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Using Batch Level Of Service

In past articles I discussed the Batch Level Of Service capability and one of the most important questions I am asked is how to best implement this for on-premise and cloud implementations. Here are some best advice to use this capability quickly with the minimum of work: Target Tolerances. Create algorithm entries using the provided base algorithm types setting your warning tolerance and error tolerance for each target value and method of evaluation. These represent the target values for warnings and error tolerances based around metrics like elapsed time, error rate, throughput etc. Remember these algorithm types are reusable across many batch controls. The base algorithms support a warning and an error tolerance. They also supporting using the latest completed or in progress execution. The latter is useful for live tracking during the execution. Link Targets to Batch Controls. Add the appropriate algorithm (with the appropriate target value) as the Batch Level Of Service algorithm. Multiple algorithms are also supported for the algorithm to cater for multiple criteria. To optimize the effort in managing the configuration of Batch Control's it is recommended to: Configure the most important or critical jobs to your business first. This is an important subset to focus upon. Configure the other processes as needed. Not all batch controls need targets. The Batch Level Of Service will now be assessed against the latest execution (depending on the configuration of the algorithm itself) and the target values returning the relevant status. Once you configure those targets you can use the Health Check Screen (or REST API for integration to other monitoring tools) and other capabilities to determine the batch level of service. For example: Note: In the Oracle Utilities Cloud Services you can set the level of service on the schedule itself to check batch windows. For more information about the Batch Level Of Service, refer to the following related articles: Configuring Batch Level Of Service Building A Batch Level Of Service Algorithm Using Batch Level Of Service - Batch History Portal Calling a Batch Level Of Service

In past articles I discussed the Batch Level Of Servicecapability and one of the most important questions I am asked is how to best implement this for on-premise and cloud implementations. Here are...

The Tech Spot

UTA - A Different Approach to Automation

The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator was introduced over a year ago and the tool continues to be popular with customers and is included in all Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Services available on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The tool takes a different approach to providing testing capabilities that other types of testing tend to not offer. There are three regimes of Testing that applies to Oracle Utilities products: Manual Testing. This is the baseline where a group of human testers simply use the product and test it manually. Whilst this is a valid way of testing for a lot implementations, it is high cost (due to the labor cost involved) and high risk as it tends to be timeboxed, to meet deadlines, so things are missed in the testing. When regular upgrades are involved it may soon become harder to sustain. Automated Testing (also known as Traditional Automation). Over the last decade or so, automated testing tools have been appearing on the market to try and reduce the manual effort involved in testing. They tend to concentrate on recording screens, creating scripts from those recording and embedding data into those scripts. The idea then is that recording can be played back over and over again. Some vendors have tried to separate the data from the script to make it reusable with different data, No matter what though they have a fundamental flow in that they only test online and any change to the online screens, for ANY reason, means manually manipulating the script or re-recording it. This means time to test (the time from installing to actually testing) in each iteration had to include refactoring test asset changes. Component Based Approach with PreBuilt Assets. This is where Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator takes the advantages of automation but addresses the time to test concerns. The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator provides prebuilt content from Oracle which reduces test asset building times, tests all channels used in Oracle Utilities including online, batch, web services and mobile. Those assets tend to be upgradeable automatically (using the Oracle Utilities philosophy of backward compatibility) to retain their usefulness and save costs. The product also uses an orchestration metaphor to build tests rather than programming to reduce technical skills needed for the tool. The figure below summarizes the discussion above: The Oracle Utilities Test Accelerator is a testing solution optimized for use with Oracle Utilities product suite with prebuilt content including the Oracle Utilities Reference Model. It is available for on-premise use and now is included in all Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Services.

The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator was introduced over a year ago and the tool continues to be popular with customers and is included in all Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Services available...

The Tech Spot

UTA - Building Custom Content Whitepaper available

It is possible to extend the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator with custom components and custom libraries. This allows customers to include their extensions that may not be supported by a base supplied prebuilt test asset. The capability allows for the following: Building Custom Components on Base Capabilities. Whilst the packs provide the majority of the base functionality, some functions may not be available in the release of the pack you are using. Instead of waiting for that function to be released, you can use this capability to build a custom component to continue testing. Building Custom Components on Extensions. This is the most common use case where there is not a provided pre-built component that does not cover your extension. Generally if your extension alters the structure (schema) of the product, not just with data, then a custom component is required to educate the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator how to interface to the extension. Building Custom Libraries. The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator ships with a library of functions to allow manipulation or generation of individual data. Custom libraries can be build inside the tool, using Groovy, to add your own functions, if necessary. There is a whitepaper that outlines, with examples, the process for all of the above is now available for customers and partners using Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator.  The UTA - Building Custom Components And Functions for Oracle Utilities Application Framework Based Products (Doc Id: 2662058.1) is available from My Oracle Support.

It is possible to extend the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator with custom components and custom libraries. This allows customers to include their extensions that may not be supported by a base...

The Tech Spot

UTA - Test Strategy Whitepaper available

The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator uses a unique approach to test automation for Oracle Utilities products, which uses techniques and content used at Oracle, to reduce risk and cost in taking advantage of test automation over traditional methods. Give this unique approach the techniques used in traditional automation need to be optimized to take full advantage of the platform and prebuilt content provided by the Oracle Utilities teams. Developing a coherent test strategy as part of your initial implementation of test automation. This strategy will outlines objectives, techniques and set the stage for using test automation to meet that strategy. A whitepaper from the developers of Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator is now available from My Oracle Support titled UTA - Test Strategy Best Practices Guidance for Oracle Utilities Application Framework Based Products (Doc Id: 2659556.1). This whitepaper summarizes the following: Discussions of the different types of testing to be considered part of a strategy taking into consideration of the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. This introduces a typical quadrant system with the standard principle "Do the High importance and High Value Business Processes First". For example: Techniques for designing test scenarios and test cases to take advantage of Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator prebuilt content including the Oracle Utilities Reference Model content. Techniques to consider when designing test data to be used in testing including generation of data, importing data and how to manage that data effectively to help maximize reuse. This whitepaper is part of a series which includes existing whitepapers and set of new whitepapers to outline common practices when using the unique approach used in the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator.

The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator uses a unique approach to test automation for Oracle Utilities products, which uses techniques and content used at Oracle, to reduce risk and cost in taking...

