Saturday, December 21, 2019

Thoughts On EPM 11.2 Certification Matrix

I updated my earlier post Important Oracle EPM 11.2 Links with a link to the EPM 11.2 Certification Matrix

I'd like to share a few thoughts about what's currently in this matrix.


Christmas Eve 2019 update: Stay tuned!  New information has come in from Oracle and I will update this post after I finish a few plates of Christmas Day ham.  First and foremost, Windows Server 2016  is NOT certified by Oracle for EPM 11.2 at this time.  Please upgrade your sandboxes to Windows Server 2019.  Use Oracle 12 or SQL Server 2016 as your RDBMS until further guidance.

New Years Day Update January 1 2020: Answers to my questions below have been addressed by a senior person in Oracle.  I posted the answers in red text immediately after the relevant question.  If you are color blind, fear not as I prefixed the text with "ORACLE'S ANSWER".  I offered to provide accreditation to the Oracle person who was kind enough to read through this post thoroughly and provided a thoughtful response, but the person asked not to be named.  Again, a big THANK YOU to the person at Oracle who provided these answers!  We now have more clarity, as you will see in the red text below!  As the Oracle person asked not to be identified, I paraphrased the answers in my own words.

Questions posed:

  • Why isn't Windows Server 2016 listed?  ORACLE'S ANSWER: Windows Server 2019 was the focus of Q&A testing because it has the "longest runway" from a Microsoft Extended Support perspective.  It might work on 2016 and 2012, but your mileage will vary and is not guaranteed.
  • Yes, Windows Server 2012 R2 is coming out of Microsoft Extended Support in a few years, but will it work there? ORACLE'S ANSWER: As above, not worth the R&D / Quality Assurance time as Server 2012 has a limited shelf-life from a Microsoft perspective.  DATAVAIL ANSWER:  Ping me in LinkedIn if you couldn't attend my ODTUG webinar on this topic and I can quickly debrief you.
  • The only version of MS SQL Server listed is 2016.  (One person told me they tried it on 2019 and it didn't work, so he's downgrading to 2016).  ORACLE'S ANSWER: From a Microsoft perspective, SQL Server 2016 is the version certified for Oracle Fusion Middleware 12c.
  • The Firefox ESR version numbers are not listed.  In EPM 11.1.2.4, certain EPM screens stopped working once you surpassed a certain Firefox version.  Has this been fixed in 11.2?  PERSONAL ANSWER: Once the 2020 New Year champagne wears off I need to go back and check if this was answered.
  • Windows 10 is the only supported Windows OS listed.  What about 8.1?  Not everyone has finished their migration to 10 yet.  ORACLE'S ANSWER: 8.1 is coming out of Microsoft Extended Support soon, so testing/QA emphasis was spent on Windows 10 from a desktop perspective.  DATAVAIL'S ANSWER: Windows 7 is close to end-of-life and a desktop upgrade to Windows 10 is recommended.
  • Why is Windows Server 2012 listed as a certified client OS, but not as a certified server OS?  ORACLE'S ANSWER: As above.  Server testing was focused on MS Server 2019 due to the predicted shelf life.  PERSONAL ANSWER: Server 2012 is essentially the same technology as Desktop 10, so this kind of makes sense.
  • JRE 8 is the only client Java plug-in supported?  Is the EPM system not backward-compatible for organizations who haven't completed their client desktop updates yet?  ORACLE AND PERSONAL JOINT ANSWER: Java 6 came out of Oracle Extended Support on Jan 1 2019.  Java 7 has a limited shelf life and the security updates for it are only available to paying customers; the general public doesn't have access to those updates.  Java 8 has the longest shelf life until a subsequent patch is issued for EPM 11.2 that certifies newer versions.
  • Certification Matrices for 11.1.2.4 and prior listed Microsoft Office versions.  Microsoft Office is conspicuously missing here. We know 365 Cloud won't be certified until a newer version of SmartView is released, but could we get some details in the meantime.  ORACLE'S ANSWER: Oracle SmartView for Office is the only desktop client remaining that cares about the version of MS Office.  A conscious decision was made to remove Office from the matrix so as to reduce confusion.
No mention of Microsoft Edge.  We know this is on the roadmap, but it would be nice to see a statement in the matrix to the effect of "not supported yet; to be certified in a subsequent patch" or "it is certified now".  ORACLE'S ANSWER: IE11 for now. Stay tuned.

