Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Essbase 21 - Initial Thoughts

Oracle Hyperion Essbase 21 came out in December 2020.  I didn't notice it as my Oracle eDelivery searches are always for "EPM".  With the arrival of Essbase 21, we need to search for "Essbase" in eDelivery.

Before attempting to install it, it is very important to read the Essbase 21 Installation Guide

I reviewed the guide over the weekend and wanted to offer my initial thoughts.

  • Red Hat 7 and 8, and Oracle Linux 7 and 8 are the only platforms supported.
  • Oracle VirtualBox is the only virtualization technique certified.  The usual caveat applies here;  many Hyperion shops use VMWare for virtualization because it is so ubiquitous across IT organizations.  When opening an SR with Oracle, don't tell them you're using VMWare or there's a small chance the SR can be kicked back.
  • We're required to install a GNU c/c++ compiler.
  • Essbase 21 is supposed to be able to co-habitate with EPM 11.1.2.4 and 11.2.2.x.  I see a potential problem here and I'll get to it in a minute.
  • The documentation does not indicate an upgrade path.  Do we start fresh, or can we do an in-place upgrade -- say from 11.2.2.x?
  • The installation guide contains a chapter named "Differences Between Essbase 11g and Essbase 21c".  Read this very carefully before getting started.  With respect to features, Oracle giveth and Oracle taketh away.
  • We have to run RCU for Essbase 21.  I believe it is because Essbase 21 comes with a new web-based cube editor that is separate from EAS.
  • If you use HFM, you will still need a Windows server in the mix.  I would not put FDMEE on the Linux server; I'd instead put it on the Windows server.
  • There's some weird stuff in the documentation about Financial Reporting not being supported for HFM if you've got FR installed on the Essbase 21 machine.  So I'd put it on the HFM server.

Now let's talk about co-habitating Essbase 21 with EPM 11.2.2 or 11.1.2.4.

Essbase 21 requires that Oracle Fusion Middleware ("FMW") 12.2.1.4 be installed.  EPM 11.2.2 is bundled with FMW 12.2.1.3, so this implies an in-place FMW upgrade if you've already deployed EPM 11.2.2.

EPM 11.1.2.4 is coming out of support at the end of December 2021 (Safe Harbor applies), so I would not consider combining Essbase 21 with EPM 11.1.2.4.  I'm also not a big fan of mixed-release configurations.  I tried it in the past, wrote a white paper for Oracle about it, and Oracle stopped recommending it as far as I can tell.  (9.3.1 mixed with 11.1.1.0 - what a nightmare!!!).

Essbase 21 and FMW 12.2.1.4 want a version of Java 8 that is newer than what comes with EPM 11.2.2.  Java 8 is not certified for EPM 11.1.2.4.  For EPM 11.2.2 shops, you will want to grab the Java 8 patch 18143322.  The patch contains multiple files.  The easiest one to work with is jdk-8u271-linux-i586.tar.gz, because getting it installed doesn't require Linux root access.  Just drop that file where you want, gzip -d it, tar -xf it, and you're done.  The "bin" folder within the jdk will need to be added to your installation user's PATH.

The installation guide for FMW 12.2.1.4 lists additional patches & prerequisites.

At first brush, my reaction is:

  1. Lay down the new Java 8 and add it to your PATH.
  2. Do a fresh install of FMW 12.2.1.4 in a separate Middleware Home.
  3. Install Essbase 21 after meeting the prerequisites (install GNU compiler, etc)
  4. Install EPM 11.2.2, minus the Essbase components and anything else Essbase 21 laid down, and pray they all play together.

I've backed up my Linux 7 sandbox and will try to play with this later this week.  Stay tuned!

(1/13/2021 Edit: Fixed "Essbase 12" references so they read "Essbase 21")

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