Friday Mar 28, 2014

New Recommended Patch Collection for EBS 12.1.3 Now Available

I am very pleased to announce the availability of E-Business Suite 12.1.3+ Recommended Patch Collection 1.  This Recommended Patch Collection combines recommended patches for EBS 12.1.3 into a single integrated and regression-tested patchset:


Why is this important?

Getting to EBS 12.1.3 isn't enough.  Additional patches must be applied on top of EBS 12.1.3 before going into production. These include individual patches, product family Release Update Packs (RUP), and product-specific Recommended Patch Collections (RPC). 

For example, there are Recommended Patch Collections for Financials products such as General Ledger, Payables, and others.  On the technology side, there are patchsets such as the OA Framework 12.1.3.1 Consolidated Update Patch

Identifying these individual patches, RUPs, Family Packs, and RPCs can be time-consuming.  Complicating matters further, patchsets across multiple product families are generally not tested together.

Included in Recommended Patch Collection 1 (RPC1)

The EBS 12.1.3+ RPC1 patchset includes a comprehensively-tested set of the latest recommended patches and their dependencies for the following EBS product families:

  • Applications Technology Group (ATG)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Financials (FIN)
  • Human Resource Management System (HRMS)
  • Procurement (PRC)
  • Projects (PJ)
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM)
  • Value Chain Planning (VCP)

Your feedback is welcome

We are very interested in hearing about your experiences with this new Recommended Patch Collection.  You can post a comment here or send me an email directly.

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Tuesday Aug 06, 2013

You're Closer to EBS 12.1.3 Than You Think

Congratulations -- you're running EBS 12.1.1 or 12.1.2 in production.  Our standing recommendation is to apply the EBS 12.1.3 suite-wide Release Update Pack (RUP), despite the relaxed requirements in the recent changes to our Error Correction Support Policy.

If you can't apply the suite-wide 12.1.3 Release Update Pack, you should apply the individual 12.1.3 Family Packs for the EBS products that you've deployed.

Here's our best-kept secret:  this will change your environment less than you think.  If you've applied any patches to your 12.1.1 or 12.1.2 environment, you probably already have much of 12.1.3 already in production today.  

A glimpse behind the curtain

This is due to the way that our EBS source code control system works: we deliver patches based upon the latest versions of code in our source control system.  Developers sometimes refer to this as "delivering code on the tip of the codeline."

If "source control systems" are unknown territory to you, here's an example to illustrate this:

Let's imagine that you're running 12.1.1 and report an issue with a Financials screen. 

That Financials screen was first released in 12.1.1, updated in 12.1.2, and updated again in 12.1.3.

Whatever patch you apply will deliver the latest version of the 12.1.3 code and all of the related dependencies in other screens or packages

In this particular case, you might think you're on 12.1.1, but applying that patch has raised your code level for the updated files to the 12.1.3 level or even later.

Apps DBA Tip: Check which files a patch changes

Here's how to check this out yourself.  The Oracle Applications Manager contains a tool that all Apps DBAs should use:

The Patch Wizard has an "Analyze Specific Patches" function that tells you how a specific patch will affect your system.

Patch Wizard Analyse Specific Patches screenshot

The resulting "Patch Impact Analysis" report provides you with a summary of:

  • Applications patched
  • New files introduced
  • Existing files changed
  • Existing files unchanged

Screenshot of Patch Wizard Impact Analysis Report

Power users tip:  identify affected customizations

Patch Wizard Register Flagged Files screenshotIf you've flagged your customized files using the Oracle Applications Manager "Register Flagged Files" function, the Patch Wizard will also identify which of your customizations are affected by a given patch.

This allows you to reassure your developers and end-users that you have very-granular control over the impact of a given patch on critical customized functionality.

A case study: Financials and Procurement 12.1.3 vs. 12.1.1

A major steel manufacturer running EBS 12.1.1 approached us with their concerns about applying the suite-wide EBS 12.1.3 Release Update Pack to their environment.  Like many manufacturers, every hour of EBS downtime meant lost productivity so they wanted to minimize the amount of retesting triggered by 12.1.3.

