Tuesday Dec 16, 2014

Updated: Using Third-Party Identity Managers with E-Business Suite Release 12

This article is an updated version of two earlier articles: one written for EBS 11i + SSO + OID, and another written for EBS 12 + SSO + OID.  Oracle Single Sign-On has been superceded by Oracle Access Manager (OAM).  This latest article covers the latest options for using EBS Release 12.x (12.0, 12.1, and 12.2) and Oracle Access Manager with third-party authentication systems.

Like most of our customers, you probably already have a corporate identity management system in place. And, you've probably not been enjoying the experience of redundantly administering the same user in your corporate identity management system as well as the E-Business Suite. If this describes your environment, this in-depth article about integrating Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12, Oracle Access Manager, and Oracle Internet Directory with third-party identity management systems will show you a better way of managing your EBS users.

No More Redundant User Administration

It is possible to integrate the E-Business Suite with existing third-party LDAP and single sign-on solutions via Oracle Internet Directory and Oracle Access Manager and Oracle Internet Directory, respectively:

Architecture diagram EBS + Oracle Access Manager + OID + third party ldap

Third-party single sign-on solutions can be integrated with Oracle Access Manager, and third-party LDAP directories can be integrated with Oracle Internet Directory. Oracle Access Manager and Oracle Internet Directory are integrated, in turn, with the E-Business Suite.

Example Scenario: The Deluxe "Zero Sign-On" Approach

A user logs on their PC using their Windows userid and password. The user decides to file an expense report for attending the OpenWorld conference. He starts Internet Explorer, opens Favorites, and selects a bookmarked link for the E-Business Suite's Self-Service Expenses.  Self-Service Expenses starts and the user begins the entering their expense report.

We sometimes call this "zero sign-on" because the user never actually logged on to any Oracle systems at all; the user's Windows Kerberos ticket from the Windows Primary Domain Controller (PDC) gave him access to the E-Business Suite automatically.

Magic? What Really Happened?

Brace yourself: some of the following material might require a couple of passes to sink in.

The "deluxe" scenario above illustrates the following integrations:

  • Microsoft Active Directory with Oracle Internet Directory
  • Microsoft Kerberos Authentication with Oracle Access Manager
  • Oracle Access Manager and Oracle Internet Directory integration with the E-Business Suite

Microsoft Active Directory MSAD integration with EBS and Windows Kerberos

The user logged on to their PC, which authenticated them against Microsoft Active Directory. As part of that logon process, the Windows Primary Domain Controller (PDC) issued a valid Kerberos ticket to the user.

When the user attempted to access Self-Service Expenses via his bookmarked link, he was redirected to Oracle Access Manager. Oracle Access Manager checked the user's credentials against the Windows Key Domain Controller (KDC), issued its own Oracle security tokens to the user, and redirected the user back to the E-Business Suite.

The E-Business Suite recognized the Oracle Access Manager security tokens and looked up the user's assigned Applications Responsibilities to ensure that he was authorized to access Self-Service Expenses. That done, it issued its own E-Business Suite security tokens and then passed the user through to Self-Service Expenses without requiring any additional logons.

Integration with Microsoft Active Directory Only

Not everyone uses Microsoft Kerberos Authentication. A simpler integration option omits Kerberos and includes only Microsoft Active Directory and Oracle Internet Directory, like this:

Microsoft Active Directory MSAD integration with EBS

In this simpler architecture, when the user attempts to access Self-Service Expenses via his bookmarked link, he's redirected to Oracle Access Manager. Oracle Access Manager displays a login screen and collects the user's ID and password.

Oracle Access Manager passes the user's credentials to Oracle Internet Directory.  Oracle Internet Directory uses the Microsoft Active Directory External Authentication Plug-In to pass the user's credentials to Microsoft Active Directory.

Microsoft Active Directory looks up the user's ID and password in its database, and informs Oracle Internet Directory that this is an authenticated user. Oracle Internet Directory informs Oracle Access Manager that the user was successfully authenticated.

Oracle Access Manager issues the user a set of security tokens and redirects the user to the E-Business Suite. The E-Business Suite recognizes the Oracle Access Manager security tokens and looks up the user's assigned Applications Responsibilities to ensure that he's authorized to access Self-Service Expenses. That done, it issues its own E-Business Suite security tokens and then passes the user through to Self-Service Expenses.

Synchronization of User Credentials with Third-Party LDAP Directories

If you've been paying close attention so far, you have gathered that user credentials need to be synchronized between the third-party LDAP, Oracle Internet Directory, and the E-Business Suite. The synchronization architecture looks like this:

Architecture diagram third-party LDAP directory integration with EBS

In this configuration, only the user name needs to be synchronized; the user's password is stored in the third-party LDAP directory. None of the Oracle products need to store the user's password, since they delegate user authentication to the third-party LDAP solutions.

Architecture diagram showing how passwords are stored in third-party LDAPs and not Oracle Internet Directory or E-Business Suite

The key concept here is that user authentication is still separated from user authorization even when a third-party LDAP is in place.

Architecture diagram distinguishing Authentication%20vs%20Authorization.png

So, the E-Business Suite still grants authenticated users access to E-Business Suite protected content based on the users' Applications Responsibilities, which are managed in the E-Business Suite exclusively.