The Tech Spot

UTA - Installation Summary

The installation of an on-premise version of Utilities Testing Accelerator (UTA) has been improved upon in both versions 6.0.0.1.0 and 6.0.0.2.0 to allow customers to quickly establish product environments. This article is a summary of this process, which is also outlined in the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator installation Guides. Prerequisites Before installing there are a number of prerequisites necessary for the installation: Database. The database to house the Utilities Testing Accelerator objects must be available and accessible to the server you want to install Utilities Testing Accelerator upon. This an be local or remote and can be a separate schema or a PDB in the same location as the Oracle Utilities product. Utilities Testing Accelerator supports the UTA Repository as a separate schema existing on a PDB or non-PDB database or even as a separate PDB on the Multi-tenant database. It does not require any database access to the Oracle Utilities products it is being used against. Note: The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator does not ship with a database license and reuses the existing database license for supported Oracle Utilities products. Customers with Unlimited License Agreement licenses for the Oracle Database have lesser restrictions in this regard. Java. The Java JDK or JRE must be installed on the machine that will house Utilities Testing Accelerator. A Java support license is included with all Oracle products including Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. XWindows. The Oracle installer used by the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator uses XWindows. This is the same installer used by Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic and a host of other Oracle products so staff familiar with those products will be familiar with the installer. Note: XWindows may be directly invoked or via a virtualization such as vnc according to your site standards. Installation Process After downloading the software from Oracle Software Delivery Cloud, the following steps are performed: Create Database Resources. Create the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator schema user (UTA) and tablespaces in the database to house the UTA Repository objects using the database tool of your choice as per the installation guide. The installation guide outlines the minimum setup for the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. Alter as your site standards. Remember the database settings used as the installer will ask you for them later. Create the following: Data Tablespace CREATE TABLESPACE uta_data DATAFILE '<datafile>' SIZE 500M AUTOEXTEND ON NEXT 200M MAXSIZE 1024M DEFAULT STORAGE ( INITIAL 10M NEXT 1M pctincrease 10 ) permanent online logging; where <datafile> is the location and filename in Oracle database to store the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator repository. Index Tablespace CREATE TABLESPACE UTA_idx DATAFILE '<indexfile>' SIZE 250M AUTOEXTEND ON NEXT 50M MAXSIZE 512M DEFAULT STORAGE (INITIAL 10M NEXT 1M PCTINCREASE 10) PERMANENT ONLINE LOGGING; where <indexfile> is the location and filename in Oracle database to store the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator repository. Execute the Installer. Within XWindows as an appropriate user (usually the same user used to install Oracle Utilities products), execute the installer command. If this command fails, examine the logs and correct the error. The command to start the installer is as follows: java -jar UTA_6.0.0.2.0_generic.jar Step By Step Installer process The following section outlines the installer process step by step: The Welcome Page is displayed outlining the steps that the installer will follow. Click Next to start the process. For example: Inventory Location. As per Oracle products provide the location of the Inventory directory and the group used for the installer. This will default to the group used by the user that initiated the install but can be altered to a group you desire. Click Next after providing the information. For example: Installation Location. Provide the directory you want to install the product into. This is effectively the UTA home directory. Click Next after specifying a location. For example: Java Home and Application Details. Provide the following information as requested by the installer: Java Home. Home location of the java JDK/JRE for use with Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. This will default to the location used for the installer but may reference other java installations if required. Application Server Port. The port number to be used by the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. Default: 8082. Application Administrator User Name. The default user for the administrator. This is the initial user used to create other users. Default: system Application Administrator User Password. The password (and confirmation password) for the Application Administrator User Name. Note: This is NOT the database system user. It is a user defined to the Utilities Testing Accelerator product. Click Next after specifying the information. Application Keystore Details. As with all Oracle products, the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator is installed in secure by default mode. For this to occur a default keystore needs to be generated as part of the process. The information provided generates a unique key used by UTA for communications and encrpytion. Therefore the following information, used by the keytool utility for X.500 generation, via the RFC1779 standard, needs to be provided. Common Name. Name of the organization, machine name (for machine scoped installs) or company root website name. For example: utility.com Organization Unit. Name of Unit associated with use of Utilities Testing Accelerator. Organization Name. Name of company (not web site name) City. Name of Suburb or city. State. Name of State Country Code. The ISO-3166 2 character country code. Default: US (for USA). For other codes, refer to the ISO standard. Keystore Password. Password (and confirmation) to secure keystore. This is used by the product to access the keystore. Note: It is possible to replace the keystore after installation if your site has a company keystore. Refer to the Utilities Testing Accelerator documentation for post installation steps on how to replace the default keystore and use advanced keystore attributes. Click Next after specifying the information. Target Database Connection Details. Provide the details of the database you want to use for the installation of the UTA Repository. The following information needs to be provided: Database Host. The host name housing the database to house the UTA Repository. Database Port. The listener port number of the database to house the UTA Repository. Database Service Name. The PDB name or database service name of the database to house the UTA Repository. Database Administrator User Name. The DBA user to be used to install the UTA Repository objects. This user MUST have DBA access to create the objects. Database Administrator Password. The associated password (and confirmation) for the DBA user. Application Database Schema Password. The password (and confirmation) for the UTA schema user created in the prerequisite steps. Click Next after specifying the information. Installation Summary. A summary of the information provided is presented prior to executing the Installation. Click Install to start the installation. For example: Installation Progress. The installation will be visually shown with progress. If any steps error refer to the log outlined in the previous step. Correct and restart. An example of the Installation Progress is shown below. Installation Complete. A dialog will link to the success or failure of the installation process with a link to the log (if desired). Click Finish to close the installer. For example: After finishing the install it is possible to start the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator using the following commands: Navigate to the home directory specified on Page 3 of the installation (Oracle Home) as the user that installed the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. Use the ./startUTA.sh command to start UTA. Refer to the Installation Guide for optional post installation processes including loading content packs into the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator.

The installation of an on-premise version of Utilities Testing Accelerator (UTA) has been improved upon in both versions 6.0.0.1.0 and 6.0.0.2.0 to allow customers to quickly establish...

The Tech Spot

Oracle Utilities Reference Model content available in Utilities Testing Accelerator

Oracle is delighted to announce the availability of exclusive content within Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator for the Oracle Utilities Reference Model. This means that the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator has flow packs available representing the processes implemented by the Oracle Utilities Reference Model. The Oracle Utilities Reference Model was originally released as documentation a few years ago and represents generic common practices for business processes, typically experienced by a range of utilities across the world. The models are maintained by a specialist team within the Oracle Utilities development organization and were popular with partners and customers alike keen not only to implement Oracle Utilities products but benefit from these pre-built business models. Since the inception of the models, it has been a goal to make them more usable and more relevant to a wider Oracle Utilities customer audience. Inspired by the flow and component pack experiences with Oracle Application Testing Suite, which realized significant cost and risk savings, there was a strategy to express the models in the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator as an exclusive content pack. With the inclusion of the Oracle Utilities Reference Model content, Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator customers not only have access to pre-built product components but now have access to flows representing best practices for using Oracle Utilities products. The flows are designed using the features of the latest release of the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator with flow fragments and complete flows, so that customers can get to testing quicker and with lower risk and costs. The release of the Oracle Utilities Reference Model content not only includes the test assets but comprehensive documentation on how to best use those assets to test more effectively.   Customers who licensed the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator are also licensed to use this Oracle Utilities Reference Model pack with the relevant product packs and can down the pack and related information from Oracle's documentation site and Patch 30427094 for updates to the Testing API from My Oracle Support. Note: This content is updated regularly so check the above site for new content and new releases. Note: The first release of the pack will be exclusively based around the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Services. With subsequent releases covering additional processes and on-premise customers. Note: Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service customers will receive the pack in the next relevant patch window in included Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator instances included in that service. For more information about Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, refer to Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Overview (Doc Id: 2014163.1) from My Oracle Support which includes an overview and a Frequently Asked Questions.

