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Hadoop is building a good momentum...

Khanderao Kand - Tue, 2011-05-10 23:58
In EMC World this week, many new products based on Hadoop called launched.

EMC announced enterprise and community distribution as well as appliance of Apache Hadoop. This would be in competition with Cloudera which has a very good traction in Hadoop market. Moreover, Yahoo which has been pioneer in original contribution of Hadoop and a heavy user, is rumoured to be launching Hadoop spin-off. It has contributed Pig as a layer above Hadoop.

During the conference other products like Brisk,which makes Hadoop with Cassendra as a node, and SnapReduce from SnapLogic were also announced. Overall all of these are good indication of Hadoop traction. A more detailed note is in my other blog which is dedicated to emerging technologies and apps.

http://texploration.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/hadoop-based-products-launche/

ASM – It's not just for RAC anymore

alt.oracle - Tue, 2011-05-10 21:43

I'm super critical of Oracle when they screw stuff up or try to push technology in a direction that's bad for DBAs. You'll be hearing some rants about it in upcoming posts. But I also think that Oracle is a company that is actually good for the direction that technology is heading, unlike some companies whose names begin with "Micro" and end with "soft". Yes, they're a vast, stone-hearted corporation that would sell their grandmothers to raise their stock price. So is every other technology company – get used to it. But when they do something right, I'll be fair and sing their praises. Once every version or so, Oracle does something that really changes the game for DBAs. In version 8 it was RMAN. In 9i it was locally managed tablespaces. In 10g, it's definitely ASM - Automatic Storage Management. Yeah, I know this is kinda old news - ASM has been out for a good long while. What surprises me, though, is how many DBAs think that ASM is only useful for RAC architectures. "I don't run RAC, why would I need ASM?"

When ASM came out, it both intrigued and terrified me. The claim that it could produce I/O performance almost on par with raw devices without all the grief that comes with using them was exciting. But the idea of putting your production data on a completely new way of structuring files was pretty scary. I trust filesystems like UFS and ext2/3 (maybe even NTFS a little, but don't quote me) because they've stood the test of time. If there's one thing a DBA shouldn't screw around with, it's the way that the bits that represent your company's data are written to disk. I'm skeptical of any new way to store Oracle data on disk, since I'm the loser that has to recover the data if everything goes south. So I entered into my new relationship with ASM the way you should – with a whole lot of testing.

I originally moved to ASM out of sheer necessity. I was running RAC and using a woeful product called OCFS – Oracle Clustered Filesystem – to store the data. Performance was bad, weird crashes happened when there was heavy I/O contention, it wasn't pretty. Nice try, Oracle. It's cool that it was an open source project, but eventually it became clear that Oracle was pushing toward ASM as their clustered filesystem of choice. To make a long story short, we tested the crap out of it and ASM came through with flying colors. Performance was outstanding and the servers used a lot less CPU, since ASM bypasses that pesky little filesystem cache thing. In the end, we moved our single instance databases to ASM as well and saw similar results. It's true that, since you give Oracle control of how reads and writes are done, ASM is a very effective global filesystem for RAC. But the real strength of ASM is in the fact that its a filesystem built specifically for Oracle databases. You don't use it to store all your stolen mp3 files (unless you're storing them as blobs in the database, wink), you use it for Oracle datafiles. You give Oracle control of some raw partitions and let it go. And it does a good job. Once you go ASM, you never go back.

I'm not going to do a sell job on the features of ASM, since I don't work for the sales department at Oracle. Really, the positives for ASM boil down to three key features. 1) It bypasses the filesystem cache, thus going through fewer layers in the read/write process. This increases performance in essentially the same way that raw devices do. 2) It works constantly to eliminate hot spots in your Oracle data. This is something that your typical filesystem doesn't do, since it takes an intimate knowledge of how the particular application (in this case Oracle) is going to use the blocks on disk. Typical filesystems are designed to work equally well with all sorts of applications, while ASM is specialized for Oracle. 3) It works (with Oracle) as a global filesystem. In clustered systems, your filesystem is crucial. It has to be "globally aware" that two processes from different machines might try to modify the same block of data at the same time. That means that global filesystems need to have a "traffic cop" layer of abstraction that prevents data integrity violations. Normally this layer would impact performance to a certain degree. But ASM gives control to Oracle, which has a streamlined set of rules about what process can access a certain block and prevents this performance loss.

So consider using ASM. Even if you don't run RAC, benefits #1 and #2 make it worth your while. Our DBA team has been using it religiously on both RAC and non-RAC systems for years without any problems.

Of course, we're talking about Oracle here, so leave it to them to take the wonderful thing that is ASM and screw it up. Next time I'll tell you how they did just that in version 11g.
Categories: DBA Blogs

"The Bridge": Day 3 (part 2)

Charles Schultz - Tue, 2011-05-10 08:53
I have received some pictures (not all, but most the important ones).

First, a recap of Day 2:
Our "realistic" picture evolved a little bit; Ahjay added some grouping tags ("WHERE", "WHAT") which we incorporated from there on out.


And here is what our OBJECT list finally looked like; complete with attributes and verbs:



Day 3
Hard at work.