Integration With Other Single Sign-On Solutions

It is also possible to integrate Oracle Access Manager with other single sign-on solutions, including:

  • CA Netegrity SiteMinder
  • Biometric devices like fingerprint readers
  • Smartcards
  • PKI X.509 digital certificates

When integrated with other single sign-on solutions, a chain of trust is established between the third-party, Oracle Access Manager, and the E-Business Suite. Users logging on via the third-party single sign-on solution are passed through transparently to Oracle Access Manager and the E-Business Suite.

Relax, It's Easy and Fun

Well, maybe not... but at least it's technically feasible. You might find it reassuring to note that a number of E-Business Suite customers are running this configuration in production already.

This is about as much detail as I think is appropriate for now. Feel free to post comments if you have questions about this topic.

References

For a survey of options for integrating Oracle Access Manager and Oracle Internet Directory with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12, see:

Related Articles

Thursday Oct 09, 2014

New Table Features in EBS 12.2.4

I discussed the new skin in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.4 in my previous post.  Now I'll give you a quick tour of the new user interface enhancements in tables and hierarchical grids (a special type of table that lets you expand and collapse rows, also known as HGrids).

Our new table enhancements provide a much more interactive experience for tables. Customers have been requesting these enhancements for a long time:

  • Reordering columns
  • Resizing columns
  • Hiding and showing columns
  • Detaching tables from the base page (except HGrids)
  • Scroll horizontally if the contents of a table exceeds the browser width
  • Refresh a table by querying for the latest records
  • Reset a table back to its original definition

When reordering, hiding, and resizing columns, the changes are specific to each user and will persist until the user changes them again.

These features are available on:

  • Desktop versions of OA Framework-based pages
  • iPads running Safari
  • Android tablets running Chrome
Prerequisites

You must have the following profile options set in EBS 12.2.4:
  • Oracle Applications Look and Feel profile option to "Skyros Look and Feel"
  • FND: Enable Rich Table Interactions profile option to "True"

Icons in the Table Button Bar

The table button bar contains the following new icons:
  1. Detach Table
  2. Refresh Data
  3. Reset Table Settings
  4. Table Settings

Table button bar with new icons: Detach Table, Refresh Data, Reset Table Settings, and Table Settings

The Table Settings icon allows reordering and hiding or showing of columns. If one or more of these icons is not present, that feature is not available for that table. 

Reordering columns

You can reorder table columns two different ways.  The quick way is to simply drag a column to a new position in the table, either with the mouse (on the desktop) or a finger (on a tablet). Drag the column from within the column header.

Moving a table column by dragging

Alternatively, you can select the Table Settings icon and click or tap on the Up or Down arrows to move the column in the popup menu.  Click anywhere outside the menu to get back to the page.

Table button bar with new icons: Detach Table, Refresh Data, Reset Table Settings, and Table Settings

Resizing columns

To resize a column on the desktop, click and hold the cursor near the ending edge of the column in the table header row until the resize icon appears.  Drag the resize icon to the column size you want.

Resizing a column on desktop (showing resize icon)

To resize a column on the iPad, touch and hold near the ending edge of the column in the table header row. No resize icon appears, though for an iPad you will see the magnifier. Once the magnifier appears, drag to the column size you want.

Resizing a column on an iPad (showing magnifier)

Hiding and showing columns

To hide a column, hover with the mouse or  touch and hold until you see the Hide icon (minus sign in a blue circle) on the top of the column header, then click or tap the Hide icon.

Hide column using "minus" icon at top of column header

Alternatively, you can use the Table Settings menu to hide a column by clicking or tapping on the check mark for that column.

To show the hidden column again, click or tap the Table Settings icon.  In the popup menu you will see the column name with an empty space in front of it (instead of a check or tick mark).  Click or tap the empty space to display the check mark, then click or tap outside the menu to see the column appear again.

Click on empty space in Table Settings menu to show column

Detaching tables

Detaching tables from the base page allows you to see just one table in a popup window that sits over the page.  This feature provides two main advantages:

  • You can see a single table without other parts of the page in the way.
  • You can see additional rows of the table at once (more than the usual 10 or fewer).

Detach a table by clicking or tapping the Detach Table icon.

View of a detached table

To close the modal window, click the Detach Table icon again or click the X in the upper corner of the modal window.

Reset Table Settings

Now that I have done usability testing and over a hundred demos of these new features, my personal favorite feature is the "Reset Table Settings" button!  This button resets the table layout back to the default table layout.  If a table has been personalized by an administrator, that layout is the default layout.  Otherwise, the default layout is the shipped arrangement.

Using rich table features on a tablet

We also have some extra gesture support for tablets to make using OA Framework-based pages more intuitive for tablet users. For example, when you use a tablet, tables and buttons have more vertical spacing so they are easier to use with fingers.  In addition, you can swipe down on a table to see the next set of records, or swipe upwards to see the previous set.  For a multi-step process that uses a train widget, you can swipe right or swipe left on the page to get to the next or previous step in the process.

View of a train widget

Accessibility Mode

These new capabilities are affected by a user preference called Accessibility Mode.  If the accessibility mode is set to Screen Reader Optimized or Standard Accessibility, you cannot reorder, resize, or hide a column from within the column header; you must use the Table Settings menu instead.  You set the accessibility mode in the Preferences page (see more about the Preferences page in my last post).

