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Created by Edward Roske, Oracle ACE Director in the Hyperion space. An expert on Essbase and Hyperion in general, Edward devotes this space to all the Hyperion news that's fit to blog.Edward Roskehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04386477801237753018noreply@blogger.comBlogger197125
Updated: 17 hours 31 min ago

Exalytics - Pricing Has Been Announced

Thu, 2012-01-12 13:24
The official catchy Oracle name is "Exalytics In-Memory Machine X2-4" which come to think of it is not very catchy but does sound techie.  Larry Ellison announced Exalytics at OpenWorld 2011 to great fanfare and little details.  In a nutshell, it's Essbase, OBIEE, and TimesTen running in-memory on a really powerful server.  How powerful?  40 Intel cores (4 Intel Xeon E7-4800 processors with 10 cores each), a terabyte of RAM, an InfiniBand backbone (40 GB/s when talking to Exadata), two 10 GB/s ethernet ports for connecting to non-Exadata sources, and 3.6 TB of hard drive.  Imagine Essbase running fully in memory with ethernet speeds so powerful it's like you're running Essbase locally (subject to the speed of your actual corporate network, of course).

It's an exciting development for those people who want to make BI virtually real-time.  There's even a slightly modified front-end on the OBIEE side of things to make queries a more interactive "speed of thought" activity.  If you want to make Essbase even faster, this is the solution for you.  Early benchmarks have been all over the map (I've seen 5 times improvement all the way up to 80 times improvement) but suffice to say, that once you've tuned your Essbase cubes for running in-memory, you'll be looking at five-fold improvement at the bare minimum.  If you want to learn more, Oracle has an in-depth whitepaper at:

Various rumors have leaked out on the pricing for Exalytics, but it's now been finalized and posted on the Oracle website. While there are a few places where you can find this on the web this morning (including the actual PDF of the pricing from Oracle), the best summary I've read comes from Chris Kanaracus at IDG.

Here are the pricing highlights:
  • Hardware: $135,000
  • Processor Licenses of TimesTen: $34,500
  • Named User Licenses of TimesTen: $300
  • Processor Licenses of BI Foundation Suite: $450,000
  • Named User Licenses of BI Foundation Suite: $3,675
Some additional points:
  • Annual Maintenance is the typical 22% of net.
  • Licenses of TimesTen and BI Foundation Suite must be equal (if I'm reading a footnote on page 8 of the price list correctly).
  • BI Foundation Suite includes Essbase, OBIEE, and Oracle Strategy & Scorecard Management.  The pricing above is the current pricing for BI Foundation Suite (technology price list, page 5).
  • Processors must be licensed for every core meaning full list at processor licensing for every core on the box is almost $20,000,000 (though the article points out that Oracle would probably drop that as much as 70%). That's still a lot of money so I foresee most companies going with the named user license.
  • Oracle will probably discount named users as well. Assume ~50% discount on these (though Chris Kanaracus points out that it can go as much as 70% for large deals). Hardware, following Oracle traditional appliance discounting, will discount at most 25%.
Following the math, list price for 100 users (the minimum you're allowed to buy) would be about:
  • Hardware: $135,000
  • Software: $397,500
  • List Total: $532,500
  • Discount: $232,500 (25% hardware, 50% software)
  • Net Total: $300,000
  • Maintenance: $66,000 (due on signing for 1st year)
It's expensive, to say the least, but keep in mind that list for 100 users of just Essbase is $290,000 and this gives you some great hardware, Essbase, OBIEE, and TimesTen with everything pre-installed and configured (reducing your infrastructure costs).  I don't know what Oracle will do if you already own licenses of BI Foundation Suite.  My guess is (and I don't work for Oracle) that they won't make you pay for it again, but you'll at least have to pay for the full hardware and TimesTen.