Oracle is delighted to announce the availability of exclusive content within Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator for the Oracle Utilities Reference Model. This means that the Oracle Utilities...

The Tech Spot

UTA 6.0.0.2.0 Features - Iterative Execution Support

In Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator 6.0.0.1.0, the server based execution engine was introduced, as the default execution engine, to complement the original Eclipse based engine. This engine was restricted to a single manual execution of a flow with the related data. In this release, the engine has been expanded to not only support Flow Test Data Sets and Flow Subroutines but to support multiple executions, also known as Iterative Executions. This capability allows multiple test executions to be executed iterating through relevant Flow Test Data Sets. This allows testers to test complex scenarios or simply prepare data for other tests. When specifying an execution, there is now a Iterative execution type that allows number of iterations and the list of available Flow Test Data Sets to use for the iterations. For example: For more information about Iterative Execution, refer to the Flow Subroutines and Test Data Sets whitepaper (Doc Id: 2632033.1)  available from My Oracle Support. For more information about Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, refer to Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Overview (Doc Id: 2014163.1) from My Oracle Support which includes an overview and a Frequently Asked Questions.

In Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator6.0.0.1.0, the server based execution engine was introduced, as the default execution engine, to complement the original Eclipse based engine. This engine was...

The Tech Spot

Understanding the difference between infrastructure and application

One of the most common sets of questions I get from partners and customers are things like "How do I set up Load Balancing with your products?" or "How do link my security repository to your products?". People are surprised by my response by linking to the Oracle WebLogic and Oracle Database documentation. This emphasizes the confusion over the role of the infrastructure versus the application. Let me explain. The Oracle Utilities products are applications housed in a container such as Oracle WebLogic and store their data in the database, namely Oracle Database. These are infrastructure and Oracle Utilities products should not be confused with them as it is an application using these services. Infrastructure provides a series of services that interface to the operating system and provide services to the application housed with them. There is a role for infrastructure and a role for applications housed in infrastructure. These infrastructure services provide the interface into a lot of capabilities that the applications. Some of the capabilities provided are: Security. Oracle WebLogic is responsible for the direct security of the applications that it houses. It provides a wide range of connectors to security such as its own internal LDAP server, external LDAP based repositories, SSO, OAuth2 and other security repositories. Oracle WebLogic provides the authentication and policy services for all the channels used by the Oracle Utilities products. High Availability. Oracle WebLogic and the Oracle Database supports a large variety of architectures including high availability architectures, such those outlined in Oracle's Maximum Availability Architecture. The Oracle Utilities products can take advantage of this capability for high availability and scalability by being housed in a highly available Oracle WebLogic or Oracle Database cluster. This includes the ability to support the various hardware and software load balancers supported by Oracle WebLogic and Oracle Database. JMS, Oracle WebLogic includes an inbuilt scalable JMS capability. This capability can be used by the Oracle Utilities products for inbound and outbound communications directly or via middleware. JDBC. Oracle WebLogic includes basic and advanced capabilities when connecting to the Oracle Database via JDBC. The Oracle Utilities products can take advantage of both the basic and advanced capabilities offered by these drivers. Other capabilities. Oracle WebLogic offers a wide range of additional capabilities that can be utiltized by the Oracle Utilities including caching, specialist networking etc. Remember the role of the application is to provide functionality for the business, the role for the infrastructure around the application is to support the application and its interfaces to the various capabilities provided by that infrastructure. It is not the responsibility of the product to take over the role filled by the infrastructure. A simple example I use with people is that you don't expect MSPaint to have the capability to change your Windows Password. Windows itself provides that capability and MSPaint provides user with the capability to compose and manipulate graphics. If you want to remind yourself, always remember that the application is housed in a container, in the case of Oracle Utilities products that container is Oracle WebLogic. To get into that container to the application, you must go through that container. My recommendation to partners and customers is to learn as much as you can about the capabilities of the infrastructure before learning about the capabilities of the application to avoid confusion. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.  

One of the most common sets of questions I get from partners and customers are things like "How do I set up Load Balancing with your products?" or "How do link my security repository to your products?"...

The Tech Spot

UTA 6.0.0.2.0 Features - Flow Test Data Set Support

In Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator 6.0.0.1.0 we introduced the concept of saved and reusable Component Test Data Sets which represents reusable test data at a component level. The idea is that as you use a component you can design different reusable test data sets and save those for reuse across flows. This data can be manually entered in the workbench, imported from an environment and/or generated using keyword/tag libraries provided by the product teams. This was very useful and allowed data experimentation to test different scenarios. Based upon feedback from our customers and partners, this capability has been expanded, in Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator 6.0.0.2.0 to now allow for test data sets to be associated with flows as well as components. This means you can group a series of component test data sets into a flow based test data set for reuse across instances of that flow. This translates to greater configuration and greater levels of control. For example, you can now design a set of reusable test data that simulates a specific type of customer or type of business scenario you want to test a flow against. This can be saved as a named Flow Test Data Set and reused whenever that flow is executed. For example: This enhancement allows for maintenance of the Component Test Data Sets at an individual level and when they are used as a part of the Flow Test Data Set. Whenever a Flow Test Data Set is used then it is indicated on the user interface. For example: The introduction of Flow Test Data Sets is strategic to encourage reuse and manage the Test Data in a more cost effective way within the workbench. For more information about Flow Test Data Sets, refer to the Flow Subroutines and Test Data Sets whitepaper (Doc Id: 2632033.1)  available from My Oracle Support. For more information about Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, refer to Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Overview (Doc Id: 2014163.1) from My Oracle Support which includes an overview and a Frequently Asked Questions. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.  

In Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator 6.0.0.1.0 we introduced the concept of saved and reusable Component Test Data Sets which represents reusable test data at a component level. The idea is that as...

