Wednesday Feb 06, 2013

Configuration Migration Assistant Part 6 - Migration Export

Now that the configuration steps have been completed the next step is to use the Configuration Migration Assistant to migrate data across environments. The first step is to export the data from the source environment.

The steps to perform to export data using the Configuration Migration Assistant are as follows:

  • Create a Migration Data Set Export record to register the intent to export.
  • Execute the Migration Data Set Monitor batch process to perform the export.
  • Optionally, check the exported file into a code repository for cross reference with any customized code.

 For example:

Export Process Overview

The first step in the process is to create a Migration Data Set Export record. To do this use the Administration --> M --> Migration Data Set Export menu item and provide the following information:

  • Migration Request - Name of the Migration Request to Migrate
  • Export Directory - The directory taken from the Master Configuration Record for this environment. You cannot override the directory.
  • File Name - Name of the export file. The name of the file must conform to operating system constraints. We advise you do not embed blanks in the file name. Also do not include the filename suffix.
  • Export Description - Short description to attach within the export file.
  • Source Environment Reference - Defaults to the URL of the source environment but can be changed to reference the source of the information.

For example:

Migration Data Set Export

You may of noticed that Migration Request is a free format field. The easiest way to populate that field automatically is initiating the Export from the Migration Request maintenance screen. This allows you to verify the criteria prior to registering the export request. For example:

Export function from Migration Request

After saving this Migration Data Set Export, the request is registered within the product. Remember this does not perform the actual export it just registers the intent. The F1-MGDPR batch process exports the file. As the Migration Data Set Export has been registered then the request can be cancelled anytime prior to the execution of the F1-MGDPR batch process using the Migration Data Set Export maintenance dialog. For example:

Migration Data Set Export display

Now, you can register any number of Migration Data Set Exports as necessary for migrations.

To export the data the Migration Data Set Monitor batch process (F1-MGDPR) must be executed. This can be executed using any method (online submission, command line, batch scheduler etc) available to the environment by an authorized user.

The generic F1-MGDPR job is used to execute exports, process imports as well as apply changes and requires only one parameter DIST-THD-POOL. This is the threadpool to use for the export. As the product is processing data that is potentially cached, the job must run with the L2 cache turned off. This can be done using the following command:

Linux/UNIX

threadpoolworker.sh -l2 OFF -p <threadpoolname>=<number of threads> 

Windows

threadpoolworker  -l2 OFF -p <threadpoolname>=<number of threads> 

where

<threadpoolname> - Threadpool name to use in DIST-THD-POOL.

<number of threads> - Maximum limit for number of batch threads

Note: starttpw.sh can be also used on Linux/UNIX.

Note: Running this process using a threadpool where L2 cache is enabled may cause unexpected results.

During the execution of the export batch process the Migration Data Set Export will transition to a number of states:

  • The Migration Data Set Export starts in a Pending Status. This indicates that the export should be initiated the next time the F1-MGDPR process is executed.
  • At anytime before the F1-MGDPR is executed the Migration Data Set Export can be Cancelled manually using the Migration Data Set Export maintenance function.
  • During the execution the data to be migrated is identified and Migration Data Set and Migration Objects are created. The Migration Data Set groups all the records for a particular export request. The Migration Data Set Export is transitioned to Set Up Data status to indicate this activity is being performed.
  • The Migration Objects in the Migration Data Set are reviewed for duplications and relationships to be combined into transactions. This allows them to be exported in the correct sequence. The Migration Data Set Export is transitioned to Combine Transactions to indicate this activity is being performed.
  • Once the objects are checked and combined they are ready to export, with the state transitioned to Ready To Export to indicate this activity is being performed.
  • If there is some sort of processing error during any of the above transitions the Migration Data Set Export is transitioned to Error state and the batch process terminated for that Migration Data Set Export.
  • Once all the objects in the Migration Data Set Export are written to the file indicated the Migration Data Set Export is set to an Exported state. The date and time are recorded for auditing purposes.
For example the state transition model for Migration Data Set Export objects: 

Export State Transition

The state transitions can be tracked on the Log tab for the Migration Data Set Export maintenance function. For example:

Log entries for state transition

After executing the F1-MGDPR process the Migration Data Set Export will be updated with the file name and the date/time exported. For example:

Updated Migration Data Set Export

Now the data has been exported to a file. The file is in an internal format and SHOULD NOT be altered manually except through this tool. Any attempt to edit the file may result in unexpected results and even data corruption. The file can be optionally checked into your site code repository if you wish to keep it with any additional customizations such as java code etc.

