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The Merge Join Transformation and a SSIS Sorting Tip

Chris Foot - Wed, 2014-04-02 06:43

My previous blog post was about the SSIS Lookup task and how it really works. Now that I have shown that the Lookup task shouldn’t be used for one-to-many or many-to-many joins, let’s take a look at the Merge Join transformation task. If you follow along with this blog, you will learn a little tip that will eliminate the requirement for you to add a SORT transformation task within your data flow task.

Previously, we isolated our results sets down to one employee in the AdventureWorks database and joined two tables together. I’m going to do the same thing here. This time, I am going to introduce a third table into the join logic. The three tables are listed below:

  • Employee Department History
  • Person
  • Department

Here is what it would look like via SSMS with T-SQL:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Let’s see how we can mimic this result set in SSIS without using T-SQL to join the three tables. First, I want to say it is not always going to be the best option not to use T-SQL instead of individual tasks in SSIS. I have learned over time that it is easier to write the join logic directly in you data flow source task sometimes. However, this is for demonstration purposes.

Let’s say you received a request to extract a result set, order the results set, and load it to another location. Here is what your package would look like in SSIS using the Merge Join transformation task:

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Here are our results:

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Notice, I used the SORT transformation task in the example above. I used this to depict what has to occur in a step by step approach:

  • Extracted data from the Person and Employee Department History tables
  • Sorted each result set
  • Merged the two results into one using inner join logic
  • Extracted data from the Departement table
  • Sorted the first Joined result set and the Department result set
  • Merge the Joined result set from Persons and Employee History with the Department table

Let’s talk about best practice for this example. This is where the Sort tip is introduced. Since we need an ordered result set per the request, we are using the merge transformation instead of the Union All task. Additionally, we used the Sort task. The Sort task can heavily impact the performance of an SSIS package, particularly when you have larger result sets than what we are going to extract from the AdventureWorks database.

Best practice is to bring in an ordered result set at the source and then merge your record sets. Well, how do you do that? Let’s walk through ordering your result set at the source and configuring your source to define the sorted column for merging your record sets.

First, we open the task and add our ORDER BY clause to our source.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Next, close the source task, right click on the same source task, and choose the Show Advanced Editor option.

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There are two specifications in the Advanced Editor that need to be defined in order to make this work:

  • Click on the Input and Output Properties tab
  • Click on the OLE DB Source Outputs
  • Change the IsSorted parameter to “True”

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  • Drill down into the OLE DB Source Output to Output columns.
  • Click on your columns that you used in your ORDER BY clause.
  • Change your SortKeyPosition parameter from “0″ to “1″.

The desired results should look similar to those below:

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Next, you can remove each sort task that directly follows your OLE DB Source task by repeating the steps above to reconfigure each source editor. Now, my data flow task looks like this:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We get back the same results:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

In case you are wondering why I got rid of all of the Sort tasks except for the one that follows the first merge join, I’ll explain. There are two reasons for this. My second join is on DepartmentID and, most importantly, the merge transformation task is not considered a data flow source task and does not come with the functionality to define the sorted order.

To conclude my second blog post of this series, the Merge Join transformation task can be used to merge columns from two different tables using Join logic similar to the Joins that can be used in T-SQL. We have looked at a step by step break down of what has to occur to implement a Merge Join transformation task as well as discussing some tips and best practice in regards to using the Sort task in SSIS.

I hope this blog post has been informative and that you look forward to reading my third post soon.

Indexing Foreign Keys (Helden)

Richard Foote - Wed, 2014-04-02 00:41
A recent question on an internal forum asked whether an index on a Foreign Key (FK) constraint designed to avoid locking issues associated with deletes on the parent tables needs to precisely match the columns in the FK. Could the columns in the index potentially be a different order or be appended with additional columns ? The answer is […]
Categories: DBA Blogs

Cupcake Wars at NoCOUG Spring Conference

Iggy Fernandez - Tue, 2014-04-01 14:49
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Cupcake Wars at NoCOUG Spring Conference on May 15 at UCSC Extension Silicon Valley SILICON VALLEY (APRIL 1, 2014) – In a bold experiment aimed at increasing attendance at its awesome educational conferences, the Northern California Oracle Users Group (NoCOUG) is considering changing the format of its spring conference to that of […]
Categories: DBA Blogs

<b>Contributions by Angela Golla,

Oracle Infogram - Tue, 2014-04-01 12:57
Contributions by Angela Golla, Infogram Deputy Editor

Big Data Architecture
Everybody's talking about Big Data, but what are you doing about it? The latest OTN ArchBeat podcast just might help to get you started down the right path to Big Data. The panel for this discussion of Big Data Architecture includes Oracle ACE Director and Hadoop expert Gwen Shapira  and Oracle Big Data Handbook authors Tom Plunkett, Bruce Nelson, and Brian MacDonald.