Speaking for myself, I've got a secret underground bunker / mad scientist lab with a 6-month Trial Edition of MS Windows Server 2016 and MS SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition.  I've gotten through the EPM 11.2.0.0 install and config, and everything works fine except for Oracle HTTP Server 12.  I'll write a separate post on that once I complete the troubleshooting process and can actually login.

The certification matrix is widely considered to be a "one stop shop"on these types of questions, rather than having to wade through a variety of readmes, installation and admin guides.  I'd love to see the matrix tightened up and improved.

Did I miss any of your questions?  Post them in the comments below!

23 comments:

  1. I trie with sql server 2017 and it seems to be working fine for HFM / FR

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    1. Good to know! The only products I've had version troubles with in the past were Financial Close / ARM / SDM and OBIEE. Changing their databases to Compatibility Mode for a prior version usually let me work around the issue.

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  2. One huge omission from the cert matrix was the original promise of Chrome compatibility. And what about the latest Oracle DB releases? No mention of 18c or 19c compatibility, only 12.2. I think they might have over promised and under delivered, in some respects, especially with an apparently incomplete support matrix or incomplete testing on some of the newer platforms like Windows 2016 or, like you had mentioned, Windows 2012 R2. This looks like a rush job and very similar to the 11.1.2.0 release, years ago. Hoping that they update the cert matrix, if they indeed do test the above 3rd party products. Maybe this will all be updated/corrected when they release the Unix compatible installer.

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    1. An Oracle Product Management Director has noticed this blog post and has offered to share some clarifications. Stay tuned as I think more information will be forthcoming. If any information is shared, I will paste it as-is without any filtering/editing.

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  3. Another thing to note is that it looks like DB2 support is completely gone now.

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  4. I just did some cursory testing with Chrome and it does appear to work. Guess we just need to get some clarification from Oracle about where they are with official certification.

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    1. FYI, even if not officially supported, all our users are using HFM & FR with Chrome since dec 18 (11.1.2.4.900 release).

      It's much faster than IE and do not need any strange tweaks in the browser settings (contrary to firefox)

      However it would be good to have it officially supported.

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    2. I think you might be one of the only people that is actually running 11.1.2.4.900 :) It was stated that 11.2 was basically going to be 11.1.2.4.900, so, good to know it's actually working out in the real world.

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    3. Great discussion within this thread! I deliberately advised my customers to stay away from 11.1.2.4.900 to a lack of a documented migration path. Perhaps this has changed due to a recent patch. One of my earlier posts on this blog site talks about my thinking behind this decision. As of now, I'm in the @Larry Lapp camp. :)

      Once I get OHS 12 fixed and running, I'm going to attempt an LCM migration of Financial Reports from 11.1.2.4.7xx and see if EPM 11.2 can figure it out. It will be an interesting exercise!

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    4. Regarding OHS, did you also get a warning while selecting Oracle HTTP Server while installation saying Folder does not exist: \null\win64.

      I tried installing OHS anyhow but couldn't get it to work so I re-deployed all components under Embedded Weblogic Server.

      And, regarding LCM migration of Financial Reports, 1 thing interesting to note is that Reporting and Analysis Framework is no longer there in 11.2 and all reports are migrated to "Document Repository" under the "Default Application Group" in Shared Services same as Oracle Cloud. And the option to install the Financial Reporting Studio has been completely removed. Although if you try to install an older version from 11.1.2.4, it will give an error that the Reporting Version on Studio is older.

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    5. I did see that warning about the \null\win64 folder not existing. To get the error to go away, I made a copy of the folder ohs_patchset, in the installer's root folder, then renamed it to null. That seemed to fix it and allowed the installer to complete the OHS install. It then configured without issue, as well.

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    6. I did see the \null\win64 warning about OHS too but it installed OK and starts and stops fine when running the startcomponent ohs_component command (usually start the WL OHS Node manager win.service first).

      Re Saras' comment how FR installs, note that a DB entered during config remains empty and all tables for FR will be found in the Foundation database.

