Friday Apr 09, 2010

Transportable Database 11gR2 Certified with E-Business Suite 11i, 12.0, 12.1

Screenshot of cover page for MAA whitepaper on platform migration maapaper.png
Platform migration is the process of moving a database from one operating system platform to a different operating system platform. You might wish to migrate your E-Business Suite database to create testing instances, experiment with new architectures, perform benchmarks, or prepare for actual platform changes in your production environment.

Database migration across platforms of the same "endian" format (byte ordering) using the Transportable Database (TDB) process is now certified with Oracle Database 11gR2 ( for:
  • Oracle E-Business Suite Releases 11i (
  • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.0.4 or higher
  • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.1 or higher
This EBS database migration process was previously certified only for 10gR2 and 11gR1.

Comparing Export/Import to Transportable Database

The supported way to accomplish this in prior releases of the Oracle database has been to export the data from the database on the old platform, create a new database on the new platform, and import the data into the new database. This process could take a number of days for a large database.

Transportable Database can be used to reduce the amount of time required to migrate a database between platforms that share the same "endian" format. Note that if the endian format is different between the source and target platforms, then Transportable Database cannot be used. For generic databases, a different method, such as Streams, Data Pump, or Cross-Platform Transportable Tablespaces must be used instead.  For E-Business Suite databases, only the Export/Import option is a viable fallback if the Transportable Database feature can't be used for your source and target platforms.

The reductions in migration times can be significant. For example, a test database within the Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) High Availability Lab was migrated to a new platform using Data Pump export and import in 74 minutes. The same database was migrated using Transportable Database in 37 minutes, a 50% reduction in migration time.

What platforms are support for Transportable Databases?

Suitable target platforms can be verified by querying the view V$DB_TRANSPORTABLE_PLATFORM using sqlplus (connected as sysdba) on the source platform:
SQL> select platform_name from v$db_transportable_platform;
If the intended target platform appears in the output, Transportable Database can then be used to migrate the database to this target. Otherwise, an alternative such as export/import should be used instead.

Cross-Platform Transportable Tablespaces (XTTS) not certified yet

Please note that an alternative database technology known as Cross-Platform Transportable Tablespaces (XTTS) to migrate data between platforms of different endian formats is not yet certified with Oracle E-Business Suite.

Oracle's Revenue Recognition rules prohibit us from discussing certification and release dates, but you're welcome to monitor or subscribe to this blog for updates, which I'll post as soon as soon as they're available.   

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Wednesday Sep 30, 2009

Using Transportable Database 11gR1 with E-Business Suite

Platform migration is the process of moving a database from one operating-system platform to a different operating-system platform.  There are two supported methods for doing this: 
  1. Export the data from the database on the old platform, create a new database on the new platform, and import the data into the new database.
  2. Use the Transportable Database feature
You can expect a 50% or greater reduction in the time it takes to complete a platform migration using Transportable Database when compared to traditional export/import methods.

Transportable Database 10gR2 was certified for the E-Business Suite last year.  I'm pleased to announce that our Applications Platforms Group has certified this for the next database release -- Transportable Database 11gR1 -- with the E-Business Suite.


Database migration across platforms of the same "endian" format (byte ordering) using the Transportable Database (TDB) process is now certified with Oracle Database 11gR1 ( for Oracle E-Business Suite Releases 11i ( and 12 (12.0.4 and higher).

Suitable target platforms can be verified by querying the view V$DB_TRANSPORTABLE_PLATFORM using sqlplus (connected as sysdba) on the source platform:
SQL> select platform_name from v$db_transportable_platform;
If the intended target platform appears in the output, Transportable Database can then be used to migrate the database to this target. Otherwise, an alternative such as export/import should be used instead.

Not the same as Cross-Platform Transportable Tablespaces (XTTS)

Please note that an alternative database technology known as Cross-Platform Transportable Tablespaces (XTTS) to migrate data between platforms of different endian formats is NOT yet certified with Oracle E-Business Suite.

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Monday Aug 24, 2009

OPatch Essentials for Apps Sysadmins

All EBS administrators must become very familiar with the OPatch utility.  OPatch is used to patch the ORACLE_HOMEs in EBS Application and Database tiers.  Security fixes delivered for these ORACLE_HOMEs through Critical Patch Updates are also applied using OPatch.  It updates the central and per-product inventories with the details of each patch applied.  Apart from the Oracle Universal Installer (which internally also uses OPatch), this is the only tool authorized to patch ORACLE_HOMEs. 

Although it once had a reputation for being somewhat arcane, OPatch has evolved over the years into a more user-friendly and better-documented tool.  I'll cover the essentials of using OPatch in this article.


Prerequisites for Running OPatch

OPatch is a set of perl scripts that allow the application and rollback of interim patches to the ORACLE_HOMEs. It requires the Perl language interpreter and requires, at minimum, Perl version 5.005_03 or higher.  Version 5.6 or higher is recommended.