They had been running 12.1.1 Financials and Procurement in production for quite some time.  They had stabilized their environment with a number of one-off patches on top of 12.1.1.  

We used the Patch Wizard's "Patch Impact Analysis" report to assess the number of files that would be affected by the 12.1.3 Family Packs for Financials and Procurement.  Here's what we found:

  • They already had applied 81% of the 12.1.3 Procurement Family Pack.  The 12.1.3 Procurement Family Pack has ~3,800 files, which means that over 3,100 files were unchanged.  Only 3 of the files that they'd customized needed review.

  • The 12.1.3 Financials Family Pack contains ~12,000 files.  They had already applied 72% of the 12.1.3 Financials Family Pack, leaving over 8,600 files unchanged.  Only one of their customized files needed review.

Do your own 12.1.3 impact analysis

Your mileage will vary.  Run the Patch Wizard comparing the 12.1.3 Family Packs to see how close you are.

I'd be interested in hearing your reports.  Feel free to post a comment here or drop me an email with your results.

References

Related Articles


Thursday Feb 07, 2013

Webcast Replay Available: Minimizing E-Business Suite Maintenance Downtimes

If you missed this webcast, you should make plans to listen to the recording of our latest Minimizing Oracle E-Business Suite Maintenance Downtimes session by Elke Phelps, Senior Principal Product Manager, and Santiago Bastidas, Principal Product Manager. All EBS sysadmins would benefit from this webcast, regardless of whether you're a new DBA or not. This new 2011 recording covers new material since its original broadcast in 2011.

The replay is available here:

This one-hour webcast provides an overview of the plans and decisions you can make, and the actions you can take, that will help you minimize maintenance downtimes for your E-Business Suite instances. It is targeted to system administrators, DBAs, developers, and implementers.

Phases of EBS patching

This session covers best practices, tools, utilities, and tasks to help you minimize maintenance downtimes during the four key maintenance phases:

  • Pre-Patching: Reviewing the list of patches and analyzing their impact
  • Patching Trials: Testing the patch prior to actual production deployment
  • Patch Deployment: Applying patching to your system
  • Post Patching Analysis: Validating the patch application


Thursday Jan 17, 2013

Forms and Reports 10g 10.1.2.3.2 certified with EBS 12

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 uses Oracle Forms & Reports 10g in its internal technology stack. Each of the three EBS 12 Rapid Installs included newer versions of the Forms & Reports-based components:


EBS Release 12 Rapid Install Version

12.0.0 12.0.4 12.1.1
Database 10.2.0.2 10.2.0.3 11.1.0.7
OracleAS 10.1.2 Forms & Reports 10.1.2.0.2 10.1.2.2 10.1.2.3
OracleAS 10.1.3 OC4J 10.1.3.0.0 10.1.3.0.0 10.1.3.4
App Tier Java (JDK) 1.5.0_10 1.5.0_13 1.6.0_10
Desktop Client Java (JRE) 1.5.0_10-erdist 1.5.0_13 1.6.0_u10

Oracle Fusion Middleware periodically issues bundle patches -- collections of critical bug fixes, security updates, and minor enhancements.  Bundle patches are cumulative: they include all patches released in previous bundle patches.

The latest Oracle Forms & Reports 10g Bundle Patch 2 is now certified with all Oracle E-Business Suite 12 releases. Note that the Forms version remains unchanged after application of this patch.  All EBS 12.0 and 12.1 environments should be upgraded to this Bundle Patch:

Prerequisites

  • This bundle is specifically and exclusively designed for application to the OracleAS 10.1.2.3.0 (Forms and Reports) Oracle Home used in all Oracle E-Business Suite 12.0.x and 12.1.x releases.
Certified Platforms
  • The bundle is available for all certified platforms that support the Oracle E-Business Suite releases mentioned.