The file is now available for import which we will cover in the next blog entry.

For more information about this aspect of the Configuration Migration Assistant and other aspects refer to the Configuration Migration Assistant Overview (Doc Id: 1506830.1) whitepaper available from My Oracle Support.

Monday Feb 04, 2013

Configuration Migration Assistant Part 5 - Migration Requests

Once you have Migration Plans created the next step is assembling them into Migration Requests. The Migration Request is a collection of unrelated Migration Plans and associated filter criteria to decide the scope of the migration.

To create a Migration Request navigate to the Administration Menu and select the M --> Migration Request menu option and fill in the following:

  • Migration Request - Name the Migration Request (it should be prefixed with CM to seperate it from the Migration Requests delivered with the product).
  • Description - A short description to describe the Migration Request
  • Detailed Descrption - A detailed description of the Migration Request
  • Migration Plans - A list of Migration Plans to include in this Migration Request and the Selection Criteria to use to subset the requests. This means the following:
    • Migration Plan - The Migration Plan to include in the Migration Request. The Migration Plans in the Request are NOT related. Any relationships are documented in the Migration Plans.
    • Selection Type - The criteria to select the subset of records in the Primary object in the Migration Plan. The Configuration Migration Assistant supports SQL based, XPath based or Algorithm based criteria.
    • Key Selection - The selection criteria to use in the format as specified in the Selection Type. This is SQL WHERE clause, XPATH statement or algorithm to use for selection. You can yse the help icon to find examples.

   For example:

Example Migration Request

The above example uses the (1=1) SQL clause to indicate that ALL records are migrated.

Note: The product supplies the majority of the Migration Requests you would use in the implementation. This step is only necessary if you wanted to copy a base Migration Request and alter it or add custom Business Objects to Migration Plans/Requests.

This concludes the configuration of the Configuration Migration Assistant. The next blog entries on this subject will discuss the execution components of the feature.

For more information about this aspect of the Configuration Migration Assistant and other aspects refer to the Configuration Migration Assistant Overview (Doc Id: 1506830.1) whitepaper available from My Oracle Support.

Thursday Jan 17, 2013

Configuration Migration Assistant Part 4 - Migration Plans

The Configuration Migration Assistant is meta data driven. It uses the Oracle Utilities Application Framework meta data to drive the underlying engine to migrate the data. With the delivery of each product a predefined set of configuration objects are provided preconfigured to be used by sites. It is possible to extend these definitions and this next set of articles will introduce these objects and how to build your own configurations for custom objects.

Before we discuss the configuration objects there is one piece of information that you need to understand. For an object to be migrated using Configuration Migration Assistant it must have two attributes:

  • It must not have a system generated random primary key. These types of keys may vary from environment to environment and attempting to migrate data with these types of keys may result in unintentional results and even corruption. Configuration data tends not to use random system generated keys but Master and Transaction data does. Configuration Migration Assistant cannot be used for Master or Transaction Data. Master data is things like Accounts, Meters, Crews, Persons, Assets etc.. Transaction Data is data like Bills, Payments, Meter Reads, Tasks etc...
  • Fundamentally Configuration Migration Assitant uses Maintenance Objects to process data but each object to be migrated must have a Business Object for configuration purposes. The Business Object can be any valid Business Object definition. More guidelines about this are in Configuration Migration Assistant Overview (Doc Id: 1506830.1).

The first object to configure for Configuration Migration Assistant is the Migration Plan.  This object defines a primary Business Object and any directly related subordinate Business Objects that must be migrated as a single entity. The relationship between the business objects and the sequence of migration is configured in this object.