The Tech Spot

UTA 6.0.0.2.0 - Installing the Product

The installation of an on-premise version of Utilities Testing Accelerator has been improved upon in both versions 6.0.0.1.0 and 6.0.0.2.0 to allow customers to quickly establish product environments. This article is a summary of this process, which is also outlined in the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator installation Guides. Before installing there are a number of prerequisites necessary for the installation: Database. The database to house the UTA objects must be available and accessible to the server you want to install UTA upon. This an be local or remote and can be a separate schema or a PDB in the same location as the Oracle Utilities product. UTA supports the UTA repository as a seperate schema existing on a PDB or non-PDB database or even as a separate PDB on the Multi-tenant database. It does not require any database access to the Oracle Utilities products it is being used against. Java. The Java JDK or JRE must be installed on the machine that will house UTA. A Java support license is included with all Oracle products including Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. XWindows. The Oracle installer used by the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator uses XWindows. This is the same installer used by Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic and a host of other Oracle products so staff familiar with those products will be familiar with the installer. Note: XWindows is supported natively or via virtualization such as VNC. The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator is available for on-premise customers from Oracle Software Delivery Cloud and includes the documentation and software: After downloading the software from Oracle Software Delivery Cloud, the following steps are performed: Create Database Resources. Create the UTA schema user (UTA) and tablespaces in the database to house the UTA Repository objects using the database tool of your choice as per the installation guide. The installation guide outlines the minimum setup for UTA. Alter as your site standards. Remember the database settings used as the installer will ask you for them later. Note: The SQL below are examples only and can be altered to suit site standards. Database Resource Example SQL Data Tablespace CREATE TABLESPACE uta_data DATAFILE '' SIZE 500M AUTOEXTEND ON NEXT 200M MAXSIZE 1024M DEFAULT STORAGE ( INITIAL 10M NEXT 1M pctincrease 10 ) permanent online logging; where <datafile> is the location and filename in Oracle database to store the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator repository. Index Tablespace CREATE TABLESPACE uta_idx DATAFILE '' SIZE 250M AUTOEXTEND ON NEXT 50M MAXSIZE 512M DEFAULT STORAGE (INITIAL 10M NEXT 1M PCTINCREASE 10) PERMANENT ONLINE LOGGING; where <indexfile> is the location and filename in Oracle database to store the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator repository. Execute the Installer. Within XWindows as an appropriate user (usually the same user used to install Oracle Utilities products), execute the installer command. If this command fails, examine the logs and correct the error. The command to start the installer is as follows: java -jar UTA_6.0.0.2.0_generic.jar The Welcome Page is displayed outlining the steps that the installer will follow. Click Next to start the process. For example: Inventory Location. As per Oracle products provide the location of the Inventory directory and the group used for the installer. This will default to the group used by the user that initiated the install but can be altered to a group you desire. Click Next after providing the information. For example: Installation Location. Provide the directory you want to install the product into. This is effectively the UTA home directory. Click Next after specifying a location. For example: Java Home and Application Details. Provide the following information as requested by the installer: Java Home. Home location of the java JDK/JRE for use with Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. This will default to the location used for the installer but may reference other java installations if required. Application Server Port. The port number to be used by the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. Default: 8082. Application Administrator User Name. The default user for the administrator. This is the initial user used to create other users. Default: system Application Administrator User Password. The password (and confirmation password) for the Application Administrator User Name. Note: This is NOT the database system user. It is a user defined to the Utilities Testing Accelerator product. Click Next after specifying the information. Application Keystore Details. As with all Oracle products, the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator is installed in secure by default mode. For this to occur a default keystore needs to be generated as part of the process. The information provided generates a unique key used by UTA for communications and encrpytion. Therefore the following information, used by the keytool utility for X.500 generation, via the RFC1779 standard, needs to be provided. Common Name. Name of the organization, machine name (for machine scoped installs) or company root website name. For example: utility.com Organization Unit. Name of Unit associated with use of Utilities Testing Accelerator. Organization Name. Name of company (not web site name) City. Name of Suburb or city. State. Name of State Country Code. The ISO-3166 2 character country code. Default: US (for USA). For other codes, refer to the ISO standard. Keystore Password. Password (and confirmation) to secure keystore. This is used by the product to access the keystore. Note: It is possible to replace the keystore after installation if your site has a company keystore. Refer to the UTA documentation for post installation steps on how to replace the default keystore and use advanced keystore attributes. Click Next after specifying the information. Target Database Connection Details. Provide the details of the database you want to use for the installation of the UTA Repository. The following information needs to be provided: Database Host. The host name housing the database to house the UTA Repository. Database Port. The listener port number of the database to house the UTA Repository. Database Service Name. The PDB name or database service name of the database to house the UTA Repository. Database Administrator User Name. The DBA user to be used to install the UTA Repository objects. This user MUST have DBA access to create the objects. Database Administrator Password. The associated password (and confirmation) for the DBA user. Application Database Schema Password. The password (and confirmation) for the UTA schema user created in the prerequisite steps. Click Next after specifying the information. Installation Summary. A summary of the information provided is presented prior to executing the Installation. Click Install to start the installation. For example: Installation Progress. The installation will be visually shown with progress. If any steps error refer to the log outlined in the previous step. Correct and restart. An example of the Installation Progress is shown below. Installation Complete. A dialog will link to the success or failure of the installation process with a link to the log (if desired). Click Finish to close the installer. For example: After finishing the install it is possible to start UTA using the following commands: Navigate to the home directory specified on Page 3 of the installation (Oracle Home) as the user that installed UTA. Use the ./startUTA.sh command to start UTA. Manual Post Installation Steps The default certificate generated by the installation is limited in its use. It can be replaced or changed using the following process: After logging into UTA use the browser to view and export the certificate to your local drive. For example: Alter the certificate as necessary using your sites preferred certificate editor. Copy the file to the UTA server and execute the following command to set the certificate: keytool -import -alias <aliasname> -keystore <certificate store location> -file <certificate location> Where <aliasname> - The alias in the keystore to replace. For UTA this value is typically uta <certificate store location> - The store location which is the UTA home directory and keystore name utaKeystore.jks <certificate location> - The location of the file you altered. Note: You will be prompted for the keystore password when executing this command. Note: Other Cacerts can be found in your JDK location under $JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/security subdirectory. Common Operations The following commands are available from the UTA home directory. Command Operation ./startUTA.sh Starts the Utilities Testing Accelerator ./stopUTA.sh Stops the Utilities Testing Accelerator ./startUTARuntimeExectutor.sh Starts the Server Execution Engine ./stopUTARuntimeExectutor.sh Stop the Server Execution Engine UTA Eclipse Client Note: Use of this client is optional as the Server execution is the preferred method of execution. The UTA Eclipse client is located in the UTA Home directory and is named UTA_Client.zip. Download it from this location and refer to the installation guide for additional instructions for sites wanting to use this client. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.  

The installation of an on-premise version of Utilities Testing Accelerator has been improved upon in both versions 6.0.0.1.0 and 6.0.0.2.0 to allow customers to quickly establish product environments....

