Monday Dec 31, 2012

Updated Whitepaper: Extending EBS 12.1.3 using Oracle Application Express

I'm pleased to announce an update to the whitepaper:

  • Extending Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 using Oracle Application Express (APEX), Revision 1 (Note 1306563.1)
Oracle Application Express APEX screenshot

It's possible to personalize the E-Business Suite, but there may be situations where personalizations aren't sufficient to meet your requirements. In these scenarios, Oracle Application Express, also known as Oracle APEX, is an option for creating supplemental applications that can be integrated with your Oracle E-Business Suite instance.

This whitepaper outlines how to extend Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3 (and higher) functionality using Oracle Application Express. Recommended architecture and security considerations are discussed in detail. This new version has been updated to reflect the latest versions of the documentation and technologies, including the use of Oracle Access Manager (OAM) for authentication.

You can also find the whitepaper on the APEX OTN Site > Learn More > Technical Information and White Papers > Extending Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 using Oracle Application Express (PDF).

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Friday Nov 02, 2012

New Whitepaper: Deploying E-Business Suite on Exadata and Exalogic

Our E-Business Suite Performance Team recently published a new whitepaper to assist you with deploying E-Business Suite on the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and Oracle Exadata Database Machine , also referred to as Exastack.  If you are considering a migration to Exastack, this new whitepaper will assist you understanding sizing requirements, deployment standards and migration strategies:


This whitepaper covers the following topics:

  • Scalability and Sizing Examples - provides performance benchmark analysis with concurrent user counts, scaling analysis and sizing recommendations
  • Deployment Standards - includes recommendations for deploying the various components of the E-Business Suite architecture on Exastack
  • Migration Standards and Guidelines - includes an overview of methods for migrating from commodity hardware to Exastack

References

Our Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) team has a number of whitepapers that provide additional information regarding Oracle E-Business Suite on the Oracle Exadata Database Machine.  Their library of whitepapers may be found here:

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Tuesday Feb 28, 2012

Whitepaper Update: Planning Your E-Business Suite 11i Upgrade to R12.1 (Third Edition)

[Editor:  This guest article has been contributed by Anne Carlson]

Premier Support for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i ended in November 2010. Extended Support fees for EBS 11i have been waived for all three years, and you should now be using this time to plan your upgrade to EBS 12.1.3. 

I've released the third edition of our popular whitepaper to help you plan your upgrade:

The third edition of this whitepaper still features the latest Release 12 upgrade planning advice from Oracle's Support, Consulting, Development and IT organizations.  In addition to the latest tips and best practices from these organizations, this edition includes new upgrade-related insights from your fellow customers, as well as additional guidance for EBS 12.1.3 and later.

The paper is directed at IT professionals who are planning, managing, or running a Release 12.1 upgrade project.  It provides updated advice on:

  • How to establish your target release
  • How to decide between an upgrade and a reimplementation
  • How to minimize upgrade downtimes
  • Tips on combining your upgrade with a platform migration or footprint expansion
  • Move custom reports to strategic reporting solutions
  • Prepare for Process Manufacturing Inventory Convergence

Your feedback is welcome

To suggest other upgrade planning topics that you would like to see addressed, please leave a comment or send an email to:

Anne Carlson email address

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Friday May 13, 2011

New Whitepaper: Extending E-Business Suite 12.1.3 using Oracle Application Express

I'm pleased to announce the availability of a new whitepaper:

  • Extending Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 using Oracle Application Express (APEX) (Note 1306563.1)
Oracle Application Express APEX screenshot

It's possible to personalize the E-Business Suite, but there may be situations where personalizations aren't sufficient to meet your requirements. In these scenarios, Oracle Application Express, also known as Oracle APEX, is an option for creating supplemental applications that can be integrated with your Oracle E-Business Suite instance.

This new whitepaper outlines how to extend Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3 (and higher) functionality using Oracle Application Express. Recommended architecture and security considerations are discussed in detail.

You can also find the whitepaper on the APEX OTN Site > Learn More > Technical Information and White Papers > Extending Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 using Oracle Application Express (PDF).

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Wednesday Feb 09, 2011

New Whitepaper: Upgrading EBS 11i Forms + OA Framework Personalizations to EBS 12

Personalizations are -- and have always been -- one of the safest and most upgradable ways to "customize" your Oracle E-Business Suite screens, both for Oracle Forms-based screens and for Oracle Application Framework-based pages. However, the upgrade from Release 11i to Release 12.1 spans many years of EBS evolution, during which time Oracle has actively been building many new features and modules. A lot has changed in Oracle E-Business Suite that may affect upgrading your personalizations from 11i to 12.1. 