After hashing things out in the morning, we finally had something akin to a prototype forming at our fingertips.

I really struggled with the overall complexity; I wanted simplicity. As a compromise, we worked very hard to make as much optional as possible, attempting to capitalize on pre-filled defaults and "quickfill" options, trying to use the technology and data that should already be available to reduce user interaction. For instance, if the user might be presented with the most recent Products at the top of one's list. Or setting your default QuickFill option (Previous SR, Profile or OCM) in your global Preferences. You will see, also, at the top left blue stickies for "Support Recommended" and "Product specific tips"; these are to be dynamically populated as you type and fill in information - the more information the user provides, the more relevant and specific the search becomes. I do not have any pictures, but on one of our white sheets we put in a meter as a gimmick to relate how more information upfront helps the user and the analyst focus on the problem (akin to the Password Strength Meter).

Near the end of the day, our final draft prototype was looking like this:


Again, you can see how "insta search" is being populated in the right-hand side, hopefully not too distracting, but also hopefully to be filled with information that would perhaps prevent an SR or guide a customer down the right path. Again, we are assuming huge improvements to Search. :)  This picture also demonstrates one possible "multi-screen" approach, trying to cram in as much as possible "above the fold". I argued for the "one-screen" approach, but compromised and suggested that a Preference be added to allow either one-page or multiple pages.

Another thing that might be slightly less obvious is that we are trying to keep the big picture in mind, or "tell a story" as Kelli put it. We are trying to describe a problem, which has a beginning (ie, the environment), a middle or body (the Description) and an ending (optional files, template questions, further elaboration, etc).

In the end, it still feels like way too much complexity to me. I noted earlier that I really want to talk to a human to route the issue (which obviates the whole "Category" mess). I do not mind filling in all the technical details, but what if you had a "Contact Analyst" button that, like Amazon and many other companies, auto-dialed you (the user) and attempted to get a IHUB person on the phone asap? Yes, I realize from Oracle's standpoint this is impractical. But does anyone else want that?

It will be interesting to see what comes out of this project. I think I am excited. The workshop itself was definitely very productive, eye-opening and an awesome experience that I am fully thankful to Oracle for.

Before we all parted ways, we did get a group photo. Say "Cheese!"

RAC, ASM and Linux Forum, May 18, 2011: EXADATA Production Customers updates

Alejandro Vargas - Sun, 2011-05-08 08:11

Exadata is changing the world of Database Performance, on this forum we will have two EXADATA Production Customers updates.

75 million Customer Telecom Turkcell will be represented by Ferhat Sengonul, Senior OS Administrator, DBA, and Datawarehouse Project Leader, that led Exadata implementation and scale out to their actual 3 full, 24 database nodes, Exadata racks.

Ferhat will present his experience with a very large Data-Warehouse in Exadata, including online high performance reporting, VLDB backup and recovery best practices and upgrading from a traditional 11 racks (1 Sun M9000 Sparc 7; 10 storage racks 250 TB uncompressed) datawarehouse to a full rack and then to multiple racks. We will hear also about his consolidation project of all datawarehouse databases in Exadata.

Golden Pages, the first Consolidation on Exadata project implemented in Israel will be presented by Shimi Nahum, Senior DBA and Exadata Project Leader. Shimi will tell us about the challenges the Exadata environment presented to him as a DBA and how he faced them, and the impact of using Oracle Exadata to consolidate multiple Customer databases, including Siebel and ERP databases.

A practical dive into the technology will be presented by Oracle's Ophir Manor, the responsible for the several POC's being run by different Israeli Customers.

And finally I will tell about the experiences from the field, installing and implementing Exadata at different Customers around the world.

Exadata is radically changing the rules and expectations a DBA can have of an Oracle Database; this first hand experiences promise to be one of the most interesting conferences in Israel this year.

The conference will be held on May 18 at the Sharon Conference Center 09 starting at 14:00

REGISTRATION: ILOUG RAC, ASM and Linux Forum Registration,

SCHEDULE:

14:00 – 14:30

Registration

14:30 – 14:40

Welcome

14:40 – 15:25

Shimi Nahum, Dapei Zahab, Senior Oracle DBA, responsible of the Exadata project.

The first production Oracle Exadata in Israel, challenges for the DBA, speedup impact of Exadata on the end Customer

15:25 – 16:15

Ferhat Sengönül, Senior OS and DBA Turkcell, Responsible for the DW project

A very large Data-Warehouse in Exadata, the migration process, backup and recovery strategies, scaling up from 1 Exadata rack to 3

16:15 – 16:30

Refreshments Break

16:30 – 17:15

Ofir Manor. Oracle Senior Sales Consultant and Exadata Expert.

Preparing the IT infrastructure for Exadata. Lifetime maintenance procedures.

17:15 – 17:45

Alejandro Vargas, Oracle Principal Support Consultant and EMEA Exadata Core Team Member.

Inside the Oracle Database Machine, secrets about the configuration, install and support procedures

17:45 – 18:15

Questions and Answers
Categories: DBA Blogs

RAC, ASM and Linux Forum, May 18, 2011: EXADATA Production Customers updates

Alejandro Vargas - Sun, 2011-05-08 08:11

Exadata is changing the world of Database Performance, on this forum we will have two EXADATA Production Customers updates.