Before I leave the subject of Exalytics, I have to point out just how worried SAP is about Exalytics competing with their HANA solution.  SAP's Sanjay Poonen (President, Corporate Officer of Global Solutions at SAP) wrote one of the worst attack pieces I've ever read right after Exalytics was announced.  To summarize his point, Essbase is an old dying OLAP technology that's been around for 20 years and is therefore worthless.  First of all Sanjay, the relational database has been around a lot longer than that and no one is saying that RDBMS' are going away.  But my main problem with his article is that if you take him at face value, he has no idea about Essbase beyond 10 year old bad competitive intelligence information.  To quote from his article he paid to post on Forbes.com:
Essbase even with all its “optimization” cannot efficiently run in-memory – you still have to do pre-calculations and pre-aggregates, with no ability to do calculations on the fly. You’d have to limit how far the Essbase calculations propagate to ensure performance doesn’t blow up, and insert operations force the indexes in the database to be rebuilt, thus ruining performance...
Um, not to imply that no one fact checked your essay Mr. Poonen, but you're talking about Essbase Block Storage (the 20 year old technology which most would think means it's more reliable than something released in the last 2 years).  Essbase Aggregate Storage (created about 6 years ago) was created to solve all these problems.  It's a fundamentally different architecture than Essbase block storage: it doesn't need to be aggregated, it doesn't need to be pre-calculated, and it does all formulas and calculations on the fly.  There is no separate index that needs to be rebuilt.  Basically, all your problems you're listing (forgetting that there are many things the Essbase Block Storage does better than any OLAP technology out there), are for the Essbase Block Storage technology.

I would forgive Sanjay Poonen for just using out-dated information under the excuse that he doesn't have access to Essbase directly, but a simple Google search takes you to the Essbase Wikipedia page where it defines Essbase Aggregate Storage:
Although block storage effectively minimizes storage requirements without impacting retrieval time, it has limitations in its treatment of aggregate data in large applications, motivating the introduction of a second storage engine, named Aggregate Storage Option (Essbase ASO) or more recently, Enterprise Analytics. This storage option makes the database behave much more similarly to OLAP databases like SQL Server Analysis Services.  Following a data load, Essbase ASO does not store any aggregate values, but instead calculates them on demand.

That text has been on Essbase's Wikipedia page for a few years, so the only conclusion I can draw is that either Sanjay doesn't know how to use Google, or he was blatantly ignoring the facts.  Assuming he's not a moron, SAP must be very afraid of Exalytics to put this piece together and hope no one pointed out how fundamentally errant the whole discussion is.  I don't have time to point out every one of the wrong things in his article, but if you wish to comment on his article, visit here, and feel free to correct anything you disagree with.

And just in case Sanjay thinks I'm not willing to stand behind what I write, I challenge him to a cube build-off.  Let's get together and put whatever cube technology SAP is pushing today (SAP BW?  SAP BIW?  Business Objects?  HANA?) up against Essbase.  You and I can jointly benchmark cube build time, query time, calculation time, whatever you want, and we'll both jointly publish the results.  If you're not afraid of how the results will come out, call my office at 01-972-735-8716.  Ask for Edward Roske and say it's Sanjay Poonen calling.  I'll make sure my receptionist knows to forward your call to my cell anywhere I am in the world.  I look forward to hearing from you.

When does Exalytics release?
Exalytics should be generally available soon, but it has to wait until, among other things, Essbase 11.1.2.2 comes out since they're tweaking Essbase to run better in-memory.  If I had to guess, I'd say before the end of Oracle's fiscal year (May 2012).  Exalytics will continue to make Oracle Essbase and OBIEE a factor to be reckoned with going forward.  I'm told there's a waiting list for the first Exalytics boxes to come off the line, so call your Oracle rep now if you're interested.
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Blogs - EPM, Hyperion, and Essbase

Sun, 2011-11-27 15:37
Blog Seeking Blogs
Hello, all.  I wanted to wait to do a new blog posting until after the holidays.  Originally, I meant Easter which turned into Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Black Friday Continued, Cyber Monday Pre-Sale, and a whole lot of other very important holidays.  Rather than wait until Christmas, I thought I would do a very brief blog entry.


Since I started this blog a few years ago, many blogs have sprung up that have excellent information.  I'm sure I don't know about all of them, so I'd like your help in linking to the great Oracle EPM, Hyperion, and Essbase blogs I may be missing.  Have a look at the scroll on the right (if you're reading this through RSS, go to http://looksmarter.blogspot.com/ and look on the right).  If there's something it seems like I'm missing, comment on this entry and I'll add it.


My only criteria is that the blog not be a wholly self-serving marketing blog designed to drive traffic to that person's company's website.  For instance, readers of my blog historically find it difficult to find out what company I actually work for (it's interRel, by the way).  This is because I believe one should be educated first and if they like what you're sharing, they'll seek you out for work.