Accessibility Mode list of values in Preferences page

More to come!

We are already working on further table-related and other user interface features for future releases on the EBS 12.2 code line. 

We hope you like the new table-related features!

Related Articles

Wednesday Aug 27, 2014

New User Interface Features in Release 12.2.4

As I wrote several months ago,  we have been working on a major refresh of the Oracle E-Business Suite user interface.  Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2.4 makes a big jump in our user interface.  Here are some of the new features you will see after upgrading to Release 12.2.4:
  • New skin
  • Rich table interactions
  • Simplified home page
  • Support for gestures on tablets

This is the first in a series of articles detailing these new user interface features.

The most obvious user interface change for this release is our new skin for both desktops and tablets.  The new skin provides a cleaner look and feel in Oracle Application Framework-based pages, with responsive features that give you more space for controlling the application with your fingers on a tablet while saving space on a desktop.  Here is the new look on a tablet and on a desktop:

New look on iPad

EBS new look on laptop in Firefox browser

We now have a streamlined touch-oriented, icon-based global header (the top navigation bar on the page). Users can choose whether to display icons, text links, or both by setting a user preference. This feature is one of the results of the usability testing we did last year, where we got user feedback for fine tuning the new look and feel.

Setting Your Display Preference

To change the display settings of the icons in the header, simply select Preferences from the Settings menu (gear icon):

Select Preferences from Settings menu

Then you see the Preferences Page:

Preferences Page

In the "Visual" region, "Page Header Display Style" field, select the choice you want:

  • Both Links and Icons
  • Icons Only
  • Links Only

Display style list

Apply your changes, and you're done! 

Here is how the "Links Only" style looks:

Links Only style of header

Here is how the "Both Links and Icons" style looks:

Both Links and Icons display style

We hope you like the new look!

Related Articles


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 Apr 05, 2012

Oracle Database 11gR2 11.2.0.3 Certified with E-Business Suite on HP-UX PA-RISC

HP logoAs a follow up to our original announcement, Oracle Database 11g Release 2 (11.2.0.3) is now certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and Release 12 on the following HP-UX platforms:

Release 11i (11.5.10.2 + ATG PF.H RUP 6 and higher) :

  • HP-UX PA-RISC (64-bit) (11.31)

Release 12 (12.0.4 and higher, 12.1.1 and higher):

  • HP-UX PA-RISC (64-bit) (11.31)

This announcement for Oracle E-Business Suite 11i and R12 includes:

  • Real Application Clusters (RAC)
  • Oracle Database Vault
  • Transparent Data Encryption (Column Encryption)
  • TDE Tablespace Encryption
  • Advanced Security Option (ASO)/Advanced Networking Option (ANO)
  • Export/Import Process for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and Release 12 Database Instances
  • Transportable Database and Transportable Tablespaces Data Migration Processes for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and Release 12
References

Please also review the platform-specific Oracle Database Installation Guides for operating system and other prerequisites.

Related Articles

Monday Mar 16, 2009

OracleAS 10.1.3.4 Certified on IBM AIX for EBS 12

jcee.color.logo.gif

We're continuing to fill in the platform gaps for some of our recent techstack certifications.  We certified Oracle Application Server 10g 10.1.3.4 with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 in December, 2008.  The two exceptions to that certification at the time were for the IBM AIX and HP-UX Itanium operating system platforms.

HP-UX Itanium was later certified in January 2009, and now we're crossing the IBM AIX bridge.  IBM AIX customers running Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 may now upgrade to OracleAS 10.1.3.4 OC4J directly from OracleAS 10.1.3 or 10.1.3.3.  This certification allows you to upgrade the internal OC4J components in the R12 techstack to take advantage of the latest performance and stability improvements in this incremental patchset.  To make sure that there's no misunderstanding about what can be upgraded, the full name of this patchset is:

[Read More]

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]

Tuesday Jan 13, 2009

OracleAS 10.1.3.4 Certified on HP-UX Itanium for EBS 12

[Update Mar 16, 2009:  IBM AIX is now certified with this configuration] jcee.color.logo.gif

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 runs OracleAS 10.1.2 for Forms-based content and OracleAS 10.1.3 (OC4J) for Java-based content.  Each of these two components can be upgraded separately, so each has its own independent certification cycle.  Just before New Years, we certified Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 with Oracle Application Server 10g 10.1.3.4 for a subset of our supported operating system platforms

I'm pleased to let you know that HP-UX Itanium has been added to the list of supported platforms for OracleAS 10.1.3.4 (OC4J).  You can upgrade to OracleAS 10.1.3.4 OC4J directly from OracleAS 10.1.3 or 10.1.3.3. This certification allows you to upgrade the OC4J components in your R12 techstack to get take advantage of the latest performance and stability improvements in this incremental patchset. To make sure that there's no misunderstanding about what can be upgraded, the full name of this patchset is:

[Read More]

Monday Dec 29, 2008

OracleAS 10.1.3.4 Certified with E-Business Suite Release 12

[Update Mar 16, 2009:  IBM AIX is now certified with this configuration]

[Update Jan 13, 2009: HP-UX Itanium is now certified with this configuration]

jcee.color.logo.gif

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.0 originally shipped with OracleAS 10.1.3 Oracle Containers for J2EE (OC4J) for running its Java-based content.  Regular readers of this blog know that we certified OracleAS 10.1.3.3 with Apps 12 at the start of this year.