OPatch expects jar, java, ar, cp, and make commands (depending on the platform) to be available in the current PATH. EBS users have these available as part of the current PATH once the respective tier environment file is sourced.

What Does OPatch Do?

In Oracle E-Business Suite releases where a Rapid Install option is available, the installation process installs and maintains the OUI inventory for each of the ORACLE_HOMEs using OPatch. A query of each of the ORACLE_HOMEs created by a Rapid Install lists the patches installed.

OPatch can be used to:
  • Apply an interim patch

  • Roll back the application of an interim patch

  • Detect a conflict when applying an interim patch after previous interim patches have been applied. It also suggests the best options to resolve a conflict.

  • Report on installed products and interim patches.
Key OPatch Concepts
Oracle Universal Installer
When an installation is performed using the Oracle Universal Installer, the OUI inventory records the ORACLE_HOME, SID, location, products and technology versions installed.  The E-Business Suite Rapid Install maintains a global inventory of all its Oracle products. The location on Linux is specified in the /etc/oraInst.loc file.

[Editor:  Also see: Oracle Universal Installer Inventory Essentials for Apps Sysadmins]


The file on Unix where the inventory location and the OS group of the install user.

patch_storage directory

This directory stores information about the patches applied.
Important OPatch Runtime Options and Arguments
OPatch is located in the <Path_to_Oracle_Home>/OPatch directory.  You can run it with various commands and options. The following string shows the syntax for the OPatch utility:
<Path_to_OPatch>/opatch [-help] [-r[eport]] [command] [-option]


The most commonly-used commands running OPatch are:
1. opatch apply ...

This command applies a patch from the patch directory.  The OUI inventory is updated with the patch's information.

2. opatch rollback ....

This is the command to rollback or undo a patch installation. The respective patch information is removed from the inventory.

3. opatch lsinventory

lsinventory lists all the patches installed on the Oracle Home.

4. opatch lsinventory -detail

lsinventory -detail gives list of patches and products installed in the ORACLE_HOME.

5. opatch version

version option displays the version of OPatch installed.

6. opatch napply

napply applies the patches in a directory. This is used in EBS environments while applying a patch that is a bundle of individual patches. napply eliminates the overhead of running opatch multiple times by the administrator. The napply option skips subsets or duplicates if they are already installed.

7. opatch nrollback

nrollback rolls back the patches using the IDs specified.

8. opatch  apply -minimize_downtime

This is specific to Real Application Clusters (RAC) enabled instances (DB tier patches).  The -minimize_downtime option allows you to apply a patch by bringing down one database server instance at a time.  OPatch applies the patch to the quiesced server instance, the instance is brought back up, and then OPatch moves on to the next database server  in a Real Application Clusters pool.

9. opatch apply -force

-force overrides conflicts with an existing patch by removing the conflicting patch from the system.

Caution: This option should be only used when explicitly it is said safe to be used in the README of the patch.

10. opatch apply -invPtrLoc <...>

The option -invPtrLoc can be used to specify the oraInst.loc file in case it's not in the default location e.g., /etc/oraInst.loc in Linux.  The argument to this option is the location of this file.

11. opatch query

The query command can be used to find out useful information about the patch

Syntax to be used:

opatch query  [-all] [-jre <LOC> ] [-oh <LOC> ] \ 
[-get_component] [-get_os] [-get_date] [-get_base_bug] \
[-is_rolling_patch] [-is_online_patch] \
[-has_sql] [ <Patch Location> ]


Retrieves all information about a patch. This is equivalent to setting all available options.


Retrieves bugs fixed by the patch.


Retrieves components the patch affects.


Retrieves the patch creation date and time.


Indicates true if the patch is an online patch. Otherwise, the option is false.


Indicates true if the patch is a rolling patch. Otherwise, the option is false.


Specifies the Oracle home directory to use instead of the default directory. This takes precedence over the ORACLE_HOME environment variable.

Patch Location

Indicates the path to the patch location. If you do not specify the location, OPatch assumes the current directory is the patch location.

Where's the Official OPatch Documentation?

A well written User Guide and FAQ are shipped with every OPatch version and are available under the OPatch/doc directory of the ORACLE_HOME. These documents list all the arguments and options available with OPatch.

I strongly recommend the administrators who are in charge of applying the patches to carefully read the above documents as well as the ORACLE_HOME version-specific OPatch documentation on Metalink. Latest OPatch versions for 10.1, 10.2 and 11.1 are available for download via Patch 6880880

A New Option For Critical Patch Updates (CPU)

Oracle introduced the napply option in July 2007 with Critical Patch Updates for its DB tier patches on Unix platforms for 10gR2 version and higher. This provides conflict resolution and the ability to merge patches for CPU fixes.  This eliminates the CPU merge patch.  It also reduces downtime by eliminating the need to rollback and reinstall patches that are already installed. Customers can continue to partial apply and get other security fixes in place while waiting for a merge conflict resolution from Oracle's Database Support team.

