Autumn 2006?

[Aug 3, 2007 Update:  That's it,

folks.  Portal 3.0.9 and Login Server 3.0.9 are now officially out of Premier Support.  For a final discussion about this, see this article.]


Continuing on our theme of recent E-Business Suite certifications and upcoming desupport notices, here's one with an unusual wrinkle:

Login Server 3.0.9 and Portal 3.0.9 have been desupported for years for general users, but like Discoverer 4i, E-Business Suite users have had a special exception to this.  This situation is changing:  both Login Server 3.0.9 and Portal 3.0.9 will be desupported for E-Business Suite users in July, 2007.

However, there's something on the horizon that may accelerate that desupport schedule.

Sun is tentatively planning a new release of their Java Standard Edition  (SE) 6; the beta is available now.  Sun's official support policy is that they support their latest three Java releases.  Once Java 6 is released, the latest three Java releases will be Java 6, Java 5, and Java 1.4.

This means that Sun will desupport Java 1.3 as soon as Java 6 is released.

Oracle Login Server 3.0.9 and Portal 3.0.9 require Java 1.3 as a prerequisite.  They have not been certified with later Java releases.  The implication is that Login Server 3.0.9 and Portal 3.0.9 will be effectively desupported as soon as Java 6 is released in Autumn, 2006.

In other words, Sun's desupport policy trumps Oracle's desupport policy.

My team is participating in efforts now to validate whether it is even technically feasible to certify Login Server 3.0.9 and Portal 3.0.9 with a later Java release.  This is a non-trivial task and may not be possible at all.

The safest thing for all E-Business Suite customers is to start planning your upgrades to Single Sign-On 10g and Portal 10g.  These products are bundled as part of Oracle Application Server 10g.  Judging from the experiences of our early adopters of this integration (more on that in future posts), some customers may find this to be a challenging upgrade.

I strongly recommend that you start your Oracle Application Server 10g impact assessment and upgrade planning now

Critical references for this are:

Discoverer 4i To Be Desupported by October, 2006

Discoverer 4i has long been desupported for the general public, but E-Business Suite users have had a special exception for a few years.  That exception is ending this year.


For those of you who haven't upgraded to the latest Discoverer 10g release in your E-Business Suite environments, you should start planning to do so immediately.  Discoverer 4i has entered the final phase in the obsolescence cycle, and will be desupported by the end of October, 2006.

The good news is that there really isn't any reason why you should hesitate to upgrade.  Discoverer 10g is faster, more efficient, and has more analytic features for your end-users. 

For example, Discoverer 4i's automatically-generated SQL statements tended to be very long, and would result in extremely heavy database queries, which in turn would return massive datasets, weighing down your application server.  You probably already know this from reviewing your server logs, and from the number of helpdesk calls from annoyed users whose workbooks are taking hours to run.

The Discoverer 10g release has an automatic SQL trimming feature that intelligently removes unneeded columns.  Depending on the workbook, this can result in significant improvements in the responsiveness of workbook queries, and lighten up your Discoverer and database server load, as well.

For system administrators, there's even more good news:  the upgrade process is extremely straightforward.  When you install Discoverer 10g, it will make a copy of your existing Discoverer 4i End-User Layer and upgrade the copy to 10g.  If you've installed Discoverer 10g on a physically separate server, you can then run both 4i and 10g simultaneously against their respective End-User Layers. 

This means that end-users can compare their workbooks for the two releases side-by-side, which should make User Acceptance Tests a snap.

Here's the official Discoverer 4i Obsolescence Notice (Metalink Note 337576.1).

Here's the documentation on upgrading to Discoverer 10g in your E-Business Suite environment (Metalink Note 313418.1).

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