We have published a new note on My Oracle Support that discusses ways to evaluate your existing personalizations:

Two distinct types of personalizations

There are two distinct types of personalizations:

  1. Form Personalization
  2. OA Framework Personalization.

Both types of personalization are completely metadata-based. The personalizations are stored as data in database tables. However, because the underlying technologies (Oracle Forms and OA Framework) are very different, Forms personalizations and OA Framework personalizations are not equivalent and cannot be converted or migrated from one to the other.

Diagram showing how personalizations can be transported for like-to-like functionality from EBS 11i to 12 Like-to-Like.gif

Critical factors when affecting upgradeability

Upgradability of personalizations is based on the premise that you are upgrading "from like to like." That is, a personalization based on a certain form, affecting certain fields, will be upgradable to the next version of the same form assuming that the underlying structure of the form is the same (that is, the blocks and fields touched by the personalization are still in the form and have the same names). In other words:

  • For an upgrade from one minor release to another minor release, personalizations are generally likely to be upgradable.
  • For an upgrade from one major release (11i) to another major release (12.1), personalizations are much less likely to be upgradable.

Personalizations that need to be reimplemented manually

A personalization is not upgradable if you are not upgrading "from like to like." This can happen for a number of reasons:

  1. A screen or page has been sufficiently modified in the new version of the product such that the old objects that were personalized no longer exist in the new version. For the 11i to 12 upgrade, however, forms are more likely to have been rebuilt in OA Framework than to have been modified using Oracle Forms.
  2. An Oracle Forms-based screen has been replaced by an OA Framework-based page. This is very common across the 11i to 12.1 upgrade, because many products have rebuilt a lot of their Oracle Forms-based functionality into OA Framework while adding or redesigning other features. For example, the user interface for item instance functionality in Oracle Install Base has been rewritten in OA Framework.
  3. A screen or page has been moved into a different product, so the personalization metadata no longer applies (because each product has its own namespace). For example, between 11i and 12.1, some payments forms were removed from Oracle Payables (AP) and their functionality was consolidated with other payments functionality into a new Oracle Payments (IBY) module. Personalizations made to those original AP payments forms would no longer apply.

Comparing EBS 11i screens to EBS 12 equivalents

For the most part, when you upgrade an OA Framework-based page from Release 11i to 12.1.3, that OA Framework page will still exist in 12.1.3 unless the specific Oracle E-Business Suite product has been heavily redesigned. So in general, OA Framework personalizations are likely to upgrade smoothly ("like to like") to 12.1.3, though of course it depends on the specific products you have.

There are various ways to tell if a particular form or page no longer exists in 12.0 or 12.1. Generally, you should start with the upgrade manuals for your installed products and determine if there has been a major redesign of any of the modules you have. In those cases, most of your form personalizations will no longer apply, and in fact, you will probably no longer need them anyhow. For example, as mentioned above, payments functionality has been moved into a separate Oracle Payments module (IBY). Many customizations you might have had for that functionality can be retired instead of re-implemented because the new product offers significant configurability, and features were added as standard that previously may have required customization to achieve.

For further information, see Note 1292611.1.  Happy reading and upgrading!

References

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Friday May 28, 2010

New Whitepaper: Advanced Compression 11gR1 Benchmarks with EBS 12

[June 23, 2010 Update:  Our Server Technologies team has just released Note 1061366.1 that lists recommended Advanced Compression patches applicable to all customers, including E-Business Suite environments]

In my opinion, if there's any reason to upgrade an E-Business Suite environment to the 11gR1 or 11gR2 database, it's the Advanced Compression database option.  Oracle Advanced Compression was introduced in Oracle Database 11g, and allows you to compress structured data (numbers, characters) as well as unstructured data (documents, spreadsheets, XML and other files).  It provides enhanced compression for database backups and also includes network compression for faster synchronization with standby databases.

advanced-compression-tables.png
In other words, the promise of Advanced Compression is that it can make your E-Business Suite database smaller and faster.  But how well does it actually deliver on that promise?

Apps 12 + Advanced Compression Benchmarks now available


Three of my colleagues, Uday Moogala, Lester Gutierrez, and Andy Tremayne, have been benchmarking Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 with Advanced Compression 11gR1.  They've just released a detailed whitepaper with their benchmarking results and recommendations.