75 million Customer Telecom Turkcell will be represented by Ferhat Sengonul, Senior OS Administrator, DBA, and Datawarehouse Project Leader, that led Exadata implementation and scale out to their actual 3 full, 24 database nodes, Exadata racks.

Ferhat will present his experience with a very large Data-Warehouse in Exadata, including online high performance reporting, VLDB backup and recovery best practices and upgrading from a traditional 11 racks (1 Sun M9000 Sparc 7; 10 storage racks 250 TB uncompressed) datawarehouse to a full rack and then to multiple racks. We will hear also about his consolidation project of all datawarehouse databases in Exadata.

Golden Pages, the first Consolidation on Exadata project implemented in Israel will be presented by Shimi Nahum, Senior DBA and Exadata Project Leader. Shimi will tell us about the challenges the Exadata environment presented to him as a DBA and how he faced them, and the impact of using Oracle Exadata to consolidate multiple Customer databases, including Siebel and ERP databases.

A practical dive into the technology will be presented by Oracle's Ophir Manor, the responsible for the several POC's being run by different Israeli Customers.

And finally I will tell about the experiences from the field, installing and implementing Exadata at different Customers around the world.

Exadata is radically changing the rules and expectations a DBA can have of an Oracle Database; this first hand experiences promise to be one of the most interesting conferences in Israel this year.

The conference will be held on May 18 at the Sharon Conference Center 09 starting at 14:00

REGISTRATION: ILOUG RAC, ASM and Linux Forum Registration,

SCHEDULE:

14:00 – 14:30 Registration

14:30 – 14:40 Welcome

14:40 – 15:25 Shimi Nahum, Dapei Zahab, Senior Oracle DBA, responsible of the Exadata project.

The first production Oracle Exadata in Israel, challenges for the DBA, speedup impact of Exadata on the end Customer

15:25 – 16:15 Ferhat Sengönül, Senior OS and DBA Turkcell, Responsible for the DW project

A very large Data-Warehouse in Exadata, the migration process, backup and recovery strategies, scaling up from 1 Exadata rack to 3

16:15 – 16:30 Refreshments Break

16:30 – 17:15 Ofir Manor. Oracle Senior Sales Consultant and Exadata Expert.

Preparing the IT infrastructure for Exadata. Lifetime maintenance procedures.

17:15 – 17:45 Alejandro Vargas, Oracle Principal Support Consultant and EMEA Exadata Core Team Member.

Inside the Oracle Database Machine, secrets about the configuration, install and support procedures

17:45 – 18:15 Questions and Answers
Categories: DBA Blogs

IRM Desktop for 64-bit Systems

Simon Thorpe - Sat, 2011-05-07 05:14
Quick product update – the IRM Desktop now formally supports 64 bit Windows. Oracle has just released Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g R1 PS4 (11.1.1.5.0), which includes a fresh IRM build. Some of our customers have been using earlier IRM Desktops on 64 bit systems for various reasons, but there were some known restrictions. The PS5 release gives us a build that is formally certified for 64 bit. The new kit is available from the Oracle Tech Network and elsewhere.

APEX 4.1 Early Adopter Released

David Peake - Fri, 2011-05-06 16:51


As Joel announced here the APEX 4.1 Early Adopter is now available on http://tryapexnow.com.


This release is not nearly as huge as APEX 4.0, however, our hyperactive development team have been cranking out lots of new features for you to enjoy.


To find out what you can try out for yourself go to the Feature Description application. There are a number of other features that we are still working on, the most notable being Mobile Templates and Data Upload. Never fear, these will be coming to an APEX Early Adopter near you soon -- Read when we do the next major build of our EA.


Make sure you check out our new and improved Websheets interface. This feature is not 100% complete but we couldn't wait to show off the new look and feel!


Enjoy our latest offereings and be sure to provide feedback.

"The Bridge": Day 3 (part 1)

Charles Schultz - Thu, 2011-05-05 21:33
Still no pictures yet, so this is Part 1 of Day 3.

Day 3 was crunch time; by 5:pm we were aiming to have a working prototype. Because we expanded our scope (rather significantly) and spent so much time on tangential (but very important and sometimes relevant) details, the idea of getting a working prototype seemed rather dubious. But I think we did it. To a degree.

Picking up where we left off, we started to tackle the actual UI design itself. We had already done a lot of work on Search, so we needed to focus on the SR part of it. I came in a little earlier and drew up my own mock ups - they are horribly cluttered, but I personally think they are kinda cool. :) Basically, my mockup capitalizes on the vast similarities between Search and Creating an SR; providing keywords (ie, title), a product (and version) and you can start going to town. Category is a bit tricky, and I will cover it a little more in the last paragraph, but if you can nail down Category you can potentially narrow down your Search (called "Task Intent") rather dramatically and better yet, you are primed to punch in and route an SR. So why not do both in parallel? Maybe even on the same screen. You start filling in information, and in one pane you start seeing search results aggregated by facets (like what Advanced Search does now, but much more dynamic and insta-search), while at the same time your "Create SR" button lights up. And maybe even a "Post to Forums" button. I briefly argued for this approach, and I readily admitted that the huge downside is that the screen gets very cluttered very fast. I think we adopted a hybrid (eg, compromise), where the "Related articles" shows up insta-matically in a somewhat unobtrusive region floating off to the side.

