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

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Time to Spin up EPM 11.2.1.0

Oracle 11.2.1.0 Announcement

More analysis will be forthcoming.  I'm inclined to pick the fresh download & install option vs. upgrading from 11.2.0.0.

Of interest: support for Google Chrome is back with this new release, and we finally get Microsoft Edge support as well (bringing EPM on-premises more into parity with EPM Cloud).

Many people have asked me about MS Windows Server 2016 certification, and this new release includes that as well.

On this point, Oracle indicates EPM 11.2.2.0 is on the development roadmap, and Internet Explorer will be de-certified at that time.

Stay tuned!  I haven't seen a release come out this quickly since the Essbase 5.0 fiasco.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Planning RMI 11.2: "Could not find the service start class" SOLUTION

I spent more time troubleshooting this than I care to admit.  Rather than walking you through the things I tried, let's cut to the chase!

Symptom Observed:
You start the "Oracle Hyperion RMI Registry" service in the Control Panel or via a script.  The service shows it is running and no logfiles reveal an up/down status for it.

Meanwhile, your classic Planning batch scripts don't work like they used to...


Digging deeper with traditional port checking tools, we see the RMI port 11333 is not listening.

Finally, we check the Windows Event Viewer.


Oh boy, this is going to be a long day...

Quick Tip:
Search engines and the Oracle Knowledge Base don't have current information on this "could not find the service start class" error yet, at least not where Oracle EPM 11.2 is concerned.  There's some older articles out there about ports, service names, etc. that don't lead you to a solution.  Hopefully this blog entry will help!

Solution:
First, export this portion of your Windows Registry in case you want to roll back to the original configuration:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\HyS9RMIRegistry_epmsystem1\Parameters

And here it is!

Planning RMI is still using the old Java 6.

I haven't dug enough to find the exact culprit, but there's likely a mix of Java class files in RMI where some were compiled with Java 6, and others with Java 8.  Java 6 can't run Java 8 classes, but Java 8 can often run both Java 6 and Java 8 classes.

So the trick is to locate a "jvm.dll" file that is Java 8 and 32-bit. I tried using a 64-bit one and it immediately complained I was mixing 32-bit and 64-bit.

In a vanilla EPM 11.2 system, you will have a 32-bit Java 8 if you allowed it to install the 32-bit Oracle Database Client.  The file is:

\Oracle\Middleware\dbclient32\jdk\jre\bin\client\jvm.dll

Replace the "JVMLibrary" Data value in my screenshot above so your system looks like this:


Bounce RMI, and suddenly port 11333 is working and you may continue with your day.

Here's hoping a more official fix will be forthcoming!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Q&A From March 12 2020 Webinar

We ran out of time in our ODTUG EPM 11.2 Webinar to get to everyone's questions, so we had to rush through it.  Without further ado, here's the questions submitted in writing by attendees.  I'll discuss them in no particular order and exactly as they were submitted.

Q: Does 11.2 still have rapid deployment option?
A: Yes.

Q: So no more CopyApp Utilities to migrate HFM Apps between environments?
A: No, the venerable HFMCopyApplication utility was deprecated in 11.1.2.4.  In theory, the latest patch of the utility from 11.2.3.7xx could work, followed by running the HFMUpgradeApplication utility.  In practice, I believe Oracle Support would advise migrating via the HFM LCM Snapshot instead (if, and only if, you are on 11.1.2.4).  Or, use the Import Application link in Navigate->Administer->Consolidation Applications.

Q: Is RCU schema/database needed per application server or per environment?
A: One per application server.  A pure Essbase server with no WebLogic web apps wouldn't need it.

Q: Is Windows Server 2019 only supported or okay to install Windows Server 2012 or 2016?
A: In theory, yes you can put 11.2 on either Server 2012 R2 or 2016.  I've done it myself.  In practice, I'd advise against it using 2012 and 2016.  You want to use server operating systems specifically vetted and certified by Oracle Corporation.  Oracle has only certified Server 2019 at this time for 11.2.

Q: Any word on Oracle 18c or 19c support?
A: Terrific question and I'm getting asked this more and more.  I'm told by DBAs that 19c is essentially 12c technology with bugfixes sitting on top of it.  I know of at least one customer who is using 19c successfully for their EPM 11.1.2.4 system.  I would love to see certification from Oracle on 19c.

Q: Understand Financial Reports with Essbase connection cannot be migrated from 11.1.2.4 to 11.2? Is that right?
A: The Essbase connection type is visible as a drop-down in Database Connection Manager. I'll need one of my report developers to kick the tires to see if it works.  Sorry I don't have a definitive answer yet!

Q: Hello, how can I  save the nodemanager password so when I start OHS I don't have to type the password in windows?
A: Yes!  The syntax is all on one line:
\Oracle\Middleware\user_projects\epmsystem1\httpConfig\ohs\bin\startComponent.cmd ohs_component storeUserConfig
You only need to do this one time per OHS server.  Be mindful that if a different userID needs to perform restart maintenance, that person either needs to be trained on this process, or you put it in a script from them to double-click.  You will be prompted to type in epm_admin's password, and then you won't be asked again.

Q: will you be supported by oracle if you install 11.2 on ANYTHING other than Windows 2019 server.
A: I can't answer for Oracle on this point.  Depending upon who is assigned to work on your SR, someone might kick it back at you.  My personal recommendation is to use certified operating systems only - especially where Production is concerned.

Q: Any word on when Rhel7 server version for EPM 11.2 will come out?  Other then soon?
A: "Soon".  :)  I have not received any specific guidance beyond what is available for public consumption.

Q: Users will probably miss the Home page in 11.2.  Any workaround, or plan for bringng that back?
A: As a workaround, users can set their preferences so a specific app launches upon login.  The loss of the Home page is a byproduct of the architectural change that removed Reporting & Analysis Framework.

Q: what is the replacement for the HFR studio thick client?
A: The Reporting Web Studio is available within EPM Workspace and was first introduced by Financial Reporting patch set update 11.1.2.4.700.  In 11.1.2.4.7xx there's a manual OHS configuration step before it appears to users.  It works out-of-the-box in 11.2 without needing to manually update OHS.  Several PSUs were issued since then which improved parity with the thick client.  Customers who are on 11.1.2.4.700 or higher are urged to become familiar with the web studio before making the jump to 11.2.  Alternatives would be saved SmartView templates or other technology.