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Technical Advice for Oracle Tax and Utilities products
Updated: 10 hours 37 min ago

Multiple Utilities Pack versions on Self Update

Thu, 2015-02-12 15:31

Customers of the Oracle Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities will notice that there are multiple entries for the pack within Self Update. Let me clarify:

  • The plugin, marked below, named the Oracle Utilities Application is the correct pack to install and use. This is the new addon version of the pack with the latest functionality.
  • The plugin named the Oracle Utilities is the original version of the pack. Whilst the version number is higher than the new pack, it is only listed for customers of that version to have access to the software.

Self Update

In the future, the Oracle Utilities entries will disappear and only the Oracle Utilities Application entries will remain.

In short, use the Oracle Utilities Application plugin not the Oracle Utilities plugins.

Installing the Oracle Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities

Mon, 2015-02-02 22:15

The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities is a plugin to the Oracle Enterprise Manager product to allow management, patching and monitoring of Oracle Utilities applications.

To install the pack you use the following technique:

  • If you are a customer who has installed the previous versions of the pack, all targets from that pack must be removed and the pack deinstalled prior to using the new version ( This is because the new pack is a completely different set of software and it is recommended to remove old versions. This will only occur in this release as future releases will automatically upgrade.
  • Navigate to the Setup --> Extensibility --> Plugins and search for the "Oracle Utilities Application" plugin. Do not use the "Oracle Utilities" plugin as that is the previous release.
  • Press "Download" to download the plugin to your repository.
  • Press "Apply" to apply the pack to your OMS console instance. This will install the server components of the pack.
  • From the Plugin Manager (you will be directed there), you can deploy the pack to your OMS using Deploy On Management Servers.  This will start the deployment process.
  • After deployment to the server, you then can also deploy the plug in on any licensed Oracle Utilities Servers using the Deploy On Management Agents. Select the servers from the list.
  • You now have installed the Pack.
  • You should first, discover and promote the Oracle WebLogic targets for the domain, clusters (if used), servers and application deployments for the Oracle Utilities products.
  • Run the discover against the Oracle Utilities servers to discover the pack specific targets.

At this point you can create groups on the targets or even dashboards.

Oracle Application Testing Suite for Oracle Utilities available

Sun, 2015-02-01 23:52

The initial release of the Oracle Application Testing Suite for Oracle Utilities is now available from eDelivery. This product is designed to help automate functional, regression and load testing for Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products.

The product features a set of reusable components for Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products that can be used within Oracle Application Testing Suite (Functional and Load Testing) to quickly build and deploy automated test scripts. The approach of using this product are as follows:

  • The components are prebuilt by the product and QA teams for the Oracle Utilities products. They are the components the product teams use to test the product internally. The contain all the interfacing, verifications, parameters and are already synchronized with the version of the product they support. This reduces the need for testing component development.
  • If you wish to customize a component then Oracle Application Testing Suite now includes Flow Builder which allows for components to be built or customized (they must be copied first).
  • The Oracle Flow Builder part of the Oracle Application Testing Suite can be used to assemble the components into flows that match your individual business processes. This is as simple as drag and drop to put the component in the right location within the flow. Data is automatically passed between components, though the flow can be altered to cover additional data or additional verifications (for example, you can create a verification component to email you the verification report).
  • Once a flow has been built, test data can be attached to complete the flow script. This can be manually entered in the UI or imported via a file such as a spreadsheet.
  • The Openscript can then be generated without the need to learn coding. The code is automatically generated for you.
  • You can execute the script in the OpenScript development component of the Oracle Application Testing Suite or the Test Manager product.
  • The script can also be loaded into the Load Testing component of the Oracle Application Testing Suite if you wish to perform performance testing. The Load Testing component requires that the Functional Testing component is installed as well (as the source of the test scripts).

This approach uses components to a great advantage over other testing approaches:

  •  The components are prebuilt and tested internally by our product teams for our own product QA. You are getting access to those same components.
  • As the components are certified for each release of the products then upgrading is as simple as regenerating your test flows. Oracle Application Testing Suite includes management tools to assist with that function. You simply install the new version of the components, transfer your flows over and regenerate them to use the new version of the component.
  • The Oracle Application Testing Suite for Oracle Utilities will include components for each product and version it supports. It is possible to create cross product flows easily if you want.
  • The Oracle Application Testing Suite for Oracle Utilities is licensed the same way as Oracle Application Testing Suite. It is licensed on Testing users, regardless of the number of targets tested against or numbers of products installed. The Load Testing component is licensed on number of simulated users.

The initial version of this testing product only supports Oracle Utilities Mobile Workforce Management V2.2+ and Oracle Real Time Scheduler V2.2+. Other products will be added over the next few releases.

Over the next few weeks, additional material will be published about this product including best practices.