We did a couple of usability tests; frankly, I think we need specific "Usability Test" training to learn how to do these better. :) I was not entirely satisfied with the particular way we approached this topic. But the good news is that we discovered many holes in our current prototype. Late in the day, we voted and started to tackle some of the more critical (or easy-to-fix) issues. Near the top of that list was whether or not to display the entire SR Creation process as one page or multiple pages. Again, some were very concerned about cluttering the screen and wanted "screen-sized" sections. I want everything on one page. In the end I posited that the user should have a preference for how he/she wants to view this process. We will see what happens with that.

Actually, this topic consumed a bit of time. After we green-lighted the idea of multiple pages, we got to work going through several permutations of possible screen layouts. Again, I found it ironic that we kept coming back to a design that is very similar to what we have today in MOS. Granted, we are added a lot of behind-the-scenes features that auto-fills (and insta-searches) as much as possible - that is not to be overlooked. But our final "look and feel" does not diverge much from the current design, in my opinion. In fact, if I count correctly, our final design may actually look more complicated. It is hard to say without having a real GUI to step through. Even though it looks more complicated, we are actively working to allow the user to input as little as possible to get the SR filed.

I have mentioned this previously, but it bears repeating. We were very much biased by the current implementation. In some ways, we spent a huge chunk of time trying to "fix" and patch current brokeness, instead of redesigning from the ground up. This is not to say we did not think out of the box (or at least try to).  And right now as I type this, I cannot think of one single "out of the box" new thing we pushed. Maybe I am simply tired and not remembering well.

Another point of discussion that came up, and in retrospect I wished we spent more time on, is the current super-criticality of "categories". Currently, SRs are routed based on the sub-category (or category if no sub exists). These are currently filtered by which product one chooses. In our experience, choosing the most appropriate sub/category is often tedious and seems like a relatively useless step from the users point of view. We briefly talked about driving the sub/category off keywords in the Description field, and to be done in the "insta-search" way (you start typing, and the list of possible sub/categories to choose from grows smaller). But the bigger issue, in my opinion, is all about the routing in the first place. Oracle has placed a lot of emphasis on building automated logic to get the SR to a specialist team. I have a problem with that, at least how it is done currently. In my personal "Bleu Sky" vision (Day 1), I created a big easy "Create SR" button, with no requirements whatsoever. How the heck is that any good? Well, think about it, what happens? Rather, what if you changed the button to say "Chat with a human being"? By the end, we made comparisons to various other companies (ie, Amazon) that allows you to fill in call-back information, a computer actually calls you 1 second later, and then attempts to connect you to a live person. I love that concept!! As you can imagine, the managers and directors and support representatives at the meeting hated that idea. :) Yes, currently, it is hugely impractical - the IHub would be drowned to oblivion. Currently. But if we are thinking Utopian thoughts.... There are other ideas to simply routing. For instance, drastically reduce the number of routes. How? Well.... we didn't talk about that, yet. :)

"The Bridge": Day 2

Charles Schultz - Wed, 2011-05-04 01:00
It is late and I am exhausted. And I have no pictures from today (/me looks at Richard Miller).


We started off on a good foot, having already taken a good stab at objectifying the tasks. We further hashed out all more objects, added more attributes, added verbs and relationships. Some objects were much easier than others; for instance, Product really only consists of a product name and version number in the scope of an SR. Yes, it is a "child" member of other objects.

In retrospect, we got bogged down in many areas, and sometimes it seemed like those areas were really minor and we were spinning our wheels. But the "spinning wheel" did demonstrate that even in our small group there is ambiguity and misunderstanding of core elements. For example, is a Primary Contact a subset of a "Contact Type"? Or is it different enough from other contacts (ie, Secondary, Manager) that it deserves it own types. One member argued quite vociferously that it is its own object because it is hanlded differently, like populated from a User Profile, while the others are not. After ripping up and redoing Contacts in various permutations, we finally decided on a single Contact object with various conditional properties and verbs.

There were other examples of the same thing, I just do not remember them off the top of my head. These little excursions took up a bit of time. On top of that, we also delved heavily into the Knowledge Base and Search, since we had decided to expand our scope the previous day. While much of our journey through this topic is quite useful in the context of filing and resolving an SR, it consumed time as well. So even though we had covered a bit of ground, Richard Miller declared that we were several hours behind in the late afternoon. :) I am not sure what that means for tomorrow.

