Friday Feb 01, 2013

Grace Period Increased for Applying (some) Database Patchsets

It's crucial to maintain the database in your E-Business Suite environments by applying the latest database patchsets.  Database patchsets contain important security, performance, and stability updates. As of today, the latest database patchset certified with EBS is 11.2.0.3. We strongly recommend that all EBS customers should be running this patchset now.

Oracle Database release roadmap

Until now, whenever a new database patchset was released, you had up to 12 months to apply it.  This is called the grace period.  No new patches for the previous patchset would be released after that 12 month grace period.

Oracle's Server Technologies group has just increased the grace period for the second and later patchsets to two years.

This is easier to understand with an example:

  • 11.2.0.1 was the major release for the 11gR2 codeline.
  • 11.2.0.2 was the first patchset.  You had 12 months to apply that patchset once it was released.
  • 11.2.0.3 was the second patchset.  You now have 24 months to apply that patchset after its release.

For more information about these database support policies, see:

Related Articles

Thursday Feb 26, 2009

On Apps Tier Patching and Support: A Primer for E-Business Suite Users

The Oracle Server Technologies division issued some important updates to their support policies in the following document:

I discussed the implications of the database-related policy updates for E-Business Suite users in this recently-published article.  It's time to discuss the implications of these policy updates for E-Business Suite application tier servers and externally-integrated Oracle Application Server instances.  This article also discusses the E-Business Suite application tier certification process and the safety of applying interim Fusion Middleware patches to your Apps environments. 

If you've read the previous article about database patching implications, parts of this new article will sound very familiar.  But stick with us; the implications for E-Business Suite application tier servers are subtly different and it's important that EBS sysadmins get the whole picture for both tiers.

[Read More]

Friday Feb 20, 2009

On Database Patching and Support: A Primer for E-Business Suite Users

The Oracle Server Technologies division has issued some important updates to their support policies in the following document:

These changes affect support policies for the database, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Fusion Middleware, and Collaboration Suite.  These changes are important enough to warrant an in-depth discussion about the implications of the database-related updates for E-Business Suite customers.  This article also discusses the E-Business Suite database certification process and the safety of applying interim patches to your Apps environments.  I'll cover the Apps-specific implications for the other technology products in a future article.

[Read More]

Monday Nov 26, 2007

Analyzing Memory vs Performance of Apps 11i and 12 Clients

I've recently published a new Oracle whitepaper that compares combinations of browsers with JInitiator and the native Sun Java plug-in (JRE) to determine which is best for low-specification clients.  It provides specific scenarios and examples showing where there is little difference between low and high specification clients in terms of end-user performance.

This white paper takes a completely different approach from the usual emphasis on tuning Windows clients. Instead, this paper focuses on analyzing the memory requirements for a range of Oracle E-Business Suite Forms and OA Framework (OAF) web-based HTML screens.  I touch on Windows tuning in an appendix.

There are two main concepts in the paper:

Establish your minimum desktop configurations

While the latest and fastest machines will help provide the best performance, the latest technology tends to command a price premium. Budgetary constraints and asset life dictate that the price/performance goal is to balance the return on investment while providing reasonable longevity. The information will help you establish the minimum requirements for a specific price-performance point, and identify a specific configuration that will achieve the throughput necessary to support your business

Extend the life of existing PCs

The second concept concentrated on how to extend the useful life of slow or low-memory PC clients and where upgrading to faster clients would make very little difference meaning that you may have to look elsewhere, such as the network, for a solution.

I Have Fast Clients - Why Do I Care?

If you have what would normally be considered a high-specification machine, you may still encounter memory problems when running several applications simultaneously, so the ideas and concepts will still help.

Do I Need CPU, Memory Or Both?

Microsoft states that adding memory makes a significant difference to Windows performance. This is also true for some Oracle E-Business Suite components. Note that this statement does not mention CPU speed, and therefore it appears that they consider this less significant. In order to answer this question the charts show the difference in performance across a range of clients. The answer is very clear.

Browser Add-ons and plugins

Add-ons and plugins can make a huge difference to the amount of memory needed just by the browser. The following chart from the paper compares the memory profiles of the certified browsers with and without browser add-ons (Adobe Acrobat, Google Toolbar, and Skype). As you can see, even this limited number of additional components can almost double the amount of memory required by the browser. In reality, you will probably have many many more add-ons and plugins that are not necessary for a business environment, and so the paper includes a comprehensive list of components and their relative affect on the browser profile, including for example, browser themes, toolbars, extensions, plug-ins, and helper applications.

Browser Memory Use Comparisons: Bar chart comparing browser add-on memory profiles, including Adobe Acrobat, Google Toolbar, Skype.  Browsers reviewed include Firefox 2, IE 7, IE 6.