Common OPatch Issues
Conflicts Between Patches
Conflicts occur when you try to apply a patch whose fix already been applied through another patch.  DBAs are advised NOT to use the -force option with apply as this removes the conflicting fix from the system. All conflicts need to be resolved by contacting Customer Support.

Errors due to Java locations

Make sure that the Java JDK and JRE prerequisites are available in the PATH or provided in command line option. The -jre and -jdk options allow you to specify these explicitly instead of using the ones from ORACLE_HOME.  EBS customers generally do not need to specify -jre or -jdk options because sourcing the respective ORACLE_HOME .env file will include the correct jre/jdk locations in the PATH.
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Friday Aug 07, 2009

Oracle Universal Installer Inventory Essentials for Apps Sysadmins

We see quite a few Service Requests (SRs) where E-Business Suite customers have gotten into difficulty with the Oracle Universal Installer (OUI) Inventory.  It's important to note the Oracle Universal Installer Inventory has nothing to do with the Oracle E-Business Suite Inventory product (product code INV).

Screenshot of generic Oracle Universal Installer dialog box

The Oracle Universal Installer Inventory is a component of the OUI and creates a record of the Oracle homes, products and patches you have installed on a node. Whilst it's not part of the E-Business Suite, as an Applications DBA it's inevitable that sooner or later you will have to look after the Inventory. This article will focus on issues relating to the OUI Inventory specifically within the context of Oracle Applications.

An Overview of the OUI Inventory

The Oracle Universal Installer Inventory comprises three main components:

  • The Pointer File
  • The Central (Global) Inventory
  • The Home (Local) Inventory

Central Inventory and Home Inventory are the official names, however, almost everybody talks about the Global and Local Inventory so it's useful to mention this now as the terms are often used interchangeably.

The Pointer File, created or referenced when running the OUI or rapidwiz, is called oraInst.loc and is used to either locate an existing Central Inventory or tell OUI where to create a new Central Inventory. It's a simple text file, stored, by default, in a system directory. In the Microsoft Windows environment it is stored in the registry key \\HKLM\Software\Oracle\INST_LOC.

The Central Inventory records details of Oracle homes installed on a node. A single node might contain one Central Inventory with details of all Oracle homes on that node, or a single node might contain multiple Central Inventories each one containing details of a single Oracle home.

The Home Inventory is specific to, and contained within each Oracle home, and contains details of patches or updates applied to that specific Oracle home.

This article will concentrate on the Central Inventory as, generally speaking, the Home Inventory looks after itself.

Central Inventory Differences Between Apps 11i and R12

In Apps 11i, the default action was to use a single Central Inventory -- that is, one Central Inventory per node -- which recorded all Oracle homes installed on that node. The Central Inventory Pointer File was stored in a system directory to which you had to have write access. This was why during an EBS 11i installation, or when cloning to a new node, you would be prompted to run scripts as the root user before you could complete your installation or clone. If you had multiple 11i installations on a node, these would generally all be recorded in the same Central Inventory.

In Apps R12, things have changed. If rapidwiz is not able to automatically create a Pointer File in the default system directory, it will create multiple Central Inventories and multiple Pointer Files. Instead of prompting to run a script as the root user, a separate Central Inventory and Pointer File will be created in each Oracle home created on the node.

Things have the potential to get complicated when you have multiple Oracle Applications installations on a single node, or where 11i and R12 installations are both installed on the same node. Start cloning to and from this same node and soon you may be forced to pay attention to the Inventory.

How EBS Creates and Updates the OUI Inventory

Here are a couple of typical examples of how the OUI Inventory is configured during an Oracle Applications installation.

Scenario 1: Upgrading Apps 11i to 12 creates multiple Pointer Files and Central Inventories

A typical scenario might be that you have an 11i test environment installed on your node. You plan to upgrade sometime soon and wish to install a simple R12 test environment on the same node.

By default, the operating system user installing R12 will probably not have permission to update the Central Inventory created by the previous 11i installation. In this case, multiple additional Pointer Files and Central Inventories are created within the new R12 Oracle homes. This in itself is not a problem but it is important that you understand that this may be what is happening.

Scenario 2: Upgrading Apps 11i to 12 updates the Global Inventory

Using the same starting scenario as above, if your R12 operating system user has write access to the Global Inventory created by 11i, then rapidwiz will update that Global Inventory with details of the new Oracle homes installed. Again, this is not a problem, but it is important that you are aware of what is happening.

When multiple Central Inventories exist, you must to be aware of this, as the correct Pointer File will need to be specified when maintaining the Oracle homes to maintain the correct Central Inventory.