Some very newsworthy things that came out of our session. I have not signed any non-disclosure agreements, but I do think the Managers want to keep a lot of new developments under wraps. So I'll go about it indirectly. We chatted up some more "Blue Sky" features as we discussed things we did not like about the current implementation. One of the key features to our new approach is using Search heavily at the outset of a possible SR creation process. I know, you are thinking this is a HORRID idea. But if Search were actually much improved (in terms of performance and relevance), we see this as being a huge boon. We could be wrong, time will tell. Basically, you have a form that provides an opportunity for the user to provide a ton of information. Much of the form is optional, but the idea is that the more you provide, the better the search results. Using ideas like Google's word-completion and instant results, and eBay's and Amazon's left-hand pane of refining and drilling-down, we explain how these kinds of features would significantly enhance the user's perception of Search by providing fast, dynamic feedback on the criteria entered. On top of that, the user may have a chance to save the search filters/results and shove all the pertinent information entered into an SR, or maybe even a Community forum post. Some of the above ideas have already been developed and we saw some simple demos. Like using quickfill and/or word completion in various areas. Very nice to see that they are already make in-roads in that direction.


I am particularly torn about the latest prototype GUI mock-up that our group has achieve so far. I claim my role, so I am not blaming everyone else. I say I am torn because the pages/screens that we "developed" today still look very busy and crammed full of things to fill out. It almost looks like we have merely re-arranged the existing SR fields that one normally fills out. I think the key importance in our approach today is that we are aiming for two things:
 - allow as many optional fields as possible
 - thus giving the user a choice between providing less detail and possibly a more vague search, or more detail and possibly a more accurate search

We are both assuming that search will be improved significantly, and providing ideas on how exactly to do that. The dynamic feedback mechanism is crucial I think, since it gives the user a good idea as to how many docusments are returned and how to refine it. I think. It looks good on paper right now. :)

Ok, that's it for me. I hope to procure more pictures tomorrow.

Do people really do this in real life?

Charles Schultz - Tue, 2011-05-03 10:44
"My name is Newton Sequeira and I am an Author Relationship Executive at Packt Publishing. Packt recently green lit a book on Oracle 11g R2 RAC Administration Cookbook and we are now searching for an author to develop the book.
I was reading through your blog and wondered whether you might be interested in this project?
Thanks for considering this proposal. I would appreciate if you could please let me know your views."



This simply scares me. Do publishers really approach potential authors this way? Believe you me, I am the very last person any publisher would want to be writing this particular book. Even if I were to complete such an ambitious project, I would be the laughing stock of the Oracle community. For at least a year. And based on what little I know of author-publisher relationships, the author endures crushing timelines and relentless editors and enjoys a very small fraction of the royalties. Yeah, awesome incentive there.


If you see my name on this book, don't buy it. Please.

"The Bridge": Day 1

Charles Schultz - Tue, 2011-05-03 00:42
Today we had a great session. Obvious introductions were first; another functional user who files a lot of SRs for Finance and HR modules, a couple of upper-level managers, a IHUB engineer and a front-end "user experience" ADF developer (was that too redundant?).

Honestly, I was a bit overwhelmed at first, having never done task flows in a group like this before. But I liked the concept. Our moderator/taskmaster Mitch is a good guy, and at times we tried his patience. :) We started off defining what we thought the "Big Picture" is - note how we labeled it "Create SR". At one point, one of the managers said, half-jokingly, "My god, what have we created?!?":


As you can see, we have lots of stickies. Mitch loves sticky notes (aka, post-it notes). We identified key processes and showed how they related to each other, and finally we marked it up with pink stickies for problematic areas. We also identified some "out of scope" topics. This first go was a really rough draft but provided a framework from which to build.

After we had the current picture in mind, Mitch asked us to dream about what we wanted it to look like. To dream a little. To think of a Blue Sky. Spelling errors (wrong to call them typos when you write them out? *grin*) were the trademark of the evening, but we pushed forward. The following picture is what the other user and I came up with:


I did the one on the left. I kept it really basic, because that is what Mitch indicated. And I wanted to emphasize how we need to keep the process simple and as fast as possible. The other user representative has a lot of experience filing SRs so has essentially figure out how to "game" the system to make it work fast. Included on the other side are a number of additional (and some optional) items, some of which overlap mine. I do not have a picture of the diagram the managers/developers came up with, but it wanted more forms and more questions answered. :) After getting it all down, we users then marked each step with how desirable it was (H = High, M = Medium, L = Low), and the developer group marked how feasible it was (H = Hard, E = Easy). The goal was to find as many highly desirable and easily feasible points as possible. I kinda think we did not pay too much attention to that. OH well. The next phase was putting these two (Realistic + Desirable) together. In the middle, we experience a Scope Changed because we started to see how important "Search" is to this process, and how we users much rather find existing information that solves our problem then filing an SR in the first place. Thus our Scope evolved into "Solving Problems" and this "Step 1" reflects how many of the things that could be used to initialize an SR could actually be pointed at the Knowledge Base. Like so:



Lest you despair (some consider KB to be a four-letter word), we had lots of talks about improving the KB search functions, and especially focusing on using the Advanced Search capabilities. This reflects the combination of our "Blue Sky" ideas - of simplifying the existing framework and trying to think of what is the bare amount needed to go search for information, while still providing plenty of robust functionality for power users who want to provide a ton of extra detail.

