Friday Feb 08, 2013

Configuration Migration Assistant Part 8 - Differences from ConfigLab

For customers on Oracle Utilities Customer Care And Billing as well as Oracle Enterprise Taxation and Policy Management who use ConfigLab will ask what the Configuration Migration Assistant offers over ConfigLab. Here is the summary:

  • Simpler Terminology - One of the issues with users of ConfigLab was the confusing terminology used. You had supporting and supported environments and then Compare Source and Synchronize processes. In Configuration Migration Assistant we removed all that terminology and use the easier understandable Source and Target. There is no equivalent of Compare Source and Synchronize as it just export and import.
  • Minimal Setup Required - One of the other issues with ConfigLab is that you explicitly define the data migration relationships between environments and that required technical setup, called Environment registration. This process created db links between environments and needed to be maintained by the DBA across upgrades or patches. For the Configuration Migration Assistant there is no such technical setup. The only setup is to define the export and import directories on the Master Configuration record in each environment. This is retained across patches and upgrades automatically.
  • Reusable Objects - In ConfigLab, the relationships and criteria where stored in an object called DB Process and each relationship and criteria was in a DB Instruction. The issue is that structure is not reusable as you had to duplicate it to make changes. In Configuration Migration Assistant different objects are used to store relationships (Migration Plans) and criteria (Migration Requests). This allows for reuse and minimizes the need for duplications.
  • Supports data types used in product - Since the introduction of ConfigLab, the Oracle Utilities Application Framework introduced support for CLOB and XML data types but ConfigLab had issues detecting changes within these data types. In Configuration Migration Assistant you can not only detect changes in nodes within CLOB and XML data types you can now specify relationships using XPATH to model relationships within these data types.
  • Export files can be checked into version management software - One of the requirements from our partners was the ability to take the export files generated by Configuration Migration Assistant and check them into a code repository with any java code and/or Bundles. ConfigLab did not feature this facility.
  • Both Changed and Unchanged data is displayed - One of the key feedback from customers using ConfigLab was that just as important as telling them what has changed, it was important to tell them what has NOT been changed as a result of the import and compare process. This is a feature in Configuration Migration Assistant. This feature was only implied in ConfigLab.
  • Export files can be reused across environments - In line with other migration tools, it was important to be able to export once but use many times. For example, the export can represent a point in time configuration that can be migrated across environments regardless of the target state. ConfigLab could not share migrations as it was always considered live migrations.
  • Export files can be used to restore an environment - One of the features of the Configuration Migration Assistant is the ability to import data that was previously exported from the same environment. This acts as a restore like facility. ConfigLab did not feature this facility (well at least not after multiple steps and complex configuration).
  • Objects with system generated keys not supported - ConfigLab was available to migrate any data from environment to environment including master and transaction data. Feedback from our customers suggested it was not optimal for master/transaction data even with lower volumes. This is partly issues around system generated keys in the target environment. Configuration Migration Assistant is restricted to objects without system generated keys to avoid this issue. This means it cannot be used for master or transaction data. Oracle uses another product called Test Data Management Pack which is part of the Oracle Enterprise Management family of products for this purpose. We will be featuring a discussion of that product in a future posting and whitepaper.
  • Delete transactions not supported -  One of the issues we would get feedback on from ConfigLab customers was delete transactions. If the record did not exist in the Supported environment but in the Supporting environment then a delete statement would be generated. The issue is that you cannot use data that was used for any transaction due to data integrity rules. This would cause ConfigLab to generate errors when attempting to apply changes causing concerns from customers. It is in fact, expected behavior as ConfigLab was protecting data integrity and the errors indicated that. This still concerned customers so to avoid this issue, we do not support delete transactions in Configuration Migration Assistant. These should be manually managed.
  • Same monitor process used for import/export and apply changes - One of the issues with ConfigLab was the sheer number of batch jobs that were available. We simplified this by providing a single configurable monitor process to manage the objects over the lifecycle of the objects. This reduces maintenance overhead and maximizes flexibility. 

In the long run, the Configuration Migration Assistant will replace ConfigLab.

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.

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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