Friday Jan 11, 2013

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.

    Wednesday Jul 25, 2012

    Oracle ExaLogic advice for Oracle Utilities Application Framework products

    The Oracle WebLogic Clustering for Oracle Utilities Application Framework whitepaper (Doc Id: 1334558.1), available from My Oracle Support, has been updated to now include advice for Oracle ExaLogic. To reflect the new information the document is now renamed "Implementing Oracle ExaLogic and/or Oracle WebLogic Clustering".

    The Oracle ExaLogic additional advice includes the following:

    • Implementation of the SDP protocol for use with the online component of the product. This improves communication between the tiers.
    • Configuration of Oracle WebLogic settings for optimization with Oracle ExaLogic.
    • Configuration of ExaLogic GridLink Data Sources for online transactions.

    The document can be used by customers and partners who are implementing Oracle WebLogic clustering with or without Oracle ExaLogic.

    Wednesday Jul 18, 2012

    OUAF 4.1.0.1.0 Released (i.e. Service Pack 1)

    In the past the Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.1 supplied Group Fixes (GF1 - GF4 have been released). In line with other Oracle products, Oracle Utilities Application Framework now releases cumulative Service Packs on a regular basis instead of Group Fixes.

    Service Packs now include all the fixes since the original release since the product was initially released. For new customers, you can install the original released product from the Oracle Delivery Cloud and then the latest service pack via My Oracle Support to keep up to date with fixes, enhancements and new platforms.

    Along with the Service Pack is a new version numbering scheme. If you are familiar with other Oracle products and Oracle technology you will recognize the new numbering scheme. The new version number format is as follows:

    X.Y.Z.A.B where

    X.Y.Z is the version number of the product (as we originally quoted it). For example Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.1 would be 4.1.0.
    A is the Service Pack
    B is reserved for special circumstances. Usually it is 0.

    This means the new Service Pack brings Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.1 up to 4.1.0.1.0 officially. This is extremely important as when you register a bug or enhancement you need to quote the official release number so that our engineers can target the problem or enhancement to the right version of the product.

    Service Pack 1 is available for download from My Oracle Support at Patch 13967347.

    Monday Jul 16, 2012

    Using Oracle Fusion Middleware targets with OUAF Based products in OEM 12c

    One of the advantages of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is the ability to manage Oracle WebLogic directly from the console with or without the use of the Oracle WebLogic management packs. Obviously customers can manage more with the packs but some basic administration and monitoring capabilities can be used from the basic Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c installation.

    With Oracle Utilities Application Framework V2.x and above, the use of Oracle Weblogic is different to the typical base use of Oracle WebLogic. The Oracle Utilities Application Framework uses Oracle WebLogic in what I call "embedded mode". Customers install Oracle WebLogic as per the standard Oracle WebLogic installation process but "point" the installation to the Oracle Utilities Application Framework to execute the product. The advantage of this for non-production is that you can share a single copy of Oracle WebLogic across multiple environments on a single machine easily and each environment is isolated operationally with its own domain and own administration server. The disadvantage is that Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c cannot easily recognize the installation using the Auto-Discovery functionality provided by that product.

    All is not lost though, it is possible to use the functionality using the "Add Targets Manually" functionality to expose the Oracle WebLogic instance for each environment as a target to manage.

    To use this facility you need the following installed and available:

    • Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c console and OMS somewhere in your architecture
    • The machines that house the environment MUST be registered to the OMS as managed targets of "Host" target type. This ensures the agent is deployed and working to those machines.
    • The instances of Oracle WebLogic to be registered for the environments must be executing. Oracle WebLogic instances that are not active will not be registered using this process.

    From the "Setup" menu in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c select "Add Targets Manually" from the "Add Target" menu. Select the "Add Non-host Targets using Guided Process" and select "Oracle Fusion Middleware" from the Target Type list. For example:

    Add Targets Manually example

    Use the "Add Using Guideed Discovery ..." button to initiate the process. This will display a dialog to manually add the Oracle WebLogic embedded target type.

    To register an envieonment specify the following:

    • Administration Server Host - The host name used for WL_HOST in your environment. This host must be registered to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c as a target so that the agent is redeployed.
    • Port - The port number assigned to the environment (WL_PORT).
    • Username - An account authorized to the Oracle WebLogic console. The Oracle Utilities Application Framework installer creates an initial user system that can be used if you have not got a site specific value for this user. This userid is used, by default, for all operations to the target. It must be an Administration account not a product account.
    • Password - The password configured for the Username.
    • Unique Domain Identifier - An unique identifier for the domain to denote within Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. This is important and should be some value that means something for your admninistrator to understand. This also allows multiple targets per host to be defined easily. Make sure you do not use any embedded blanks and special characters for the name.
    • Agent - This is the default host and port for the OEM agent on that machine. Just for references and can be altered if the default port is different for OEM at your site.

    For example:

     Example Oracle WebLogic manual target definition

    Press "Continue" to complete the process. If the above parameters are correct then new targets should appear in the console as management targets. The Oracle WebLogic domain and each of the deployments will appear seperately in the target list. For example:

    Example target discovery

    The targets can now be managed and monitored using the facilites of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c from the console.

    For example:

    Example Monitor/Management screen

    You can repeat this process for each of your environments. This process does not need to be repeated as once a target is registered Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c will maintain the connection.

    Thursday Jul 12, 2012

    Oracle Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities

    A management pack for use for management of Oracle Utilities applications within Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is available. A detailed whitepaper is now available on My Oracle Support at Doc Id: 1474435.1.

    The pack supports the following products and versions:

    Oracle Management Pack for Oracle Utilities provides application life-cycle services for the Oracle Utilities suite of applications. By combining Oracle Enterprise Manager's enterprise management solution with Oracle Utilities applications, IT organization can significantly reduce the cost and complexity to manage an Oracle Utilities product environment.