In a fitting end to the year, we've now certified Oracle Application Server 10g 10.1.3.4 OC4J with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.  You can upgrade to OracleAS 10.1.3.4 OC4J directly from OracleAS 10.1.3 or 10.1.3.3.  This certification allows you to upgrade the OC4J components in your R12 techstack to get take advantage of the latest performance and stability improvements in this incremental patchset.  To make sure that there's no misunderstanding about what can be upgraded, the full name of this patchset is:

It's important to note that either OracleAS 10.1.3.3 or 10.1.3.4 are mandatory prerequisites if you plan to upgrade your Release 12 application tier to the latest certified version of Java 6.

[Read More]

Monday Nov 24, 2008

OracleAS 10g Forms and Reports 10.1.2.3 Certified With EBS R12

I am pleased to announce that OracleAS 10g Forms and Reports version 10.1.2.3 is now certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12. EBS 12 ships with Forms 10.1.2.0.2. If you're still running that version, you now have the choice of updating to either Forms 10.1.2.2 or Forms 10.1.2.3. We strongly recommend Forms 10.1.2.3. For the steps to upgrade to this latest version of Forms, refer to the Metalink Notes in the Documentation section below. Along with Form and Reports Services, Developer Suite 10.1.2.3 is also certified. AS10123.PNG[Read More]

Tuesday Nov 18, 2008

Advanced Deployment Architectures for Oracle E-Business Suite (OpenWorld 2008 Recap)

I'm (still) highlighting OpenWorld 2008 presentations that cover some of the most popular E-Business Suite technology stack topics. A catalog of all of the Applications Technology track sessions with links to the presentations is available here:

E-Business Suite sysadmins know that there are a lot of different ways to deploy their system in production.  You can split EBS services across multiple application tier and database tier server nodes, you can scale up with load-balancers and Real Application Clusters, you can integrate your E-Business Suite instance with optional external services like Oracle Single Sign-On and the Oracle SOA Suite, and much, much more.

Sample physical architecture diagram showing E-Business Suite integrated with Single Sign-On and Oracle Internet Directory with firewalls separating DMZs

The number of architectural options can be pretty bewildering, and it can be difficult to get a high-level overview of the relative benefits of each option.  We have lots of detailed documentation and introductory blog articles on, say, implementing RAC, but it's very difficult to get a sense of whether you can combine a reverse proxy in front of a load-balanced cluster with a RAC-enabled database tier (this is feasible, by the way).

[Read More]

Friday Nov 14, 2008

EBS 12 Certified with OEL + RHEL 4 (64-bit) on Oracle VM

linux-penguin.jpg

[Dec. 31, 2013 update: Note 465915.1 has been withdrawn.  Refer to the Certifications system on My Oracle Support for the latest certified combinations of EBS + Oracle VM]

Filling out our certification matrix for Oracle VM, our Applications Platform Group has certified Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 on Oracle VM with 64-bit Oracle Enterprise Linux 4 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 on x86-64.

Prerequisites

  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 4.7 (64-bit) on x86-64
    or
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.7 (64-bit) on x86-64
  • Oracle VM 2.1.2 or higher
  • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 version 12.0.3 (RUP 3) and higher

Upcoming Certifications

The Applications Platform Group is currently working on certifying Oracle VM with 64-bit OEL/RHEL version 5.  No release schedules are available, but you're welcome to monitor or subscribe to this blog for updates, which I'll post as soon as soon as possible.

References

Related Articles

Tuesday Nov 04, 2008

Maximum Availability Architecture: Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12

I'm highlighting OpenWorld 2008 presentations that cover some of the most popular E-Business Suite technology stack topics. A catalog of all of the Applications Technology track sessions with links to the presentations is available here:

Humana's recent OpenWorld case study gives a customer-centric view of how they implemented a high-availability architecture for their E-Business Suite environment.  Lyn Pratt and Richard Exley from Oracle's Server Technologies MAA Group and Metin Yilmaz from Oracle Support complemented that case study with a discussion of the various options for ensuring high availability and business continuity via a disaster recover site for your E-Business Suite environment:

Physical architecture diagram showing target architecture for an E-Business Suite Release 12 disaster recovery deployment

[Read More]

Friday Oct 31, 2008

Tuning All Layers of the Oracle E-Business Suite (OpenWorld 2008 Recap)

I'm highlighting OpenWorld 2008 presentations that cover some of the most popular E-Business Suite technology stack topics. A catalog of all of the Applications Technology track sessions with links to the presentations is available here:

We have an Applications Performance Group whose raison-d'etre is to ensure that the E-Business Suite runs at peak performance in all circumstances.  This team has helped tune the world's largest companies and their E-Business Suite environments to handle staggering amounts of transactional volume in enormous databases.  This is the same group that publishes all of the official Oracle Apps benchmarks, white papers, and performance metrics.

