Saturday, June 27, 2020

Release the Kraken! EPM 11.2.2 is Out and Includes Linux

EPM 11.2.2.0 is out and includes installers for Linux as well as MS Windows.  This is the one many organizations have been waiting for.

Time to spin up a new sandbox and take it for a test drive!

Edit: As of this writing, the 11.2.x documentation portal was last updated in May 2020.  While it is still 11.2.1-centric, there is a comment within the Installation Readme stating that Microsoft IE11 will not be supported in 11.2.2.  So we'll want to carefully review the 11.2.2 certification matrix once it is published.  The path forward looks to be MS Edge, Google Chrome and Firefox.  I'll publish a separate post on this topic once Oracle has updated their documentation.

News Flash: Oracle Extends Essbase 11.1.2.4 Extended Support Through 2024

No supporting detail to digest yet, but here it is:

https://blogs.oracle.com/proactivesupportepm/essbase-1112x-updates-to-the-extended-support-end-date

In short, the post linked above says Extended Support for Essbase 11.1.2.x is extended through DEC 2024.  (Safe Harbor: the Internet is forever, so if you found my blog through a Google search, please check Oracle's site for the latest information)

We also see there is again a break-out between Premiere Support and Extended Support.  Until yesterday, June 26, 2020, Premiere Support and Extended Support were on the same DEC 2021 expiration timeline.  Premiere Support remains on the DEC 2021 timeline, but Extended Support now gets the new DEC 2024 timeline.

Keep a few things in mind.

Although the post says "Essbase 11.1.2.x", in reality we're talking just about 11.1.2.4.  The ship has sailed on new patches coming out for Essbase 11.1.2.3 and prior a long time ago.  The terminal Oracle Essbase 11.1.2.3 patch is 11.1.2.3.508 and it was issued Dec 10, 2015.

Also note the post linked above is careful to talk about Essbase alone - not the entire Oracle EPM / Hyperion stack for 11.1.2.x.

What does this mean for on-premises EPM shops?

It suggests to me that Oracle intends to continue maintaining and patching Essbase 11.1.2.4 past the prior DEC 2021 Safe Harbor date. 

Perhaps COVID-19 delayed efforts to gather the Dev team together to get Essbase 19c ready to roll out to EPM 11.2.1.x.  Certainly, I can say COVID-19 has impacted many organizations and they delayed their upgrade from 11.1.2.x to 11.2.1.0 by 1-2 years.  It is possible Oracle received push-back from their customers and this could have contributed to extending the date.

Organizations still need to take Microsoft end-of-life dates into account.

Windows 7 is already out of support and the end-of-life date for Internet Explorer 11 has been aligned with end-of-life for Windows 10.  Customers who have moved to the Oracle EPM Cloud, but still use Windows 7, have 2 months remaining (as of the date of this post) to upgrade to Windows 10 so Microsoft Edge may be used; EPM Cloud will stop supporting Internet Explorer 11 in Fall 2020 (see the July 2020 EPM Cloud Update notes for details on this).

I am glad to see Essbase 11.1.2.4 has received a breath of life.  This particular component has been the most heavily patched within the 11.1.2.4 EPM on-premises suite, with a new cumulative patch coming out with significant bugfixes at a pace of one every 2 months.  For the sake of comparison, Hyperion Planning has 10 cumulative patches as of this writing, whereas Essbase has 40.

Those of us who rely upon on-premises Oracle EPM will need to re-check Oracle's site periodically to learn if the DEC 2024 Extended Support date might be applied to the rest of the EPM 11.1.2.4 stack, or if it remains applicable to Essbase only.  The fact that EPM 11.2.0.0 and 11.2.1.0 use Essbase 11.1.2.4 under the covers is a reason why I believe the date may have been extended specifically for Essbase.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

11.1.2.4 EOS White Paper

I authored a white paper on the topic of Oracle EPM / Hyperion 11.1.2.4 coming out of Premiere and Extended Support.  You may have attended one of my ODTUG webinars or read some of my blog posts on this subject.  But here it is all in one place!

https://www.datavail.com/resources/its-the-eleventh-hour-for-hyperion-11-1-2-4-heres-what-to-do/

Download it and share if you need to give higher-ups a "push" to get a budget approved to either upgrade to 11.2 or move to the EPM Cloud.