This whitepaper is available in two locations:
Vision Database:  Up to 68% compression and up to 36% improved performance

The results, even with our EBS Vision demonstration database, were impressive:
  • Reduced 21.9 GB of tables down to 6.9 GB (68% reduction, average 3:1 compression ratio)
  • Self-service performance improved up to 36%
  • Purchasing performance improved up to 10%
  • Order-to-Cash batch flow performance improved up to 33%
  • Payroll performance improved up to 25%
They also found some other interesting effects:
  • Some SQL execution plans changed, reducing performance
  • Performance was improved at the cost of up to 6% increased CPU usage, with the variance depending upon how much DML is performed
  • In the case of the Order-to-Cash batch flow, the average CPU consumption actually decreased by 7%
Line chart showing order to cash batch flow cpu usage for Oracle 
E-Business Suite Release 12 and advanced compression

Oracle using this in production with EBS 12 today

We can now share the news that we've been using Advanced Compression in our Oracle Global Single Instance (GSI) production environment since 2009.  This same team has been working to analyse the results of using Advanced Compression with our Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 global single instance that we use to run Oracle's own business. 

The results there are very impressive:
  • Reduced EBS 12 database size from 17 Terabytes to 13 Terabytes
  • Compressed ~260 tables and over 700 associated indices and LOBs after migrating to SecureFiles
  • Total space saved: 68 TB across our primary, standby, and associated testbeds
Other E-Business Suite-specific observations about Advanced Compression

This whitepaper makes detailed E-Business Suite-specific observations in the following areas:
  1. Index compression
  2. Recommended patches
  3. SQL Plan regression analysis
  4. DML intensive operations
  5. Row chaining on UPDATE transactions
  6. ITL contention
  7. High transaction tables
  8. SecureFiles LOB compression
The whitepaper concludes with specific recommendations on planning your Advanced Compression conversion in your E-Business Suite environment, and then lists all of the tables compressed in the Vision testbed as well as Oracle's own EBS 12 production instance.

Have you used Advanced Compression with EBS?

Naturally, compression ratios and performance impacts or benefits will vary for every Apps environment.  If you've used this technology, we're very interested in hearing about your experiences with Advanced Compression in your environment.  You're invited to share your experiences here or drop me an email directly.

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Tuesday May 11, 2010

EBS + 11g Database Upgrade Best Practices Whitepaper Available

O_Database11g_clr.gif
I returned from OAUG/Collaborate with a cold and multiple overlapping development crises.  Fun.  Now that those are (mostly) out of the way, it's time to get back to clearing out my article backlog. 

Premier Support for the 10gR2 database ends in July 2010.  If you haven't already started planning your 11g database upgrade, we recommend that you start soon.  We have certified both the 11gR1 (11.1.0.7) and 11gR2 (11.2.0.1) databases with Oracle E-Business Suite; see this blog's Certification summary to links to articles with the details.

Our Applications Performance Group has reminded me that they have a whitepaper loaded with practical tips intended to make your 11g database upgrade easier.  No vacuous marketing rhetoric here -- this is strictly written for DBAs.  A must-read if you haven't already upgraded to either 11gR1 or 11gR2, and highly recommended even if you have. 

You can download this whitepaper here:
This whitepaper covers:
  • Pre-upgrade tips
    • Gather dictionary statistics
    • Manage CBO statistics
    • Gather performance metrics
    • Save execution plans
    • Test (including capturing and replaying workloads)
  • Post-upgrade tips
    • init.ora parameters
    • Gather statistics
    • Disable automatic optimizer statistics collection
    • Plan stability using SQL Plan Management (SPM)
    • Detect and tune performance changes using SQL Performance Analyzer (SPA)
    • Real-time SQL monitoring
    • Incident packaging service
  • New 11g Performance-related features
    • Optimizer enhancements
    • Partitioning enhancements
    • Advanced Compression
  • Fixes and workarounds for known issues
    • Mandatory patches
    • Options fixes and workarounds
E-Business Suite Benchmarks Also Available

The Applications Performance Group is also responsible for our Oracle Applications Standard Benchmark (OASB), a standard workload that tests the performance and scalability of Oracle Applications and provides metrics for the comparison of Oracle Applications performance on different system configurations.  Copies of independently-audited E-Business Suite benchmarks for both Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12 are available here:
Related Articles

Friday Mar 12, 2010

New Whitepaper: Planning Your E-Business Suite Upgrade from Release 11i to 12.1 (Second Edition)

[Editor:  This guest article has been contributed by Anne Carlson]

Premier Support for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i ends in November 2010.  At Oracle OpenWorld last fall, it was standing room only at several EBS upgrade sessions.  Responding to the increased interest in upgrades, I set to work on a new Release 12.1 version of our popular whitepaper, Best Practices for Adopting E-Business Suite, Release 12 (Note 580299.1).