The following information is configured:

  • Instruction Sequence - The sequence number for the migration instruction. This is used to process the data in the correct order.
  • Instruction Type - This sets the migration instruction type. There are two values: Primary or Subordinate. There can only be one Primary Instruction Type per Migration Plan.
  • Parent Instruction Sequence - If the Instruction Type is Subordinate, then this is the Instruction Sequence for the parent object for this object. Subordinates can be related to other Subordinates to document multi-level structures.
  • Description and Business Object - The Business object for this instruction. The description is a free format field to allow you to document the instruction. Usually this is populated with a short description of the object.
  • Traversal Criteria Type and Traversal Criteria - This is a definition of how the subordinate is related to the parent object. Configuration Migration Assistant allows you to specify Constraints in the meta data, SQL Statements or XPATH statements to document the relationship. The latter is useful for relating complex business object relationships that arte buried in XML definitions. The Criteria Type determine which method you want to use to express the relationship and the Criteria is the statement to express the relationship. The online help contains examples and guidelines for the Criteria formats supported.
  • Next Migration Plan - Configuration Migration Assistant allows you to reuse Migration Plans and this field allows you to link Migration Plans for consistency. We will discuss this feature in future posts.
  • Algorithms - One of the features of the Configuration Migration Assistant is the ability to manipulate the data upon import. This is where the specification of the algorithm is performed. This is typically done on the target environment.

To do this use the Admin --> M --> Migration Plan menu option.

For example:

 Example Migration Plan

Note: Remember, the product ships with a predefined set of Migration Plans for you to use. You may not have to configure this unless you want to copy the provided plans to tailor them or add custom business objects.

Each object to migrate using the Configuration Migration Assistant must exist in at least one Migration Plan.

For more information about this aspect of the Configuration Migration Assistant and other aspects refer to the Configuration Migration Assistant Overview (Doc Id: 1506830.1) whitepaper available from My Oracle Support.  

Wednesday Jan 16, 2013

Configuration Migration Assistant Part 3 - Master Configuration

The first configuration step that must be performed for the Configuration Migration Assistant, as part of Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.2.0.0.0, is to setup a Master Configuration Record for the Migration Assistant Configuration. This record sets up the locations of files exported and imported for each environment. It also sets the suffix for the files.

This must be performed once per environment and before any export or import activities are performed.

To setup this record the following process can be used:

  • Logon to the product environment you wish to configure using the browser
  • Navigate to the Admin --> M --> Master Configuration menu item.
  • Find the Migration Assistant Configuration item. If none, exists you can create it using the Add Action (+).
  • Edit the Migration Assistant Configuration Master Configuration Record by clicking on the name or Action field. For example:

Master Configuration

  • Specify the following on the edit dialog:
    • Export Directory - Directory to place export files into for exports initiated from this environment
    • Import Directory - Directory to get import files from for imports reqeusted for this environment
    • File Suffix - The file suffix (including the '.') to attach to the file automatically.The suffix is simply used to be able to denote the file. The choice of file suffix does not affect the format of the contents of the file at any stage.

Migration Configuration

  • Save the Record.

For the Export and Import Directories you can use any valid directory but the directory must be read writeable by the user you will use for the export and readable for the user you will use for the import. Security will be discussed in a later post.

From an implementation point of view these directories can be setup as follows:

  • You can use the same directories for import and export.
  • You can use different directories for import and export.
  • You can use a common directories or seperate directories for each environment. For example, you can specify a global set of directories to share files easily. If you use seperate directories you will have to manually transfer export files across these directories.

For more information about this aspect of the Configuration Migration Assistant and other aspects refer to the Configuration Migration Assistant Overview (Doc Id: 1506830.1) whitepaper available from My Oracle Support. 

Friday Jan 11, 2013

Configuration Migration Assistant Part 2 - Flows

To use the Configuration Migration Assistant facility in Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.2.0.0.0 the are two main sets of step that must be performed:

  • Configuration - The Configuration Migration Assistant must be configured at an environment level to determine the locations of data exports and imports as well as definitions of the migration specifications.
  • Execution - Registering the intent to export and import data as well as physically exporting and importing the data. Once the data has been imported performing approval of specific changes and then applying the import data set.