The Tech Spot

UTA 6.0.0.2.0 Features - Flow Subroutines

One of the most innovative new capabilities introduced into the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator (6.0.0.2.0 and above) is the support for Flow Subroutines. The key concept to understand that it is now possible, using this capability, for any flow to be reused within another flow, yet still retain independence. This is a very useful to allow test engineers to model repeatable processes and reuse those processes across test assets more effectively. The concept has a key capability in the form of the Subroutine Interface. This takes a flow and defines the interface and the amount of data sharing within the flow it is included in. You can define the Inputs and Outputs from the flow in this interface. More importantly, it allows this specification to be optimized for the flow it is to be embedded in. This opens up a lot of possibilities. You can take a common flow, test it independently, and then include it in any way into other flows. It can be the initial part of another flow, somewhere inside the flow or at the end of the flow. In each style you can define how that subroutine flow interacts with the flow it is embedded in. The most interesting part of this enhancement is that flows do not have to be designed to be reused. They can be designed to be used as is and then reused as needed. This means as test assets are built you can choose to design them as you wish and use subroutines where appropriate. The end execution is the same with the same information processed whether it is embedded or simply included in the flow. Customers familiar with Oracle Application Testing Suite will be familiar with Component Groups. These were reusable groups of components you placed into flows, designed for reuse. When we built the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator on the design of the Oracle Application Testing Suite design, we decided not to implement Component Groups. We found the idea that you had to design an asset you could only used one way, limiting, so we decided to add Flow Subroutines as an alternative. This has the same reuse concept as Component Groups but left the assets as reusable and independent. We felt it was the best in both worlds. When we opened up Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator to the Oracle Utilities Reference Model, working with that team made the concept we had more relevant. The Oracle Utilities Reference Model content pack use this Flow Subroutine to support a wider range of use cases and utility types than ever. The use of Flow Subroutines is optional but we have extended the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator workbench to not only allow flows to be built, but their interface when using them as a subroutine to be done. Let me illustrate the power of this capability using an example. Here we have three generic simple flows. As you see, the grouping of Component A, Component B and Component C are common to each flow. They are in different places in each flow but the sequence is the same. Now this is a perfectly normal situation and you can execute these flows as per this configuration. The grouping of Component A, Component B and Component C might represent a common sequence of events you repeat in different processes. The disadvantage of repeating this group of components is that if you want to change across the flows you would have to edit it a number of times. With the introduction of flow subroutines you would create a new flow holding those common components. This flow can be executed separately to test the sequence and becomes a flow in its own right. The new flow would look something like this: Now you would edit the original flows to now replace the original sequences with this new flow as a flow subroutine. You will notice that as part of replacing the components with a flow we needed to add a flow subroutine interface. This happens when you include a flow into another flow and defines the interface (what data is passed between flows) based upon their context. In the first flow example, the flow subroutine is at the start of the flow, so you will define the output from the subroutine exposed to the rest of the flow. In the second flow example, the flow subroutine is in the middle of the flow, so you need to define the input and outputs in context of the flow. In the third flow example, the flow subroutine is at the end of the flow you just need to define the data input into the flow. As pointed out, any flow can be used as a subroutine within another flow and the flow subroutine interface defines the interactions between the flow and its subroutines depending on the context of the test. For more information about Flow Subroutines, refer to Flow Subroutines and Test Data Sets (Doc Id: 2632033.1) available from My Oracle Support For more information about Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, refer to Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Overview (Doc Id: 2014163.1) from My Oracle Support which includes an overview and a Frequently Asked Questions. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.  

One of the most innovative new capabilities introduced into the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator (6.0.0.2.0 and above) is the support for Flow Subroutines. The key concept to understand that it is...

The Tech Spot

Utilities Testing Accelerator 6.0.0.2.0 Available

Oracle is delighted to announce the release of the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator (UTA), known as Version 6.0.0.2.0, is now available for licensed customers to use. This release is significant as it is considered a foundation release for customers who wish to use the upcoming Utilities Reference Model (URM) content. This release realizes one of the major goals of the Utilities Testing Accelerator by providing reusable content with the tool to greatly reduce risk and costs of implementing Oracle Utilities products. This also contrasts the premise of traditional automation tools where the risk and cost is still with the testers on building and maintaining content. This release contains the following major enhancements: Foundation Release. This release is required as a minimum for customers considering to use the Oracle Utilities Reference Model UTA content packs. It is highly recommended that UTA customers upgrade to this release prior to using the Oracle Utilities Reference Model content. A subset of this pack is shown below: Note: The Utilities Reference Model content will not work on older versions of the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. The initial release of the Oracle Utilities Reference Model pack is targeted at Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Services only. In subsequent releases of the pack other variations, including on-premise releases, will be supported. Flow Test Data Set Support. In prior releases, it was possible to associate test data set content with individual components within a flow for reuse. In this release, test data sets can be associated as a flow data set that is associated with flows. Once established, the flow test data sets can be managed and used as a set at anytime. This reduces data management at a flow level and promotes reuse. This is a foundation feature for the upcoming test planning capabilities planned in future releases. For example: For more information about Flow Test Data Sets, refer to Flow Subroutines and Test Data Sets (Doc Id: 2632033.1) available from My Oracle Support. Iterative Flow Support. In some test scenarios, multiple flow executions are needed to populate enough data for additional tests. In this release, it now possible at the Flow Group level to iterate a flow using different data banks to populate data in a single execution event. This capability is used in association with Flow Set Support to easily target relevant data with each iteration. For example: Flow Subroutine Support. To promote reuse, it is now possible to include a flow within a flow, in a similar method to components. This allows flows to model specific micro-level business processes and then incorporated into longer duration process to reduce testing costs and encourage reuse. Customers familiar with Oracle Application Testing Suite might remember Component Groups that had similar concepts. Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator does not support Component Groups as we wanted to take advantage of the concepts and capabilities of the flows rather than groups of components. For example, flows can act as standalone and/or subroutines and can be independently executed. The Oracle Utilities Reference Model content fully exploits this capability. This allows implementation to treat a flow as a subroutine with a configurable Subroutine Interface uniquely on each reuse. This means that Flows can be standalone and/or reused wherever appropriate with a configurable interface to maximize reuse. For example: For more information about Flow Subroutines, refer to Flow Subroutines and Test Data Sets (Doc Id: 2632033.1) available from My Oracle Support. Improvements to the User Experience. With each release of the product, the user interface is improved based upon feedback from existing customers and in direction of our UX design team. In this release the following has been updated: Updated Oracle Jet Library. The rendering engine and libraries used for the product have been updated to the latest Oracle Jet release to offer greater browser compatibility, to address user experience inconsistencies and offer new capabilities. Dynamic Zone Sizing. To support a wider range of form factors the user zones can by dynamically resized at run-time. Zone Hiding Support. To maximize the effectiveness of the flow and component maintenance, it is now possible to hide the flow/component tree zones to maximize the canvas. Improved Error Messages. As part of the standardization,  messages from the product are progressively migrated to a new panel style interface. For example: Inbuilt Purge Capability. With the inclusion of additional data capabilities such as test data sets at component and flow level as well as results for all executions, data retention needs to be managed. This release includes a generic purge capability for test data sets and execution information to keep the database manageable. This is the first in a series of inbuilt data management capabilities planned for the product. For example: Improved Categorization of Flows. With the introduction of the new capabilities and the Utilities Reference Model the module system has been extended to allow users to manage their own modules to aid in organization of test assets. A Default module is now shipped with all packs to act as a default capability. In this release the implementation of flow modules has been restricted to a single level. This is planned to be expanded in future releases. For example: Improved Email Results Component. For backward compatibility, Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator supplied an optional component to email a summary of the results. In this release this component has been altered to provide additional information in the email including performance metrics, request payload and response payload. Use of this component is optional as all this information is also available from the results section of the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Workbench and the associated optional eclipse plugin. Improved Results Reporting. The results user experience has been revampled in anticipation of the planned Test Planning capabilities in future releases. This interface makes the results easier to understand with more summary screens to save the need to look into details. For example: There are additional enhancements and fixes from previous versions of the product. For a full list refer to the provided documentation. For on-premise customers this release will be available from Oracle Software Delivery Cloud and cloud customers will receive this release and content automatically as scheduled. Content Packs are available on-premise customers via My Oracle Support. For more information about Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, refer to Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Overview (Doc Id: 2014163.1) from My Oracle Support which includes an overview and a Frequently Asked Questions. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.  