Safe Harbor applies to my statement below:

The patching sunset date for 11.1.2.4 is currently set to DEC 2021.  11.1.2.4 then moves to Lifetime/Sustaining support starting JAN 2022.  Oracle could potentially change this due to so many of their customers having project delays due to COVID-19, but that is anyone's guess.  As always, look at Oracle's official site for the latest direction on this subject.

Regardless of what Oracle decides, you will want to either move to EPM 11.2.1.0 or EPM Cloud before Microsoft ends support for Internet Explorer 11.  I do not expect any sort of patch that would pack-port 11.2.1.0's support for Microsoft Edge down to 11.1.2.4.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

FCM/ARM 11.2 - Why Can't I Find The Target Libraries?

The Hyperion / Oracle EPM 11.2 Install/Config Guide says to do the following if you want to setup Financial Close / Account Rec:












This is a familiar step for anyone who has configured FCM/ARM in EPM 11.1.2.4.

But in 11.2, I couldn't see either epm-misc-libraries or epm-aif-odi-libraries in the expected screen.  What's going on here?

The answer is WebLogic Admin Console 12c behaves a little different from your grandfather's WebLogic 10.3.6.  Click "Customize this table", REMOVE this checkbox, and then click Apply!





















I can understand why Oracle made this design decision to make this the default setting - when libraries are included, the Deployments screen contains over 100 entries if you're doing a full-stack EPM implementation.

So take away "Exclude libraries when displaying deployments", set your Targets as needed, and then go back into "Customize this table" and turn the checkbox back on when you're satisfied.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Stop Editing Workspace EAR Files - EASY Way to Change the Title!


I mentioned in my last ODTUG webinar that Oracle EPM 11.2.x's workspace looks exactly the same as 11.1.2.4's.  Everything looks identical right down to the color schema and title of the tab in your browser.

In the old days, we had to manipulate the WAR file inside of the EAR file to change the Oracle logo, manipulate the color codes, or whatnot so as to discriminate between Production, non-Production, or even different versions of EPM.  Replacing the logo image requires the know-how to make an image of the exact same height & width -- or being a fairly good Internet meme creator.

Worse, I sometimes find evidence that some consultants made edits directly within WebLogic's domains/EPMSystem/servers/FoundationServices0/tmp folder, rather than within the EAR+WAR file itself.

Stop doing that!!!

Do you know that a 1-line SQL statement makes your EPM Workspace title and browser tab look similar to my screenshot above?

Execute the SQL statement and bounce the EPM Foundation service, and you'll never have to worry about what happens if somebody subsequently patches Workspace or blows away WebLogic's /tmp folder.

Which SQL statement????   Here you go.  As my dear mother used to tell me in her dry humor, "never say I didn't do anything for you..."

UPDATE hss_component_property_values
SET property_value = 'EPM Workspace 11.2.1.0 - Datavail Sandbox'
WHERE property_name = 'ApplicationName'


property_name = 'ApplicationName' is case-sensitive for both Oracle and MSSQL.  What you specify for property_value may be anything you want.  My suggestion is to indicate the version (e.g. 11.1.2.4, 11.2.0.0 or 11.2.1.0 as appropriate) and the environment designation (PROD, UAT, DEV, etc...)

The above SQL statement works for all 11.1.2.x and 11.2.x versions as of this writing.  If you're still on 11.1.1.x or 9.3.x..... good luck!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

EPM 11.2.0.0 to 11.2.1.0 In-Place Upgrade

Here's a quick follow-up to my earlier post regarding EPM 11.2.1.0 Initial Thoughts.

If you installed Oracle EPM 11.2.0.0 shortly after it was released in December 2019, you are likely considering moving up to EPM 11.2.1.0 so you may enjoy the new certifications for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.

But do you need to start all over?  No, you don't!

As mentioned in the installation guide, 11.2.1.0 provides a Maintenance Upgrade option, whereby you may perform an in-place upgrade on 11.2.0.0 and bring it up to 11.2.1.0.