Their OpenWorld sessions are a perennial favourite with hardcore Apps DBAs looking to squeeze out the last ounce of performance out of their existing hardware.  Isam Alyousfi and Lester Gutierrez from our Applications Performance Group share their hard-won performance tuning tips in this in-depth session:

Table showing sample AWR report of top 5 timed events used for tuning EBS database tier performance

[Read More]

Wednesday Oct 22, 2008

Sun Java Plug-in 1.6.0_10 Certified with the E-Business Suite

Regular readers know that you're now free to use whatever version of the native Sun Java plug-in with the E-Business Suite as long as you meet certain minimum requirements.  Nonetheless, the latest Sun JRE is a bit of a new animal, so my team performed an explicit set of certification tests to ensure that it's as compatible as previous releases.

Based on those latest test, we've confirmed that the latest Sun Java Runtime Engine (JRE) native plug-in release 6u10 (JRE 1.6.0_10) is compatible with both Oracle Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12 on Windows-based desktop clients.

mzFormsArch:

[Read More]

Monday Aug 18, 2008

Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite 2.0.2 Now Available

Oracle E-Business Suite Application Technology Group (ATG) is pleased to announce the availability of the Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) version 2.0.2 Rollup update. This pack is available through Oracle Metalink, as patch 6809246.[Read More]

Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

In-Depth: Using Third-Party Identity Managers with E-Business Suite Release 12

This article is an updated R12 version of an earlier one written for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i.

Like most of our customers, you probably already have a corporate identity management system in place. And, you've probably not been enjoying the experience of redundantly administering the same user in your corporate identity management system as well as the E-Business Suite. If this describes your environment, this in-depth article about integrating Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12, Oracle Single Sign-On and Oracle Internet Directory with third-party identity management systems will show you a better way of managing your EBS users.

[Read More]

Thursday May 29, 2008

Master DST + Time Zone Documentation for Release 12

[May 30, 2008 update: Corrected typo and Note number.  Argh.  TGIF...]

Time is out of joint; O cursed spite / That ever I was born to set it right!

~ Shakespeare, Hamlet

When E-Business Suite Release 12.0.0 was originally released last year, it included the latest available support for all of the world time zones.  Since then, a number of countries and regions have changed their time zone definitions, including:

Country / Region
Effective Date
United States / Canada
11-Mar-2007
New Zealand / Chatham Islands
30-Sep-2007
Egypt
7-Sep-2007
Brazil
14-Oct-2007
Venezuela
9-Dec-2007
Argentina
30-Dec-2007
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
South Australia
Victoria
Tasmania
6-Apr-2008

If you do business with these countries or others that have changed their time zone or Daylight Saving Time (DST) definitions recently, your E-Business Suite Release 12 environment may require patching.

For details, see:
Related Articles

Saturday May 17, 2008

Release Update Packs 12.0.5 for Financials and HRMS Now Available

[July 2, 2008 Update: Removed references to specific numbers of issues fixed.]

This announcement isn't really directly-related to the E-Business Suite technology stack, but it can't hurt to highlight this news here since it affects so many of our readers.   Oracle Financials and Oracle Human Resources Management System (HRMS) have released two new product family Release Update Packs for E-Business Release 12.0.5.  These cumulative product family RUPs include error corrections, statutory/regulatory updates, and functionality enhancements that were made available after the initial release of Oracle E-Business Suites 12.0.

The naming convention for E-Business Suite Release 12 until now has been that a "Release Update Pack" comprises bug fixes for all product families.  These were called Consolidated Updates in Release 11i. 

This is the first time I've seen the term "Release Update Pack" used to refer to fixes for a specific product family for Release 12.  You should be aware that these latest 12.0.5 RUPs don't include fixes for any other E-Business Suite application modules except Financials or HRMS.  Regardless of what they're called, R12 sysadmins can now download two new patchsets:


Oracle Financials Release Update Pack 12.0.5

This patch can be downloaded as Patch 6836355, and its contents are documented in Oracle Financials Software Updates, Release Update Pack 6 (Metalink Note 565898.1).

Oracle HRMS Release Update Pack 12.0.5

This patch can be downloaded as Patch 6610000, and its contents are documented in Oracle HRMS Software Updates, Release Update Pack 5 (Metalink Note 565977.1).


References

New functionality for both RUPs is described in:
Related Articles

Friday May 16, 2008

WinXP Service Pack 3 Certified with E-Business Suite

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) is now certified with Oracle Oracle E-Business Suite Releases 11i and 12.

WinXP SP3 Download Screenshot: Screenshot of Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 download overview page

Simply Business As Usual

For Oracle E-Business Suite users, the base desktop client requirements are the same as for Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).  Customers already on WinXP SP2 can move seamlessly to the latest Service Pack 3.

All certified browsers --IE 6, IE7, Firefox -- are certified with the E-Business Suite on WinXP SP3.  Likewise, all certified Java clients -- JInitiator and the native Sun Java Runtime Engine (JRE) plug-in -- are also certified to work with the E-Business Suite on  WinXP SP3.

References
Related Articles

Thursday May 15, 2008

WebCenter 10g 10.1.3.3 Certified with E-Business Suite Release 12

My colleagues over at the Fusion Middleware Best Practices Center recently posted a Developer Preview of an Oracle By Example tutorial for using WebCenter 10g with the E-Business Suite; this was a subset of our unpublished official documentation.  The preview period is over at last:  I'm pleased to announce that WebCenter 10g 10.1.3.3 is now officially certified and supported for use with E-Business Suite Release 12.