Oracle is delighted to announce the release of the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator (UTA), known as Version 6.0.0.2.0, is now available for licensed customers to use. This release is significant...

The Tech Spot

Configuring Batch Level Of Service

One of the most interesting features in the Oracle Utilities Application Framework (4.3.0.6.0 and above) is the Batch Level Of Service feature. This feature allows for a configuration of an algorithm to return the level of service based upon any calculated metrics. The service returns a code that describes whether the metric used met the configured target and if not, the reason it did not (as configured in the algorithm). The Batch Level Of Service algorithm is an information only algorithm and is not executed as part of the batch processing for the execution of the batch control it is attached to.  It is called by monitoring functions and portals to display the level of service. Typically this algorithm will compare the last execution of a process against a specific target metric and then return whether the metric exceeded some target value or not. The use of this algorithm is simple: Identify Algorithm Types. The code behind the Batch Level Of Service is contained in a Batch Control - Level Of Service algorithm type. The product supplies a number of these algorithm types to compare the last execution of a batch control against elapsed time, error numbers or throughput metrics. You can write your own in Groovy, scripting or Java (the latter for non-cloud implementations) to set up your own targets. The base algorithms take the worst performing thread in a batch execution to assess against the metric for the entire execution. For example, if the metric is elapsed time then the longest elapsed time of any thread in an execution is used as the basis for assessing the metric. For example: Configure Algorithm for Target. For the algorithm to work, you must set a target value. This is done with an Algorithm for each distinct target value. For example, you might want to set a target of 1 hour for a target. You would create an algorithm entry using the F1-BAT-RTLOS base algorithm type with a target value of 3600 seconds (1 hour). That algorithm entry can be reused for ANY batch process you want to assess against that 1 hour elapsed time goal. For example: Attach algorithm to Batch Control. For each batch control you want to check with the Level Of Service attach the appropriate configured algorithm that has the appropriate target metric and target value. For example: You are now ready.. Any portal that uses the Level Of Service will now display the level of service. For example of monitoring portals refer to Building Portals, Building A Level Of Service Algorithm, base Level Of Service algorithms and Calling Batch Level Of Service manually for additional examples and advice. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.    

One of the most interesting features in the Oracle Utilities Application Framework (4.3.0.6.0 and above) is the Batch Level Of Service feature. This feature allows for a configuration of an algorithm...