References

Related Articles

Thursday Nov 29, 2012

ATG Live Webcast Dec. 6th: Minimizing EBS Maintenance Downtimes

This webcast provides an overview of the plans and decisions you can make, and the actions you can take, that will help you minimize maintenance downtimes for your E-Business Suite instances. It is targeted to system administrators, DBAs, developers, and implementers.

Phases of EBS patching

This session, led by Elke Phelps, Senior Principal Product Manager, and Santiago Bastidas, Principal Product Manager, will cover best practices, tools, utilities, and tasks to minimize your maintenance downtimes during the four key maintenance phases. Topics will include:

  • Create a Maintenance Strategy
  • Find the Updates You Need
  • Use the Right Tools and Features
  • Create a Deployment Strategy
  • Summarize Key Concepts
  • Review a Case Study
  • Preview EBS Release 12.2 Online Patching

Date:                Thursday, December 6, 2012
Time:               8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Pacific Standard Time
Presenters:   Elke Phelps, Senior Principal Product Manager
                         Santiago Bastidas, Principal Product Manager

Webcast Registration Link (Preregistration is optional but encouraged)

To hear the audio feed:
   Domestic Participant Dial-In Number:           877-697-8128
    International Participant Dial-In Number:      706-634-9568
    Additional International Dial-In Numbers Link:
    Dial-In Passcode:                                              103200

To see the presentation:
    The Direct Access Web Conference details are:
    Website URL: https://ouweb.webex.com
    Meeting Number:  595757500

If you miss the webcast, or you have missed any webcast, don't worry -- we'll post links to the recording as soon as it's available from Oracle University.  You can monitor this blog for pointers to the replay. And, you can find our archive of our past webcasts and training here.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email Bill Sawyer (Senior Manager, Applications Technology Curriculum) at BilldotSawyer-AT-Oracle-DOT-com.

Friday Jul 20, 2012

Five Errors Customers Make When Patching E-Business Suite 12 (Part 3)

This is the third in a series of short articles about common technical myths or misunderstandings about the E-Business Suite. Other articles have covered installations, cloning, migrations, upgrades, and maintenance. This article discusses patching. Subsequent articles will cover migrating, upgrading, and general maintenance. Each article is absolutely not definitive and I’d be interested in comments from readers who think there are other misconceptions about the day to day maintenance and upgrade of a typical E-Business Suite environment.


COMMON ERROR #1: Assuming that all patches can be applied using the hotpatch and nocheckfile parameters.

ORACLE’S RECOMMENDATION: The adpatch ‘hotpatch’ parameter should be used very sparingly and is not intended to be an easy way of applying patches to your system without shutting down the application tier services. Most patches should only be applied during scheduled downtimes when all users are logged off the system, application tier services have been shut down and Maintenance Mode enabled. From the adpatch documentation:

“If an emergency patch can be applied without shutting down services, the customized instructions generated by PAA will explicitly state so. If the customized instructions do not explicitly state this, assume that you need to shut down services and enable Maintenance mode before applying the patch.”

Similarly, the ‘nocheckfile’ parameter should not be used on all patches. Nocheckfile forces the patch to run all jobs in a patch regardless of whether the jobs have been run before. It degrades patch performance and should only be used in specific circumstances where it is genuinely needed. It should not be used as the default option for applying all patches. There are very few cases in which you would want to run with nocheckfile.


COMMON ERROR #2: Assuming that patches can be applied “manually” or backed out of “manually”.

ORACLE’S RECOMMENDATION: There is no manual alternative to using adpatch to apply a patch. It is not supported to selectively choose only certain files from a patch and manually copy or execute these files in your E-Business Suite environment. Similarly, there is no simple method of reversing a patch.

COMMON ERROR #3: Increasing the number of patch workers in an attempt to make patches run faster.

ORACLE’S RECOMMENDATION: Do not assume more workers automatically improves patch performance. When you first test a patch, accept the default number of workers. Use this as the performance benchmark. If you think a different number of workers will improve patch performance then try this once you have your default benchmark, but do not exceed the default number of workers without good justification for doing so. Once a patch is started, the number of workers cannot be changed mid-patch.