Updating the Inventory When Removing an 11i or R12 environment

With the potential for single or multiple Global Inventories being created or updated, it’s important that when you delete an Oracle Applications environment from a machine, you make sure its corresponding Global Inventory entry is also updated correctly.

If your node is using a single Global Inventory and you wish to delete an Oracle Applications environment, it is not enough to just shut down the database and all the services and delete the software. This will leave a record of the installation in the Global Inventory.

To completely remove an installation, you must run OUI and use the graphical interface or the OUI command line to update the Global Inventory to record that the installation has been removed. If this is not done, then the Global Inventory retains a record of an environment that no longer exists on the node.

If you were to then perform a new installation or clone to that node at the same location as the previously removed installation, there would be a failure to correctly register the new installation. This could easily create an Oracle Applications installation which does not work correctly, or has links to non-existent locations. You might also have problems upgrading the technology stack or applying patches to this environment at a later date.

Tools for Managing the Inventory

Fortunately, there are various tools that allow you to check the condition of the Global Inventory on a node:

  • The Opatch utility has some useful command line parameters which allow you to interrogate and report on the condition of the inventory.
  • OUI and OPatch also support the “invPtrLoc” parameter which allows you to specify the inventory Pointer File you wish to use when you install or patch a product.

If you encounter a situation where your Oracle home is not correctly recorded in a Global Inventory, it is also possible to create or update the Central Inventory. There are several notes (see links in the Reference section below), which explain how to create or update the Central Inventory. There is also a note on how to consolidate multiple Central Inventories on a node into a single Central Inventory.

There is sometimes the temptation to manually edit the XML files that make up the Central or Home Inventory. Don't give in to temptation. The OUI Inventory should only be updated via Oracle tools such as the Oracle Universal Installer itself, the Rapid Install (rapidwiz), Opatch, and RapidClone.

Checking the OUI Inventory Log Files

During an installation or clone of Oracle Applications, the inventory creation or updating process is recorded in the log file called ohclone.log. The ohclone.log file will tell you if any aspect of the registration process has failed. You should always check this (and other log files) as part of your installation or cloning process.

Four Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Inventory

If you spend a lot of time installing and removing Oracle Applications environments and and have not really thought about the inventory in the past, you should keep the following in mind:

  1. Always deinstall the Oracle Applications technology stack using the OUI before deleting the software.
  2. Always check the ohclone.log after an installation or clone.
  3. If you know how your OUI Inventory is currently arranged, you should be fine. If you don’t, you should take a little time to familiarise yourself with the setup.
  4. Do not try to manually edit files that make up the Global or Local Inventory.


Friday Aug 08, 2008

Rapid Clone Updates for July 2008 Available for Apps 11i and 12


The Rapid Clone updates for Release 11i and 12 are released simultaneously twice a year in January and in July. The latest updates to both versions are now available in the following downloads:


These patches include more than 91 and 67 Bug fixes for 11i and R12 respectively. The corresponding Rapid Clone Metalink Notes have been updated accordingly.

The July 2008 updates fix more than 91 cloning-related issues for Release 11i and more than 67 for Release 12; see the respective READMEs for the list of bugs fixed.

  • Note 230672.1 : Cloning Oracle Applications Release 11i with Rapid Clone
  • Note 406982.1 : Cloning Oracle Applications Release 12 with Rapid Clone
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Monday May 19, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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. 

Thursday Feb 21, 2008

Latest Apps Management Pack 2.0.1 Now Available

Our hardworking E-Business Suite Applications Technology Group recently released  Application Management Pack version 2.0.1 for Oracle E-Business Suite.  This upgrade includes some important new features and a large number of bug fixes.  This update  is available for download via Patch 5969524 from Oracle Metalink.

Enterprise Manager Screenshot:

Supported E-Business Suite Releases

Application Management Pack (AMP) 2.0.1 is available for Grid Control 10gR3 on Linux (x86) and can be used to manage the following E-Business Suite releases:
  • Release 11.5.10 CU2 + ATG FP RUP4.H
  • Release 12.0
What Else Is New?

AMP 2.0.1 is an OPatch rollup update on top of the Pack's earlier release V2.0.  Some of the key benefits of this upgrade are:

  • Improved discovery and cloning capabilities
  • Management of E-Business Suite advanced topologies
  • Option to discover and register E-Business Suite instances either through the Command line or EM Grid Control User Interface
This pack also contains major bug fixes in the following areas:

  • 6141071: Ability for user to choose custom directories for installing APPL_TOP and DB TOP while cloning EBS R12.
  • 5976900: Ability for users to perform scale up or scale down clone of DB TOP.
  • 6155177: Ability for clone to support the capability to skip optional steps specified in the Clone Procedure.
  • 5876590: Support cloning of Individual EBS components (Database Techstack, Data Top, Application Techstack, and Application Top).
  • 5892625: Ability to apply an EBS image on an existing E-Business Suite Target.
  • Command Line Interface (CLI) for discovering and registering E-Business Suite system. In addition to the EM Grid Control User Interface based EBS discovery process, customers can now choose to discover using CLI. However the discovery mechanism still remains the same in both the steps.
Certified Oracle E-Business Suite Topology
  • EBS deployed on shared file system (NFS): Customers can now use AMP 2.0.1 to monitor and manage Oracle E-Business Suite systems deployed on a shared file system. However the cloning capability is still pending certification.
  • SSL enabled EBS System: Using AMP 2.0.1 customers can monitor and manage Oracle E-Business Suite systems that are SSL enabled.
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[Completely unrelated aside: This is likely going to be the last major piece of news on this blog for a while.  I'm off to visit my teams in India and the UK for an extended trip.  It's unlikely that I'll have a lot of free time to post techstack news during my travels, but we'll see how things go.]

Monday Feb 04, 2008

RapidClone Updates Available for Apps 11i and 12

Our ever-handy RapidClone utility allows you to create a standalone copy of an existing Oracle Applications system. There are many scenarios where it's useful to clone an Applications environment, including:

  • Standard cloning - Making a copy of an existing Oracle Applications system, for example a copy of a production system to test updates.
  • System scale-up - Adding new machines to a system to provide the capacity for processing an increased workload.
  • System transformations - Altering system data or file systems, including actions such as platform migration, data scrambling, and provisioning of high availability architectures.
  • Patching and upgrading - Delivering new versions of Applications components, and providing a mechanism for creating rolling environments to minimize downtime.
Latest RapidClone Consolidated Fixes Available for Download

The latest updates to both the Release 11i and 12 versions of RapidClone are now available in the following downloads:
The January 2008 updates fix 36 cloning-related issues for Release 11i and 57 cloning-related issues for Release 12; see the respective READMEs for the list of bugs fixed.

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Tuesday Jan 29, 2008

Sharing Apps R12 File Systems Across Multiple Databases

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

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

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

New Features in E-Business Suite R12

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

Sharing Applications Tier File Systems Across Multiple Database Instances

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

Shared File System across DB:

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

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

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

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Thursday Aug 09, 2007

Apps Management Pack for AIX and Linux x86-64 Now Available

For those of you waiting for the latest version of the Applications Management Pack for the E-Business Suite
to be ported to your operating system, some good news:  it's now available for two additional platforms:  IBM AIX and Linux x86-64.

Enterprise Manager Screenshot:

The Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite extends Oracle Enterprise Manager 10gR3 Grid Control to help monitor and manage
Applications environments.  This latest version can be used to manage the following environments:
  • E-Business Suite Release 12.0 and higher
  • E-Business Suite Release 11.5.10 with ATG RUP 4 or higher
This release is now available on:
  • Linux
  • Linux x86-64
  • Sun Solaris
Support for additional platforms is underway.

Free downloads for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control are available, but it's important to note that the Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite is a separately licensed product.  In a bit of a departure from its previous release vehicle, the Application Management Pack is now available for download from Metalink:

Friday Jun 29, 2007

Apps Management Pack for E-Business Suite on Solaris Now Available

The Applications Management Pack for the E-Business Suite was originally available only for Linux platforms.  For those of you waiting for the latest generation of our systems management tool to be ported to your operating system, some good news:  it's now available for Sun Solaris.

Enterprise Manager Screenshot:

The Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite extends Oracle Enterprise Manager 10gR3 Grid Control to help monitor and manage Applications environments.  This latest version can be used to manage the following environments:
  • E-Business Suite Release 12.0 and higher
  • E-Business Suite Release 11.5.10 with ATG RUP 4 or higher
Free downloads for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control are available, but it's important to note that the Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite is a separately licensed product.  If you'd like to do a hands-on evaluation of this latest release, you should give your Oracle account team a call.

Wednesday Apr 04, 2007

Fully Automated Cloning for Release 11i and 12

Cloning is the process of creating an identical copy of an already existing Oracle Applications system.  Cloning is a regular part of an Apps DBA's responsibilities, so you're probably already familiar with the latest Rapid Clone utility and its predecessor,, the original AD Clone Utility.  If you've used those tools in the past, you likely also know that overall cloning process requires some user intervention for things like the APPS password and so on. 

Enterprise Manager Screenshot:

A customer recently asked whether the following cloning process can be fully automated, so that no user intervention is required at all:
  1. Shut down the PROD environment for both the application server and database tier
  2. Do an offline preclone of both tiers
  3. Copy both tiers to another server (the sandbox environment)
  4. Restart the PROD environment
  5. Do an offline postclone of both tiers for the sandbox environment
  6. Start the sandbox environment
In researching that, I was pleased to learn that this kind of automation is a new feature in the latest Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite for Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10gR3. 