The Tech Spot

Tranisitioning to the Cloud Mindset

A few months ago I was asked to educate a few employees on how to transition their mindset from an on-premise to take advantage of the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Services. They wanted to understand how they can think differently to take advantage of all the capabilities of the cloud to realize risk and cost savings. Most people assume that the cloud implementation of the Oracle Utilities product is just an installation of the product. While technically this is correct, this short changes the value of the cloud and reduces the cost and risk savings. They wanted to understand how they can change their implementation philosophy so that they can best take advantage of the service. Some of the advice I offered is obvious but the context makes it more relevant. Here is a summary of what I outlined in the session: Understand the different responsibilities in the cloud. The cloud has variations such as Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS), Platform as A Service (PaaS) and Software As A Service (SaaS). Each of these are understood in terms of platform but you also need to appreciate them in terms of the implementation responsibilities. Whilst IaaS and PaaS are straightforward, SaaS does need some implementation clarifications. In the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud, whilst it is a full feature service there are expectations that the implementation team will run the product like they would run their business. For example: All database work is handled as part of the service. The maintenance of the database is all handled by the service. Extension work is still the responsibility of the implementation. There are tools to manage the extensions in a lower cost and risk manner. The majority of security is handled by the service but the implementation is responsible for loading and maintaining the security definitions. Batch processes can be loaded and schedules loaded but the implementation may modify the schedule and is responsible for the scheduling. Understand the SaaS Solution. The Saas Cloud service is not just an installation of the product. It far more than that. The components in the solution include: Oracle Utilities Product. Obviously the core part of the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service is the Oracle Utilities product central to that service. The technology configuration is optimized for multi-channel scalability with optimizations for the high performance, high availability and business continuity features of the Oracle Cloud. Oracle Utilities Accelerator. The Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service includes an accelerator, which is a set of data and accelerator code, unique to each service offering. This allows existing customers to potentially reduce their extension spectrum as well as new customers a potential accelerated implementation. Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. To support the cloud implementation the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator is provided with content related and unique to the Cloud Service it is attached to. This allows cloud customers the ability to rapidly test each release to keep up with the schedule of releases. Oracle BI Publisher. The Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service includes an ad-hoc query and reporting capability that allows the data in the service to be reported effectively. The advantage of using BI Publisher is that it offers superior report writing capabilities as well as resource governance to reduce performance risks. Oracle Utilities Cloud Service Foundation. In any product implementation, there are processes that the implementation team need to perform to effectively manage the implementation. This is no different in the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service. Therefore, the Oracle Utilities Cloud Service Foundation is provided, exclusively for the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service to provide the following management capability: Process Automation. There are tasks that need to be performed by the implementation team on a regular basis. These have been implemented as Process Flows to allow the implementation team the traceability of the process. The steps in the process flow have been pre-configured and utilize exclusive cloud adapters to perform routine tasks. The Oracle Utilities Cloud Service Foundation Administrative Users Guide outlines the delivered process for each cloud release. Extension Management. Extensions in the cloud are managed using Configuration Migration Assistant (CMA). The Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service includes exclusive configuration to allow the processing of accelerators, extensions as releases etc within this tool. The process is largely automated using Process Automation to reduce risk and costs. Schedule Management. The Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service includes an inbuilt scheduler, namely the Oracle Scheduler. The Oracle Utilities Cloud Service Foundation includes the user interface to manage and monitor the schedule for implementations. Conversion Toolkit. The Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service includes a conversion toolkit that includes a staging schema and a set of conversion related batch processes that implement both "big bang" and "incremental" conversions. The principles are based upon the conversion capability which has been used across all traditional on-premise implementations. Operations Capability. The Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service includes a set of operational capabilities including environment management and monitoring capabilities to allow implementations to perform routine operational tasks. Most of these tasks are automated using the Process Automation capabilities to reduce risk and cost. Oracle Cloud API. As with all Oracle Cloud Services, there is a standard REST based API set to interface to the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service including its related components. This allows flexible integration scenarios to be implemented. Oracle Identity Cloud Service (options). The identity of users in the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service can be managed by a variety of security configurations. Embedded Identity. By default, a pre-built Oracle Identity Cloud Service can be included in the service which can be used exclusively to manage all identity by the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service. Existing Oracle Identity Cloud. If the customer already takes advantage of other Oracle Cloud Services, then they can reuse their existing Oracle Identity Cloud Service to manage identity for that service. Federated Security. If the customer has an external identity solution (external to the Oracle Cloud) or wants to use an on-premise identity solution, then there is a federated option (using OAuth2). Database for all components. All of the above options, requires database level storage. All the database are housed in Oracle Exadata servers to maximize performance and data management options. Oracle Object Storage Cloud.  All implementations require data storage for interfaces and integration. The Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service includes a flexible amount of raw storage. Environments On The Cloud. One of the major differences in the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Services is the quick provisioning of new environments to support the implementation. There are three classes of environment: Development. These are a set of environments where extension is performed. This can be one environment or extended to other environments. This has less restrictions but is sized smaller than other classes of environments to keep risk and costs low. Testing. This class of environments it provided to verify the functionality of the configuration and functionality, prior to use in production.  These environment can be used for a cross spectrum of testing or related activities (including training if necessary). One of big advantages with the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud is that it is possible to provide a production size test environment. Production. This is a single environment class reserved for production use. This environment includes additional high availability and business continuity capabilities. Each environment is a complete solution isolated for use for that class of activities: Oracle Utilities Product. The Oracle Utilities product at the basis of the service including the Oracle Utilities Application Framework to extend the service. Oracle Utilities Accelerator. A cloud exclusive accelerator, preloaded upon provisioning, to accelerate the implementation of the service. Oracle BI Publisher. An optimized business reporting and query tool for the service. This can be used to build reports or simply query data within the service with in-built resource governance. Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator. An inbuilt testing solution for the service with content optimized for the service. This service is not installed on Production environments. Oracle Utilities Cloud Service Foundation. A cloud exclusive set of operational and implementation capabilities reserved for use with each Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service. For example, conversion capabilities, operational workflows etc. This aspect is typically used by personnel administrating the service. Oracle Utilities Databases. A set of databases, running on Oracle ExaData hardware, to support all the products in the service. Oracle Object Storage. Raw storage is provided via the Object Storage Cloud. The Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service is pre-configured to use this service. Oracle Utilities Data Connect. Data in and out of the service can be defined as part of the Data Connect capability built into the service. Oracle Utilities Cloud API. The Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service is bound by a REST based API to allow integration and greater flexibility in implementation options. For example: Advanced Security. Security is one of the most important aspects of the Oracle Cloud with superior cloud infrastructure security as well as advanced security configuration within the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service itself. One of fundamental security practices is managing who accesses your cloud service via managing identity. Oracle has identity products traditionally used on premise to manage identity in a centralized cost effective way. These tools are now available as a fundamental building block in the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service. To meet the diverse needs for managing identity the service offers a number of identity possibilities: Embedded Identity. The Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service can include an embedded identity solution to use exclusively with the service. This option is available to customers who only have one service on Oracle Cloud. Shared Identity. If the customer already owns another Cloud Service and uses the Oracle Identity Cloud Service, it is possible to connect the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service to manage identity and take advantage of existing investments. Federated Identity. If the customer already has an external identity solution or wishes to use a security repository external to the Oracle Cloud, then the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Service can be configured to support identity federation. Understanding the advantages of the Cloud. There are unique advantages of the cloud that you must be aware of to full exploit the capability: Hardware On Demand. Given the fluctuations in demand for hardware during typical upgrade life-cycles and business volume fluctuations, having the ability to tap into hardware resources quickly is a huge benefit of the cloud. On-premise implementations can have long lead times, leaving the project at risk. Self Service Capabilities. The cloud implementation includes a set of native cloud tools and tools designed specifically for the services to reduce costs through self service. Scheduled Patching and Upgrades. One of the big advantages of the cloud is that the schedule for patching and upgrades is known before hand and has been  optimized for each service. This greatly reduces costs and risks. Transitioning Your Skills One the last things I talked about was how do I transition my on-premise skill set to an on-cloud skillset. Here were my tips: Take advantage of the online information available with the service. Oracle supplies additional online documentation with each service to help you understand how to manage your service in respect to your business as well as patch and upgrade information to cloud customers. Change your extension mindset to a reuse mindset. Whilst it is possible to transition your existing extensions to the cloud, using various techniques, a huge cost saving is to take advantage of the base and/or cloud accelerator functionality to reduce your extension risk and costs. Understand every aspect of your service. Understand what you are getting with the service to know what you can and cannot do. Do not worry about the things you do not need to worry. This is my number one piece of advice. The service provides a lot of capability and reduces risk by shifting responsibility of some processes to Oracle. For example, Oracle manages performance and backup for you. You don't have to test for those as they are already been tested for you. By taking advantage of what can and not worrying about the things handled by Oracle, you can go a long way to realize that lower risk and lower cost. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.  

A few months ago I was asked to educate a few employees on how to transition their mindset from an on-premise to take advantage of the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Services. They wanted to...

The Tech Spot

Using UTA to experiment with Business Processes

One the use cases I pointed out in my last blog post, UTA Beyond Testing, was to assist in transitioning extensions (i.e. customizations) to base functionality. Customers with a large number of extensions, perhaps written when they originally went live on an older version of the product, are keen to reassess each extension to see if they can replace it with the perhaps newer base functionality. Reducing the need for an extension has huge cost reduction and risk reduction benefits and also allows you to take advantage of core functions. The issue in the past to do this was a reliable means of assessing impact and testing change. Somehow you need to show the business process you had before would not change (or change in a small way) when you replaced extension with base. You needed the confidence that your business can operate without that need for the extension. This is where the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator (UTA) comes into play. The key concept in the tool is the modelling of business processes using flows to represent the business process and the components, base and custom, forming the basis of that process. When using UTA, you can model your business process (as is or how you want it to be) in the tool and experiment with configuration and code changes to remove extensions and replace them with base code, reflecting those changes as necessary. You can compare results of tests at various levels to decide the go/no-go decisions to migrate off an extension. There are three outcomes with using UTA in this fashion: You get the same results. Basically replacing the extension with the base did not impact your results so it is safe to move to the base component. This is the best case scenario. You get different results but they are close. This scenario, the results are different but close. This situation may require a change of the business process to take the difference in place or retaining the extensions. You get completely different results. This scenario is possible and may be used to reinforce the need for the extension or at least work to see how it can be resolved. The advantage of using UTA is that can set the pace of your migration to match your risk tolerance and your deployment plans. For more information about the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, refer to the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Overview (Doc Id: 2014163.1) available from My Oracle Support. This contains an overview. FAQ and datasheet on the product. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.

One the use cases I pointed out in my last blog post, UTA Beyond Testing, was to assist in transitioning extensions (i.e. customizations) to base functionality. Customers with a large number of...