COMMON ERROR #4: Ignoring or skipping patch workers that fail on products that are not used or needed.

ORACLE’S RECOMMENDATION: You should aim to have zero errors when applying a patch. All E-Business Suite products are installed in the E-Business Suite database whether you are licenced to use them or not. Patches will update all products in the database whether they are licenced or not. If you find yourself having to skip jobs or ignore errors during patching then this indicates an underlying problem in your system that should always be investigated and addressed. Review the patch prerequisites and ensure all steps have been completed successfully.


COMMON ERROR #5: Using adpatch default log file names during patching.

ORACLE’S RECOMMENDATION: Identify each new patch log file with a unique patch log file name. If you always choose the default log file name in adpatch, your adpatch.log quickly becomes enormous. This makes it very difficult to identify individual patch information in the log file and makes it difficult to keep an accurate record of your patch history. Use a simple naming convention, e.g. choose a unique adpatch log name for each patch (<patchnumber>.log. Archive and then delete your main patch log and worker files after each patch so each patch has new log and worker files.

References

Related Articles


Tuesday Jul 03, 2012

Webcast Replay Available: Technical Preview of EBS 12.2 Online Patching

[Sep. 20, 2013 Update:  EBS 12.2 is now available for download.  See this article for details.]

I am pleased to release the replay and presentation for ATG Live Webcast:

Technical Preview of EBS 12.2 Online Patching (Presentation)

Online patching editions

Kevin Hudson, Senior Director and one of the Online Patching architects, discussed one of the cornerstone new features in our upcoming Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2 release. This ground-breaking feature is based upon Edition-Based Redefinition, a new 11gR2 Database feature that was built to Oracle Applications division specifications to allow the E-Business Suite's database tier to be patched while the environment is running.  Online Patching combines the use of Edition-Based Redefinition and new E-Business Suite technologies to allow patching to the E-Business Suite's database and application tier servers while the environment is being actively used by its end-users. (June 2012)

Finding other recorded ATG webcasts

The catalog of ATG Live Webcast replays, presentations, and all ATG training materials is available in this blog's Webcasts and Training section.

Wednesday Jun 13, 2012

REMINDER: ATG Live Webcast June 14: Technical Preview of EBS 12.2 Online Patching

Reminder: Our first detailed webcast about EBS 12.2's Online Patching is going to be held tomorrow, June 14, 2012.  Please dial into the webcast at least 15 minutes in advance.  Preregistration volumes suggest that we will hit the limit for attendees. If you try to dial in a mere five minutes before the webcast, you may not get in.

Online Patching is is one of the cornerstone new features in our upcoming Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2 release. This ground-breaking feature is based upon Edition-Based Redefinition, a new 11gR2 Database feature that was built to Oracle Applications division specifications to allow the E-Business Suite's database tier to be patched while the environment is running.  Online Patching combines the use of Edition-Based Redefinition and new E-Business Suite technologies to allow patching to the E-Business Suite's database and application tier servers while the environment is being actively used by its end-users.

This webcast provides a detailed technical preview of:

  • How this new feature works
  • How it affects E-Business Suite end-users
  • How it affects E-Business Suite database administrators and patching lifecycles
  • How it affects developers and third-party software vendors responsible for E-Business Suite customizations and extensions
Online patching editions

 

The presenter for this event is Kevin Hudson, Senior Director and one of the Online Patching architects. There will be a special extended Q&A Session at the end of this presentation, given the nature of the materials and the questions that we expect from you. ATG Development staff supporting the Q&A session will include Elke Phelps, Santiago Bastidas, Max Arderius, and other ATG architects.