Here is that new whitepaper, which features the latest Release 12.1 upgrade planning advice from Oracle's Support, Consulting, Development and IT organizations:
The paper is directed at IT professionals who are planning, managing, or running a Release 12.1 upgrade project.  After briefly reviewing the Release 12.1 value proposition, the paper launches into specific upgrade planning tips to help you:

Understand the factors that can affect your project's duration
  • Decide your project scope, and avoid missteps that can needlessly increase your scope
  • Assemble the right project team
  • Develop a robust testing strategy
  • Leverage all of the Oracle Support resources available to you
  • Identify the Oracle tools that can improve your upgrade and maintenance experience
  • Become familiar with the full range of Oracle's information resources
To suggest other upgrade planning topics that you would like to see addressed, please leave a comment or send an email to:

anne_carlson_email.png


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Tuesday Jan 05, 2010

New Whitepaper: Symmetrical Network Acceleration with EBS 12

Andy Tremayne, my esteemed colleague and fellow blogger, has published a new whitepaper that discusses the effects of network acceleration appliances on traffic optimization for E-Business Suite environments: 
From Andy's crisp prologue:
Network appliances can be used to reduce bandwidth and latency effects through the use of data stream compression and object caching. The focus of this whitepaper is the deployment of Oracle E-Business Suite across an enterprise wide area network (WAN). Internet-facing applications may benefit from other specialized technologies such as Internet based Content Delivery Networks (CDN) and Internet-based network optimization strategies such as caching, route optimization, and protocol optimization.

The two main types of acceleration appliances are classed as Asymmetric and Symmetric. Asymmetric acceleration uses a centrally-located single appliance whereas Symmetric acceleration requires an appliance at either end of a network link, or in some cases, a single central appliance and corresponding software client on each remote computer.

Architecture diagram showing network appliances linking geographically dispersed locations to the E-Business Suite

As is Andy's wont, this whitepaper is packed with thoughtful analysis, architectural insights, recommendations, diagrams, in-depth quantitative benchmarks, and detailed charts that compare:
  • Traffic reduction improvements for different transaction types
  • Socket to servlet data transfer rates
  • Response times in optimized and unoptimized testbeds
  • Traffic reduction for low network bandwidth activities
  • Optimization results for high network bandwith activities
This whitepaper is critical reading for network architects grappling with the challenges of providing E-Business Suite access to geographically-diverse locations.

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Monday Apr 20, 2009

New Whitepaper: Manually Cloning Apps 11i Databases Running 10g or 11g RAC

Our Applications Technology Group recently published a matrix showing certified cloning scenarios for E-Business Suite databases running in Real Application Cluster (RAC) configurations.  Since then, some concerns have been raised about the lack of Rapid Clone support for EBS environments running on the 10g and 11g databases.

In response to those concerns, our Applications Technology Group has published a new whitepaper:

This new whitepaper describes a certified and supported method for manually cloning Apps 11i environments running 10g or 11g RAC.  The Note assumes a high degree of familiarity with Oracle Applications AD Utilities, RapidClone, AutoConfig, Recovery Manager, and SQL*Plus.

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Thursday Dec 04, 2008

New Whitepaper: Options for Reducing E-Business Suite Database Sizes

I have yet to encounter a database that ever got smaller.  Like waistlines and the US national debt, all databases seem destined to increase in size.  The E-Business Suite is no exception:  as we add more product capabilities and your business grows, so do your Apps databases.

Oracle-supplied solutions to managing Applications database size fall into two categories:  data growth control methods and data management methods.

Growth Control Methods

  • Archiving and purging
  • Database compression

Data Management Methods

A new Oracle whitepaper discussing these topics is now available:

Screenshot of Oracle Information Lifecycle Management Assistant used with E-Business Suite database tables

[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]

Friday Jul 11, 2008

New Whitepaper: Mod_plsql and E-Business Suite 12

Mod_plsql is an Apache web server extension that can be used to develop web application pages using Server PL/SQL. Architecture diagram showing flow from client to mod_plsql Apache mod to Oracle database The Past is Prologue Unlike Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i, Release 12 does not include mod_plsql as part of its technology stack. I've briefly discussed this architectural change in the following two articles: It should be stressed that Oracle is fully committed to supporting mod_plsql as part of Oracle Application Server and as part of the Oracle Database distribution into the indefinite future. The Oracle E-Business Suite is distinct from Oracle Application Server. Oracle E-Business Suite Development chooses to use specific Oracle Application Server components in the E-Business Suite technology stack. These decisions by E-Business Suite Development should not be interpreted to represent the release policies or plans for Oracle Application Server. Going Into More Detail Many of you have raised questions about why mod_plsql was removed from Release 12. Others have asked what to do about their mod_plsql-based Apps 11i customizations and extensions when upgrading to R12. George Buzsaki,our preeminent E-Business Suite architect, has put together an excellent new whitepaper that addresses these topics, and more: [Read More]