The Tech Spot

UTA Beyond Testing

As one of the product managers of the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, I am constantly amazed the different ways customers and partners are using the product to go beyond simple testing of the business processes. Remember Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator is essentially modelling business processes and testing them against the product. Here are a few of the areas that the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator has been used to achieve: Assessing Change Patch/Fix Testing. One of the most interesting is assessing the impact of a patch or fix against your business process. Checking this using UTA can ascertain whether the implementation of a patch or fix will be adverse to the success of your business process. Extension Release Testing. Partners release changes to extensions on a regular basis. Assessing those changes for impacts to your business processes is also critical. Migration to Base from Extensions. This use case is particularly exciting. The idea that after you test your business processes with your extensions, you can use UTA to progressively substitute base components (or accelerator components) for extensions to assess whether you can migrate to that capability and replace an extension. Reduction of use of extensions reduces both cost and risk. Even if the base substitution fails to successfully replace your extension as a result of testing using UTA, it will serve to help assess how far you need to got adopt the base function or at least justify the use of your extension. Preparing for the Oracle Cloud. As part of the remediation to the cloud, assessing extensions migrated to cloud supported technologies against their originals is critical to reducing the risk to migrating to the cloud. UTA can be part of that migration to reduce your costs and risks. Note: The above use case can also apply to on-premise applications wishing to reduce their risks and costs by taking advantage of the capabilities of Oracle Utilities Application Framework used for the cloud implementation delivered for on-premise releases, such as ConfigTools, File Adapter etc.. Optimizing your Business Process. One of the key features of UTA is that we collect a lot of additional data when executing. Some of this data is used internally by the product and some of it has additional uses. When we designed the results we included capabilities to track performance of every call as a byproduct. One of the amazing use cases we have seen is analyzing the call times for each part of a business process, finding bottlenecks in the process and re-optimizing them. This is especially relevant in the cloud as part of the Oracle Utilities SaaS Cloud Services is at least one production sized testing database. This means you can see the effectiveness of your business process and make adjustments to optimize it. These are all exciting uses of the tools and they have inspired us to make these and more use cases both easier to use and more effective. We are looking at adding and modifying the roadmap to fully exploit these new use cases and go beyond the testing capabilities we already have. For more information about the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, refer to Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Overview (Doc Id: 2014163.1) available from My Oracle Support. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.

As one of the product managers of the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, I am constantly amazed the different ways customers and partners are using the product to go beyond simple testing of the...

The Tech Spot

Oracle Utilities Edge Conference 2019 - Austin TX

The annual Oracle Utilities Edge Conference for 2020 is scheduled for the Hyatt Regency Austin TX. This year is different with not only product led sessions for both on-premise and cloud implementations of our products but more opportunities to use the products hands on at the conference with new hands on sessions with our products. As with other years, the technical content will be featured in the Cloud and Technology track with sessions covering the cloud, our technical strategy, testing tool strategy and optimizing your implementation advice. This year we will also feature customer panel sessions and hands-on labs. For more information and registration information refer to the Oracle Utilities Edge Conference site. Note: There is an early bird discount for registrations before 31 December 2019. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.

The annual Oracle Utilities Edge Conference for 2020 is scheduled for the Hyatt Regency Austin TX. This year is different with not only product led sessions for both on-premise and...

The Tech Spot

Business Process Based Testing

Over the last 30 years of my career, I have been involved in lots of projects and across many industries. Over that time I have developed a set of techniques and principles that I tend to reuse over and over to help stay successful. Every opportunity I can, I strive to learn more and hone those skills as an effort of constant improvement. I learnt very early on in my career, thanks to a collection of great mentors, that locking down on some fundamental principles will always steer me away from making wrong decisions. Though one of my mentors once commented "I have learn so much from my mistakes I look forward to making more mistakes in the future". One of the fundamental principles I have been working with the last few years is around testing. As the late Stephen R Covey once stated, taking an idea and boiling it down to its fundamental base principles allows you to understand that idea and also come up with successful approaches to that idea (I am paraphrasing him). Working with the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator over the last few years, I have an opportunity to focus on the fundamentals of testing. I work with this fundamental testing principle: "Testing is verifying that your business process will work (or not work) with your configuration and extensions of the product with your data". This recognizes that implementing a product is about automation of process. In the days before computers (yes I am that old), a lot of that was paperwork. Computers, when they arrived, automated paperwork. Now once you understand that your product should represent your business process, test automation needs to verify that process works (or not) using various data scenarios. Once you understand that test automation must represent your business process, a few interesting possibilities are possible with this style of testing: A Working Business Process. Obviously the most important part of the strategy is that your business processes are proven to work with your data. This is the primary focus of business process type of testing tools. Timings of Business Process. How long it takes to complete a business process becomes important. This can translate to call times and the number of staff you need to complete an expected volume in a specified time. By modelling and testing your business process, you can see which components of that process take what time. This allows optimizations and experimentation around "what ifs" for changes to the process to optimize this. This is especially important in the cloud to ensure you have purchased enough capacity. This is very achievable in the Oracle Utilities SaaS cloud with the provision of production sized testing environments as part of the service. Migration to Base Technology. Extensions typically address changes from a base product for implementing a business process. Over time, products are enhanced and may actually support what you implemented in an extension originally or even get close to what you need (with some business process changes). Using the base reduces risk and costs and using an automation tool to see where extensions can be replaced with base functionality can be explored using business process tools. By carefully substituting base components where extensions have been used can assess whether moving to base for that situation is possible. Risk Assessment for Change. One of the most innovating ways of using a business process testing platform is to assess the impact of any business process for any change. That change may be a single patch, patch sets, extension releases or upgrades. You can quickly run your business processes after a change is implemented to assess the impact of that change to your business processes. Implementing Blue/Green Testing. One of the big advantages of the cloud has been the opportunity of implementing blue/green style deployment testing to keep up to date with regular changes. Whilst this seems to be exclusive to the cloud, due to the advantages of that platform in terms of readiness of infrastructure, partners have started implementing this on-premise to prepare business for rapid change and also take advantage of new functionality in newer versions. The list above are just some of the key advantages of a business process testing approach rather than a more traditional automation that supports spot testing. Saving costs and reducing risk in testing means you can test more and be more confident that what you have implemented will ultimately implement your business processes. The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator is a business process testing tool optimized for Oracle Utilities products on-premise and in the Oracle Cloud. It was based upon the popular Oracle Application Testing Suite that was implemented in 1000's of eBusiness Suite customers to save up to 90% of testing costs and significant reduction of risks. For more information about Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, refer to Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Overview (Doc Id: 2014163.1) available from My Oracle Support. Oracle Utilities, including Opower, partners with the world's hardest working electric, water and natural gas companies to empower, enhance and enable your every single day. From cloud-native products and better grid management tools to support for every single step of your customer's journey, we have the answer. Learn more at oracle.com/utilities. Get specific product information as quick as clicking right here.

Over the last 30 years of my career, I have been involved in lots of projects and across many industries. Over that time I have developed a set of techniques and principles that I tend to reuse over...