CreateApps: Screenshot of Oracle JDeveloper showing the initial dialog box for creating a new WebCenter application

Integrating Standalone Websites With Apps 12

Oracle WebCenter is a suite of development tools that can be used to build web-based applications using the latest technologies such as SOA, JSR-168, and WSRP.  The Oracle WebCenter Framework allows you integrate the following E-Business Suite Release 12 portlets into a custom web-based application:
  • Applications Navigator (menu of E-Business Suite functions)
  • Applications Worklist (showing Workflow notifications)
  • Applications Favorites (for bookmarking specific Apps functions)
JDev Portlets: Screenshot of Oracle JDeveloper IDE page showing list of E-Business Suite Release 12 WSRP portlets

What's Notable About This Certification?

This certification is a bit of a departure from our usual technology stack certifications for the E-Business Suite.  Our typical certification involves, say, upgrading your E-Business Suite environment to the latest new database, or integrating it with an external component like Single Sign-On.

This new certification documents a step-by-step process for building and deploying a WebCenter application using the Oracle Applications Framework WSRP producer.  You can build an Applications Development Framework (ADF) application in the Oracle JDeveloper integrated development environment and deploy the application to your end-users via Oracle WebCenter.

Our newly-documented procedure supports E-Business Suite environments that have been integrated with Oracle Single Sign-On (SSO), as well as steps for E-Business Suite configuration and the migration of Oracle Internet Directory (OID) policies.  It also includes detailed steps for deploying the ADF application to a WebCenter OC4J instance and running the application there. 

For full details, see:
Certified Platforms
  • Linux x86-32
  • Linux x86-64
  • Sun Solaris SPARC
  • HP-UX PA-RISC
  • HP-UX Itanium
  • IBM AIX
  • Microsoft Windows 2003
Related Articles

Tuesday May 13, 2008

Oracle Database Vault 10.2.0.3 Certified with Apps 12

I am very pleased to announce that Oracle Database Vault 10.2.0.3 is now certified with E-Business Suite Release 12 on Linux-x86 platforms. This certification provides an upgrade path for current Database Vault-enabled EBS 11i instances to R12.

Database Vault example: Diagram showing how Database Vault prevents a privileged DBA user from accessing application data, while allowing the authorized Realm owner to access the same data


What is Oracle Database Vault?

A key challenge for security administrators is protecting enterprise data from insider attacks.  Oracle Database Vault
is an optional database feature that can help you defend against that class of threats, as well as build internal controls to help meet regulatory requirements for privacy and segregation of duties.

Oracle Database Vault can prevent highly privileged users, including powerful application DBAs and others, from accessing sensitive applications and data in Oracle databases outside their authorized responsibilities. You can use customizable Realms and rules to ensure that users, even administrators, have access only to what they need to do their job.

For more details about the prepackaged Realms we've created for E-Business Suite environments, see:

Certified Platforms

  • Linux x86-32
[Editor Note:  Due to a couple of things that I can't discuss publicly here, it is likely that DB Vault + R12 certifications for additional operating system platforms may be based on Database Vault 10.2.0.4. If you're not running Linux and/or upgrading from Apps 11i with DB Vault 10.2.0.3 already enabled, you may wish to reflect on how this fits into your implementation and upgrade plans. More details will be forthcoming. You're welcome to monitor or subscribe to this blog for updates, which I'll post as soon as soon as they're available.]

Prerequisites
  1. Oracle E-Business Suite Release Update Pack 12.0.4
  2. Oracle Database Vault 10.2.0.3
  3. Oracle Database Release 10gR2 (10.2.0.3)

References

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. 

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


Monday Apr 28, 2008

Five Key Resources for Upgrading to E-Business Suite Release 12

[July 16, 2008: Added two more vital resources to this list, instantly rendering the title of this article inaccurate.]

[May 14, 2008 Update:  It turns out that the original diagram from Eugene's presentation could use some refining.  Diagram replaced with an excerpt from the Official R12 upgrade guide itself.]

[Apr 29, 2008 Update:  The diagram below is excerpted from Eugene Weinstein's excellent OpenWorld 2007 presentation describing Oracle's own R12 upgrade.  That presentation was released prior to our recent certification of the 11g Database with Release 11i, which is why there's no reference to that database version below.  


As of today,  the 11g Database is certified with Release 11i but not with Release 12.  The R12 certification with the 11g Database is still underway now, and -- as usual, I don't have any dates for this certification yet.  If you upgrade your Apps 11i environment to the 11g DB today, your upgrade to Release 12 will have to wait until the latter is certified with the 11g DB, too.]

A remarkable aspect of this year's OAUG Collaborate 2008 conference was the abundance of customer-presented sessions devoted to E-Business Suite Release 12 upgrades.  I stopped counting after the first dozen sessions.  I wish I could have cloned myself to attend all of them.