Thursday Jun 12, 2008

New Whitepaper: Best Practices for Adopting E-Business Suite Release 12 (First Edition)

A colleague has just pulled off an impressive feat that I wouldn't have attempted myself:  she's collected practical tips and advice on how to do Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 implementations and upgrades.  She's consolidated input from Oracle's Support, Consulting, IT, and Development groups into a new whitepaper:

This whitepaper is mandatory reading if you're planning -- or in the middle of -- an Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 deployment.  The whitepaper has a mix of concrete and strategic advice that covers topics such as:

[Read More]

Tuesday May 27, 2008

New Whitepaper: Database Partitioning for the E-Business Suite

Some readers complain that we don't have sufficient documentation to cover all possible scenarios and topics of interest.  This is a valid observation.  As your E-Business Suite deployments grow in complexity and scope, keeping ahead of your questions and new requirements is a constant challenge.

In my position as the editor of this blog, something I do only in my so-called free time, my situation is the odd inverse of yours, namely:  the rate at which we release new Metalink Notes far-outstrips my capacity to read and announce them to the world.  Here's a much-belated announcement about a database partitioning whitepaper produced by our Applications Performance Group.

What Is Database Partitioning?

Partitioning allows a single database table and its associated indexes to be broken into smaller components depending on the table and choice of index partitioning methods.  Several E-Business Suite modules take advantage of database partitioning right out of the box, and custom partitioning is also fully supported.  I've covered database partitioning concepts for Apps environments in more depth in this older article.

Database Partitioning Methods:

Best Practices for Partitioning Apps Databases

As I've noted before, we have a group in our Applications Development division that's dedicated to optimizing the E-Business Suite's performance.  As a member of this Applications Performance group, Mohsin Sameen has worked extensively with some of our enterprise-class customers -- including many of the largest companies in the world -- on fine-tuning the performance of of their high-volume Apps environments.

Mohsin has distilled these experiences into an extensive and in-depth paper on database partitioning:
Mohsin's excellent whitepaper covers topics such as:
  • Overview of database partitioning concepts
  • Table partitioning strategies involving range, list, hash, composite, and multi-column partitions
  • Index partitioning methods, including global and local partitioned indexes
  • Step-by-step decision framework for using partitions
  • Partition maintenance operations
  • Partitioning case study
The knee-jerk reaction answer to a performance problem is often to throw more hardware at it.  If you have a large E-Business Suite environment where the growth rate of your historical transactional data is starting to affect performance, I'd strongly recommend reading this whitepaper.  It's entirely possible that you could use it to squeeze some additional performance out of your existing environment without the added expense of new hardware.

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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.
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Tuesday Apr 22, 2008

New Whitepaper: E-Business Suite Development Using OAF & ADF

Customers, partners and system integrators often develop extensions to Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) applications. Such extensions have traditionally used the same technology stack (Forms or OA Framework) that the original EBS application was built with.  This ensured that the extensions are fully compatible with the rest of the installed EBS applications.

R12 OAF Techstack: Block diagram showing the OA Framework Technology Stack for E-Business Suite Release 12

With the emergence of the next generation Fusion Middleware technology stack, especially the Application Develoment Framework (ADF), an increasingly-common question is whether to use OAF or ADF to develop E-Business Suite Release 12 extensions.

Our E-Business Suite Applications Technology group has released a long-awaited whitepaper addressing this question. This whitepaper discusses the similarities, differences and overlaps between the OAF and ADF stacks. 

If you're considering these technology stacks for your Apps R12 extensions, I'd strongly recommend reviewing this whitepaper:
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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
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Thursday Nov 29, 2007

Best Practices for Upgrading to Release 12

If you've been considering the best way to upgrade your E-Business Suite Release 11i environment to Release 12, I strongly recommend that you check out Eugene Weinstein and Nigel Cooper's excellent OpenWorld 2007 presentation:

Supported R12 Upgrade Paths: Supported upgrade paths from E-Business Suite (Applications) 11.0, 11.5.1 to 11.5.10 to Release 12

Eugene and Nigel cover the following topics:
  • Overview of the R12 Upgrade process
    • The R12 filesystem
    • Supported upgrade paths
    • Technology improvements
    • The R12 upgrade flow
    • Options for omitting the upgrade of historical data (Upgrade by Request)
  • Best practices for the upgrade
    • Staffing & planning
    • Pre-upgrade, upgrade, and post-upgrade tips
Perhaps most significantly, Eugene and Nigel discuss Oracle's own experiences in upgrading our 10 TB Global Single Instance from Apps 11i to 12.  Upgrading an Apps database with over 28.5 billion rows of data is a serious undertaking, and it's always instructive to see how the best Apps IT organization in the world does things. 