Calc Script Class on December 8
Now that I've said that, allow me to be slightly hypocritical for a second and mention that I am teaching one of my once a year "Advanced Essbase: Calc Scripts for Mere Mortals" day-long classes.  I do this once a year and it's about the only time I ever teach a paid class.  Unlike previous years, it's a virtual class, so you can take it from anywhere in the world.  If you want to learn about writing Essbase BSO (and ASO) calc scripts, the class is December 8 and it's open to customers of Oracle and partners as well.  The class is $995 USD and at last check, there were a couple of spots open (awesomeness of the virtual classes).  For more info, visit http://www.interrel.com/currenttraining.aspx.  To register, send an e-mail to Danielle White.


Returning to my original point, if you know of some great blogs I'm missing, comment on the blog with the new address (and yes, it's fine to mention your own blog).
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 is Available

Thu, 2011-04-07 15:20
Gentlemen, begin your upgrades.  Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 has finally shipped.  Those who've been waiting for the migration (and slightly more stable) releases of Essbase, Hyperion Planning, HFM, and the rest for around a year can finally get real lives.


I know: I'm shocked it's out too.  It's not on edelivery.oracle.com yet (at least as of 4:15PM Eastern on April 7, 2011) but it is available for download on download.oracle.com.  I made a bit.ly link to the exact page:
Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1


Tell everyone and impress your friends.


UPDATE: As of April 8, 2011, EPM 11.1.2.1 is now available in nice Media Packs on eDelivery.oracle.com for the following operating systems:

  • HP-UX (Itanium)
  • IBM AIX (64-bit)
  • Linux (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Solaris (64-bit only)
  • Windows (32-bit and 64-bit)

As mentioned before, the EPM docs (including all the new features and yes, there are some new features) on 11.1.2.1 can also be found here:
http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/E17236_01/index.htm
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 - Releasing No Sooner Than April 10

Fri, 2011-04-01 11:25
In a posting back in February, I relayed that development was virtually promising that Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 would be out sometime in March. I then padded that to be sometime by March 31. Here's what I was told from multiple sources (not one of which is Glenn Schwartzberg): apparently, development discovered two bugs during testing just this week. They are being immediately corrected and then the patch should release to manufacturing (meaning it can be bundled up and posted on edelivery.oracle.com).

This jibes with a public announcement that Oracle made during a Customer Advisory Board meeting in Copenhagen this week. A customer that was there told me that Oracle announced they were releasing 11.1.1.2 to edelivery on April 10. This is the first time I've ever heard of an exact date spoken in a semi-public forum.

No I think that the more likely date is April 11 (which is a Monday and as such, a lot more likely than Sunday). That said, the earliest I would expect it is April 11 since, well how do I put it gently, Oracle has been working this for around a year now and has lost pretty much all credibility with estimating patch release dates.

To add to the bad news, it looks like support for other application servers (like WebSphere) will NOT be in this patch. Looks like it will be delayed until to 11.1.2.2 (and who really believes that will really release by year-end?).

Keep watching here and I'll let you know when 11.1.2.1 gets posted for downloading.
Categories: BI & Warehousing

ISA Consulting Bought by E&Y

Wed, 2011-03-16 01:52
And so the consulting company acquisitions continue.  I haven't written about this in over a year mostly because these acquisition entries take so many hours to research (cry me a river, Edward), so let's bury the lead by first covering all the major acquisitions that have occurred since my last entry:


November 24, 2009: PWC acquires Paragon
Those in the Oracle EPM areas in Europe & Asia knew of Paragon.  With close to 100 employees, they were a significant player in the UK, Turkey, and Singapore markets.  It's not known how many of Paragon's employees made the transition to PWC, but press releases seem to reflect around 40.


March 29, 2010: Perficient acquires Kerdock
Kerdock was a major, long-standing Oracle BI/EPM vendor dating back to roughly 2002.  Based out of Houston, they had close to 65 employees at their peak.  When they were bought last year by Perficient (a public-traded company - NASDAQ: PRFT - with about 1,400 employees), they had roughly 45 employees and about $8MM in annual revenue.  They were bought for $6MM (of which $3.4MM was in cash and $2.6MM in PRFT stock).