Date:              Thursday, June 14, 2012
Time:              8:00 AM - 10:00 AM Pacific Standard Time (Special 2-hour Time)
Presenter:    Kevin Hudson, Senior Director, Applications Technology Integration

To hear the audio feed:
   Domestic Participant Dial-In Number:           877-697-8128
   International Participant Dial-In Number:      706-634-9568
   Dial-In Passcode:                                              100815

To see the presentation:
    The Direct Access Web Conference details are:
    Website URL: https://ouweb.webex.com
    Meeting Number:  597470987

If you miss the webcast, or you have missed any webcast, don't worry -- we'll post links to the recording as soon as it's available from Oracle University.  You can monitor this blog for pointers to the replay. And, you can find our archive of our past webcasts and training here.

When will Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2 be released?

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

Wednesday Jun 06, 2012

ATG Live Webcast June 14: Technical Preview of EBS 12.2 Online Patching

Online Patching is is one of the cornerstone new features in our upcoming Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2 release. This ground-breaking feature is based upon Edition-Based Redefinition, a new 11gR2 Database feature that was built to Oracle Applications division specifications to allow the E-Business Suite's database tier to be patched while the environment is running.  Online Patching combines the use of Edition-Based Redefinition and new E-Business Suite technologies to allow patching to the E-Business Suite's database and application tier servers while the environment is being actively used by its end-users.

This webcast provides a detailed technical preview of:

  • How this new feature works
  • How it affects E-Business Suite end-users
  • How it affects E-Business Suite database administrators and patching lifecycles
  • How it affects developers and third-party software vendors responsible for E-Business Suite customizations and extensions

Online Patching Overview


The presenter for this event is Kevin Hudson, Senior Director and one of the Online Patching architects. There will be a special extended Q&A Session at the end of this presentation, given the nature of the materials and the questions that we expect from you. ATG Development staff supporting the Q&A session will include Elke Phelps, Santiago Bastidas, Max Arderius, and other ATG architects.

Date:               Thursday, June 14, 2012
Time:              8:00 AM - 10:00 AM Pacific Standard Time (Special 2-hour Time)
Presenter:    Kevin Hudson, Senior Director, Applications Technology Integration

Webcast Registration Link (Preregistration is optional but encouraged)

To hear the audio feed:
   Domestic Participant Dial-In Number:           877-697-8128
   International Participant Dial-In Number:      706-634-9568
   Dial-In Passcode:                                              100815

To see the presentation:
    The Direct Access Web Conference details are:
    Website URL: https://ouweb.webex.com
    Meeting Number:  597470987

If you miss the webcast, or you have missed any webcast, don't worry -- we'll post links to the recording as soon as it's available from Oracle University.  You can monitor this blog for pointers to the replay. And, you can find our archive of our past webcasts and training here.

When will Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2 be released?

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

Monday May 07, 2012

Critical Patches when Upgrading EBS 11i to 12: New Report Available

One tedious part of upgrading from Release 11i to Release 12 just got a lot easier: identifying patches for the upgrade process itself.  These pre-install patches help you avoid certain upgrade script failures, upgrade performance issues, and data corruption and upgrade integrity issues.

The new Oracle E-Business Suite Pre-install Patches Report provides a single list of essential patches that you must apply in pre-install mode before upgrading from Release 11i to Release 12.1. This report serves as a single point of reference for upgrade-related patches that can ONLY be applied prior to running the main upgrade driver for Release 12.1. The report also includes links that take you directly to the patches you want to download.

Screenshot of Oracle E-Business Suite Pre-install Patch Report

This report is intended to be used by application DBAs and functional analysts at upgrade customers who are at the Release 12.1 upgrade planning stage. Applying the relevant pre-install patches prior to the Release 12.1 upgrade will improve the overall technical upgrade experience as well as reduce occurrences of data corruption where a pre-install fix already exists.

You can download the new Pre-install Patches Report here:

Future Changes

This new tool was produced by our hard-working EBS Release Management team, and they are actively seeking your feedback. Please feel free to share your experiences with it by posting a comment here. You can also request enhancements to this tool via the My Oracle Support Community mentioned in Note 1448102.1.