Data Integration Tips: ODI 12c – Varchar2 (CHAR or BYTE)

Rittman Mead Consulting - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:28

Continuing with our Data Integration Tips series, here’s one that applies to both Oracle Data Integrator 11g and 12c. This “tip” was actually discovered as a part of a larger issue involving GoldenGate, Oracle Datapump, and ODI. Maybe a future post will dive deeper into those challenges, but here I’m going to focus just on the ODI bit.

The Scenario

During our setup of GoldenGate and ODI, it was discovered that the source and target databases were set to use different character sets.

Source:  WE8ISO8859P1

Target (DW):  AL32UTF8

During my research, I found that the source is a single-byte character set and the target is multi-byte. What this means is that a special character, such as  “Ǣ“, for example, may take up more than one byte when stored in a column with a VARCHAR2 datatype (as described in the Oracle documentation – “Choosing a Character Set“). When attempting to load a column of datatype VARCHAR2(1) containing the text “Ǣ”, the load would fail with an error, similar to the one below.

ORA-12899: value too large for column "COL_NAME" (actual: 2, maximum: 1)

The difference in character sets is clearly the issue, but how do we handle this when performing a load between the two databases? Reading through the Oracle doc referenced above, we can see that it all depends on the target database column length semantics. Specifically, for the attributes of VARCHAR2 datatype, we need to use character semantics in the target, “VARCHAR2(1 CHAR)”, rather than byte semantics, “VARCHAR2(1 BYTE)”. The former can handle multi-byte character sets simply by storing the characters as they are inserted. The latter will store each byte necessary for the character value individually. Looking back at the example, the character “Ǣ” inserted into a column using byte semantics (which is the default, in this case, when BYTE or CHAR is not specified) would require 2 bytes, thus causing the error.

Here’s the Tip…

The overall solution is to modify any VARCHAR2 columns that may have special characters inserted to use character semantics in the target database. Quite often we cannot determine which columns may or may not contain certain data, requiring the modification of all columns to use character semantics. Using the database system tables, the alter table script to make the necessary changes to existing columns can be generated and executed. But what about new columns generated by ODI? Here we’ll need to use the power of the Oracle Data Integrator metadata to create a new datatype.

In the ODI Topology, under the Physical Architecture accordion, the technologies that can be used as a data source or target are listed. Each technology, in turn, has a set of datatypes defined that may be used as Datastore Attributes when the technology is chosen in a Model.

Oracle Technology

Further down in the list, you will find the VARCHAR2 datatype. Double-click the name to open the object. In the SQL Generation Code section we will find the syntax used when DDL is generated for a column of type VARCHAR2.

Oracle technology - VARCHAR2 datatype

As you can see, the default is to omit the type of semantics used in the datatype syntax, which most likely means BYTE semantics are used, as this is typically the default in an Oracle database. This syntax can be modified to always produce character semantics by adding the CHAR keyword after the length substitution value.


Before making the change to the “out of the box” VARCHAR2 datatype, you may want to think about how this datatype will be used on Oracle targets and sources. Any DDL generated by ODI will use this syntax when VARCHAR2 is selected for an attribute datatype. In some cases, this might be just fine as the ODI tool is only used for a single target data warehouse. But quite often, ODI is used in many different capacities, such as data migrations, data warehousing, etc. To handle both forms of semantics, the best approach is to duplicate the VARCHAR2 datatype and create a new version for the use of characters.

VARCHAR2 datatype edited

Now we can assign the datatype VARCHAR2 (CHAR) to any of our Datastore columns. I recommend the use of a Groovy script if changing Attributes in multiple Datastores.