May 4, 2010: Idhasoft acquires TLC Technologies
TLC is a long-time Oracle EPM partner based out of Pennsylvania.  Though they dated back to the late 90's, they were never that large.  Last year, a controlling interest in TLC was acquired by Idhasoft (through their Prism Informatica subsidiary) for an undisclosed sum.
If you hadn't heard of Meridian when Edgewater acquired them, you weren't alone.  They were only a few years old (and they were pretty small) but they had begun developing a reputation as a Hyperion Strategic Finance implementer that was able to compete with the focused expertise of BlueStone.  We'll never know if they would have fulfilled that promise of HSF experience, though, because they were acquired too early on by Edgewater.  They did have several former Alcar executives (the company that became HSF) on their leadership team (including Alcar's former head of services, Ricardo Rasche), so their acquisition was significant.


August 31, 2010: E&Y acquires Global Analytics
Global Analytics, as you may recall, bought Narratus (the former "Data into Action") a couple of years ago and in 2010, they were gobbled up themselves.  Largely through the strengths of Hyperion installation expert, Bill Beach, Global Analytics had developed a reputation in the Hyperion infrastructure world.  For a time, they were one of only 5 companies (interRel was one of the others) with a significant infrastructure practice around Hyperion which included them subcontracting to other larger global systems integrators.  They had several areas outside of Hyperion, and my guess is that's why  E&Y bought them in 2010.  The small size of their Hyperion practice doesn't seem like it would have warranted E&Y's attention.  Though maybe this should have been a predictor of the acquisition of ISA?


October 21, 2010: IBM acquires Clarity
In my opinion, this was the most significant acquisition in the Oracle EPM, Hyperion, and Essbase world in 2010.  Clarity Systems out of Canada (same place my high school girlfriend lived, by the way) was the first substantial partner to build a pre-packaged budgeting solution on top of Essbase that way pre-dated Hyperion Planning.  Originally a consulting partner at Arbor, Clarity turned their spreadsheet-based front-end to Essbase eventually into a full-featured financial planning, consolidation and reporting product.  What was once a fairly pleasant working relationship got contentious for a number of reasons including alleged licensing violations and what later turned into a compete between Clarity and Hyperion's own Planning and Financial Management products.  As Clarity began to score some competitive wins over Hyperion at companies like Southwest Airlines and Alcon Labs, the relationship took a turn for the downright hostile.


Eventually, Clarity started integrating with non-Hyperion products as they continued their expansion.  Interestingly, when IBM bought them last year, IBM made no secrets about their intentions to kill off most of the Clarity suite (including the planning and financial consolidation functionality).  This actually makes complete sense since they already have the Cognos and TM/1 products doing virtually the same functions.  So why did they acquire them?  Consultant bodies to implement BI/EPM at IBM's consulting clients? Clarity's client list? Just to eliminate a competitor.  None of the above.  Apparently, IBM noticed a weakness in their XBRL reporting and one component of Clarity handled this functionality.  Seems like overkill to me, but then I'm not a company the size of IBM.


Throughout 2010: Palladium founders leave to form other firms
As disastrous as the Hyperion/Arbor merger was back in 1998, there are many who feel that the merger of Balanced Scorecard Collaborative, Painted Word, and ThinkFast into Palladium was even worse.  While I'm not one to judge, it has definitely been true that  Palladium has been bleeding talent (in the Hyperion/EPM world, at least) since their founding.  The last 15 months have been particularly harsh with three major group personnel departures:
  • Painted Word executives including Scot MacGillivray, Jim Leavitt, Chris Boulanger, and Peter Graham all left to found Cervello.  All of these people were founders and/or executives at Painted Word when it became part of Palladium.  They stuck it out for a few years and then left as a group to create Cervello which seems to be doing Oracle BI and EPM consulting.  I can't vouch for that personally, because I haven't run into them at all, but their departure from Palladium was definitely a blow.
  • Tom Phelps left Palladium to start up ClearLine Group.  Tom Phelps was the original founder of the company that later became ThinkFast (one of the three components of Palladium).  Tom and his brother, Marty, founded a company that appears to be doing Oracle EPM consulting (but again, like Cervello, I haven't run into them yet).  With Tom Phelps departing and the Painted Words executives departing, the only founders of the component companies that are still part of Palladium are the Balanced Scorecard guys.
  • Palladium Pace team members including Dean Tarpley, Michael Wright, Carolyn Sieben, and a few others left to join Alvarez and Marsal in August, 2010.  The Pace product hadn't been selling anywhere near what its creators expected and this was the final nail in the coffin of the product.  While Pace is still mentioned on Palladium's website, it doesn't seem that there's anyone left at Palladium still working on the product.  Palladium had been shopping around for a buyer of their Pace business unit for a while, so it's unclear as to if Palladium sold the developers to Alvarez or if they simply were hired en masse.  Since there wasn't any sort of "predatory workpractices" lawsuit, I'm concluding that it was a purchase of the talent and Alvarez didn't want Pace at all.