Highly recommended reading, even if you've already performed one or more test upgrades already.

Related

Monday Nov 26, 2007

Analyzing Memory vs Performance of Apps 11i and 12 Clients

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

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

There are two main concepts in the paper:

Establish your minimum desktop configurations

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

Extend the life of existing PCs

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

I Have Fast Clients - Why Do I Care?

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

Do I Need CPU, Memory Or Both?

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

Browser Add-ons and plugins

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Else Can You Do?

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

For full details, download the whitepaper here:
Related

Tuesday Jun 19, 2007

Top 7 Ways of Reducing Patching Downtimes for Apps

[June 20 Update:  Our blogging software temporarily lost its mind and somehow misnumbered the list at the heart of this article.  There are only seven tips here, not ten.]

I've previously discussed the Top 5 Myths About Patching Apps Environments.  One of the most commonly-cited reasons for not patching E-Business Suite environments is that it takes too much downtime.  If you're relatively new to Apps system administration, here's a primer on the key techniques compiled by our Applications Release Engineering group for reducing patching downtimes.  Although some of the linked documents are written specifically for Release 11i, these techniques may be used for both Apps 11i and 12.

  1. Use a staged applications system

    This major time-saver hinges on a key principle:  all of your applications filesystem patches are applied to a clone of your production Apps environment.  This can be done while your production system is still running.  Your production system is down only for the time needed to apply database patches.  For details, see:
  2. Use a shared application-tier file system

    If you have a pool of application-tier servers set up for load-balancing, make sure that all of the individual servers share a single application filesystem.  Patches applied to this central shared filesystem are instantly available to all application-tier servers.  I've previously given an overview of this technique in this article.

  3. Distribute worker processes across multiple servers

    When applying a patch that includes a large number of processes, you can reduce the downtime even further by distributing the worker processes across multiple servers on multiple nodes. Using the Distributed AD feature of AutoPatch and AD Controller, you can assign workers to run on the primary node and on other nodes that share the filesystem. See:

    Distributed AD (Metalink Note 236469.1)

  4. Merge multiple patches using AD Merge Patch

    Merging patches saves time because the AutoPatch overhead of starting a new session is eliminated for those patches that are consolidated.  Duplicate linking, generating or database actions are run once only.  If two patches update the same file, AD Merge Patch will save time by applying only the latest one.  Patches can -- and should -- be merged with their listed prerequisite patches. 

    For more details about this AD utility, see the Oracle Applications Maintenance Procedures guide for your Apps release.

  5. Run AD Patch in non-interactive mode

    Applying a set of patches using AD Patch in non-interactive mode eliminates the delay between successive tasks.

  6. Defer system-wide database tasks until the end

    Using adpatch options=nocompiledb,nomaintainmrc defers system-wide database tasks such as "Compile APPS schema" and "Maintain MRC" until after all patches have been applied.  As of AD.H, AutoPatch automatically compiles the APPS schema and maintains MRC when applying standard patches.
  7. Avoid resource-related bottlenecks

    Patching can grind to a halt if you bump into the ceiling on your system.  Before patching, make sure that you've enabled automatic tablespace management, and that you have sufficient hardware and free disk and temp space.
The cumulative downtime reductions of all of these techniques can be quite significant.  I've touched on some of the biggest timesavers, but this short article isn't comprehensive, by any means.  The linked Notes in this article and below discuss a number of other tips for shrinking your patching downtimes.  A small investment in learning these techniques can pay off in large reductions in patching times, and is well worth your time.

References

Monday Mar 05, 2007

Security Best Practices for Release 12

If you're working with Release 12, you'll be pleased to hear that our Applications Technology Group Security team has just published a new document detailing our best practices security recommendations for this release.

Like its Release 11i cousin, this document covers the following topics for Release 12:

  • A framework for securing different segments of your E-Business Suite deployment, starting with the operating system
  • Pointers to essential Apps security reference materials, security alerts to monitor, and recommended patches
  • Guidance for securing internal deployments, including the database at the schema level and for database net access, the Apps web tier, and end-user PCs
  • Tips for hardening your EBS security setup
  • Monitoring security through Oracle Applications Manager (OAM)
  • Guidance for securing externally-facing deployments in DMZs, including the use of Responsibility filters, URL filters via the URL firewall, noise
    filters via mod_security
For details, see:
Related

Thursday Mar 01, 2007

Latest JVM Tuning Recommendations for Apps 11i

In my previous article "Configuring Middle-Tier JVMs for Applications 11i" I provided some suggestions in the paragraph "Rough Guidelines for JVMs" as to how many JVMs could be implemented as an initial starting point.  Subsequent to that blog article,  Guidelines to setup the JVM in Apps 11i"
(Metalink Note 362851.1) has been released which includes the ATG Performance Group's official recommendations, some of which are different than stated in my original article. 