The management pack automates the cloning of both Release 11i (11.5.10 with ATG RUP4) as well as Release 12 environments.  You go through a step-by-step interview process to configure the clone routine once, and then you can reuse the cloning routine as many times as you wish.  In addition, the cloning routing can send out a notification if it failed.

Very slick.  If you've had a chance to try this, I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences with this new feature.


Friday Feb 23, 2007

Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite Now Available

Editor May 7, 2006 Update:  It's been pointed out that the relative positioning between Oracle Application Manager and the Oracle Application Management Pack could stand to use some elaboration.  Oracle Application Manager is still present and bundled with both Apps 11i and 12.  The Oracle Application Management Pack is a purchased add-on for Oracle Enterprise Manager.  They're related but distinct products.

If you've used previous versions of Oracle Applications Manager (OAM), you'll be pleased to hear that the latest generation of systems management tools has just been released:  the Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite is now available.  This new product plugs into Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10gR3, and is available for Linux platforms in its initial release.

Enterprise Manager Screenshot:

Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite extends Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control to help you monitor and manage Oracle E-Business Suite system environments. The Pack can be used to manage the following Apps releases:
The pack integrates Oracle Applications Manager with Enterprise Manager Grid Control, allowing you to drill down from Enterprise Manager's server monitoring level to specific E-Business Suite technology stack components.  Some of the key new capabilities include:
  • Automated cloning: Using the pack, Enterprise Manager Grid Control can be used to clone an Oracle E-Business Suite system (both 11.5.10 and Release 12) automatically.
  • Service Level Management (SLM):  Monitor the E-Business suite infrastructure and application service's availability and performance, and capture activity and performance metrics for trend analysis.  
  • Configuration Reports:  Over a hundred reports on E-Business suite configuration details.  Reports can be viewed, searched, and compared from within Enterprise Manager Grid control.
Free downloads for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control are available, but it's important to note that the Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite is a separately licensed product.  If you'd like to do a hands-on evaluation of this latest release, you should give your Oracle account team a call.


Thursday Nov 30, 2006

Inside Oracle's Own Global Operations Data Center

[Oct. 27, 2008 Update:  The latest version of this popular presentation from OpenWorld 2008 is now available for download.  For links to the latest version, see this article.]

Every year at OpenWorld, Bret Fuller discusses how Oracle consolidated over 70 individual E-Business Suite instances into a single instance serving all global operations.  The statistics for Oracle's own Global Single Instance keep rising impressively every year:

Oracle Global Single Instance Statistics:

Bret's presentation this year covers:
  • The business metrics before and after the consolidation
  • Savings estimates and a discussion of business benefits
  • Oracle's Global Single Instance architecture, including a glimpse of the off-site production and disaster-recovery setups in our Austin and Colorado Springs data centers
  • Before and after hardware comparisons
  • Tips on project management best practices
  • Detailed view of the change management processes around the Global Single Instance
  • Critical success factors and tips
You can download this year's presentation here:

Monday Nov 13, 2006

New Systems Management Capabilities for Release 12

The latest details about the upcoming Release 12 Oracle Application Management Pack for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g were unveiled at OpenWorld.  This new product replaces the older "Grid Control Plug-in for E-Business Suite," and many of the new features are backwards-compatible with Release 11i, too.

OAM R12 screenshot:

This latest plug-in will extend the Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control capabilities for monitoring and managing E-Business Suite environments.  It will include a number of cool new features, including:
  • User interface enhancements, including an enhanced Home and Topology views

  • Automatic discovery of E-Business Suite environments

  • New configuration management capabilities, including views, comparisons, and searchs of configuration information across multiple Apps systems

  • Application Service Level management for Concurrent Porcessing, Forms, Workflow, and Self-Service, with configurable service level alerts

  • JVM usage monitoring, including monitoring of the Application Module pool, locked AOL/J connections, and OA Framework cache components

  • Enhanced cloning and data scrambling capabilities
For a more in-depth discussion of these new features and capabilities -- and lots of screenshots -- check out Biju Mohan's OpenWorld presentation:
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.

Tuesday Oct 17, 2006

New Application Management Packs Coming for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g

[Editor Oct 18, 2007 Update:  Changed link to detailed information; there's more coming, including the presentation with detailed features and screenshots, during OpenWorld.]

Our hard-working Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g team has just announced that a new set of Application Management Packs will soon be released for Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, and Siebel.

Enterprise Manager Screenshot:

For the E-Business Suite, this new Application Management Pack will support both Release 11i and 12.  Some interesting new features:
  • Automated discovery
  • Service Level Management
  • Out of box service models & beacon transactions
  • Configuration Management
  • Topology views
  • Integration with Application Server & Database diagnostics
  • Cloning automation for production to test environments
  • Customized beacon for Forms components
A bit more information about the new application management, monitoring, and service level capabilities can be found here:
The official press release is characteristically light on specific release dates for the E-Business Suite Application Management Pack.  Stay tuned; I'll post updates as they become available.