March 15+ 2011: Ernst & Young acquires ISA
Well, I'd love to point to a press release on this, but there isn't one simply because it's not been announced yet. [Editor's Note: it is now public.  Scroll to the end of the story for more.]  Normally, I wouldn't do a blog entry on this until it was official, but this is the least stealthy acquisition in history.  I have heard about it from no fewer than three sources at three different companies, and since offers have already been extended to the employees that are going to get them at ISA Consulting, the affected people already know.  Keep watching Ernst & Young and ISA's news pages and I'm sure something will be up in the next week or two.


ISA is based out of Pennsylvania and is a very large player in the Oracle BI and EPM space.  Though they do other products, ISA is still considered by many to be a primarily Hyperion partner.  Based on what I've been told, E&Y is acquiring ISA primarily for their consulting expertise.  While they're letting almost all the sales and back office staff go (Mitch Rubin and Cliff Matthews being notable exceptions), most all of the consultants seem to be getting offers to join E&Y.  The partners at ISA do seem to be coming on as either partners or close to it at E&Y.


Even though E&Y is one of the 10 largest privately held companies in the USA, this is a significant acquisition because ISA does appear to have well over 100 people focused around BI, EPM, and data warehousing.  Whether they end up putting ISA in the BI & Data Warehousing group or into financial transformation (or split them between them), this acquisition will significantly increase the number of individuals in those areas. If E&Y does manage to hold on to the talent from ISA, they will now be able to much more directly compete with Deloitte on the BI & EPM front.


I haven't heard terms of the acquisition, but since E&Y doesn't need ISA's client list or sales expertise but rather just wants the consulting bodies, the dollars are presumably based on a multiple of EBITDA. Based on other similar deals in the last year, I expect the multiple is 6.5 times 12-month EBITDA (give or take a factor of 1.5).  If anyone knows any different, by all means, either shoot me an e-mail (I'll keep you anonymous) or post it in the comments to this entry.


Who's Next?
If you go way back to my posting from January 5, 2009, I offered up this list of potential targets for acquisition: 
One could speculate that it might be interRel, PII, Kerdock, Global Analytics, US-Analytics, Analytic Vision, HCG, TopDown, or even the Hyperion arm of Palladium, but it could just as likely be some other tiny Hyperion vendor that's not on anyone's radar screen right now. Heck, it might even expand beyond the consulting world to one of the Hyperion software partners like Applied OLAP or Star Analytics.I then went on to say that interRel could be removed from the list.  Well, I was right on Kerdock, Global Analytics, and the Hyperion arm of Palladium, so that leaves PII, US-Analytics, Analytic Vision, HCG, TopDown, Applied OLAP, and Star Analytics.  I guess I would add MarketSphere to that list too even though they're obviously in areas beyond Oracle EPM.  While many of these companies are too small to attract the attention of Deloitte, IBM, E&Y, and Oracle, don't be shocked if one or more of them is gobbled up in the next year by an off-shore consulting firm looking to fill in the EPM/BI gaps in their offerings.


It's now almost 2AM and I have to present to the HUG group in Minneapolis in a few hours, so I'm going to post and then sleep.  If I've stated anything incorrectly above, feel free to comment and please assume I wasn't trying to be malicious.  It's just been a long day and this entry (essay?) was almost 1,800 words.


UPDATE April 5, 2011: E&Y Officially Buys ISA Consulting
It took a week into April, but E&Y finalized the ISA deal and announced the deal publicly.  The press release states that ISA had 130 employees (I'd speculated 100+) and financial terms were not disclosed.  Read more about it here.
Categories: BI & Warehousing

I'm Totally Lost: Which Conference Do I Go To for Hyperion and Oracle EPM/BI Content?