Here is a shot of us "in action" - you can briefly glimpse the chaos:



In the end, we also worked on "Step 2", which was the SR Creation portion of it, and discussed at length how these two steps play together, and how Sev 1 changes the ballgame a little (more often than not, if you file a Sev 1, you are not going to take the time to Search). With 30 minutes left of the night, we dove into objectifying the tasks. We merely scratched the surface, but I think we all felt it was significant progress.

I am certainly very impressed by this process. There are some obvious inter-group challenges when certain folks dominate the discussion, but overall we are making wonderful progress and I am very happy we are having these discussions. I only hope we are drastically pushing the managers and developers in a direction we will later regret. :) I am also struck by the complexity and the number of pieces involved. We very briefly touched on how OCM/EM play a role in providing data to the SR creation process, and we obviously tacked the bigger "purple elephant" of Search and the Knowledge Base (how many people are using it and finding what they need?).

And now I am mentally exhausted. And need to grab some sleep.

Payables Hold Release Workflow

Krishanu Bose - Fri, 2011-04-29 01:12
In R12 Oracle Payables integrates with Oracle Workflow to provide a resolution of user releasable holds through workflow. A new transaction type called “Payables Hold Resolution” (APHLD) in AME has been introduced in R12 for the same. There has been a business requirement to release the AP invoice holds, especially the matching holds based on an approval mechanism. In R12 of Payables, this feature has been provided so that, we can send the invoice lines on hold to approvers before the hold is released. As usual the seeded AME objects can be extended to accommodate different approval groups, rules and other business conditions before the hold is released.

Following setup needs to be done at Payables level: Setup > Invoice > Hold and Release Names.



The Initiate Workflow option is selected for the hold type in the Hold and Release Names window.

The hold is setup to be user releasable

Notify After X Days: The Notify After X days setup, will cause the notification to be sent to the approver after X days of the hold being placed.

Remind After X Days: The Remind after X days will cause a reminder to be sent to the appover after X days of the first notification, and subsequently, if no action is taken.

At AME setup Level, for the Transaction Type: Payables Holds Resolution setup Attribute, Condition, Action types, Approver groups and Rules

1. Choose the Default/seeded Attribute existed for Hold Look Up Code as shown below

2. E.g. Use the seeded Condition by assigning Hold Look Up Code with String values “Amt Ord, Amt Rec, Price, Qty Ord, Qty Rec” as below: 3. Create an Custom Approver group ‘Demo1’ by choosing “Serial” Voting method assign with Static to generate Invoice Hold notifications and send for release to approvers on basis of below logic 4 Assign this Approval group to the action type.
5
Create a Rule for this Hold notification and assign above Condition and Action type to the Rule as shown below:

Steps to Release the Hold:

1. Validate invoice on matching hold like “Amt Ord, Amt Rec, Price, Qty Ord, Qty Rec”

2. A notification will be sent to the approver for hold release


3. Once the Approver clicks on “Release Hold”, the hold gets released from the invoice.



Time Spent, Time Wasted

Jeff Hunter - Thu, 2011-04-28 17:11
Sometimes tuning a database can be rewarding.  I get great satisfaction when helping a user take their query from 10 minutes down to 3 seconds.  But it doesn't always work that way.  Consider this recent exchange: Developer to DBA Manager: The database is slow. DBA Manager to DBA: Trace his process. The DBA traces the developer's process and comes up with about 12 queries that can benefit from

Is Local Optimization kicking in your WS Binding?

Ramkumar Menon - Thu, 2011-04-28 09:12

As we know, WS bindings are local-optimized as long as the Server URL configuration for your soa-infra matches your invoked endpoint. To check if local optimization is actually kicking in, you can wither
a) Chek your HTTP access log to see if calls are going over HTTP.
b) Set the the logger for oracle.integration.platform.blocks.soap.WebServiceExternalBindingComponent to FINE (TRACE:32). If local optimization is kicking in, you should be able to see logging messages such as "Invoking service request locally..." in your log files.

Is Local Optimization kicking in your WS Binding?

Ramkumar Menon - Thu, 2011-04-28 09:12

As we know, WS bindings are local-optimized as long as the Server URL configuration for your soa-infra matches your invoked endpoint. To check if local optimization is actually kicking in, you can wither
a) Chek your HTTP access log to see if calls are going over HTTP.
b) Set the the logger for oracle.integration.platform.blocks.soap.WebServiceExternalBindingComponent to FINE (TRACE:32). If local optimization is kicking in, you should be able to see logging messages such as "Invoking service request locally..." in your log files.

After all these years I've finally got

Susan Duncan - Tue, 2011-04-26 07:30
After all these years I've finally got my first major article published in the ODTUG Technical Journal. I'm really excited as it's about Database Design Using JDeveloper - from Logical to Physical modeling and more. This is not a topic that normally attracts that much attention outside of those of us who know all about its merits so I'm especially happy.
And just like buses, you wait ages for one and then two come at once (if you're outside the UK this might not mean much to you!) I'm now writing a second deep dive into JDeveloper's Logical modeling, and some fantastic new features that are coming your way, for the next quarterly issue due out around the time of Kaleidoscope, the ODTUG conference. Unfortunately I am not able to attend this year, but if you happen to be Long Beach Way in June - you should try and make it.