Thursday Jul 20, 2006

Using Cygwin to Maintain Release 11i on Windows

If you've been running E-Business Suite Release 11i on Windows, you've likely been annoyed by the fact that certain installation and maintenance tasks depend on UNIX shell scripts.  To make these UNIX scripts work in Windows environments, your only certified option until recently was to use MKS Toolkit.

Cygwin logo:

Those days are over.  Now, in place of the costly MKS Toolkit, you can use Cygwin -- an open source alternative -- to administer your E-Business Suite Release 11i environment. 

For the full installation documentation, see:
The Usual Caveats

Not surprisingly, this configuration has a couple of warnings and disclaimers:
  1. Cygwin is free software and is not supported unless you purchase a support contract from a third party. Oracle recommends MKS toolkit for all critical production and test systems.
  2. MKS toolkit is required if you are using Discoverer 4i with Apps 11i.
The second disclaimer about Discoverer 4i shouldn't concern most of you, since you presumably already know that that release is going to be desupported this year in October, and your upgrades to Discoverer 10g are already underway.

At least I hope you know about Discoverer 4i's impending desupport status.

Thursday Jun 29, 2006

Oracle Grid Control 10gR2 Plug-in for Oracle Applications on AIX

Following up on my recent article on using Oracle Enterprise Manager with Oracle  Applications Manager, the Oracle Grid Control 10gR2 Plug-in for Oracle Applications has just been released for IBM AIX. This release can be downloaded via MetaLink as patch 5294640.

OEM Apps Plug-in - Home screenshot:

See the links below if you're interested in other platforms or pointers to the Oracle Enterprise Manager 10gR1 equivalent plug-ins.


Monday Jun 26, 2006

Using Enterprise Manager with Applications Manager

Oracle Applications Manager (OAM) has matured into a very slick and powerful toolbox for Apps sysadmins.  Oracle Applications Manager is a standalone tool, but if you're so-inclined, you can optionally use a plug-in to integrate it with Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control (OEM).  Grid Control allows you to monitor multiple e-Business systems and drill down into Oracle Applications Manager.

Oracle Enterprise Manager Apps Plug-in Architecture:

The Oracle Grid Control Plug-in for Oracle Applications provides extensions for the Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control management service, repository, and agent. 

These extensions introduce new target types that can be monitored within Grid Control, including:
  • Oracle Applications System
  • HTTP Server for Oracle Applications 11i
  • JServ for Oracle Applications 11i
  • Forms Listener for Oracle Applications 11i
  • Reports Server for Oracle Applications 11i
  • Discoverer for Oracle Applications 11i
You can get a top-level view of your Apps environment in Oracle Enterprise Manager:

Oracle Enterprise Manager Apps Plug-in System View:

You can drill down into operational reports for your application server-tier:

OEM Apps Plug-in - Apps Tier View:

As well as getting the same details for your database tier:

OEM Apps Plug-in - Database Tier View:

The patch numbers for the Grid Control Plug-in for Oracle Applications are:

For Grid Control 10gR2
  • HP-UX: 5189739 (released 27 April 2006)
  • Solaris: 5109595 (released 04 April 2006)
  • Linux : 4678538 (released 12 January 2006)
  • AIX:  5294640 (released 26 June 2006)
  • Other platforms will be made available soon
For Grid Control 10gR1
  • Linux : 4289612 (released 06 April 2005)
  • Solaris : 4288879 (released 06 April 2005)
  • AIX : 4685522 (released 30 November 2005)
  • HP-UX : 5053049 (released 4 March 2006)
  • Windows NT : 5001875 (released 4 March 2006)

Friday Jun 23, 2006

OAM: A Toolbox for E-Business Suite Administrators

There are a lot of tools and products in the Apps Division.  Reviewing the suite sometimes feels like painting the Golden Gate Bridge -- by the time you've finished, it's time to start all over again.

Oracle Applications Manager 11i Screenshot:

By way of explanation, that's why it's somewhat of a surprise to see how far along the Oracle Applications Manager (OAM) has come since the last time I looked at it.  It's matured into a pretty impressive set of tools for Apps system administrators and DBAs.