These topics will be individually covered in subsequent entries in this blog to target specific settings. The flow diagrams illustrate a summary of the processes used in the Configuration Migration Assistant.

Configuration Flow

To configure the Configuration Migration Assistant the following must be performed:

Configuration Flow

  • Migration Master Configuration - Define the default location for import and export files generated by the Configuration Migration Assistant. Define the default file suffix for the export/import files. This task only has to be done once per environment and must be performed BEFORE the first export or import task is performed.
  • Define Migration Plans - Define the Business Object definitions and their relationships to migrate the group of Business Objects as a single unit. The sequence and relationship is defined for the associated child objects. The relationship, known as Traversal Criteria, is expressed as Constraint, SQL expression or XPath statement describing the related data.
  • Define Migration Requests - Define the groups of migration plans to migrate as a set including the selection criteria expressed as SQL expression, XPath statement or algorithm.

Execution Flow

Once configuration is complete on the source environment then the execution component of the feature can be used to perform migrations. The following flow summarizes these processes:

Execution Flow

  • Define Migration Export - Register the intent to export the data with the Migration Request to use for the export and the file name to use for the export. The Migration Master Configuration record for the environment is used to set the location and suffix. This process wont actually export the data, hence the word intent, it simply registers the fact that you want to export the data.
  • Export Data - Execute the Migration Monitor batch process to physically export all the active Migration Export requests using the specification on the Migration Export.
  • Define Migration Import - Register the intent to import the data file from the import directory. The migration import directory and file prefix are taken from the Migration Master Configuration record for the environment.
  • Import Data - Execute the Migration Monitor batch process to physically export all the active Migration Import requests using the specification on the Migration Import. At the is time the use of the Approval/Rejection process can be defaulted by change type. At this time a Migration Data Set is created to hold the changes.
  • Approval Process - If there are any manual changes that require approval can be manually approved. Regardless of whether approvals are required, the Migration Data Set must be marked Ready to Apply.
  • Apply Changes - Execute the Migration Monitor batch process to physically apply the changes. The Migration Data Set will display the status of each change at application time. Data is re-validated at the time of application to maximize data integrity.

Each of these processes will be expanded on in future blog entries with guidelines. For more information on this facility refer to Configuration Migration Assistant Overview (Doc Id: 1506830.1).

Oracle Access Manager Integration Landing Sample

In the Oracle Identity Management Suite Integration with Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products (Doc Id: 1375600.1) whitepaper the Oracle Access Manager integration section mentions a custom landing page that can be used to complete the integration.

A sample landing page is now available from My Oracle Support for customers to use as a basis for their own landing pages. It is located within My Oracle Support under Sample Code oamlanding.jsp - refer to the Instructions in Note 1375600.1 (Doc Id 1518856.1).

This is a sample only and should be tested and modified to suit your individual site needs. Refer to Doc Id 1375600.1 for instructions on how to use the landing page.

Configuration Migration Assistant Part 1 - Features

One of the main features of Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.2.0.0.0 is the Configuration Migration Assistant. The Configuration Migration Assistant is a new facility to allow customer owned configuration data to be migrated from one environment to another. Customers using Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing and Oracle Enterprise Taxation and Policy Management will use this new facility instead of Configuration Lab for versions of those products using the Oracle Utilities Application FrameworkOracle Utilities Application Framework V4.2.0.0.0 and above.