MOS Workshop: Fixing SRs

Charles Schultz - Mon, 2011-04-25 11:42
So I am heading to Oracle the first week of May (May 2-4) to talk about improving MOS, specifically the SR creation process.

I have two similar previous posts on this topic:
http://orajourn.blogspot.com/2011/04/heading-out-to-talk-to-mos-devs-in-may.html
http://orajourn.blogspot.com/2011/04/mos-mashup-summary-or-saga.html

The agenda is:

The Service Request process is undergoing a redesign and a specific customer intensive feedback type session called “The Bridge” is being used to evaluate changes to the design. This process works over a 3 day period with two customers, the business owner, a lead developer, a designer and two facilitors to help the structured process to move forward.

The results are extensive requirements and user interfaces which are tested and approved during these sessions by development, customers, and business owners. This process works because the customers are in the room.



I ask for your help because I am but one person. I have filed a goodly number of SRs, ranging from the stupid to the complex, so I feel comfortable in that I can represent my own thoughts in what I would like to see improved. And I'll detail those ideas below. But if there are other pressing matters that I miss, please speak up! :)


Overall, I want the SR creation process to be easier on me, the client. I see the merit of Configurations and suppling an extra level of detail to the SR Analyst, and I see how the OCM intends to make the collection of such configurations mostly transparent. But above and beyond what is best for the analyst, I want to have a satisfying and confident SR creation experience.


Currently, it takes a minimum of 17 steps (skipping all optional steps) in both the Flash and HTML versions to get to the point of hitting the "Create SR" button (different steps to be sure, but they amount to the same thing). Some of the steps are completely redundant, some are nonsense. I would contend that 95% of those steps can be deferred until after the SR is created - basically, you just need the SR to end up in the right Support group. A note about the OCM - In the HTML version, I found that it was faster (according to the wall clock) to not use the OCM because the pop-up window to choose the system/host can take a long time to churn through the available systems (at least for us). The Flash version is a bit smarter and fills-in as you type, which is perhaps one of the best things about the Flash version.


What information does Oracle need at an absolute minimum to file the SR with the right group? Well, for starters, how about displaying all the possible groups? Currently (in both the HTML and Flash versions), the LOV (list of Values) that populate the "Problem" drop-down menu are determined by the Product that is chosen. Personally, I would prefer to pick an area of Support to send my SR to, instead of having to wade through various menus that play out like a "choose your own adventure" story.


Once the proper group within Support is selected, I want a "File it NOW!" button. All the other information can be entered after the SR is filed. I would even be ok with Oracle spitting out a message like "the analyst is going to ask a lot of questions unless you can provide more details". This makes sense. If all you have done is quickly file an SR without providing the product, version and some details of the problem, what is the analyst supposed to do? Practice ESP?


Next, I want the ability to fill in information that is pertinent to my case. If I use the a configuration, I want a list of configurations that gives priority to usage such that those configs that I use more often would percolate to the top. Same with the product and versions. I want the whole operation geared around getting it done as fast as possible. I want it all to be saved as I go so that if my connection is lost or I timeout (emergency meeting with the boss), I want to be able to slide back into it where I left off with no hassles.


In terms of "Related Knowledge" or other relevant documents, I do not mind if Oracle wants to spin extra cycles looking and filtering for possible metalink docs that might help me out. Just do not be obnoxious about it. Run the search in the background and populate a sidebar that I can click on at my convenience. In fact, I would want all related docs to be here, including any others that the analyst might find and possible bugs.


I want my SR to be filed with an analyst who shares my working hours. I prefer they speak my language proficiently, but initially and more importantly, I want to know that when I am at work, so is my analyst. I want the option of specifying different work hours. There has been a bit of talk about indicating the skill level of the DBA filing the SR so as to get a competent analyst, and this idea has been shot down with good reason. Rather, I want Oracle to provide top quality analysts from the get-go. If you have a newbie who is taking the SR, fine, but make sure there is some oversight from an escalation manager right off the bat. I do not want to escalate the SR simply because I am smarter than the analyst.


Lastly, I want my experience to be completely independent of my browser choice. I realize this is a huge obstacle as HTML "standards" are not standard at all.


Here are some things that Oracle is doing well, and I want the basic functionality to be retained. In both the HTML and Flash versions, there is an attachment link where you can view uploaded files. I like how the Flash version allows you to map a system after filing the SR. Although, I do not like how you have to change other parameters as well just to make that stick. I like how entries in the SR can be filtered and/or sorted. I like the concept of the OCM (as mentioned previously) - I think there is still untapped potential there. I like how the Flash version allows one to navigate the various sections of the SR creation process (the HTML version only has a "back" and a "next" button). Pre-filled values - the more the merrier.


I am toying with the idea of generating a step-by-step example of my concerns. I have already down two recorded webX sessions with Oracle about this, and it would be simpler just to make those public. :) But I did not record them, Oracle did.

Renaissance of Programming Languages

Venkat Viswa - Wed, 2011-04-20 22:42
Really good talk by Venkat Subramaniam on Progamming language Renaissance.

