Oracle Exadata Software 11.2.3.1.0 Released

The Oracle Exadata software 11.2.3.1.0 has been released (MOS Patch#13536739). This patch includes all fixes and enhancements included up to release 11.2.2.4.2, any fixes and enhancements thereafter up to this release.

The database minimal pack is no longer required to be applied on compute nodes along with this patch. Instead, the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) will be used for the Linux database server update via YUM utility.

However, a one-time setup is required to prepare the database servers to use ULN, following MOS Patch#13741363.

For the upgrade recommendations, refer to MOS Note: 888828.1.

Categories: Exadata

Cloud Computing Definition

While working on a cloud computing research topic, came across The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing and I found it quite comprehensive and found it worth sharing:

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” 

The definition paper also outlines what the cloud model is:

“This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.”

As states in the paper, the essential characteristics refer to:

  1. On-demand self-service
  2. Broad network access
  3. Resource pooling
  4. Rapid elasticity
  5. Measured service

Three service models are:

  1. Software as a service (SaaS)
  2. Platform as a service (Paas)
  3. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

Four Deployment Models are:

  1. Private cloud
  2. Community cloud
  3. Public cloud
  4. Hybrid cloud

In a nutshell, it provides a excellent overview of the cloud computing and its model.

 

Integrating Oracle Apps 11i with MS AD 2008

December 24, 2009 4 comments

After the release of MS Windows 2008, customers are planning to upgrade their MS AD 2003 deployments to MS AD 2008 (as part of OS upgrade to MS Windows 2008) to achieve the benefits provided by MS Windows 2008. For the companies, which are using Oracle Applications 11i or Oracle Internet Directory 10g products, and have integrated these products with MS AD 2003 to achieve Single Sign-On will not be able to keep the certification intact, after upgrade of MS AD 2003 to MS AD 2008. Reason being, Oracle Apps 11i or Oracle Internet Directory 10g are not certified with MS AD 2008 as of now.

Metalink Note – Is OID 10g Compatible with Microsoft Active Directory 2008 [ID 944298.1] states that OID 10g is not certified with MS AD 2008. However, OID 11g is certified with MS AD 2008.

So, as OID 11g is not yet certified with Oracle Apps 11i, integration deployments with Oracle Apps 11i/OID 10g cannot be integrated with MS AD 2008.

Well, there is a way around to achieve this. However, that will involve introduction of additional component I.e. Oracle Identity Manager (OIM), a component of Oracle Identity Management Suite, provides a identity provisioning solution for Oracle and non-Oracle products. Oracle Identity Manager is certified to use with Oracle Internet Directory 10g and MS Active Directory 2008.

Oracle Identity Manager provides connectors for OID 10g and MS AD 2008, which allows users created in MS AD 2008 to be reconciled into OIM, which in turn will propogate user information to OID. In turn, OID will propagate those changes to Oracle Apps 11i FND_USER table.

References:

Which OS are you!!

November 13, 2008 Leave a comment

Oracle Portal Performance Reporting

October 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Oracle Portal provides performance reporting scripts tool, with help of which administrators can generate performance statistic reports for portal page access, web cache hits, portlet response time, etc.

Performance reporting scripts tool is a collection of scripts which create a schema named OWA_PERF in the database to store performance data captured from OracleAS log files. OWA_PERF schema can be created in Metadata Repository database for test environment. Since the performance data loading and access consumes significant database resources, it is recommended that this schema should be created in separate database, other than the database used by OracleAS i.e. neither Metadata Repository database nor a customer database (used for application data).

Administrators can upload performance data from OracleAS log files, into the database using set of scripts provided. Performance reporting scripts set provides set of SQL scripts, which can be executed against OWA_PERF schema to access performance statistics for various Portal components in simple tabular format reports. 

Portal Page Access by Day Report

Portal Page Access by Day Report

Performance reporting scripts provide a HTML file which contains links to performance reports generated via these set of scripts. 

Portal Performance Reports

Portal Performance Reports

References:

Which Single Sign-On?

August 21, 2008 2 comments

In this post, I am discussing about current Single Sign-On products available from Oracle, as a part of Oracle Identity Management (IDM) Suite, and plus OracleAS Single Sign-On.

IDM Suite comprises of more than dozen products to manage end-to-end lifecycle management for user identities. There are two different products that are available in Oracle IDM Suite to provide Single Sign-On functionality for web and desktop application resources:

Oracle Access Manager (OAM) : This is a identity management solution for web applications (legacy and custom applications) and user identity administration. OAM secure applications by providing centralized authentication, authorization and auditing to enable single sign-on for enterprise web applications. It also provides delegated administration and self-registration options with approval workflows.