The team plans to update the report approximately once a month to identify any new Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1 pre-install patches that have been released since the prior version of the report. However, if there are no new pre-install patches in a particular month, the report will not be updated that month. The change log will provide additional details about the updates added in each version of the report and access to download previous versions of the report. While you are in your upgrade test cycle, we recommend that you check Note 1448102.1 regularly for updates, review each newly identified patch, select patches to apply following the guidelines in the Selection Recommendation section, and uptake those patches.

Related Articles

Friday Feb 24, 2012

Identifying Recommended Patches for E-Business Suite Environments

A question that is frequently posed by E-Business Suite sysadmins is – “What patches should I apply to my environment?”   

There are three ways to get a list of recommended patches for your EBS environment:

  1. EBS 11i and 12:  Use the E-Business Suite Patch Wizard
  2. EBS 12 only:  Search using the My Oracle Support "Patch Search" feature
  3. EBS 11i and 12:  Search using the My Oracle Support "Recommended Patch Lists" shortcuts

To learn more about all three options, see:

Option 1: Use the EBS Patch Wizard (recommended)

Within Patch Wizard is the Recommend/Analyze Patches function which will create a list or recommended patches.  To use this feature in Patch Wizard, first login to your Oracle E-Business Suite environment with a user that has the System Administrator responsibility.  Then, navigate to System Administrator > Oracle Applications Manager >Patch Wizard. 

NOTE:  If you are not familiar with the Patch Wizard utility, you should learn more about it.  The tool is provided with your EBS environment as part of Oracle Applications Manager.  It requires no additional installations to use. 

You must first configure the Patch Wizard Preferences with a valid My Oracle Support account.  This configuration is a one time setup step.  Additional details regarding Patch Wizard and the initial configuration requirements are provided in the following My Oracle Support Note:

Once the initial configuration for Patch Wizard is complete, locate the Patch Recommendations Requests section in Patch Wizard as shown in the following figure.

Click on the Tasks button for Recommend/Analyze Patches After selecting the patch filter per your requirements, click OK and confirm the execution of the Recommended Patches request.  The output will display a list of recommended E-Business Suite patches with a status of Applied/Unapplied .

For additional details, please refer to Method 1 - Patch Wizard (EBS Support Recommended) section in the following My Oracle Support Document:

Option 2: Search My Oracle Support for EBS R12 patches

Another option for finding recommended patches is using the Patch Classification available from My Oracle Support.  First, login to My Oracle Support and go to the Patches & Updates tab as shown here:


In the Patch Search region, click on Product or Family (Advanced) as shown in the following figure:


Enter the Product, Release, Platform.  Then add Classifications by clicking the plus button as shown in the following figure:

Within Classification, check both Critical and Other Recommendations as shown in the following figure:


Now execute the search by clicking the Search button.  The search results will be then be displayed.  In the search results, the Classification column will indicate if the patch was Critical or Recommended.

For additional details, please refer to Method 2 - Patch Classification Search section in the following My Oracle Support Document:

Option 3: My Oracle Support "Recommended Patch List" shortcuts

At present, there are a couple of functional enhancements in the My Oracle Support development pipeline for Option 2, above.  These are being worked on right now; stay tuned to this blog for updates. 

Until those enhancements are delivered, Option 3 is a tried-and-true method for getting a web-based listing of recommended patches.  The following links on My Oracle Support provide a listing of recommended patches for an Oracle E-Business Suite R12 or R11i environment. 

First: login to My Oracle Support.  Once logged in, navigate to the Patches & Updates tab. Navigate to the Patching Quick Links region.  This region contains links to Recommended R12 Patches and Recommended R11i Patches:


After clicking one of the recommended patches links for either R12 or R11i, you have the ability to enter additional search criteria to narrow the results of the recommended patch list.  Search criteria include:

  • Maintenance Release,
  • Product or Product Family,
  • Platform or Language and
  • Updated in last “X” Days, Weeks or Months. 