The features of this new facility are:

  • Meta Data Driven Migration - The Configuration Migration Assistant uses the meta data within the product to understand the data and the relationships. A set of new migration objects have been added to define reuseable data relationships, sequence of migration and groups of data to migrate.
  • Reusability - The Configuration Migration Assistant emphasizes resuablility across migrations by providing reuseable migration plans allowing customers and partners to combine base and custom migration plans into reusable migrations.
  • Simple design - The Configuration Migration Assistant simplifies the specification and exeuction of migrations. No technical setup outside the product is required.
  • Support for different relationship types - Relationships between objects can be expressed using Constraints, SQL statements or XPATH statements. This allows Configuration Migration Assistant to support the wide variety of configuration objects in the products.
  • Export Data to a File - The export process now exports data to a file rather than using database links. This allows the export to be checked in to a code respository to match the code components involved in a configuration. This also allows the exports to be reused and imported across many environments and even be used to rollback configuration changes on a global basis within an environment.
  • Approval/Rejection of Changes - Individual changes can be forced to be approved before they are applied allowing customers fine levels of control over changes in their target environments.
  • Data Manipulation upon Import - Data can be manipulated upon import, using algorithms, to avoid configuration conflicts. For example, when importing Batch Controls the batch run numbers can be manipulated upon import to ensure they are consistent in the target environment.

Over the next few weeks there will be a series of articles on this blog highlighting the Configuration Migration Assistant and its features and configuration. For more details about the facility refer to Configuration Migration Assistant Overview (Doc Id: 1506830.1) available from My Oracle Support.

    Monday Dec 24, 2012

    Whitepaper list at December 2012

    The following Oracle Utilities Application Framework technical whitepapers are available from My Oracle Support at the Doc Id's mentioned below. Some have been updated in the last few months to reflect new advice and new features.

    Unless otherwise marked the technical whitepapers in the table below are applicable for the following products (with versions):