Upgrade Paths Table: Table of Release 12 upgrade paths from E-business Suite 11.0, 11.5.1 to 11.5.7, and 11.5.8 to 11.5.10

Despite the plethora of customer case studies and other materials, I got the impression that some of you may be wondering where to start.  Here's a round-up of the key Oracle resources to help you plan and execute your Release 12 upgrade:
  1. Whitepapers about R12 functional benefits
    As a reader of this blog, your focus is likely on E-Business Suite technology more than on the applications modules' functionality itself.  Remember, however, that upgrading to Release 12 should be primarily driven by the improvements to business processes that R12's new capabilities offer.  The site above has whitepapers that your end-users can review to build their own business cases for the upgrade (e.g. "The Business Value of Upgrading to Oracle E-Business Suite Financials Release 12").
  2. Oracle Applications Upgrade Guide: Release 11i to Release 12 (PDF, 1.6 MB)
    This is the official, authoritative technical upgrade manual from Oracle Applications Development. This is part of the official Release 12 Documentation Library (Oracle Technology Network).
  3. Oracle Maintenance Wizard
    Oracle Support has worked jointly with Oracle Applications Development to produce this essential tool which produces a personalized 11i to R12 upgrade plan -- complete with detailed patching recommendations -- based upon your existing 11i environment.  Highly recommended.

  4. Oracle E-Business Suite Upgrade Resources Roadmap (Note 461705.1)
    Oracle provides a massive (and sometimes intimidating) amount of documentation to support your R12 upgrade.  This roadmap helps organize that documentation into four phases:  Evaluation, Planning, Execution, and Optimization.  This is the one-stop Metalink Note for links to Release Notes, READMEs, Release Content Documents, Upgrade Notes for specific platforms, and much, much more.

  5. R12 Install/Upgrade Forum (Oracle Technology Network)
    Amazingly, this OTN peer-supported discussion forum can sometimes yield answers to R12 upgrade questions faster than a formally-logged Service Request. This forum is monitored by Oracle Applications ACEs such as Hussein Sawwan, Michael Taylor, and Fadi Hasweh as well as Oracle Development (I'm one of the Oracle co-moderators of this forum).  This should be your first stop if you're having any technical issues with your upgrade.  If your question isn't answered here, then logging an SR with Metalink is the next step.

  6. Best Practices for Adopting Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 (Metalink Note 580299.1)
    This whitepaper from Oracle Development pulls together a diverse range of tips and practical suggestions for implementation, preparation and cleanup, and product-specific considerations for the R12 versions of Oracle Financials and other products. Highly recommended.

  7. Case Study: Oracle's Own Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 Upgrade
    In addition to being a useful primer about R12, this excellent presentation summarizes practical tips and technical insights from the Oracle internal team that upgraded Oracle's own E-Business Suite Global Single Instance from Release 11i to 12. As you'd expect, and their notes represent an insider's glimpse into how an organization with access to the most-skilled EBS talent on the planet performed this upgrade. Highly recommended.
Related Articles

Monday Apr 21, 2008

What Happened to E-Business Suite Release 12.0.5?

[May 29, 2008 update:  They don't meet the definition of a Release Update Pack that's been used for R12 so far, but two 12.0.5 product family updates for the Financials and HRMS product families are now available.  See this article for details.]


Up until now, a new E-Business Suite Release 12.0.x Release Update Pack (RUP) has been released in the same general time-frame as each new Oracle Critical Patch Update (CPU).  For example, the January 2008 Critical Patch Update was released concurrently with the E-Business Suite 12.0.4 Release Update Pack.

E-Business Suite 12.0.4 Patch 6435000: Screenshot of download site for E-Business Suite Release 12.0.4 Release Update Pack Patch 6435000

This pattern changed with the recent Oracle Critical Patch Update for April 2008.  The April 2008 CPU was not released concurrently with a corresponding E-Business Suite Release 12.0.5 Release Update Pack.  Sharp-eyed readers have asked whether an upcoming Release 12.0.5 is still in the pipeline.

Here's an update on our plans, based on what was being shared in various sessions at last week's Collaborate conference (notably, Cliff Godwin's sessions):  As of today, it appears that there are no plans for Release 12.0.5.  Instead, it appears that new Family Packs for Financials and Human Resources (HRMS) are planned for customers currently on the 12.0.x codeline.

It's important to note that this is breaking news and is still subject to change.  As usual, I'm afraid that I don't have any information about dates for these updates.  I'll provide more details about our plans for these forthcoming updates 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. 

Wednesday Apr 09, 2008

10gR2 10.2.0.3 DB Certified on Windows Server 2003 x64 for Apps 12

The E-Business Suite Release 12 is now certified with Oracle Database Server 10gR2 Version 10.2.0.3 on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 (AMD64/EM64T).

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Logo:

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 (AMD64/EM64T) is supported only on the database tier for Release 12 (these types of configurations were previously called a "split configuration" in Release 11i environments).  The E-Business Suite Release 12 application tier must be on a supported platform.

To deploy this configuration on a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 (AMD64/EM64T) database server, see:
More Certification Information

For the definitive list of all certified platforms, you can refer to to Oracle's Certify database:  E-Business Suite Split Configuration Database Tier platform Certified Combinations. From the Certify main page select: View Certifications by Product -> E-Business Suite -> E-Business Suite 11i or Earlier ->
Database Tier Only.

