Friday Feb 21, 2014

Implementing Multiple Products in a single domain

By default, the Oracle Utilities applications are installed in embedded mode for Oracle WebLogic. Basically the product reuses an existing Oracle WebLogic installation and points the WebLogic runtime installation to the Oracle Utilities application runtime to run the product. It is called embedded as basically we are not using the Oracle WebLogic installation to house the product, the product is using file embedded within the product to run Oracle WebLogic. For instance we generate the security setup, boot.properties, config.xml etc and command utilities to start/stop Oracle WebLogic and they are embedded within our product.

Whilst the embedded installation is ideal for most environments, as it is simple, it has a number of disadvantages:
  • Advanced facilities such as clustering and high availability cannot be easily implemented in embedded mode.
  • Most of the configuration is defaulted such as the domain name and server names.
  • The administration server is automatically included in each environment.
  • You need to use text file based user exits to augment the embedded configuration for advanced configurations. This requires manual efforts to maintain XML files in some cases.

To offer an alternative to the embedded installation, we introduced the ability to use a native installation method which houses the product inside Oracle WebLogic. This allows the site to take full advantage of Oracle WebLogic features and also manage the configuration from the Oracle WebLogic console or Oracle Enterprise Manager. For details of the features of the Native installation refer to the previous blog posts (Installation, Overview) on that subject.

Now one of the interesting abilities that is possible when using native mode is that it is possible to run multiple products or environment within the same domain. Basically this means you can reduce the number of administration consoles to manage your environment.

To use this facility the following process should be used:

  • Install Oracle WebLogic as per the Oracle WebLogic Installation documentation and Native Installation Oracle Utilities Application Framework (Doc Id: 1544969.1).
  • Create a domain with an administration server using the Configuration Wizard shipped with Oracle WebLogic.
  • Logon to the administration console with the user you specified when you created the domain.
  • Within the console create individual servers (naming is up to your site standards) for each product or environment you want to house the products. You should use machines with Node manager as well to allow for expansion and remote management if necessary. With native mode, the administration console does not have to be on the same machine as the target environments. Ensure each server is broadcasting on a different port.
  • Install the products as outlined the in the Native Installation Oracle Utilities Application Framework (Doc Id: 1544969.1) whitepaper and the product installation documentation with the additional advice:
  • Deployments in Oracle WebLogic need to be unique across a domain. By default, the product creates a common set of names for each component. It is necessary to change these names during the installation to avoid confusion in deployment. There are two settings that need to change:
Setting Default Recommendation
Business Server Application Name SPLService Add an environment or product identifier as prefix or suffix
Web Server Application Name SPLWeb Add an environment or product identifier as prefix or suffix
  • Ensure the deployment name is unique for every single deployment (even across products/environments).
  • For example, I run a FW2.2 environment and FW42 environment on the same domain. I setup SPLServiceFW22 and SPLWebFW22 for FW22 deployments and SPLServiceFW42 and SPLWebFW42 for my FW42 environment. These are just examples I use locally.
  • Ensure the paths in the Server Setup for the individual servers point to the classes in the relevant environment installations. Ensure the SPLEBASE is set correctly in the server setup.
  • Ensure the port numbers allocated to the Servers match the port numbers you specified in the product installation for each server.
  • The most important part of this is that you MUST alter setDomain for the domain to set the SPLEBASE variable appropriately for each SERVERNAME. If you forget this the product will not startup. In my example:

if [ $SERVERNAME$ = 'ouaf22server']

...

   set SPLEBASE=/oracle/FW22

fi

  • Deploy the deployments to the relevant server. To save time, deploy the SPLService (or whatever you called it) first and then SPLWeb (or whatever you called it) as per the Native Installation Oracle Utilities Application Framework (Doc Id: 1544969.1) whitepaper.
  • Start/Stop the server to start/stop the environment/product using the Administration console.

Now a couple of additional things to think about when using this technique:

  • All servers on this environment share the same authentication security setup. Just be aware of this.
  • By default, all the J2EE resources are controlled by a common role/credential cisusers. If you want to separate the servers using different roles/credentials then you need to change the cisuser setting using the configureEnv -a settings for the Web Security Role/Web Principal Name/Application Viewer Security Role/Application Viewer Principal Name to an appropriate setting for each product/environment.
  • When using native mode, any changes to the EAR files needs a redeployment (it is an update deployment which is far quicker). You can use the autodeploy features of Oracle WebLogic to minimize this effort (just note that it will take higher CPU consumption overall as Oracle WebLogic will check regularly for changes to deploy). Just remember, if you ever run initialSetup an update redeployment is required.
  • Any changes to properties files may not necessarily require redeployment at runtime as setting the SPLEBASE uses the versions stored in the etc/conf directory.  If you want to keep the EAR versions in synchronization then running an update redeployment is necessary after running initialSetup.
  • Embedded installations can be converted to this facility and retain the embedded installation as a fallback. The embedded installation and native installation cannot be running at the same time as they share port numbers. This is outlined in the Native Installation Oracle Utilities Application Framework (Doc Id: 1544969.1) whitepaper.