The search criteria for an R12 environment are displayed in the following screen shot:

For additional details, please refer to Method 3 - Legacy Search for Recommended Patches section in the following My Oracle Support Document:

A customer's views

It's sometimes interesting to hear from other members of the EBS DBA community who are wrestling with the same questions.  Check out the following articles by Barb Matthews (non-Oracle author):

Related Articles

Monday Oct 31, 2011

ATG Live Webcast: Minimizing Oracle E-Business Suite Maintenance Downtimes

[Nov. 16, 2011 Update: The recording of this session is now available.  For details, see our Training Summary]

I am pleased to announce our next ATG Live Webcast, scheduled for Thursday, 17-Nov-2011. The event is titled:

This one-hour webcast provides an overview of the plans and decisions you can make, and the actions you can take, that will help you minimize maintenance downtimes for your E-Business Suite instance(s). It is targeted to system administrators, DBAs, developers, and implementers.

Phases of EBS patching

This session, led by Elke Phelps, Senior Principal Product Manager, and Santiago Bastidas, Principal Product Manager, provides you with recommendations, covering best practices, tools, utilities, and tasks to help you minimize maintenance downtimes during the four key maintenance phases. This session will cover:

  • Pre-Patching: Reviewing the list of patches and analyzing their impact
  • Patching Trials: Testing the patch prior to actual production deployment
  • Patch Deployment: Applying patching to your system
  • Post Patching Analysis: Validating the patch application

Date:              Thursday, November 17, 2011
Time:              8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Pacific Standard Time
Presenters:       Elke Phelps, Senior Principal Product Manager
                        Santiago Bastidas, Principal Product Manager

Webcast Registration Link (Preregistration is optional but encouraged)

To hear the audio feed:

Domestic Participant Dial-In Number:        877-697-8128
International Participant Dial-In Number:  706-634-9568
Additional International Dial-In Numbers Link:    
Dial-In Passcode:                                            98269

To see the presentation:

The Direct Access Web Conference details are:
Website URL: https://ouweb.webex.com
Meeting Number:  595083319

If you miss the webcast

Don't worry -- we'll post links to the recording as soon as it's available from Oracle University.  You can monitor this blog for pointers to the replay.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email Bill Sawyer (Senior Manager, Applications Technology Curriculum) at BilldotSawyer-AT-Oracle-DOT-com. 

Thursday Jul 28, 2011

EBS Support Information Center + Patching & Maintenance Advisor Available on My Oracle Support

The Knowledge Base in My Oracle Support is a sprawling database.  It can be very difficult to find the right needle in that haystack.  My Oracle Support colleagues have recently published two new resources on My Oracle Support that highlight some documents that Apps DBAs might find useful.

Screenshot of EBS Support Information Center Noe 1322667.1

1. EBS Support Information Center (Note 1322667.1) contains pointers to:

  • EBS Diagnostics
  • EBS Upgrade related resources
  • EBS Electronic Technical Reference Manual (e-TRM)
  • EBS Release Content Documents (RCD)
  • Oracle Support webcast series
  • Oracle Support newsletters

2. Patching & Maintenance Advisor: E-Business Suite 11i and R12 (Note 313.1) contains pointers to:

  • EBS 11i and 12 Patching Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • Patching best practices
  • Methods for reducing patching downtimes
  • Patch Wizard

Related Articles


Tuesday Jul 26, 2011

What's the Best Way to Patch an E-Business Suite Environment?

One of our senior Oracle Support engineers recently asked, "What's the best strategy for applying patches to E-Business Suite environments?"  Applying updates and patches is such a major part of an Apps DBA's responsibilities that I assumed that this was already covered in our existing documentation. In looking through our systems administration guides, I was surprised to find that this isn't discussed anywhere.

Here's a general best practices patching strategy for all EBS environments.  In order of priority, you should:

  1. Apply the latest EBS Release Update Pack.
    For example: 12.1.3 for Release 12.1, 12.0.6 for Release 12.0, 11.5.10.2 for Release 11i.

  2. Apply the latest EBS Family Packs and all patches on the Recommended Patch List.
    This includes ATG Release Update Packs and AutoConfig updates.