JConsole_heap:

In this article I would like to go into a little bit more depth about the newly published recommendations.  I will focus only on the OACoreGroup JVM and not consider the Forms Servlet, Discoverer or XML Service JVM settings.  I will also assume the reader has some familiarity with Java and eBiz 11i already and is also using eBusiness version 11.5.10 with JDK 1.4 or 1.5.   


Background

From a CPU utilization perspective, there is no need to run more than 1 JVM per CPU because of the following reasons:

  • The JVM uses native threads and the native threads can be scheduled on any of the available cores/CPUs. 
  • Multiple parallel Garbage Collection (GC)  threads -- introduced in 1.4 -- are spawned.  Running multiple JVMs per CPU could result in an excessive number of background and GC threads. 
  • Multiple JVM increases the number of JDBC connections required and there is a memory and CPU overhead for each JVM process. 

For the majority of our web applications, more than 90% of the memory allocations are transient (for the life of the request or page), so new space GCs dominate much more than old generation GCs.  Old generation GCs are usually only a problem with older versions of Applications code or modules such as Configurator which load a large amount of objects (e.g. config model) in the old space.


Why increase the number of JVMs

There are several reasons why you would want to increase the number of JVMs:

  1. Minimize GC pause overhead
  2. Reduce the JVM heap size
  3. Minimize contention due to hot synchronized methods (i.e. monitor contention).
Based on Oracle's performance testing, benchmarking, and our experience with working directly with enterprise-class customers, we have determined that 100 users per OACore JVM has generally proven to be a practical and performant number.   Increasing the session.timeout parameter in zone.properties above the 30 minute default may increase JVM memory requirements.

Recomendations in summary

Guideline #1:   For the OACoreGroup JVMs start with the lower of the following two values:

  1. Number of cores on the middle tier
  2. Peak Concurrent users / 100
For example: 

If you have 2 x Dual Core CPUs in your server and have 500 peak users, then 4 JVMs is the recommended starting point, since the number of cores is the lower number.  However, if you only had 300 peak users, then you would configure 3 JVMs as a starting point as this is now the lower figure.


Guideline #2:  Size your maximum heap size as either 512 MB or 1 GB.  If you start with 512 MB and find that more memory is required, increase to a maximum of 1 GB.   If more memory than 1 GB is required, then add another JVM instead (free physical memory allowing) to increase the total memory available overall. 

For example:

You are using 1 x JVM with 1 GB heap size and find you need to increase memory.  Configure your system for 2 JVMs, each with 750 MB heap size, thus providing 1.5 GB in total.


Your mileage will vary


As always, these recommendations are generalised and can only act as a suggested starting point for your system.  As mentioned in my previous blog article, there are many factors that effect how the JVM is utilized, so you will need to undertake representative testing to prove that the number of JVMs you select is suitable for your specific user load and profile.

Related


Friday Feb 16, 2007

Tuning JVMs for Release 11i

Some people consider tuning the performance of Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) in an E-Business Suite environment to be more of an art than science.  These comments usually result because of the large number of factors that may be considered, factors that are sometimes difficult to quantify.

JConsole_heap:

Adding to the existing material available to help you perfect your art, our E-Business Suite Performance Group released a short whitepaper late with some tips:
This short but lucid Note covers topics such as:
  • The number of recommended users per JVM
  • The number of recommended JVMs per CPU
  • Heap configuration tips for OACoreGroup, with guidelines for Forms Servlet mode and Configurator use
  • Recommended techstack patches
Related Articles

Friday Jan 19, 2007

Clarifying E-Business Suite Daylight Saving Time 2007 Patching Requirements

Editor Feb 2 Update:  A recording of the first webcast discussing these changes is available here.  A second webcast will be held on Feb 14.

To put it delicately, the implications of Daylight Saving Time 2007 changes for E-Business Suite environments have been confusing to some of you.  In response to your many emails and Service Requests logged with Oracle Support, we've significantly revised our documentation for patching E-Business Suite environments.

US Dept of Transportation Logo:

A revised version of Impact of US Timezone 2007 Changes on E-Business Suite Environments (Metalink Note 403311.1) has just been published.  It contains the following material:
  • Section 1. What is Changing?
  • Section 2. Affected E-Business Suite Environments 
  • Section 3. Patches Required for E-Business Suite Environments
  • Section 4. Testing Your Environment
  • Section 5. What Are the Consequences of Not Applying These Patches?
  • Section 6. Obtaining Support
  • Section 7. References
  • Appendices
If you haven't already started on your DST 2007 upgrade process, I urge you to review this documentation at your earliest convenience.