    The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities provides a top down application management framework. This framework automates mundane operational tasks of application lifecycle management. These tasks are routinely performed by IT administrators to operationally manage a deployed production instance of Oracle Utilities products. The management pack leverages the power of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework to provide a single solution that is based upon Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and extends it by providing a single view and console to manage Oracle Utilities products.

    Centralized Operations and Management

    Typically, multiple instances of multiple Oracle Utilities products are implemented at a site. A centralized framework is needed to manage and operate these multiple instances of multiple products to reduce total cost of operations. The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities provides a centralized management framework and allows IT administrators to centrally manage instances of Oracle Utilities environments using a browser based console.

    Main OEM screen

    Application Operations – Availability

    Once an Oracle Utilities product has been installed, managing that environment's availability is critical. The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities provides instrumentation and tracking of a products individual components and their availability. This capability can be integrated with Oracle Enterprise Manager's incident and alerting capability to provide availability target tracking.

    Oracle Utilities Home Page

    Application Monitoring – Introducing Group Monitoring

    An Oracle Utilities product contains a number of key components in the architecture. These components can be managed individually or as part of a group or group(s), to perform group monitoring and group management capabilities. Groups can be created by a number of dimensions matching your preferred IT management strategies.

    Application Environment Management – Cloning environments

    After installing the Oracle Utilities product, the Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities allows additional copies of the software to be quickly created using environment cloning. Simple cloning allows for environments to be created with minimal interaction and advance cloning allows new environments with new characteristics to be created.

    Sample Advanced Cloning

    Application Upgrades – Introducing Patch Management

    Once an Oracle Utilities product is installed the challenge is to keep that environment up to date with patches. The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities provides an interface to My Oracle Support to import and install patches on an environment interactively or on a schedule. Once an environment is patched to an acceptable level, Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities allows patch sets to be migrated across environments.

    Example Patch install

    Utilizing the power of Oracle Enterprise Manager

    The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities allows Oracle Utilities products to take advantage of the power of management from Oracle Enterprise Manager. The ability to schedule any of the pack tasks interactively or on a pre-scheduled basis, integration with availability alerting to detect outages, support for blackout periods and support for management grouping allows Oracle Utilities product to take advantage of the power of Oracle Enterprise Manager.

    Enterprise Wide Management

    The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities has been designed to work standalone or in conjunction with other packs available for Oracle Enterprise Manager. Customers can choose to target Oracle Utilities product using Oracle Enterprise Manager or target their entire Oracle infrastructure to provide higher levels of management across the enterprise

    Thursday Jun 07, 2012

    Threading Overview

    One of the major features of the batch framework is the ability to support multi-threading. The multi-threading support allows a site to increase throughput on an individual batch job by splitting the total workload across multiple individual threads. This means each thread has fine level control over a segment of the total data volume at any time.

    The idea behind the threading is based upon the notion that "many hands make light work". Each thread takes a segment of data in parallel and operates on that smaller set. The object identifier allocation algorithm built into the product randomly assigns keys to help ensure an even distribution of the numbers of records across the threads and to minimize resource and lock contention.

    The best way to visualize the concept of threading is to use a "pie" analogy. Imagine the total workset for a batch job is a "pie". If you split that pie into equal sized segments, each segment would represent an individual thread.

    The concept of threading has advantages and disadvantages:

    • Smaller elapsed runtimes - Jobs that are multi-threaded finish earlier than jobs that are single threaded. With smaller amounts of work to do, jobs with threading will finish earlier.

    Note: The elapsed runtime of the threads is rarely proportional to the number of threads executed. Even though contention is minimized, some contention does exist for resources which can adversely affect runtime.

    • Threads can be managed individually – Each thread can be started individually and can also be restarted individually in case of failure. If you need to rerun thread X then that is the only thread that needs to be resubmitted.
    • Threading can be somewhat dynamic – The number of threads that are run on any instance can be varied as the thread number and thread limit are parameters passed to the job at runtime. They can also be configured using the configuration files outlined in this document and the relevant manuals.

      Note: Threading is not dynamic after the job has been submitted
    • Failure risk due to data issues with threading is reduced – As mentioned earlier individual threads can be restarted in case of failure. This limits the risk to the total job if there is a data issue with a particular thread or a group of threads.
    • Number of threads is not infinite – As with any resource there is a theoretical limit. While the thread limit can be up to 1000 threads, the number of threads you can physically execute will be limited by the CPU and IO resources available to the job at execution time.

    Theoretically with the objects identifiers evenly spread across the threads the elapsed runtime for the threads should all be the same. In other words, when executing in multiple threads theoretically all the threads should finish at the same time. Whilst this is possible, it is also possible that individual threads may take longer than other threads for the following reasons:

    • Workloads within the threads are not always the same - Whilst each thread is operating on the roughly the same amounts of objects, the amount of processing for each object is not always the same. For example, an account may have a more complex rate which requires more processing or a meter has a complex amount of configuration to process. If a thread has a higher proportion of objects with complex processing it will take longer than a thread with simple processing. The amount of processing is dependent on the configuration of the individual data for the job.
    • Data may be skewed – Even though the object identifier generation algorithm attempts to spread the object identifiers across threads there are some jobs that use additional factors to select records for processing. If any of those factors exhibit any data skew then certain threads may finish later. For example, if more accounts are allocated to a particular part of a schedule then threads in that schedule may finish later than other threads executed.

    Threading is important to the success of individual jobs. For more guidelines and techniques for optimizing threading refer to Multi-Threading Guidelines in the Batch Best Practices for Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products (Doc Id: 836362.1) whitepaper available from My Oracle Support

    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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