Related Articles

Thursday Apr 03, 2008

Changing Application Tier Platforms for E-Business Suite Release 12

Here's another significant piece of news:  it's now possible to migrate your E-Business Suite Release 12 application tier servers from one operating system platform to another.  We're pleased to announce the availability of our new Oracle Applications Platform Migration Methodology for E-Business Suite Release 12.

This process provides a way to quickly and easily move an existing Oracle E-Business Suite middle tier (applications tier) system to a different platform.  The migration utility retains the exact E-Business Suite patch level; no APPL_TOP or Database synchronization is necessary.  This allows you to retain existing customizations.

Considerations

  • This migration methodology requires E-Business Suite 12.0.4 or higher
  • This methodology applies to the Application Tier (middle tier) only.  The database tier is not covered by this process.
  • Migration to Windows-based target servers is not supported at this time
Certified Target Platforms
  • Linux x86-32 (32-bit)
  • Linux x86-64 (64-bit)
  • HP-UX Itanium
  • HP-UX PA-RISC
  • IBM AIX
  • Sun SPARC Solaris
References
Related Articles

Wednesday Apr 02, 2008

Apps Release 12.0.4 Rapid Install Now Available

Climbing back into the blogging saddle after a five weeks abroad feels distinctly odd.  Here's something noteworthy from my beleaguered inbox:

12.0.4 eDelivery screenshot: Screenshot of Oracle Electronic Delivery download page for Apps 12.0.4 Rapid Install

Ever since the initial release of E-Business Suite Release 12.0, we've been putting out quarterly Release Update Packs (RUP) that you can apply on top of your base installation.  So far, we've released Release Update Packs 12.0.1, 12.0.2, 12.0.3, and 12.0.4.  The latest Release Update Pack 4 included more than 10,000 fixes and 100 functionality enhancements after the initial release of 12.0.

Although convenient, applying all of these individual Release Update Packs can be time-consuming.  Recognising that, we've now released a new version of E-Business Suite 12.0.4.  This brand-new release includes a repackaged Rapid Install that makes it possible to upgrade existing 11.5.8, 11.5.9 (Base, CU1, CU2), and 11.5.10 (base, CU1, CU2) systems directly to the Release Update Pack 4 level. 

Release 12.0.4 is now available for download for both new and upgrading customers on all supported languages through Oracle Electronic Product Delivery (EPD) and the Oracle Store.  You can check EPD for specific platform downloads, which are updated regularly.

What's New in Release Update Pack 4?

As noted in my previous article about Release 12 Update 4, this RUP contains fixes for the following product families, with details in the
corresponding Metalink Notes:
Includes January 2008 Critical Patch Updates

Just like the previous Apps 12.0.1 Release Update Pack, Apps 12.0.2 Release Update Pack, and Apps 12.0.3 Release Update Pack, there's a gem buried in all of this:  the Apps 12.0.4 Release Update Patch includes all of the security fixes released in the January 2008 Critical Update Patch (CPUJan2008).

Related

Tuesday Feb 19, 2008

Optimizing R12 Performance via OC4J Load-Balancing

Oracle Application Server provides features that allow customers to load balance their middle tier deployments.  OC4J Clustering in OracleAS 10g is one such deployment that is widely used in load balanced configurations.

Starting with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.0.2 (Release Update Pack 2), we support OC4J Clustering as part of AutoConfig's load balancing deployment options. This configuration option is supported for the OC4J instance running out of R12's 10.1.3 ORACLE_HOME.

Clustering Model

Oracle Application Server 10g 10.1.3 supports various models for OC4J clustering:
  • Dynamic node discovery
  • Static discovery servers
  • Cross topology gateways
  • Manual node configuration.
E-Business Suite Release 12 uses the manual node configuration model, which is also referred to as static node-to-node communication. Node and port information is manually specified in this mode. Configuration details are managed by Autoconfig, which handles all necessary settings in the R12 configuration files.

Figure-1 static node-to-node communication model

static-communication:

Deployment Options


Release 12 supports the following deployment options with OC4J clustering:
  1. Single Web Entry Point
  2. Multiple Web Entry Points

Prerequisites

  1. Oracle Applications Technology Stack Patch Set 2 5917601 or higher.
    • This Patch Set is included in the R12.ATG_PF.A.DELTA.2 5917344 and the Release 12.0.2 (Release Update Pack 2)
  2. A correctly-configured hardware load balancer

Configuring OC4J Load Balancing

Configuring both deployment options requires:
  1. Changing the E-Business Suite Context file using the Context File Editor
  2. Running AutoConfig
  3. Restarting the application tier server processes.
Single Web Entry Point

In this deployment option, there is single web entry point for the OC4J applications - oacore, forms and oafm services are configured to run on all or some of the application tier nodes.

Figure-2: Deployment model with Single Web Entry point and OC4J application running on all the nodes

SingleWebEntry: Architecture diagram showing an E-Business Suite environment with two application tier servers and a single webentry point

Multiple Web Entry Points

In this deployment option, there are multiple web entry points with OC4J applications running on selected application tier nodes.

Figure-3: Deployment model with Multiple Web Entry points and OC4J applications running on selected nodes

multipleweb: Architecture diagram showing a multinode Apps environment

References
Related Articles
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