OAM can use any LDAP-based directory as its backend repository to store policy, configuration, workflow, user, group and organization data.

OAM supports following authentication methods:

  • Basic Username/Password
  • X.509 Certificates
  • Smart cards
  • Two Factor Tokens
  • Form-based
  • Custom authentication via Authentication APIs

Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-On Suite: Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-On (eSSO) provides single sign-on functionality for all the enterprise applications i.e. web based, client-server and legacy applications. Users are able to use eSSO functionality whether they are connected to corporate network, traveling, or roaming between workstations. Oracle eSSO uses any LDAP directory or any SQL database as its user profile and credential repository. It accepts primary authentication from Windows logon. It acts as a Password Manager and provides n-level of authentication.

So where does OracleAS Single Sign-On fits into current identity management solution offering? or when I can’t use OracleAS Single Sign-On?

OracleAS Single Sign-On is a single sign-on solution available for Oracle Application Server 10g applications e.g. Portal, Discoverer, Forms, Reports etc. It also provides Single Sign-On functionality for Oracle Applications 11i/R12.

OracleAS Single Sign-On (SSO) has few limitations as far as OAM and eSSO is concerned:

  • It needs Oracle Internet Directory as a authentication and authorization source, whereas OAM and eSSO can use any LDAP-based directory as a backend repository.
  • OracleAS SSO cannot talk directly to any other directory service e.g. Active Directory or Sun LDAP. To achieve this, Oracle Internet Directory need to integrate with 3rd party directory service. It means customers ending up with one more directory service as a part of solution, even when they don’t need it.
  • It has a limited auditing capabilities.
  • OracleAS SSO provides a Windows Native Authentication (WNA) option for Windows users, which allows users to login seamlessly to OracleAS SSO applications e.g. Portal, Oracle Applicatons 11i/R12 etc., once they have logged in successfully into Windows domain. However, it provide single sign-on functionality for applications, which are integrated with OracleAS SSO only. Whereas, Oracle eSSO provides single sign-on functionality for all web and desktop applications (majority of them) that are running at user’s desktop, with minimal deployment effort.

To summarize, customer should use Oracle Access Manager to provide single sign-on functionality for web applications, and Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-On Suite to provide single sign-on functionality for desktop+web applications.

Stay tuned for more discussion on Oracle Identity and Access Management technologies and deployment scenarios.

References:

OracleAS 10g Patch Set 3 (10.1.2.3.0)

May 18, 2008 1 comment

Oracle has released OracleAS 10g Patch Set 3 (10.1.2.3.) – ML Patch#5983622 in April ’08.

This patch set can be applied to following releases of OracleAS 10g:

  • OracleAS 10g Release 2 (10.1.2.0.0, 10.1.2.0.2, 10.1.2.1.0, 10.1.2.2.0)
  • OracleAS 10g Release 2 Standard Edition One (10.1.2.0.1)
  • OracleAS Forms and Reports Services (10.1.2.0.2)
  • OracleAS Portal 10g Release 2 (10.1.4, 10.1.4.1)
  • Oracle Developer Suite 10g (10.1.2.0.2)
  • Oracle BI 10g Release 2 (10.1.2, 10.1.2.0.2)
  • Oracle BI Tools 10g Release 2 (10.1.2, 10.1.2.0.2)

This patch set will also upgrade Portal version from 10.1.4.1 to 10.1.4.2.

Oracle Applications 11i or R12 customer must check the certification matrix before upgrading standalone OracleAS 10g instances which are integrated with Oracle Applications environment.

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Search in Oracle Portal

Oracle Portal provides a deployment framework for applications based on industry standards e.g. J2EE, JSR168, WSRP etc. Oracle Portal is also used as a document management or content management solution, as a centralized store for corporate documents. This feature offers more enhancements than storing documents in network share e.g. at NTFS drive located in Windows environment. I will dedicate a separate post for comparison between Oracle Portal based document management solution and network share based document storage. One of the major enhancements is the option to search the documents or content uploaded to Oracle Portal based document repository.