Change Datatype - VARCHAR2 CHAR

Now when Generate DDL is executed on the Model, the Create Table step will have the appropriate semantics for the VARCHAR2 datatype.


As you can see, the power of Oracle Data Integrator and the ability to modify and customize its metadata provided me with the solution in this particular situation. Look for more Data Integration Tips from Rittman Mead – coming soon!

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Efficacy Math is Hard

Michael Feldstein - Tue, 2014-04-01 10:12

David Wiley has a great post up on efficacy and OER in response to my original post about Pearson’s efficacy plan. He opens the piece by writing about Benjamin Bloom’s famous “2 sigma” problem:

The problem isn’t that we don’t know how to drastically increasing learning. The two-part problem is that we don’t know how to drastically increase learning while holding cost constant. Many people have sought to create and publish “grand challenges” in education, but to my mind none will ever be more elegant than Bloom’s from 30 years ago:

“If the research on the 2 sigma problem yields practical methods – which the average teacher or school faculty can learn in a brief period of time and use with little more cost or time than conventional instruction – it would be an educational contribution of the greatest magnitude.” (p. 6; emphasis in original)

So the conversation can’t focus on efficacy only – if there were no other constraints, we actually know how to do “effective.” But there are other constraints to consider, and to limit our discussions to efficacy is to remain in the ethereal imaginary realm where cost doesn’t matter. And cost matters greatly.

David then launches into a discussion of what he calls his “golden ratio,” or standard deviations per dollar. I have long been a fan of this formulation and quote it frequently. I’m not going to try to summarize his explication of it in his post; you really should go read it. But I would like to tease out a few implications here.

Cost/Effectiveness Analysis

By expressing cost and educational impact in a ratio, David is engaging in something called cost/effectiveness analysis. You may be more familiar with the closely related term “cost/benefit analysis.” The main difference between these two is that in the latter benefit is expressed in financial terms while in the former it is expressed in non-financial terms (such as learning gains, in this case). This is a powerful tool which is unfortunately misapplied more often than not. When people invoke cost/benefit, what often mean to invoke is cost, as in, “Do you really think this is worth it?” It is used to selectively question an expenditure that somebody doesn’t like. (Note that I am not accusing David of making this error; I’m just talking about common usage.) In Congress, cost/benefit is often a requirement tacked on to a bill to decrease the likelihood that the thing the amendment author doesn’t like will actually get funding. Likewise in education, cost/benefit or cost/effectiveness is loosely invoked for things that the invokers don’t think are worth the money up front, whether it’s textbooks, LMSs, or teacher salaries.

But the better way to apply the tool is comparatively across the range of possible investment decisions. “Given X amount of money, do we get more standard deviations for our dollars by investing in A or B?” This moves us away from a focus on preventing spending on things we don’t like and toward a focus on maximizing utility, which is what David is after.  And this is where it gets complicated. A good part of David’s post is about the complexities of measuring and impacting the numerator in standard deviations per dollar. Unfortunately, we have a lot of trouble tracking the denominator as well. Even the institutional costs can be complex, as Phil’s recent response to Chris Newfield regarding the true cost of the UF/Pearson deal illustrates. It gets a lot more complicated when we start asking, “Cost to whom?” The controversy around the UF deal centers around the cost to the institution and ultimately to the state. Textbooks are paid for by students. Mostly. Sort of. Except when they spend university scholarship money on them. Or state or Federal financial aid on them. None of this argues against the framework that David is presenting. It just makes the practical application of it more challenging.

But It’s Worse Than That

So far, we’ve been talking about the ratio as if “efficacy” is represented in the numerator. David reinforces this impression when he writes,

So the conversation can’t focus on efficacy only – if there were no other constraints, we actually know how to do “effective.” But there are other constraints to consider, and to limit our discussions to efficacy is to remain in the ethereal imaginary realm where cost doesn’t matter.

But that’s not really his argument. His argument is cost impacts access which impacts efficacy. If students fail to use the prescribed product because they cannot afford to buy it, and they therefore do poorly in class, then the cost of the product is inextricable from the measure of its efficacy. This is an excellent example of what Mike Caulfield meant when he referred to the “last mile” problem. An educational product, technique, or intervention can only be said to be “effective” when it has an effect. It can only have an effect if it is actually used—and often only if it is actually used in the way it was designed to be used. Of course, if students can’t afford to buy the product, then they won’t use it and it therefore is not effective for them.