Once this is done you can manage the deployments from the console including security and monitoring.

Note: Customers using Oracle Enterprise Manager to manage the products or Oracle Web:ogic will not necessarily need to use this facility as the Oracle Enterprise Manager already serves this process.

Tuesday Feb 18, 2014

Using Oracle Test Data Manager with OUAF

The Oracle Test Data Management Pack allows the quick and safe  copying a subset of data from a production database to a non-production database. The pack can be used standalone or in association with the Oracle Data Masking Pack to comply with data privacy and data protection rules mandated by regulation or policy that restrict the use of actual customer data for non-production purposes.

Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products can utilize this pack using the following technique:

  • A copy of the production schema with no data should be created on the production database. It is important not to load the data as this will aid in the creation. A copy of the schema can be built using Oracle SQL Developer or using tools included in Oracle Database Control/Oracle Database 12c EM Express.

Note: Oracle highly recommends not using the live production schema for the definition process.

  • Create an Application Model on the copied and prepared schema using the instructions in the Data Discovery And Modeling documentation.
  • Optionally, remove any tables or objects you do not want managed with the Oracle Test Data Management Pack Application Data Model you just loaded. For example, you might want to remove administration tables to optimize the time for the extract. This can be done within the Oracle Test Data Management Pack interface available within Oracle Enterprise Manager.
  • The Application Model now can be used against any production schema (as the source) at execution time.
  • Define the data subset you wish to extract as outlined in the Data Subsetting documentation. This can be a fixed subset, percentage or a complex SQL condition to determine the active subset to extract.
  • Optionally, identify the sensitive data you want to mask and associate the formatting to be used for handling the masked data. This will automatically mask the data in the extract as outlined in the Masking Sensitive Data documentation.

It is recommended that Oracle Test Data Management Pack be only used on Production environments to minimize licensing arrangements.

Note: If there is a need to comply with local privacy and protection laws that Oracle Data Masking Pack is also used with the Oracle Test Data Management Pack.

Note: This technique can be used with any release of the products or any release of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework.

Tuesday Feb 11, 2014

Whitepaper List as at January 2014

Whitepaper Matrix

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.

Updated: Links to My Oracle Support will directly open the Doc Id entry. You must be a valid user of My Oracle Support to access these links.

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

Doc Id Document Title Contents
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:
Technical Best Practices for Oracle Utilities Application Framework Based Products Whitepaper summarizing common technical best practices used by partners, implementation teams and customers.
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.
Software Configuration Management Series
A set of whitepapers on how to manage customization (code and data) using the tools provided with the framework. Topics include Revision Control, SDK Migration/Utilities, Bundling and Configuration Migration Assistant. 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.
Oracle Utilities Application Framework Security Overview A whitepaper summarizing the security facilities in the framework. Now includes references to other Oracle security products supported.
LDAP Integration for Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products A generic whitepaper summarizing how to integrate an external LDAP based security repository with the framework.
Oracle Utilities Application Framework Integration Overview A whitepaper summarizing all the various common integration techniques used with the product (with case studies).
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.
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.
Batch Best Practices This whitepaper outlines the common and best practices implemented by sites all over the world.
Technical Best Practices V1 Addendum Addendum to Technical Best Practices for Oracle Utilities Customer Care And Billing V1.x only.
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.
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.
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
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
This whitepaper covers the Configuration Migration Assistant available for Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.2.0.0.0. This replaces ConfigLab for some products.
1506855.1 Integration Reference Solutions
This whitepaper covers the various Oracle technologies you can use with the Oracle Utilities Application Framework.
1544969.1 Native Installation Oracle Utilities Application Framework This whitepaper describes the process of installing Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products natively within Oracle WebLogic.
1558279.1 Oracle Service Bus Integration  This whitepaper describes direct integration with Oracle Service Bus including the new Oracle Service Bus protocol adapters available. Customers using the MPL should read this whitepaper as the Oracle Service Bus replaces MPL in the future and this whitepaper outlines how to manually migrate your MPL configuration into Oracle Service Bus.

Note: In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.2.0.1.0, Oracle Service Bus Adapters for Outbound Messages and Notification/Workflow are available
1561930.1 Using Oracle Text for Fuzzy Searching This whitepaper describes how to use the Name Matching and  fuzzy operator facilities in Oracle Text to implemement fuzzy searching using the @fuzzy helper fucntion available in Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.2.0.0.0
1606764.1
Audit Vault Integration This whitepaper describes the integration with Oracle Audit Vault to centralize and separate Audit information from OUAF products. Audit Vault integration is available in OUAF 4.2.0.1.0 and above only.
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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