    <><><><> <><><><><><>
    Doc Id Document Title Contents
    559880.1
    ConfigLab Design Guidelines This whitepaper outlines how to design and implement a data management solution using the ConfigLab facility.
    This whitepaper currently only applies to the following products:
    560367.1
    Technical Best Practices for Oracle Utilities Application Framework Based Products Whitepaper summarizing common technical best practices used by partners, implementation teams and customers.
    560382.1
    Performance Troubleshooting Guideline Series A set of whitepapers on tracking performance at each tier in the framework. The individual whitepapers are as follows:
    • Concepts - General Concepts and Performance Troublehooting processes
    • Client Troubleshooting - General troubleshooting of the browser client with common issues and resolutions.
    • Network Troubleshooting - General troubleshooting of the network with common issues and resolutions.
    • Web Application Server Troubleshooting - General troubleshooting of the Web Application Server with common issues and resolutions.
    • Server Troubleshooting - General troubleshooting of the Operating system with common issues and resolutions.
    • Database Troubleshooting - General troubleshooting of the database with common issues and resolutions.
    • Batch Troubleshooting - General troubleshooting of the background processing component of the product with common issues and resolutions.
    560401.1
    Software Configuration Management Series A set of whitepapers on how to manage customization (code and data) using the tools provided with the framework. The individual whitepapers are as follows:
    • Concepts - General concepts and introduction.
    • Environment Management - Principles and techniques for creating and managing environments.
    • Version Management - Integration of Version control and version management of configuration items.
    • Release Management - Packaging configuration items into a release.
    • Distribution - Distribution and installation of releases across environments
    • Change Management - Generic change management processes for product implementations.
    • Status Accounting - Status reporting techniques using product facilities.
    • Defect Management - Generic defect management processes for product implementations.
    • Implementing Single Fixes - Discussion on the single fix architecture and how to use it in an implementation.
    • Implementing Service Packs - Discussion on the service packs and how to use them in an implementation.
    • Implementing Upgrades - Discussion on the the upgrade process and common techniques for minimizing the impact of upgrades.
    773473.1
    Oracle Utilities Application Framework Security Overview A whitepaper summarizing the security facilities in the framework. Now includes references to other Oracle security products supported.
    774783.1
    LDAP Integration for Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products Updated! A generic whitepaper summarizing how to integrate an external LDAP based security repository with the framework.
    789060.1
    Oracle Utilities Application Framework Integration Overview A whitepaper summarizing all the various common integration techniques used with the product (with case studies).
    799912.1
    Single Sign On Integration for Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products A whitepaper outlining a generic process for integrating an SSO product with the framework.
    807068.1
    Oracle Utilities Application Framework Architecture Guidelines This whitepaper outlines the different variations of architecture that can be considered. Each variation will include advice on configuration and other considerations.
    836362.1
    Batch Best Practices for Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products This whitepaper outlines the common and best practices implemented by sites all over the world.
    856854.1
    Technical Best Practices V1 Addendum Addendum to Technical Best Practices for Oracle Utilities Customer Care And Billing V1.x only.
    942074.1
    XAI Best Practices This whitepaper outlines the common integration tasks and best practices for the Web Services Integration provided by the Oracle Utilities Application Framework.
    970785.1
    Oracle Identity Manager Integration Overview This whitepaper outlines the principals of the prebuilt intergration between Oracle Utilities Application Framework Based Products and Oracle Identity Manager used to provision user and user group security information. For Fw4.x customers use whitepaper 1375600.1 instead.
    1068958.1
    Production Environment Configuration Guidelines A whitepaper outlining common production level settings for the products based upon benchmarks and customer feedback.
    1177265.1 What's New In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4? Whitepaper outlining the major changes to the framework since Oracle Utilities Application Framework V2.2.
    1290700.1 Database Vault Integration Whitepaper outlining the Database Vault Integration solution provided with Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.1.0 and above.
    1299732.1 BI Publisher Guidelines for Oracle Utilities Application Framework Whitepaper outlining the interface between BI Publisher and the Oracle Utilities Application Framework
    1308161.1 Oracle SOA Suite Integration with Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products This whitepaper outlines common design patterns and guidelines for using Oracle SOA Suite with Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products.
    1308165.1 MPL Best Practices Oracle Utilities Application Framework This is a guidelines whitepaper for products shipping with the Multi-Purpose Listener.
    This whitepaper currently only applies to the following products:
    1308181.1 Oracle WebLogic JMS Integration with the Oracle Utilities Application Framework This whitepaper covers the native integration between Oracle WebLogic JMS with Oracle Utilities Application Framework using the new Message Driven Bean functionality and real time JMS adapters.
    1334558.1 Oracle WebLogic Clustering for Oracle Utilities Application Framework This whitepaper covers process for implementing clustering using Oracle WebLogic for Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products.
    1359369.1 IBM WebSphere Clustering for Oracle Utilities Application Framework This whitepaper covers process for implementing clustering using IBM WebSphere for Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products
    1375600.1 Oracle Identity Management Suite Integration with the Oracle Utilities Application Framework This whitepaper covers the integration between Oracle Utilities Application Framework and Oracle Identity Management Suite components such as Oracle Identity Manager, Oracle Access Manager, Oracle Adaptive Access Manager, Oracle Internet Directory and Oracle Virtual Directory.
    1375615.1 Advanced Security for the Oracle Utilities Application Framework This whitepaper covers common security requirements and how to meet those requirements using Oracle Utilities Application Framework native security facilities, security provided with the J2EE Web Application and/or facilities available in Oracle Identity Management Suite.
    1486886.1 Implementing Oracle Exadata with Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing This whitepaper covers some advice when implementing Oracle ExaData for Oracle Utilities Customer Care And Billing.
    878212.1 Oracle Utilities Application FW Available Service Packs This entry outlines ALL the service packs available for the Oracle Utilities Application Framework.
    1454143.1 Certification Matrix for Oracle Utilities Products This entry outlines the software certifications for all the Oracle Utilities products.
    1474435.1 Oracle Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities Overview This whitepaper covers the Oracle Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities. This is a pack for Oracle Enterprise Manager.
    1506830.1 Configuration Migration Assistant Overview Oracle Utilities Application Framework This whitepaper covers the Configuration Migration Assistant available for Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.2.0.0.0
    1506855.1 Integration Reference Solutions Oracle Utilities Application Framework This whitepaper covers the various Oracle technologies you can use with the Oracle Utilities Application Framework.

    Tuesday Nov 20, 2012

    Interfaces Reference Model available

    With the implementation of an Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products, you can implement other Oracle technologies to augment your solution. There is a whitepaper available now to outline all the technology integrations possible with various versions of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework.