So maybe the entire ratio, including numerator and denominator, collectively expresses a measure of effectiveness, right? Not so fast. There are two colleges that are fairly close to where I live. Once, Berkshire Community College, has a total non-residential cost of $5,850 per year for Massachusetts residents taking 15 credits per semester. The other, Simon’s Rock College, has a total residential cost of $60,000 per year. A cost of $100 for curricular materials could have a dramatic impact on access (and therefore efficacy) in the former environment but negligible in the latter. Standard deviations per dollar does not capture this difference. We could instead express the denominator in terms of percentage of total cost, which would help somewhat for this particular purpose. But what we really need is empirical data quantifying the impact of cost on student access under different conditions. Doing so would enable us to separate the numerator and the denominator once again. If the impact of cost for a particular educational population is already factored into the numerator, then we can get back to a discussion of bang for the buck. We also can make more nuanced evaluations. It may be that, because of the access issue, a commercial product is more effective for Simon’s Rock students than it is for BCC students. Further, we could (theoretically) perform a calculation to determine its effectiveness for University of Massachusetts students, which would presumably be different from either of the other two.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that efficacy is complicated. It’s a great goal, but teasing out what it means and how to measure it in authentic and useful ways is going to be very difficult.

The post Efficacy Math is Hard appeared first on e-Literate.

Omnichannel retail changes the face of the merchandiser’s database

Chris Foot - Tue, 2014-04-01 09:48

Retailers that have failed to adapt to the e-commerce landscape are seemingly destined for failure. Those that have executed an omnichannel product delivery approach have implemented complex data analytics programs to provide them with valuable market insight on both individual customers and groups of people. Helping them effectively manage this software are database experts well acquainted with the technology. 

Meeting expectations 
Although online shopping has driven profits for merchandisers, it's also presented them with a list of new problems. One challenge that has evolved with the prevalence of e-commerce is reaching customer satisfaction. Back in the days when the only place to purchase items was in a brick-and-mortar store, it was enough to deliver a product that functioned the way it was supposed to at a reasonable price. Now, retail websites are expected to possess customized marketing campaigns for particular visitors and offer more rewards to loyal customers. 

Meyar Sheik, CEO of personalization software vendor Certona, claimed that without the appropriate data and actions to target shoppers with relevant, applicable information, it becomes very difficult for merchandisers to execute an effective omnichannel strategy. In this respect, possessing the programs capable of managing and translating such a large amount of data is just as much a part of the the customer relations strategy as product development. 

Leaving it to the professionals 
As more retail executives are more concerned about the intelligence derived from the data, many have hired database administration services to effectively implement and run the data analytics programs. In a way, these professionals do more than maintain a corporate network, they provide the expertise and tools necessary to keep the foundation of a business profitable. 

C-suite merchandisers aren't ignorant of this fact, either. According to a report released by research firm IDC, retailers are expected to heavily invest in big data and analytics projects in 2014, requiring the invaluable knowledge of IT services providers. In addition, the study showed that mobile applications connected to e-commerce operations will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10 percent over the next three years. 

From what can be gathered based on the latter statistic, smartphones and tablets are anticipated to be major participants in omnichannel strategies. It is very likely that database administration companies will be hired to oversee the connectivity of these devices and ensure that the avenues through which they communicate are not exploited by cybercriminals. 

Overall, the functionality of data analytics tools and e-commerce software is dependent on IT professionals capable of assessing the needs of particular merchandisers. 

User Groups and Speaking About Support and diag tools.

Fuad Arshad - Tue, 2014-04-01 07:58
The Chicago Oracle Users Group (COUG) is finally in its reboot mode. Thanks to Alfredo Abate for taking on  the responsibility and bringing the enthusiasm to bring the community back together.  Jeremy Schneider has blogged about this here .  There is a Linked in Group now open for business and i would recommend every one to contribute and lets make this reboot a success.

I am also going to be presenting  at the Ohio Users Group on April 17th along with Jeremy Schneider. The Details of the Event can be found at http:/// If you are in the area, Please stop by and say hi. I'll be talking about various support tools that Oracle has and how to use them effectively.