After investigating a range of OAF/HTML screens and Oracle Forms, and accepting that there may be some exceptions, the products can be grouped by type as shown in the following chart. Clearly, the amount of data will affect the amount of memory and an example is displaying thousands of tasks on screen simultaneously as in some of the largest Gantt charts.

Memory Consumption All Tests: Comparing Memory Averages by Group for Menus, OAF / HTML, Forms, Gantt Charts for Firefox 2, IE 7, IE 6

Although the memory used by a combination of forms and OAF/HTML screens used in a business flow does not scale linearly, the generalizations shown in this chart can be useful if you can broadly categorize your Oracle E-Business Suite usage by product type for a particular part of your organization..

It is very unlikely that this paper could match the exact combination of forms and screens, client specification, and the specific combination of other software that you use. Instead, general guidelines have been provided that can be applied to your own environment as needed.

What Else Can You Do?

The paper includes some working practices that have been extensively deployed by certain customers that has extended the life of their existing clients. It makes very specific recommendations about the best technology combinations for low specification clients, and clients that run low on resources. It clearly identifies scenarios where a very low specification machine can be deployed usefully and shows others where it is unlikely that the throughput would be sufficient to support the business.

For full details, download the whitepaper here:
Related

Tuesday Sep 05, 2006

XML Publisher and The E-Business Suite

This is a long-overdue pointer to one of the hottest new technologies for the E-Business Suite:  XML Publisher (XMLP), which has been instrumental in changing the way we think about how Apps data can be used by end-users for reports and other business documents.

XML Publisher Workflow:

Into the Hands of End-Users

XML Publisher is interesting in that it allows end-users -- using tools such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat -- to create richly-formatted templates for reports and business documents containing Apps data.

XML data extracts from E-Business Suite concurrent programs are merged with those templates at runtime, generating output in PDF, HTML, RTF, EXCEL (HTML), or even text for use with EFT and EDI transmissions.

Advanced Tools for the Data Center

In addition to the potential of this tool to allow your end-users to create simple reports for themselves, there are advanced options for integration with email systems, faxes, WebDAV, FTP, HTTP, barcodes, and more. 

Those topics are discussed in the excellent XML Publisher Blog, which features technical articles directly from the XML Development team.  Note also that there will be several XMLP-related sessions at OpenWorld this year, which are linked to in this article.

Related

Monday Aug 21, 2006

Performance and Tuning Improvements in 11.5.10

This is a little belated, but better late than never.  In case you haven't noticed, the Applications Technology Group jumped on the podcasting bandwagon last year.  A number of Apps-related podcasts have been recorded, and some of them touch on techstack topics. 


Apps Podcast Screenshot:



Admittedly, many of these are introductory rather than in-depth discussions of technical topics, but that may be useful if you're looking for a quick bite on a particular topic.  Look for podcasts with Cliff Godwin, the Sr. Vice President of the Applications Technology Group  -- these are generally more technical (rather than marketing-oriented) and complement this blog.

Ahmed Alomari, the head of our Applications Performance Group, has recorded an interesting Performance & Tuning podcast on performance improvements in our E-Business Suite.  Ahmed also touches on how Oracle Applications Tablespace Model (OATM) can ease some of the tablespace management requirements and improve runtime performance.  Also, if you're interested in performance monitoring, he quickly discusses tools Java 5 (1.5) monitoring tools, which we've touched on in earlier articles.

He also touches on the benefits of reducing latency by using WebCache compression rules for remote users, our latest purging and archive tools, performance benefits up upgrading to the 10g Database, and the top three tuning tips for optimizing Workflow performance.

Wednesday May 31, 2006

Benchmarking Applications Performance

It's not highly visible, but we have a team within the Applications Technology Group that's dedicated to optimizing the performance of the E-Business Suite.


Benchmark Graph:

This group covers it all:  runtime performance analysis for the database, application and client tiers, as well as performance analysis of our own internal development environments.  At any given time, they can be found analyzing JVM garbage collection parameters, JDBC connection pool logs, network roundtrips and latency, process address space allocations, and other related esoterica.

Interesting trivia: they maintain a comprehensive SQL repository with over 500,000 SQL statements used in a given E-Business Suite release, extracted directly from the source code, and the execution plans of these SQL statements based on volume-testing databases.  E-Business Suite developers use this database to identify potential performance issues with their specific apps products.

Our performance team also works with selected vendors to create standardized (and independently audited) Applications Benchmarks.  As of today, benchmarks are available for 11.5.9 and 11.5.10.  Interesting reading.

Note:  The graph shown above is for the Oracle e-Business Suite eBS Benchmark 11.5.10 using Oracle10g on HP ProLiant and Blade servers.

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