    The whitepaper outlines the possible integrations and implementations of other Oracle technologies to address customer requirements in association with Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products.

    The whitepaper covers a vast range of products including:

    • Oracle Fusion Middleware
    • Oracle SOA Suite
    • Oracle Identity Management Suite
    • Oracle ExaData and Oracle ExaLogic
    • Oracle VM
    • Data Options including Real Application Clustering, Real Application Testing, Data Guard/Active Data Guard, Compression, Partitioning, Database Vault, Audit Vault etc..

    The whitepaper contains a summary of the integration solution possibilities, links to further information including product specific interfaces.

    The whitepaper is available from My Oracle Support at KB Id: 1506855.1

    Monday Nov 19, 2012

    Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.2.0.0.0 Released

    The Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.2.0.0.0 has been released with Oracle Utilities Customer Care And Billing V2.4. This release includes new functionality and updates to existing functionality and will be progressively released across the Oracle Utilities applications.

    The release is quite substantial with lots of new and exciting changes. The release notes shipped with the product includes a summary of the changes implemented in V4.2.0.0.0. They include the following:

    • Configuration Migration Assistant (CMA) - A new data management capability to allow you to export and import Configuration Data from one environment to another with support for Approval/Rejection of individual changes.
    • Database Connection Tagging - Additional tags have been added to the database connection to allow database administrators, Oracle Enterprise Manager and other Oracle technology the ability to monitor and use individual database connection information.
    • Native Support for Oracle WebLogic - In the past the Oracle Utilities Application Framework used Oracle WebLogic in embedded mode, and now, to support advanced configuration and the ExaLogic platform, we are adding Native Support for Oracle WebLogic as configuration option.
    • Native Web Services Support - In the past the Oracle Utilities Application Framework supplied a servlet to handle Web Services calls and now we offer an alternative to use the native Web Services capability of Oracle WebLogic. This allows for enhanced clustering, a greater level of Web Service standards support, enchanced security options and the ability to use the Web Services management capabilities in Oracle WebLogic to implement higher levels of management including defining additional security rules to control access to individual Web Services.
    • XML Data Type Support - Oracle Utilities Application Framework now allows implementors to define XML Data types used in Oracle in the definition of custom objects to take advantage of XQuery and other XML features.
    • Fuzzy Operator Support - Oracle Utilities Application Framework supports the use of the fuzzy operator in conjunction with Oracle Text to take advantage of the fuzzy searching capabilities within the database.
    • Global Batch View - A new JMX based API has been implemented to allow JSR120 compliant consoles the ability to view batch execution across all threadpools in the Coherence based Named Cache Cluster.
    • Portal Personalization - It is now possible to store the runtime customizations of query zones such as preferred sorting, field order and filters to reuse as personal preferences each time that zone is used.

    These are just the major changes and there are quite a few more that have been delivered (and more to come in the service packs!!).

    Over the next few weeks we will be publishing new whitepapers and new entries in this blog outlining new facilities that you want to take advantage of.

    Monday Oct 15, 2012

    Internal Data Masking

    By default, the data in the product is unmasked for authorized users. If particular data within the object is considered a candidate for data masking then the masking capabilities with the product can be used to mask the data in an appropriate fashion.

    The inbuilt Data Masking capabilities of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework uses a number of configuration elements:

    • An algorithm, of type F1-MASK, is specified to configure the elements of the data masking including the masking character, number of suffix characters left unmasked, characters to ignore in the string, the application service, security type and authorization levels applicable to the mask.
    • A Data Masking Feature Configuration is created to define where the algorithm applies.
    • The specification of the feature allows you to define the fields to encrypt using the configured algorithm. The algorithm can be attached to a schema field, table field, characteristic, search field and even a child record (such as an identifier).
    • The appropriate user groups are then connected to the application services with the appropriate service types and level to indicate whether the masking applies to the user group or not.