Installation of Oracle Identity Management (OID/OVD/ODSM/OIF) 11gR1( – Part 2

Online Apps DBA - Tue, 2014-04-01 07:40
This post covers part ” of  OID/OVD 11gR1 ( installation that will be used as user repository (Identity Store) for our Oracle Access Manager (OAM) 11gR2 Admin Training (training starts on 3rd May and fee is 699 USD). For first part of OID/OVD installation click here 1. Install IDM (OID/OVD/ODSM) 1.1 Start installer as cd /stage/oracle/idm/ (IdM [...]

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Categories: APPS Blogs

A few words about deployment of ADF production domain on Oracle Linux

Recently I have configured ADF production domain on Oracle Linux 6 OS. One of the stages of this process is installation and configuration of Application Development Runtime (ADR) which is...

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Categories: DBA Blogs

PuppyCoin - New currency

WebCenter Team - Tue, 2014-04-01 03:15

I'm firmly convinced today that as far as content goes - Puppies have become the newest currency. Here at Oracle - we received a notice today about a new feature on our benefits plan that rivals other company benefit plans. We just started this year with an option for TeleMedicine, which is great, but NONE of my friends have this PuppyBenefit where they work. So... maybe you should consider working for Oracle - great products, great people,  awesome benefits and PUPPIES!

Introducing PuppyConnect

American Well is delighted to announce a brand new service:PuppyConnect. Although only in beta, PuppyConnect enables you to visit with a puppy 24/7/365 through secure video chat.

Connecting with a puppy is just as easy as speaking with a doctor or nutritionist on American Well. The only difference is that with PuppyConnect, your visit is with an adorable puppy rather than a clinician. You simply choose the puppy you would like to see, click connect, and the puppy will appear within moments – groomed and ready to go.

For more information on the PuppyConnect feature or to register for our beta experience, please visit

Here is their promotional video on the new service below. Check out the links above - you can even select your puppy! I'm already signed up!

&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;span id=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;XinhaEditingPostion&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/span&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;

Enterprises learn how to capitalize on big data

Chris Foot - Tue, 2014-04-01 01:42

Due to the limited capabilities of a 24-person IT department faced with data analytics programs, many organizations have turned to database administration experts to monitor and operate them. Though they may not deploy the systems themselves, an outsourced service well acquainted with specific client operations can provide valuable insight for business executives looking to gain actionable digital information. 

An unlikely friend 
Organizations providing data analytics systems often push their products as "one size fits all" programs that may or may not be applicable to businesses engaged in different industries. Database administration services acknowledge the specific needs of each of their clients and how they intend to use digital information processing software. Some may collect real-time data points on individual shopping habits while others may be using predictive tools to anticipate product backorders during an impending snow storm. 

According to CIO Magazine, rental-car company Hertz supplements its in-house analytics resources and data center with an outsourced IT service provider. Barbara Wixom, a business intelligence expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claimed that the nationwide organization relies on the database experts to purge unnecessary information, host and manage data and provide insights. One of the programs the company utilizes examines comments from Web surveys, emails and text messages so that store managers can get a better view of customer satisfaction. 

Connecting with the rest of the company
As database administrator services encounter hundreds, if not thousands of different data analytics programs in a typical work week, their personnel have obtained the invaluable ability to communicate the results of the programs to the people utilizing them. Predictive analytics tools provide actionable results, but learning how they work can be a daunting task for marketing professionals just trying to get market insight on particular individuals or populations. 

Ron Bodkin, a contributor to InformationWeek, noted that acclimating individual departments to specific data processing actions is essential to the survival of a company. The writer cited Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which created a data processing platform capable of hosting each team's separate needs and desires while still providing executives with a holistic view of all operations. 

"Access to internal data often requires IT to move from limiting access for security to encouraging sharing while still governing access to data sets," claimed Bodkin. 

The writer also acknowledged the importance of a general willingness to learn. Who better than database experts to educate unknowledgeable executives in how analytics programs operate? 

New Doclet: Administering Search for Content Management Business Attribute Security in PeopleSoft Interaction Hub

PeopleSoft Technology Blog - Mon, 2014-03-31 17:17

PeopleSoft Interaction Hub now implements content search based on content management business attribute security when using the Global Search bar.  It also supports this search within the content management feature. For this purpose, PeopleSoft Interaction Hub delivers new search definitions, search categories, and indexes, which are described in this document.