Even if you have reviewed earlier versions of this documentation, I still recommend that you download the latest copy.  Some important clarifications about patching conditions and impact have been made in these latest revisions.

We're aware that timeframes are extremely tight to get these patches into your environments prior to the DST changeover.  We're paying close attention your feedback and concerns, since there's so little room for errors.  If you have any questions about this documentation, please log a Service Request with Oracle Support, using the following information to ensure that the correct Support group is engaged:

Metalink SR entry screen #1:
  • Product:  Oracle Applications Technology Stack
Metalink SR entry screen #2:
  • Type of Problem:  Technology Stack Issues
References

Thursday Aug 31, 2006

New Techstack Baseline for Release 11i, Redux

Our recently-announced new techstack baseline for Release 11i has triggered a lot of questions, particularly around desupport timing for older configurations, certification baselines for new patches, and the availability of old patches.

In response, we've just published a new version of the document that clarifies things:  Rebaselined Oracle Applications Technology Components for Releases 11.5.7, 11.5.8, 11.5.9, and 11.5.10 (Metalink Note 363827.1).

I strongly encourage a careful review of this latest version.  A few highlights:

  • All customers should upgrade to the latest Oracle Applications Technology product family rollup, currently Oracle Applications Technology 11i.ATG_PF.H Rollup 4 (4676589).

  • If you can't do that, you should have these patches installed, at minimum.  All new Applications Technology patches -- starting with the July 2006 Critical Patch Update (CPUJul2006) -- require this minimum baseline.
  • All patches released prior to the July 2006 Critical Patch Update will continue to be available for download.
  • Beginning with the July 2007 Critical Patch Update (CPUJul2007), new ATG techstack patches will be certified only with the current and previous rollup patches.
Related

Wednesday Jul 12, 2006

Case Study: Oracle's Own E-Business Suite 11i Global Single Instance

[Oct. 27, 2008 Update:  The latest version of this popular presentation from OpenWorld 2008 is now available for download.  The latest presentation covers Oracle's upgrade from Release 11i to Release 12. For links to the latest version, see this article.]

I'm always skeptical of companies that don't use their own products. 

It's instructive, then, to look at how Oracle itself uses the E-Business Suite Release 11i.  Our internal Global Single Instance deployment of Oracle Apps isn't the largest in the world, but it's definitely in the top 10% in terms of transactional volumes and scale of deployment. 

Oracle Apps GSI Architecture:

Once Exotic Architectures Now Commonplace

Our own deployment incorporates nearly all of the architectural options once considered advanced, such as load-balancing, demilitarized zones, Real Application Clusters, and OracleAS 10g integration.  Cliff Godwin, the Applications Technology Group's senior vice president and overall architect for the E-Business Suite's technology stack, has observed that these so-called advanced deployments are now so commonplace that they should be considered mandatory for all enterprise-class Apps architectures.

Consolidating Over 70 Instances into One

The scale of what our internal Apps IT group accomplished is staggering, even to insiders familiar with the details.  Over 70 separate Applications 11i instances were consolidated into a Global Single Instance in roughly four years.  As a result, business functions were pulled into shared service centers for Purchasing, Payables, Order Administration, and so on.  It's estimated that our cost savings are somewhere between $1 to $2 billion dollars, a figure I personally find mind-boggling.

Quick Statistics

Here are some slightly-outdated statistics from a few years ago about our internal Global Single Instance:
  • 6 TB of data
  • 8 billion rows of data
  • 120 organizations
  • 431 sets of books
  • 340 million GL lines
  • 1.1 million customers
  • 300,000 vendors
  • 40 million AR invoice lines
  • 193,000 projects
System Architecture View

Here are some of the most interesting technical highlights of this deployment:
  • Database Servers:  4 Real Application Cluster (RAC) Sun Fire E25K 36 x 1.2 GHz
  • EMC DMX 300 Disk Array
  • Application Servers:  50+ Linux-based Dell PowerEdge 2650 2 x 3.0 GHz with 6 GB RAM
  • Shared application & techstack filesystem on NetApp Filer 960C
  • F5 BigIP load-balancing and demilitarized zones separating internal and external users
  • OracleAS 10g, Single Sign-On, Oracle Internet Directory, Portal, Discoverer integration
  • Highly-available configuration with full disaster recovery between multiple data centers
For More Information

Bret Fuller's OpenWorld sessions on lessons learned throughout this project are always standing-room only.  If you can't make it to this year's conference, here are some useful links:
Related Articles
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