Kevin Kempf's Blog

April 26, 2010

Collaborate 10

Filed under: 11g, 11i, Oracle — kkempf @ 3:03 pm

Arrival & Pre Conference

We arrived in Las Vegas Saturday morning, and promptly went to the Hoover Dam after getting some lunch.  Highly recommended, it stands as quite a feat of engineering and well worth the 3 hour detour.  On our way back to Las Vegas from the Dam, we stopped for a unique experience at the Gun Store.  Once again, in the adult playground city where money talks, this was well worth the stop.  How many chances will you ever have to fire an AK-47 on full auto (and not have to clean it afterward)?  After walking the strip, and having a fantastic meal at Mon Ami Gabi, the jet lag caught up and we crashed for the night.  On Sunday, we picked up our conference materials, and began planning in earnest for the rest of the week.  There were a handful of interesting looking sessions, but to be honest I was put off by the 6 hour blocks on some of them.

Conference Sessions

I attended the following sessions, for a variety of reasons.  I’m not going to critique the sessions, but I will summarize in bullet points

3398 XML Publisher and FSG for beginners

  • financial applications about put me to sleep, glad I’m not an accountant
  • XML Publisher is free with 11i if used only against Oracle tables.  The second you point to a custom table, you’re buying the whole product
  • Current version is 5.6.3
  • 11i has about 500 XML publisher templates, R12 has all (most) templated (2700+)
  • Office 2007 (Excel) may have issues unless you enable macros manually for FSGs
  • R12 requires web ADI

3238 EBusiness Suite in the Amazon Cloud

  • Completely unsupported by Oracle (as of yet), but perhaps a viable way to bring up and tear down non-production environments
  • latency could be an issue
  • uploading your whole database and apps tiers may not be viable (send media to Amazon)

4777 Latest on the E-Business Suite Technology Roadmap

  • News to me, but has been announced for some time (last June), the first year of 11i extended support is FREE and goes into effect this November
  • 6i patchset 20 (terminal release) is forthcoming
  • Weblogic Server for R12.3/R13 sounds like it’s in the mix
  • Old -> Preferred:
    • Discoverer -> OBIEE
    • Portal -> WebCenter
    • SSO -> Oracle Access Manager
  • EM 11g would be out, announced on 4/22.  Surprise!  It uses WebLogic Server 11gR1 (no surprise: the version doesn’t match it’s actually version 10.3.2)
  • Met Steven Chan and shook his hand after the session.  He didn’t hit me, nor call security, so I guess I’m not annoying him too badly.

4746 Replacing Discoverer – is OBIEE Your Only Option?

  • Surprise!  It’s not!  And this vendor (EIS) will tell you about their product
  • This product is kind of like OBIEE light, and essentially provides you with a bunch of canned reports and business views in your ERP

710 Deep Dive – Oracle Database 11g Performance Monitoring, Upgrade Testing and Tuning

  • I must have been a little tired, but I need to look into SQL Plan Baselines, which supposedly survive optimizer changes in ways that SQL profiles do not.

504 Trends in Database Administration and the Changing Role of the DBA

  • Touchy feely session on how DBAs are a valuable commodity.
  • Functional areas are important as the technology gets more complex every day

715 Understanding SSD Technology for Databases

  • There’s more to solid state disk than just sticking it in your SAN
  • Performance comparisons were made between conventional disk, flash, dram
  • SLC v. MLC

717 Enterprise Manager Grid Control: Moments of Truth

  • Interesting session about using EM for more than just database monitoring (I trust this so little it was nice to see someone using it)
  • Many of the folks in class wanted to swap “war stories” and it was nice to see everyone has the same problems with this product

3381 Release 12 Technical Introduction – Intermediate

  • This was kind of a bust.  At the onset, the speaker told people who had done this upgrade to leave as it would be review
  • It turned out, it was really introductory, like the stuff you can get by reading the R12 basic documentation

4243 Life Fitness Gets its Warehouse in Shape with Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Applications

  • I attended this because we’re looking hard at implementing Mobile Supply Chain Applications for our production floor
  • I don’t understand functional dialogue speak, it’s probably like when they sit in on an technical database session

3512 How to Manage Customizations Using Application Change Management Pack for E-Business Suite

  • This product looked interesting, until informed that it sat on top of the Applications Management Pack (which I refuse to pay for)
  • It not only tracked your customizations, it could also do functional setups
  • Seemed ideal for a very large organization

364 Advanced Dataguard – Fast Start Failover Configuration and Management

  • Good technical session from an Amazon A9 DBA.
  • We don’t use FSFO, and there’s 2 things in my way (DBWR to ship logs instead of the listener process, and using the FRA) but it’s worth a look
  • Doesn’t play well (or at least not automatically) with 11i; still requires manual intervention to failover the apps tier
  • Well said: when the @*#! hits the fan and you need to fail over to your standby, you’re most apt to make mistakes because you’re under stress, have a bunch of systems down, it’s the middle of the night, etc.  This eliminates the potential for errors.