PeopleSoft Interaction Hub delivers these new search definitions and search categories in addition to the existing delivered search definitions and search categories.  This document is a supplement to the existing search definitions and search categories and the steps for deploying them. For information on the existing search definitions and search categories, refer PeopleSoft Interaction Hub 9.1: Portal and Site Administration, “Understanding Search in PeopleSoft Interaction Hub” and “Administering Search Indexes.”  This document is applicable to customers who have implemented the content management business attribute security (CM002) and are using Oracle's Secure Enterprise Search with PeopleSoft, or customers who are planning to implement the CM002 feature and are using SES.

Clarifications on UF Online Payments to Pearson Embanet

Michael Feldstein - Mon, 2014-03-31 15:35

I wrote a post over the weekend that included information from the Gainesville Sun about the University of Florida Online (UF Online) program and its expected payments to Pearson Embanet. Chris Newfield from Remaking the University also wrote on the subject today. Chris raises some very important issues in his post, including his point:

Universities may have a cost disease, but they now have a privatization disease that is even worse.

In the article, however, there seems to be a misunderstanding of how the revenue sharing agreement works. Given the importance of the questions that Chris raises, I think it is important to understand the payment model used by most Online Service Providers (OSP) such as in place at UF Online.

The part of the blog post that is mistaken, in my understanding, is this [emphasis added]:

UF did admit that it had to pay Pearson cash up front: it just wouldn’t say how much. A week later, Mr. Schweers reported that through various documents he’d been able to show that UF would pay Pearson Embanet $186 million over the 11 year life of the contract. The business plan sounds much like the Udacity-Georgia Tech deal. It involved very large growth projections to 13,000 students paying full in-state or non-resident tuition for an all-online program by 2018, with Pearson getting, in addition to its fee, $19 million of $43 million in projected revenues. 13,000 is the size of UF’s first year class.

The revenue estimates are worth pondering. Even if Pearson fails, it will effectively pocket all of the state funding that was given to UF for online, and some internal UF money besides. Pearson is owed $186 million over time for getting involved, and the state provided $35 million. Pearson will contractually absorb all of the state money and then be entitled to another $151 million of UF’s internal funds. (UF Associate Provost Andy McDonough says that Pearson will get $9.5 million in the first five years, but it is not clear whether or how this reflects the still partially redacted contract.)

If somehow the Pearson dragnet finds thousands of students to pay full tuition for an all-online program with the University of Florida name, UF is slated to gross $24 million in 2019, which is projected to rise to $48 million five years later. In this best possible scenario, UF will get back its initial $151 million around ten years from now. The University will thus be ready to earn its first net dollar in 2025.

The basic idea is that the OSP provides up-front investment, spending far more money in the initial years of an online program than it makes from the school. This is why 2U is growing quickly ($83.1 million revenue on 49% growth) but still is losing big ($27.9 million last year, with unclear prospects on breaking even). Most of 2U’s programs are in the early stages, when they are investing more in the online program than they are making in revenue.

In the UF Online case, they appear to be paying Pearson Embanet $9.5 million for the first five years as partial compensation for these up-front expenses. I believe that Pearson will internally spend far in excess of $9.5 million over the next five years, running a loss. During that same startup period, however, the Florida legislature will fund UF Online with $35 million. Pearson will only make 27% of this money if the Gainesville Sun is correct in its analysis of the contract.

After 2019, all payments shift to revenue from tuition and fees paid by students, as described by the Sun:

After 2018, UF will also stop paying Pearson directly and Pearson’s income will come entirely from its share of tuition revenue and any fees it charges. UF projects it will have over 13,000 students in UF Online generating $43 million in tuition revenue by 2019 — of which Pearson will get close to $19 million.

By 2024, with 24,000 students anticipated, revenues generated will be about $76 million, with $28 million going to Pearson, McCullough said.

OSPs typically take a percentage of the tuition revenue based on enrollment targets. What is important here is that the revenue for the OSP depends on enrollment – if UF Online does not hit the enrollment targets, Pearson Embanet will not get $186 million in revenue. They make a percentage of the revenue without guaranteed payments.