    For example, say there is a field called CCNBR in the product which holds the credit card details. I would create an algorithm, say CCformatCC, to mask the credit card number with the last few digits as unmasked (as the standard in most systems dictate). I would specify on the Field Mask the following:

    field="CCNBR", alg="CMformatCC"

    On the algorithm CMfomatCC, I would specify the mask, application service, security type and the authorization level which users would see the credit card unmasked.

    To finish the configuration off and to implemention I would connect the appropriate user groups to the application service I specified with the security type and appropriate authorization level for that group.

    Whenever a user accesses the CCNBR field on any of the maintenance screens, searches and other screens that use the CCNBR meta data definition would then be masked according to the user group that the user was a member of.

    Refer to the documentation supplied with F1-MASK algorithm type entry for more examples of what is possible.

    Monday Sep 10, 2012

    Business Objects/Crystal Reports Interface Changes

    The Business Objects and Crystal Reporting interface for Oracle Utilities Application Framework V2.1, V2.2 and V4.x is now supplied as a sample interface. This will allow customers and partners who use this interface to tailor the interface to suit their inidividual needs and also support the numerous versions of Business Objects and Crystal Reports available.

    The sample interface is available from My Oracle Support in Doc Id: 1487588.1. The download includes the interface code, an overview of the interface and instructions on how to install and maintain the interface as a Customer Modification.

    Wednesday Aug 29, 2012

    Implementing Oracle Exadata for Oracle Utilities Customer Care And Billing

    In association with our performance team, a new whitepaper has been released for Oracle Utilities Customer Care And Billing that outlines the best practices for using Oracle Exadata with that product.

    The advice in the whitepaper is based upon certification and performance testing performed by our internal performance teams to assit in sites implementing the database component of Oracle Utilities Customer Care And Billing on an Oracle Exadata platform.

    It is recommended that the contents of this whitepaper be used alongside existing best practices for the Oracle Exadata platform.

    The whitepaper is available from My Oracle Support under Implementing Oracle Exadata with Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing (Dod Id: 1486886.1)

    Saturday Aug 18, 2012

    Updated Technical Whitepapers

    A number of whitepapers have had a few updates lately and have been republished on My Oracle Support. The whitepapers that have been updated are:

    Implementing Oracle ExaLogic and/or Oracle WebLogic Clustering  (Doc Id: 1334558.1)

    • Updated sections for AIX installation

    Production Environment Configuration Guidelines (Doc Id: 1068958.1)

    • Add new advice from our Black Belt team based upon customer feedback and experiences.
    • Added new advice from our Performance Testing team to optimize the settings for a product.

    The full set of the available whitepapers will be updated over the next few months. Watch this blog and My Oracle Support for further announcements.

    Tuesday Jul 31, 2012

    Updated ExaLogic Guidelines whitepaper

    The Implementing Oracle ExaLogic and/or Oracle WebLogic Clustering (Doc Id: 1334558.1) available from My Oracle Support has been updated with additional advice for products using the Oracle Utilities Application Framework.

    The following changes have been made to the document:

    • Correction to the document to explicity outline that the SPLEBASE environment variable must be set prior to starting any node in the cluster for the product to use files not included in EAR/WAR files.
    • Added Best Practices section outlining addition performnce configuration suggestions and some advice for optimizing ExaLogic with Exadata.
    • Added advice for configuring JMS in a cluster. This is particularly useful for customers using JMS for product to product integration or using the Message Driven Bean functionality in Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.x.
    • Added advice for Oracle Service Bus (OSB) integration in a clustered environment for customers using OSB in association with the Oracle Utilities Application Framework based product.
    About

    Anthony Shorten
    Hi, I am Anthony Shorten, I am the Principal Product Manager for the Oracle Utilities Application Framework. I have been working for over 20+ years in the IT Business and am the author of many a technical whitepaper, manual and training material. I am one of the product managers working on strategy and designs for the next generation of the technology used for the Utilities and Tax markets. This blog is provided to announce new features, document tips and techniques and also outline features of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products. These products include Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing, Oracle Utilities Meter Data Management, Oracle Utilities Mobile Workforce Management and Oracle Enterprise Taxation and Policy Management. I am the product manager for the Management Pack for these products.

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