In this post, I would like to highlight the options available to search the content in Oracle Portal. Following are the options to search content in Oracle Portal:

  • Basic Search – Item and Portlet: This is available as a built-in item type and portlet for Page Designer/Developers. It does not provide an option to provide search operators while performing search.
  • Advanced Search – Portlet: It provides additional search operators for search. It also provides an option to search based on item/document attributes e.g. search based on Author of the item/document.
  • Custom Search – Portlet: In addition to features available in Advanced Search portlet, it provides an option to define the layout of Search Form and Results Page. It also allows Portlet Publishers to use separate Search Results page for each of the Custom Search portlet. Another useful feature of Custom Search is that it provides an option to automate the search action based on search term specified i.e. whenever user will access the page, Custom Search portlet will perform the search and will display the results in portlet region. For example, end user can create Custom Search portlet to show list of documents uploaded to Oracle Portal in last 7 days.

Oracle Portal search options mentioned above, provide an interface to perform search on item/document uploaded to repository. Oracle Portal Search crawls and index the content/document in Portal repository at regular interval. Oracle Portal Search uses Oracle Text for indexing of items/documents uploaded by default. Administrators can enable/disable the option to use Oracle Text for Oracle Portal search. However, if Oracle Text is disabled in Oracle Portal, search will only return results based on terms found in item/document metadata only. In order to search the content of the documents uploaded e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF etc. Oracle Text must be enabled.

Oracle Portal Search perform the search based on permissions available to end user i.e. users will be able to search the content/document for which he/she is authorized. Thus, it will not violate the security policy by searching the un-authorized content and returning results to users.

References:

SQL Developer 1.5 – New Features

Oracle has released SQL Developer 1.5 (1.5.0.53.38)  last month. I tried that version recently, and found couple of new features that are worth mentioning. Following are the few of the new features that I found useful:

SQL Worksheet

  • Flashback. For 10g and 11g, you can use flashback on your data. See the Flashback tab on Tables.
  • Separate unshared worksheet for connections for long running queries. Use the keystroke ctrl+shift+N. This will create a separate, unshared worksheet.

Navigator

  • Run Manage Database report ( as SYS) to shut down and rest rat database
  • Generate DB Doc (right-click for context menu on connections) for all objects in a schema. Open the generated index.html file in a browser to review objects.

Generate DB Doc

Figure 1: Sample output generated using Navigator: Generate DB Doc option

Connections

  • Support for LDAP and Authenticated Enterprise users
  • OS Authentication

Tuning

  • Open *.trc file in SQL Developer for a formatted trace file.

Reports

  • ASH and AWR reports

It seems that Oracle is continuously extending the functionalities available in SQL Developer with every new release. However, I am definitely looking for a dashboard kind of reporting for specific or multiple databases. Hope we should be able to get that feature in future from Oracle or via 3rd party extension.

References:

Categories: General

Oracle Portal Release 11

While reading Portal Statement of Direction, I found a glimpse of new features that Oracle has planned to introduce in next major release of Portal i.e. Portal Release 11.

For those who are curious, like me, to find out what Oracle is introducing in next release of Portal, I have summarised few of the new features in this post that I found useful:

  1. A two-step portal export/import model based on database links configured between source and target portal instances. It will really improve the code deployment process among Portal deployments.
  2. OmniPortlet will provide an advanced parameter form that allows you to populate a LOV dynamically based on a SQL query/database column. This feature is available in Portal 10g as well. However, it was not out of the box, it was required to tweak portlet configuration files, which was quite error prone. Another option is that develop your own custom parameter form based on PL/SQL. So, this new feature will definitely reduce the complexity and time involved in custom parameter form development.
  3. BPEL-based Process Content Routing and Approval – a useful feature for customers who are using Portal as a document/content management framework, whether they want to leverage simple workflow included in Portal or more complex approval chain based on Oracle BPEL Workflow.
  4. New list of portlets:
    1. Oracle Oracle Secure Enterprise Search (search submission and search results)
    2. Oracle BPEL (notifications, task analysis, reporting),
    3. Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (Siebel BI Tools)
    4. Hyperion System 9 BPM (Business Performance Management)
    5. Support for incorporation of portlets from Peoplesoft Applications, including PeopleSoft Version 9These features will allow customers to leverage Portal interface to publish dispersed content from various enterprise applications in personalized interface.

So next release of Oracle Portal will also enhance customers’ application integration experience where they want to extend Oracle Portal by building new presence-aware and context-aware applications on top of Portal layer, using Oracle WebCenter. Thus, adding Web 2.0 capabilities to Oracle Portal.

This is a glimpse based on Statement of Direction document, final product release will give us a real insight into what new features Portal Release 11 holds. Let us wait and watch.

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