Updated Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities available

Sun, 2015-02-01 17:04

The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities has been updated with new and updated functionality. The whitepaper Oracle Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities Overview  (Doc Id: 1474435.1) available from My Oracle Support has been updated with the latest information including an overview of how to upgrade from previous versions.

The new and changed functionality is as follows:

  • The pack is a complete rewrite of the original pack using a lower level API to Oracle Enterprise Manager. This means deep integration to features in Oracle Enterprise Manager and integrations to other Oracle Enterprise Manager plugins.
  • There is a completely new target model which recognizes individual components of the architecture. In past release of the pack, there was a single target type (Oracle Utilities Environment) which did not really reflect the diverse architectures that customers and partners implemented. In this new release, the Web Application, Service Application, Batch Application and Software locations are all detected and registered individually. A composite target called "Oracle Utilities Environment" now is a collection of these other targets.
  • This new target model and the adoption of the Oracle Enterprise Manager security model allows greater flexibility in security. It is now possible to authorize at an individual target level as well as a task level (or combinations) with multiple levels of permissions. This allows customers and partners to model their IT organizational permissions within the target model.
  • The new pack includes most of the features of the last pack with new interfaces using standard menus and each to use quick buttons. A few features have been removed to be added in future releases:
    • The Assessment feature has been removed and will be replaced with Compliance Frameworks in a future release.
    • The Log Viewing/Configuration File Viewing feature has been removed and will be replaced with the OEM Log Query feature in a future release.
    • IBM WebSphere support has been temporarily removed and will be added in a patch release in the future.
  • The new pack features over 100+ product specific metrics tracking online performance and real time batch performance. This is on top of the already 200+ metrics available from the WebLogic instance targets.
  • The new pack uses the Oracle WebLogic targets within Oracle Enterprise Manager. This allows direct seemless migration from Oracle Utilities targets to Oracle WebLogic targets. This means if you have the Oracle WebLogic packs installed then you can use advanced facilities directly from Oracle Utilities targets.
  • Online performance can be tracked from the new Oracle Utilities Web Service target type. It is also possible to set transactions onto a watch list.
  • Batch Threadpools and threads can be managed from Oracle Utilities Batch Server targets across the batch cluster. This also gives you detailed metrics about performance of individual active threads.

Over the next few weeks, look for more information in this blog about individual features. The new pack is denoted as version to reflect the new addon status of the pack and is available from Oracle Enterprise Manager Self Update.

Note: Customers of the previous versions of the pack MUST follow the instructions in the Installation Guides for the new pack to upgrade. The old pack MUST be removed before the new pack can be used.

Note: This pack is tightly integrated with Oracle WebLogic targets in the base Oracle Enterprise Manager. BEFORE discovering any Oracle Utilities targets ensure all Oracle WebLogic targets for the Oracle Utilities domain are registered.

Defining Cache nodes with BatchEdit

Wed, 2015-01-28 16:00

In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4., a new batch command line based wizard, named Batch Edit (or bedit for short), was introduced to simplify the configuration of the batch architecture. It allows for clusters, threadpools and submitters to be defined quickly using predefined templates.

A new article has been made available which focuses on the implementation of cache nodes within the cluster. Cache nodes are extremely useful for clusters where you have lots of  threadpools and/or threads executing by optimizing the network traffic between individual nodes. A cache node does not execute threads, it is only there to act as a conduit for all the threads it is linked with. Think of it as a supervisor process that concentrates the traffic leaving the threads to do their work whilst keeping a "eye" on them on behalf of the cluster.

Typically one or more cache nodes should exist per physical node in your cluster to act as a concentrator.

The instructions on how to do this are now documented in FW Cache Nodes Configuration using BatchEdit utility (Doc ID 1965395.1) available from My Oracle Support.

Updated Native Install/Clustering Whitepapers

Tue, 2015-01-06 15:04

The Implementing Oracle ExaLogic and/or Oracle WebLogic Clustering  (Doc Id: 1334558.1) and Native Installation Oracle Utilities Application Framework (Doc Id: 1544969.1) have been updated with the latest information and advice from customers and partners.

The updates include:

  • Configuring additional parameters for UTF8 sites
  • Compatibility settings for various versions of Oracle WebLogic
  • Java Flight Control configuration for Java 7.

The whitepapers are available from My Oracle Support.

A prosperous New Year

Tue, 2014-12-23 17:31

It has been a very very 2014 and 2015 is shaping up to be a bumper year for a number of the products we deliver. I have no updated this blog as much as I wanted the last few months for various reasons, mainly I have been very busy getting new versions and new products out of the door. More about that in the new year.

2015 is shaping up to be a stellar year for the products I manage personally with announcements and exciting new features I am sure customers and partners will embrace.

I wish all my readers, our partners and our customers a happy holidays and a prosperous new year.