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    7. Dave, re the migration of FR reports from 11.1.2.4.700+, I migrated a bunch of HFM reports after I had the HFM apps migrated and upgraded, the reports worked fine (edited data source). In FR web studio too. I created some test reports for some Planning apps (PLN/Essb.migrated via LCM from 11.1.2.4 recent patch) and those reports work too. Just Essbase reports are not supported - you can create a datasource, start building a grid, but cannot drag the essbase dimensions into row/column or page.

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  5. I have installed EPM 11.2 on Windows 2012 R2 and Oracle 18c Database. Although when I ran rcu.bat, it gave me a warning that I am using a newer version of the database, it seems that all EPM products are working fine.

    I am unable to open the EAS console and Studio as they are trying to access JRE6 folders even though EPM 11.2 has moved JDK and JRE to 1.8. Did you face this issue as well?

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    1. Sounds like an oversight on Oracle's part. As a suggestion, you might want to take a copy of the JRE 8 folders and put them in the expected location, then rename them to JRE 6. See if the consoles work. As long as the pathing is correct to find the JRE, I would imagine it would work, if Oracle really did test with Java 8.

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    2. re EAS and Ess.studio, it was in one of the 11.2 Readme files that you have to edit the startup files of those to give it java_home 1.8.0_181. However, once EAS console fired up, you'll find that a JRE1.6 has in fact installed itself on the machine (in my case the VM server) and subsequently messed up running scripts provided which call on setenv and setjavaruntime, as these picked up the java 1.6.0 being present. I had to edit to force the java_home to 1.8.x java again for the start/Stop EPM batch files (in start menu) to work (and config tool too).

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  6. Post updated. Please refresh and look for the text in red and green!

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  7. Your statement about the client OS support is not really correct:
    Server 2012 is essentially the same technology as Desktop 10, so this kind of makes sense.

    Server 2012 is really Windows 8.x "server". Server 2016 and 2019 are really the same technology as Windows 10. Server 2019 is really just built off the newer builds of Windows 10 along with the new features the server OS has added for greater integration with MS cloud products, etc.

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  8. Hello Dave, if we have 2012 R2 Win Server, can we just lift+shift on our existing 11.1.2.4 or should we do a new/clean install for 11.2 ?

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    1. Hi Azmat, good to hear from you again!

      Brian Donovan's reply is correct. You would do a fresh install, as per Oracle's recommendation, and then LCM migration your artifacts. The idea is you want to leave your existing 11.1.2.4 Prod system untouched and intact.

      Another very important reason for this approach is Oracle has not invested time into regression testing of 11.2 would work on Windows Server 2012 R2; I was told directly by a senior person at Oracle that Windows Server 2019 was the only server platform they tested and certified for 11.2.

      Standing up 11.2 on a 2012 R2 platform wouldn't be recommended. Microsoft has changed the Extended Support expiration date for that platform at least once, but assume you don't have much time left. The same goes if your DB is hosted on MS SQL Server 2012 SP3... you're looking at a July 2022 expiration for that (Safe Harbor applies).

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  9. Azmat - 11.2 is a greenfield only install then you migrate/upgrade artifacts

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  10. HI Dave, thanks for the blog.
    I don't see in any place the certification for ODI. Do you know? We've an hyperion planning application 11.1.2.4 that uses the km of ODI to load data and metadata in planning.
    thanks

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    1. Hi DM, you are welcome!
      Here's the best answer I can give you at present:

      FDMEE in EPM 11.2 ships with ODI 12.2.1.3. When you configure and deploy FDMEE 11.2, FDMEE's repository gets built with fresh ODI 12.2.1.3 Master and Work repositories. There is a bug in the config tool concerning the adapters, and I'll get into the details in a new blog post I'll publish soon.

      In your 11.1.2.4 system, if you're using FDMEE's ODI then you are actually using ODI 11.1.1.7 behind the scenes. ODI 11.1.1.7 is now out of Oracle Extended Support (final defect remediation slated for October 2018).

      You ought to be able to LCM export your FDMEE artifacts from 11.1.2.4 and import them into 11.2. We see in ODI Studio 12.2.1.3 (EPM 11.2.0.0) that Hyperion Planning remains available within ODI's topology. I haven't had an opportunity to do many tests of LCMs for various modules from 11.1.2.4 into 11.2.0.0, as there are a still lingering issues I'll get into later.

      Best of luck to you!

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