Mon, 2011-02-28 17:02
The final Hyperion Solutions conference (the great big conference Hyperion used to put on with non-stop Hyperion content and over 4,000 attendees) was in the spring of 2007.  Back then, everyone knew which conference to attend, because there was only one national conference (Solutions) and then a whole lot of regional HUG (Hyperion User Group) meetings.  But then Oracle bought Hyperion and immediately disbanded the conference leaving the user community in disarray.


There are now several options depending on what you're looking for.  While I could attempt to make some sense out of the whole conference jumble in a blog post, I decided it would be better explained in a webcast.  To that end, I'm devoting two webcasts this week to the question “Now that the Hyperion Solutions conference is gone, which conference should I attend?”


I'm going to compare the benefits of the better known 2011 conferences:


I'm in a unique position to do this, because I don't work for Oracle and I have some ties to every one of these events (so you could say that while I'm biased, I realize the value each one can bring to the right audience).  Usually, our webcasts are only open to Oracle customers (not partners) but in this case, I want everyone to know why you'd want to go to each of the conferences so they don't find themselves wasting money at a conference that's totally not right for them.


Click on the links below to sign up for either Tuesday or Wednesday's webcast:



I will spend around 45 minutes covering all the conferences and then take questions from the audience.  Before you sign up for one of the conferences, devote 45 minutes of your life to making sure you won't find yourself trapped in the 7th circle of hell (otherwise known as stuck at a conference you hate).
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 - Looks Like March

Mon, 2011-02-14 00:38
Disclaimer
I don't work for Oracle.  Everything you see below is what I've heard said in public forums followed by some speculation of my own.  Oracle not only does commit to release dates, they don't even commit to specific future functionality.  For that matter, they won't even go on the record that there will actually be any future releases of products.  So take this whole entry for the best guess that it is. 


Why Do I Care About a Little Dot Release?
Based on the disclaimer above, I have been really hesitant to go on the record with any information about Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 (sometimes called "Talleyrand SP1" or "11.1.2sp1" or "The Patch" or "The Migration Patch" or "The Dot Release" although personally I like calling it "Waiting for EPM Godot").  The initial release of 11.1.2 dates back to April 2010 (yup, we're going on 10 months now) and there's still not an official service pack.  That doesn't mean there haven't been bug fixes.  They just slip them in as minor fix releases (like 11.1.2.0.02 and the rest).  What we're really waiting for are some of the things that should be in 11.1.2.1:

  • Bug Fixes.  Supposedly, all of the big show stopper bugs (like some of the Life Cycle Management issues and the almost complete unusability of the EAS fat client) are fixed in this release.
  • Migration.  11.1.2.0 was released with no migration tools from earlier releases.  It was what was called a "greenfield release."  In other words, you could install it, but you couldn't get there from any earlier version.  Now my company like many others have done several "upgrades" to 11.1.2 of as many parts as we can, but officially, there's no way to migrate to 11.1.2... until 11.1.2.1.  This version should have wizards and conversion utilities to migrate from multiple versions including 9.2, 9.3 and 11.1 (well, specific point releases of those).  In other words, you'll finally be able to do a supported migration and it should be easier than the manual methods we're doing now.
  • Wider Server Support.  11.1.2.0 was released with support only for Oracle WebLogic 10.  Unlike earlier versions, it did not support Apache Tomcat nor IBM Websphere.  Now the good news was that Oracle was kind enough to issue a limited use WebLogic license.  The downside obviously was if you were not already a WebLogic shop.  Taking on a new application server infrastructure isn't easy.  The patch should support Tomcat and Websphere as well as Windows 2008r2 from an OS standpoint.  While it's on the client not server side, also expect to see Office 2010 support in 11.1.2. 
  • Performance Improvements.  With all the new functionality in EPM 11.1.2 (especially in Hyperion Planning), some things just aren't very speedy.  Development has said publicly that they are working on improving the speed of many of these new features including workflow and the new drag-and-drop forms designer.
Any New Functionality?
The four items above are as close to 100% definite as you can get.  They might change the specific versions you're allowed to upgrade from (current rumor is 9.2.1, 9.3.3, 11.1.1.3, and 11.1.2) but there will be lots of bug fixes, a migration path, wider server support, and performance improvements in 11.1.2.1 most assuredly.  Where we get into a grayer area is, like the iPad 2, when we start speculating about any new features of functions in the release.  So here's what may or may not be in there (and don't base any buying decisions off my wild ass speculation):
  • Data Relationship Management.  This is straight from Oracle themselves, so it's very likely to be in there.  From the excellent though sporadically updated "Versioned Hierarchy of Reality" blog (ya, I'm one to talk), 11.1.2.1 should contain:
    • Performance Improvements
    • Upgrade Support
    • Console Improvements
    • Property Namespaces
    • Single Sign On
    • URL-based Navigation
    • Job Status and Cancellation
    • Action Script Options
  • Disclosure Management.  Both Disclosure Management and Financial Close Management saw their initial releases in 2010.  As such, they should both be seeing substantial functionality improvements as Oracle tends to do in dot releases after the initial major release.  For Disclosure Management, the only major improvement I've publicly heard multiple times is for the UK folks: the ability to do XBRL income tax returns for HMRC.
  • Financial Close Management. It looks like the main improvements to HFCM (Hyperion Financial Close Management) have to do with direct integration to PeopleSoft.  Expect to see direct PeopleSoft 9.0 and 9.1 integration with AP, AR, BI, AM, and GL into HFCM.  For details, scroll down to page 17 of a presentation Oracle delivered to the NorCal OAUG. Looks like Oracle eBS integration won't make it into the 11.1.2.1 release of HFCM but should be out by the end of 2011.
  • Smart View.  There will either be a bunch of improvements to Smart View in this release or they'll delay them to 11.1.2.2. A lot of the new Smart View features we've seen demoed in the last year have to do with a new look for Smart View that makes it look a whole lot like Essbase classic (such as the ability to hide the POV). I'm expecting that these User Interface improvements will actually make it into 11.1.2.1, but I wouldn't bet on it.
The ones above are what I would be willing to wager make it into 11.1.2.1.  There will doubtless be some minor improvements that I'll try to detail once the product makes it out the door.  As for some of those other big development things you've been hearing about (like custom dimensionality in HFM, account reconciliations in HFCM, project planning module for Hyperion Planning, micro-costing in HPCM, etc.) is probably going to end up waiting until 11.1.2.2.  The most recent public EPM roadmap presentation from Oracle (scroll down to page 12) seems to reflect that other big items are being held.

So When Does It Come Out?
Talk about burying the lead.  The post is almost over and I'm just now getting to what I mentioned in the subject line.  Every person who's talked about release dates to this point has been wrong.  It went from August to fall to October to 2010 year end to January to "when Dallas freezes over the same week they host the Super Bowl."  Well, we all thought that was never going to happen, but then last week leading into the Super Bowl festivities, Dallas spent 100+ hours below freezing and it snowed several inches too.  So recognizing an apocalyptic sign, I reached out to a very high up source in Oracle EPM development...

... and was told March.  Further, the person  was almost willing to guarantee it if I promised to not mention her/his name.  "March?" I asked incredulously, because I had frankly lost all belief in release dates for 11.1.2.1.  Development then explained to me why 11.1.2.1 has been delayed for so many months.  And here's the thing: it's actually not development's fault nor legal's fault nor sales nor marketing nor any of the other groups that would tend to cause holdups like this.

No, it seems to be because of Fusion.  Oracle EPM is part of the Fusion Middleware team, and it is built on several other Oracle technologies both Fusion and otherwise.  The delay is because one of the key technology "tentpole" components in Oracle EPM coming from the Fusion side keeps changing.  Every time that underlying technology changes how it's implemented, they have to go modify the code for Oracle EPM.  In other words, EPM 11.1.2.1 is just sitting there waiting for the tentpole technology to stop changing.

March, Seriously?
So how did development come up with March?  It seems that there's been a line drawn in the sand and that supporting Fusion tech will be finalized this month (February) which makes sense since it's the last month of Oracle's quarter.  Then it's just a quick change to Oracle EPM, some regression testing, and voila: Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 will finally be released.  That said, I'd bet on March 31 to be a whole lot more likely than March 1.

I know a lot of you will be waiting until the patch comes out, but please don't blame me if the date slips again (but give me kudos if I turn out to be right).  My infrastructure team at interRel is gearing up for all our clients that have managed to be dissuaded from going to 11.1.2 until the patch comes out, so we're concluding that this delivery date is real.  We're expecting busy times in March and April with all the migrations.  Keep watching here, and I'll let you know when 11.1.2.1 finally shows up on edelivery.oracle.com.
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