A Toolkit for Sysadmins

The Oracle Applications Manager provides a set of tools for configuring your E-Business Suite environment (including tight integration with AutoConfig), monitoring the health of a running environment (as shown in the screenshot above), notifying you with alerts if performance metrics cross specified thresholds:

Oracle Applications Manager 11i Alerts Screenshot:

helping you diagnose system performance and other issues via diagnostic scripts and reports:

Oracle Applications Manager 11i Diagnostic Tests Screenshot:

New Features for 11.5.10

The list of new features in the latest 11.5.10 release is impressively long:
  • JServ Monitoring
  • Business Flow monitoring
  • Concurrent Processing Charts
  • Forms Runaway Process monitoring
  • Applications Dashboard
  • Advanced Configuration wizards
  • Host Based Service Management
  • Monitoring Applications DBA Utility running jobs
  • Patch History Database enhancements
  • Patch Advisor InfoBundle and Patch Download from MetaLink
  • Enhanced Patch Impact Analysis
  • Restricted Mode Access
  • Enhanced Navigation
  • Single Sign-On 10g Integration
  • Rule Based Tracing and Profiling Controls
  • User Initiated System Alerts
  • Client Side Advisor for diagnosing problems with end-user PC configurations
  • Support Cart for sending reports to Oracle Support
  • New Logging Management Interface in Oracle Applications Manager
  • New Dedicated Security Page in the Applications Dashboard
  • Page access tracking for Oracle Applications Framework pages
  • Integration with Sign-on Auditing
What do you mean by "free"? 

Oracle Applications Manager is included in your E-Business Suite licencing, so you don't have to wrestle with your Procurement department before getting started with it.  Just install the latest patch and you're off to the races.


Friday Apr 21, 2006

Managing E-Business Suite Configurations with AutoConfig

Work is its own reward.  You can expect great rewards this year.

~ Paraphrased from Dilbert, Scott Adams

Historically, one of the biggest challenges facing any E-Business Suite system administrator was managing the countless configuration files for technology stack components. 

In the past, different E-Business Suite products would each have their own technology stack configuration recommendations.  For example, iProcurement might recommend that a certain parameter be set to a given value in httpd.conf.  Naturally, it's inevitable that a different product family would come along and recommend a completely contradictory setting for the same parameter. 

Further complicating things:  if the hapless system administrator chose to follow either recommendation, there was no guarantee that the new setting wouldn't break a third unrelated product.  It was enough to make grown sysadmins weep.

Enter stage left, AutoConfig

AutoConfig is a tool that automates the management of all configuration files for all E-Business Suite Release 11i technology stack components.  The Applications Technology Group now centrally controls all parameter settings for all configuration files for the E-Business Suite. 

You might reasonably have expected from the start, but there are over 200 products within the E-Business Suite, and gaining agreement from all development groups to centralize this kind of control within the Applications Technology Group was about as simple a political process as nominating a presidential candidate.  This took years.

That's all behind us now, and today, individual product families are no longer permitted to make recommendations for technology stack configurations of any kind, and any changes to known-good parameter settings are now centrally tested to ensure that they work with all 200 or so E-Business Suite products.  It's about time, and you're the main beneficiary.

Beneath the Hood:  AutoConfig

All of the information required for configuring an Applications instance is collected into two local XML repositories called the Applications Context and the Database Context.  This information describes your instance name, location of servers, and so on.  With the latest Rapid Installs, the information you originally provided at install time is the basis for the Applications and Database Context files.

When AutoConfig runs on the Application tier, it merges information from the Applications Context with presupplied configuration file templates to generate all application-tier configuration files and update database profiles.

When AutoConfig runs on the Database tier, it uses information from the Database Context file to generate all configuration files used on the Database tier.

If you're updating the configuration for an existing instance with AutoConfig, it will take a snapshot of your current configuration before installing the new configuration files.  You can roll back your configuration to any snapshot taken at any given date.  This allows you to experiment safely with different configuration options.  Didn't like the effect of the last change?  Just roll back to the previous AutoConfig snapshot.

But wait... there's more.  AutoConfig can also start and stop all technology stack components that it manages, and there are additional options for pregenerating test configuration files and examining the differences with your existing configuration.

AutoConfig Now Preserves Customizations

With all of these great features, as well as AutoConfig's devotion to motherhood and apple pie, the reluctance of sysadmins to use AutoConfig has been a source of some... ahh... perplexity within our team. 

After all, who wouldn't want to use a tool that guarantees a known-good configuration that works for all E-Business Suite products?  Who could possibly want the burden of managing configuration files themselves, with this as an alternative?

Well, a lot of you, as it turns out.  More than we expected, in fact. 

With some digging, we learned that you've invested in building your own custom configurations and don't want us overwriting your hard-earned changes.   Your customizations might address the need to:
  • Start additional services or processes when you start Oracle Applications services
  • Define and add zones to your JServ configuration
  • Extend Forms to integrate with a third party Java version
  • Develop customer applications that are maintained by AutoConfig
That's understandable, so we enhanced AutoConfig.  Your customizations are now preserved after running AutoConfig, and persist even after new AutoConfig templates are installed. 

So, What Did We Miss?

Despite all this, we still have the nagging impression that the majority of E-Business Suite system administrators still don't use AutoConfig.  We really don't know why.

Assuming that you're all rational, there must be good reasons.  Clearly, you have requirements that AutoConfig doesn't meet yet.

If you haven't switched over to AutoConfig yet, I would appreciate your posting a comment about new features that would encourage you to make the switch.




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