In the best possible scenario for UF Online and for Pearson Embanet, the school will start making money from students on day 1. In 2019, if UF Online hits enrollment targets, UF Online will net $24 million ($43 million of revenue, paying $19 million to Pearson Embanet). As the enrollment grows (again, assuming that it does), then UF Online will make more and more over time, estimated to be net $44 million in 2024 ($76 million of revenue, paying $28 million to Pearson Embanet). If UF Online does not hit targets, both UF Online and Pearson Embanet will make far less than the projections in the article.

As mentioned before, Chris raises some important questions, but this is not a matter of a school paying all revenue to an OSP without seeing a dime of net revenue until 2025 and beyond.

Update (3/31): I found the spreadsheets in the business plan, and these contract numbers are directly derived from the plan. The key is that they label Pearson Embanet (OSP) as “P3″ for Public / Private Partnership (see page 87 for explanation.

As for the mechanism to pay Embanet, they use a moving scale, with different percentages of revenue split per year and per in-state or out-of-state tuition. In 2015 Pearson Embanet makes 40% of the in-state tuition and 60% of the out-of-state tuition, and then in 2022 they make 30% and 42%. This also shows the “Additional Fixed Fee” of $9.5 million broken up over the first five years. See here on page 84:

Revenue mechanism

On page 82 these numbers are applied to the estimated enrollment, with the resultant fee to Pearson Embanet labeled as “P3 Services”. This combines the tuition sharing along with the additional fixed fee. For example in 2016, ($3.2 m * 0.4) + ($7.2 m * 0.6) + $2.0 m = $7.6 million. If you add up the row labeled “P3 Services” you get the total of $186 million.

Revenue and costs

What is unknown from this analysis is the internal costs from Pearson Embanet. The document on page 87 includes the following language, which seems to quantify the Embanet “investment” as “direct cost savings realized from these transfers” at $14 million per year.

There are some recognizable cost transfers in the service purchase, “partnership” plan. It is admittedly difficult to capture all of the services that are part of an external package in an internal matrix subject to per unit, per student, or per activity pricing. However, there are recognizable cost transfers in the market assessment, marketing services, recruitment, contact call center, production (on demand), program coordinators (retention), digital content and tutoring. The direct cost savings realized from these transfers is estimated at about $14 million per year. The present value of the P3 services annualized is approximately $15 million. The University believes the summation of the immediacy of the expertise, the on-request availability, the joint research opportunities, and the expanding innovative digital content represent greater value added than the differential.

Update (2): Note that these are projections that seem to be best-case scenarios.

Full disclosure: Pearson is a client of MindWires Consulting but not for OSP. All information here is from public sources.

The post Clarifications on UF Online Payments to Pearson Embanet appeared first on e-Literate.

To_char, Infinity and NaN

XTended Oracle SQL - Mon, 2014-03-31 15:23

Funny that oracle can easily cast ‘nan’,'inf’,'infinity’,'-inf’,'-infinity’ to corresponding binary_float_infinity,binary_double_nan, but there is no any format models for to_char(binary_float_infinity,format) or to_binary_***(text_expr,format) that can output the same as to_char(binary_float_infinity)/to_binary_float(‘inf’) without format parameter:

If a BINARY_FLOAT or BINARY_DOUBLE value is converted to CHAR or NCHAR, and the input is either infinity or NaN (not a number), then Oracle always returns the pound signs to replace the value.

Little example:

SQL> select to_binary_float('inf') from dual;


SQL> select to_binary_float('inf','9999') from dual;
select to_binary_float('inf','9999') from dual
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01722: invalid number

SQL> select
  2     to_char(binary_float_infinity)         without_format
  3    ,to_char(binary_float_infinity,'99999') with_format
  4    ,to_char(1e6d,'99999')                  too_large
  5  from dual;

--------- ------------------ ------------------
Inf       ######             ######

SQL> select to_char(0/0f) without_format, to_char(0/0f,'tme') with_format from dual;

--------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nan       ################################################################

ps. it’s just crossposting of my old blog.

Categories: Development

The Art of Exploiting Injection Flaws

Slavik Markovich - Mon, 2014-03-31 15:14
Sid is doing his popular course, The Art of Exploiting Injection Flaws, at this year’s Black Hat. You can find more details here. Definitely highly recommended.