Las Vegas

Just surrender your wallet at the airport

  • Dining in Vegas is EXPENSIVE.  Seriously.  We ate cheap one night at Dicks Last Resort in Excalibur and got a dinner bill for $60.
  • Louie Anderson is pretty damn funny.
  • Everything in Vegas looks close, until you walk there.
  • Riding insanity was a hoot.
  • Dear Luxor: If you’re not going to provide wireless, please don’t put the 4 foot ethernet cable by the TV, and the desk 10 feet away.
  • Unsurprisingly, the fitness center in the Luxor was woefully small.  Surprisingly full on a Sunday morning at 8am.
  • Who pays a $30 cover to get into a bar?
  • It’s really dry there, I was always thirsty.
  • OAUG put on a nice Sunday Night 20 Year birthday party for itself.
  • Unsure why they went to a cash bar for their premier event on Wednesday night, but if I’d paid $75 to get into that debacle I’d be in line for a refund.

Closing Thoughts

In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by Collaborate, this being the first time I’ve ever attended.  I have only Open World to compare it to in terms of large technical conferences, and it stands up reasonably well.  It certainly didn’t have the machine-like efficiency of Open World, but that didn’t really detract much from the overall content experience, it merely caused minor annoyances throughout.  Examples are their lackluster online scheduler (really awful, with no option but to print), lack of change notices via email, or general confusion around how to find a conference room.  Still, for about half the cost, it’s hard to pass on, and will be something I hope to attend again in the future.

April 14, 2010

Discoverer EUL exports fails on

Filed under: Discoverer, Linux — kkempf @ 8:49 am

The export fails

I noticed a cron job which ran a nightly export of the Discoverer End User Layer schema was failing recently, and upon investigation the exact error looked like this:

java: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

To be precise, the exact point of failure is in the call to $DISCOVERER_HOME/bin/eulapi

What the script is, and why I run it

I don’t know how relevant any of this is to anyone anymore, as Discoverer use is declining, and the export is pretty much just insurance for me.  The main reason I ever started the job was during development/migration of all of our reports from 4i to 10g; it was a nice way to be able to quickly revert to “yesterday” without affecting the rest of 11i.   I run the job as a cron of a parameterized script on linux; which looks like this in the crontab:

# run a nightly export of the Discoverer EUL
0 21 * * * /scratch/oracle/dba/discoverer/ -sid PROD -eulapi /u02/appprod/proddisco/bin > /dev/null

# Oracle Discoverer EUL Export
# Run this script as a cron only from the discoverer node; it will fail elsewhere
# default EUL
if [ $# -eq 0 ]
echo "Usage:"
echo "    -sid      (DEV)                            Instance"
echo "    -eul      (eul_us)                         EUL name"
echo "    -eulapi   (/u02/appmis/misora/iAS10g/bin)  Path to eulapi binary"
exit 1
for parm in `echo $*`
if [ $1 = '-sid' ]
elif [ $1 = '-eul' ]
elif [ $1 = '-eulapi' ]
if [ $2 ]
# lower case SID
LOWERSID=`echo $SID|tr [A-Z] [a-z]`
PASSW=`cat /scratch/home/ora${LOWERSID}/.discoverer`
TODAY=`date +%d%m%y`
${EULAPI}/eulapi -connect ${CONNECT} -apps_user -apps_responsibility "System Administrator" -eul ${EUL} -export ${EXPORTFILE} -all -log ${LOGFILE}
zip ${LOGFILE}.zip ${LOGFILE}
find /scratch/oracle/dba/discoverer/*PROD*.zip -mtime +31 -exec rm -rf {} \;
find /scratch/oracle/dba/discoverer/*DEV*.zip -mtime +7 -exec rm -rf {} \;

The Fix

I found this on MOS, in ID 729952.1.  Well most of this.  #4, below, was wrong in the document online as it implied was in $ORACLE_HOME/discoverer, but I added the full (and correct) path for clarity.  It’s about the cheesiest fix I’ve seen in awhile, but it works.  Anytime I’m asked to “pound out” a line of a delivered shell script, it feels wrong, but in the end, it’s no different than all the fixes you used to have to make after an autoconfig run to various 11i files which got messed up before the templates finally got in order.

  1. Navigate to:  $ORACLE_HOME/discoverer.
  2. Backup the environment script file.
  3. Remove “export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.4.19” from the file.
  4. You can now execute:  $ORACLE_HOME/discoverer/util/

The Cause

Unknown, but my suspicion is that it was either an OS upgrade or a Discoverer CP patch.

April 9, 2010

A dose of good news from Oracle?

Filed under: Discoverer — kkempf @ 3:00 pm

A few months ago, I was grumbling about the end of life for Discoverer 10g, which was occurring without a replacement certification in sight for 11i.  Since then, Discoverer 11g has been certified, and it appears that iAS/Application Server/(con)Fusion/Discoverer 10g has received a 1 year reprieve from the powers that be at Oracle via a free extension of premier support until December 2011. The .pdf states:

“Includes: BPEL, InterConnect, B2B, Business Activity Monitoring, Discoverer, Reports, Forms, Portal, Internet Directory, Single Sign-On, Certificate Authority, Containers for J2EE, Web Cache and Developer Suite (Designer, Forms Builder, Reports Builder & Discoverer Administrator)”.

It’s less than clear, and it looks like Steven Chan minces no words when he says he’s not allowed to answer questions or discuss the issue much.  His recommendation is to log an SR to ask specific questions; my personal recommendation, in the case of Discoverer, is just to get off of Discoverer 10g and go to 11g.

In related news, I’ve seen a few demos of the OBIEE plus product.  Wow, no wonder Discoverer has been left to die on the proverbial vine.  This is a polished, feature-rich product which is eye candy for non-IT folks.  It ain’t cheap.

Heading to OAUG next week, will be my first time there.  Might make for some interesting blog fodder.

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