  3. Upgrade all technology stack components to the latest certified levels.
    For example, as of today, the latest certified levels for EBS 12 are Database 11.2.0.2, Forms 10.1.2.3, OC4J 10.1.3.5, Oracle Internet Directory 11.1.1.3.  Check the Certifications database on My Oracle Support or this blog's one page summary of EBS certifications for a snapshot of the latest certified patchsets for technology stack components.

  4. Apply the latest Critical Patch Updates (CPU)
    You should always apply the latest security patches.  Always.  These are released quarterly.

  5. <Optional> Apply the latest Database Patch Set Updates (PSU) and the required EBS prerequisites
    It's safe to apply Database PSUs to your EBS environment.  Some customers like the convenience of PSUs.  Some don't.  It's up to you.

  6. Apply specific one-off and interim patches...
    ... but only if they're really required for your environment.  This applies to both EBS and technology stack component patches.  You're generally better-off waiting for patches to be rolled into the bigger release vehicles listed in #1 to #4, above.  Those consolidated release vehicles are tested more comprehensively with all Apps modules and configurations than one-off or interim patches. 

Pay attention to the ranking

The order of priority is important.  Most customers have difficulties in keeping up with the first four sets of updates.  If you do keep current with those first four categories of patches, the amount of incremental work associated with the remaining two categories is minimal and can generally be avoided entirely.

Why bother patching?

Because it's cheaper and safer in the long run.  I'm always surprised by customers who pay more attention to maintaining their car than a mission-critical enterprise resource planning system.

The E-Business Suite is a large, complex system.  The further you fall behind in maintaining your system:

  • The more work it requires to isolate and resolve issues.
  • The greater the likelihood of encountering an avoidable known issue.
  • The greater the risk of upgrading from an untested configuration to a new version.
  • The greater the effort required to upgrade to new versions.
  • The greater the risk that you will not be able to get patches for your existing configuration.

Use tools to automate your updates

The savvy DBA takes advantage of as many tools as possible to automate these updates.  If you are still applying patches manually to every EBS environment, you're wasting a lot of time.  Check out the Application Change Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite (part of the Application Management Suite).  This Enterprise Manager plug-in automates the process of checking for required patches, staging those patches, then applying those patches to multiple EBS environments. 

Yes, it requires additional licencing, but I think that most organisations can recoup those costs very, very quickly.  Patching manually is time-consuming, error-prone, and tricky to keep organized when you have multiple development, staging, QA, and preproduction environments.  In my eyes, automation is really the only solution.

Formal documentation updates are coming

Future versions of our formal EBS documentation will include this advice.  Our Oracle Support team is also working on a set of Life Cycle Advisor documents for the E-Business Suite.  They tell me that this will cover everything a DBA should know if you've never applied patches to EBS before.  I'll profile those new Advisor guides as soon as they're published.

Related Articles

Thursday May 26, 2011

New Performance-Enhanced EBS 11i Patch Wizard Now Available

Premier Support for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i ended in November 2010.  Extended Support begins when Premier Support ends, providing coverage until November 2013.

A new set of minimum technical requirements for Apps 11i went into effect when Extended Support began in November 2010.  These new minimum baseline patch requirements are listed in:

Last year we released an updated E-Business Suite Release 11i Patch Wizard that could generate a detailed report of the patches required to bring your E-Business Suite 11i environment up to the minimum baseline patching level. That version of the Patch Wizard had some issues that could result in very long analysis times.  In some unusual cases, checking the full dependency chains of all required patches with that Patch Wizard release could be forty hours or longer.

Our Patch Wizard team has recently released an updated version of the Patch Wizard that reduces the report generation time dramatically.  In some cases, reports can be generated in under a minute.  

This performance-enhanced version of the Patch Wizard is available for download here:

Screenshot of Patch Wizard dialog

Your feedback is welcome

We're extremely interested in hearing about your use cases and your experiences with this updated Patch Wizard. Please post a comment here or drop us a line with your thoughts.

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