I ran this process over the weekend, and here are my observations:

In short, the process is easy and and is identical to how the in-place upgrade worked within the 11.1.1.x and 11.1.2.x series of releases.  The installTool.cmd utility detects the previous installation and forces you to upgrade the existing components first before allowing you to go back and install additional components.

When you perform an in-place upgrade from 11.2.0.0 to 11.2.1.0, the binaries for Oracle WebLogic Server and Oracle HTTP Server initially remain untouched.  All of the .ear files underneath \Oracle\Middleware\EPMSystem11R1\products, however, will be replaced by the upgrade.

One thing to note is when installTool.cmd reaches 97% progress and seems stuck at "updating Oracle Inventory", there are some additional things happening behind the scenes; the installer applies Oracle Middleware and Essbase patches during this phase.  Patches previously applied by 11.2.0.0's installTool are re-applied by 11.2.1.0's installTool.  These patches include Oracle WebLogic, Oracle HTTP Server, and Essbase.

If you use SmartView for Essbase, you will need to reapply the Java fix for Essbase SmartView ad-hoc.  This is because installTool applies the Essbase patches in a slightly incorrect order, leaving two Java artifacts in Oracle\Middleware\EPMSystem11R1\common\EssbaseJavaAPI\11.1.2.0\lib\ with an incorrect version.  Click the link within this paragraph to see the exact fix.

After you finish running installTool, configTool indicates the web applications need to be redeployed.  In truth, this doesn't provide much benefit as WebLogic automatically picks up the newer .ear files the next time you restart services.

It isn't a bad idea to run the redeploy step, though, because the act of redeploying makes a few minor updates to the Shared Services Registry database.  Specifically, a few components will have their version numbers updated from 11.2.0.0 to 11.2.1.0.  This makes the EPM System Registry Report and also Help->About EPM System->Show Details slightly more accurate (although not exactly accurate in all cases).  Doing this will help reduce some confusion should you need to work with Oracle Support in the future.

April 23, 2020 update:  Michael Fredericks of FinWeb Solutions noted he received a Communication Error when trying to login to EPM Workspace after performing the upgrade.  He resolved the issue by running the redeploy step.  He also reminds us that when redeploying, we need to go back and re-apply any Java Heap customizations.  Thanks for your comment on LinkedIn, Michael!

One final point about this in-place upgrade: You don't need to touch or re-do RCU.

Monday, April 20, 2020

EPM 11.2.1.0 Initial Thoughts

Let's begin with a comparison chart I whipped up...



Here are my observations after standing up Oracle EPM 11.2.1.0:
  • The install and config steps in 11.2.1.0 are identical to 11.2.0.0 in all respects.  You still need to worry about RCU, OHS still isn't its own Windows service, etc.
  • The Oracle Middleware layer is also identical between 11.2.0.0 and 11.2.1.0, with the exception of 2 patches that 11.2.1.0 automatically installs: 27747932 and 27430060. Simply applying these 2 patches to an 11.2.0.0 system doesn't give it the Edge & Chrome certifications; you need to be on 11.2.1.0 as Oracle recompiled a lot of their Java classes within the EPM 11.2.1.0 .ear files for Workspace, Planning, etc.  We can see evidence of this when we crawl through the .war files within the .ear files in a tool such as 7-zip.
  • As with 11.2.0.0, you'll find 11.2.1.0 is one year behind (as of this writing) in terms of the quarterly Oracle Critical Patch Updates for WebLogic, Java, and OHS.
  • There is no need to install 11.2.0.0 first and then in-place upgrade to 11.2.1.0.  You may install 11.2.1.0 fresh and then LCM your application content from 11.1.2.4.
The chief benefits to 11.2.1.0 over 11.2.0.0 are the certifications added for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.

IE11 will continue to receive Microsoft security updates for as long as Windows 10 remains supported, but as they say, "shots have been fired".  As Microsoft has indicated Edge is the browser of the future, so has Oracle and thus (I suspect) the push to get 11.2.1.0 out the door.  (People have been clamoring for Chrome certification as well)

Further reading on Microsoft's site: Microsoft Lifecycle FAQ