Customized pages with Distributed Credential Cellector (DCC)

Frank van Bortel - Mon, 2014-03-31 12:29
One of the worst documented areas in OAM; customizing pages with DCC. One revelation: you must use when you want to work, as seems to build the "Callback URL" list, that uses to destroy the session cookies. Frank

Oracle Midlands : Event #3 – Registration Open

Tim Hall - Mon, 2014-03-31 11:04

Registration is now open for Oracle Midlands Event #3 on Tuesday 20th May..

As I mentioned in a previous postChristian Antognini will be the speaker for both the sessions this time. He’ll be covering “12c Adaptive Query Optimization” and “Row Chaining and Row Migration Internals”.

Red Gate Software have kindly offered to sponsor the event again, so registration is free!

I’ve already registered. :) Please make the effort to come along and support the event!



Oracle Midlands : Event #3 – Registration Open was first posted on March 31, 2014 at 6:04 pm.
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MapR Sandbox for Hadoop Learning

Surachart Opun - Mon, 2014-03-31 10:49
I got email about MapR Sandbox, that is a fully functional Hadoop cluster running on a virtual machine (CentOS 6.5) that provides an intuitive web interface for both developers and administrators to get started with Hadoop. I belief it's a good idea to learn about Hadoop and its ecosystem. Users can download for VMware VM or VirtualBox. I downloaded for VirtualBox and imported it. I changed about network to use "Bridged Adapter". After started... I connected it http://ip-address:8443
Then, I selected "Launch HUE" and "Launch MCS", but got some error and fixed.
Finally,  I could use HUE and MCS.

Hue is an interface for interacting with web applications that access the MapR File System (MapR-FS). Use the applications in HUE to access MapR-FS, work with tables, run Hive queries, MapReduce jobs, and Oozie workflows.

The MapR Control System (MCS) is a graphical, programmatic control panel for cluster administration that provides complete cluster monitoring functionality and most of the functionality of the command line.

After reviewing MapR Sandbox for VirtualBox, "maprdev" account is development account that can sudo to be root.
login as: maprdev
Server refused our key
Using keyboard-interactive authentication.
Welcome to your Mapr Demo virtual machine.
[maprdev@maprdemo ~]$ sudo -l
Matching Defaults entries for maprdev on this host:
    !visiblepw, always_set_home, env_reset, env_keep="COLORS DISPLAY HOSTNAME HISTSIZE INPUTRC KDEDIR LS_COLORS", env_keep+="MAIL PS1 PS2 QTDIR USERNAME LANG
    env_keep+="LC_TIME LC_ALL LANGUAGE LINGUAS _XKB_CHARSET XAUTHORITY", secure_path=/sbin\:/bin\:/usr/sbin\:/usr/bin
User maprdev may run the following commands on this host:
[maprdev@maprdemo ~]$
[maprdev@maprdemo ~]$ sudo showmount -e localhost
Export list for localhost:
/mapr                *
/mapr/ *
[maprdev@maprdemo ~]$
Read More Written By: Surachart Opun
Categories: DBA Blogs

Innovation Springs to Life Again - Award Nominations Now Open

WebCenter Team - Mon, 2014-03-31 07:00


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2014 Oracle Excellence Awards: Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation

Oracle is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2014 Oracle Excellence Awards: Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation.  The Oracle Excellence Awards for Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation honor organizations using Oracle Fusion Middleware to deliver unique business value.  This year, the awards will recognize customers across nine distinct categories:

Customers may submit separate nominations forms for multiple categories; The 2014 Fusion Middleware categories are as follows; subject to change:

If you consider yourself a pioneer using these solutions in innovative ways to achieve significant business value, submit your nomination for the 2014 Oracle Excellence Awards for Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation by Friday, June 20th, 2014, for a chance to win a FREE registration to Oracle OpenWorld 2014 (September 28-October 2) in San Francisco, California.   Top customers will be showcased at Oracle Open World 2014, get a chance to mingle with Oracle executives, network with their peers and be featured in Oracle Publications.

NOTE: All nominations are also considered for Oracle OpenWorld Session presentations and speakers. Speakers chosen receive FREE registration to Oracle OpenWorld. 

For additional details, See: Call for Nominations: Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation

Last year’s winners can be seen here: 2013 FMW Innovation Winners