Some of the key points

* We are in the middle of programming language renaissance
* Nice analogy between history and Progamming Languages

MOS Mashup: the summary or the saga?

Charles Schultz - Wed, 2011-04-20 15:18
Jonathan Lewis started a small conversation; what I gleaned from that thread is he and Tanel (and other experts?) mainly use MOS for "bug hunting" and looking up specific documents. Not so much for filing SRs. Therefore their comments revolved around the utility of the site in that context. However, the general consensus is that they do not use the Flash version, only the HTML version.

Lots of threads on oracle-l - I'll provide the first thread from the freelists and let you read through it if you like.

Robert Freeman "Do you ask the question: How do I work with Oracle Support....?":
Lots of varied comments here, great for "mining" what users are expecting. If I have a ton of free time, I would love to go through and categorize what I find here more thoroughly. In summary, 1 overtly positive comment, 12 negative and 11 on the fence (both good and bad). This thread was mostly about the analysts and not MOS, per se, but a few comments did tickle MOS (negative).

Jared Still "Just my opinion - the move of MOS to Flash is still a bunch of crap":
14 negative comments and 2 "neutral" - I did not find a single person who absolutely loved Flash, let alone MOS. In fact, the majority seem to feel that Flash is REALLY BAD(tm) and the HTML version is passable. General sense that the design was driven from top-heavy management structure, not from collected opinions of the user-base. A little progress seen on fixing bugs, but not nearly enough. MOS still excruciatingly slow.

Yon Huang "Anything Flash MOS can do HTML MOS cannot?":
A number of browser differences ("you got an error in XXXX broswer, try the YYYY browser"). Some comments about how Flash was initially better at creating SRs, but now it seems the HTML version is more robust. With the possible exception of annoying timeouts. As if it would take an hour to file an SR, say it ain't so!!!

Andrew Kerber "more MOS pain":
I think the initial issue might not have been the interface (MOS) itself, but more about how some documents are not published ("unpublished"). I agree, I also find this practice highly annoying. If I cannot see, don't mention it.

Don Granaman "Obtuse errors at MOS":
I also have seen a number of these errors, even recently. This can be generalized into a category of the "Unexplainable", strange messages that pop up for no apparent reason with no apparent solution path. Or like when the entire GUI is in Japanese.

Amit Bansal "Problems with MOS":
Browser and performance issues.

Jon Crisler "Metalink fiasco":
This long strand of messages wandered all over the place and I could not bring myself to read all of them. There are some good efforts to point to specific problems and possible solutions. I am dearly hoping that someone categorized that already.... you know, reinventing the wheel and all. :)

There is a ton more on oracle-l - what I have above only scratches the surface. Not to mention the proliferation of myriad blogs. But two I do want to mention are from the folks at Oracle who have started a couple blogs which have garnered their own collection of colorful ideas.

Chris Warticki's "Support":
I actually took it as a good sign when Oracle briefly pulled the plug on Chris after a noticeably contentious article. Chris knows there are issues with the GUI and Support in general, and he tries really hard to put a positive spin on all of it. Its just that there is only so much positive spin one can put on.... anyway, many of the folks who commented on the oracle-l articles are active here as well.

Support Portal - maintained by members of the Dev team:
I have had a lot of great conversations with Richard Miller, and I am glad he started blogging a bit more. As I blogged about earlier (a long time ago it seems), they have been doing a great job of collecting feedback and Richard did write a series of posts (1, 2, 3) about that collection process. Good stuff. The only major downside is... what did they actually do with all that awesome feedback? How is MOS better for it? *pause* I do not hear anyone singing the praises of MOS.

Whew.... that is a lot of stuff. Here is my Very Basic, Gross Summary(tm).
Customers want the online Support Site to be very fast and they want it to work. They do not want to see silly little nonsense messages. They do not want to jump through hoops and tie themselves in knots to do basic things. Customers want to talk with and interact with humans. Not monkeys reading scripts. Not a cumbersome website. Customers want a powerful search utility that helps them find documents and information quickly. Lastly, customers expect that when they are asked for their feedback, something will magically happen. When nothing happens, the pool of that feedback can quickly turn sour and/or dry.

Day 1 Last session : Javascript powerful language out there

Venkat Viswa - Wed, 2011-04-20 06:50
Last session of the day by Venkat on the power of Javascript

Javascript

Feels like Java & C
Similar to perl in some ways
Untyped Language

Rules

1) Case sensitive
2) goo idea to use ;
3) commenting style is same as Java/C++
4) null and undefined are used to indicated null
5) Strings are single or doule quotes and are immutable

Functional in nature : Functions are first class citizens

Pass and return functions. Everything should be object oriented is a wrong notion.

Variables are typeless. but you need to declare variables with var

Global and local scoping for variables. No block level.

Control structures are like C : statements, expressions, for loops

var sayHello = function(name) {
print('hi');
}

sayHello is now a handle to a function.Its powerful since, you can now register them as event handlers.

IN Javascript everything is an expression. there is no statement as such.

Functions are Objects


function Car(year) {
this.year=year;
}

var myCar = new Car(2011);

print (myCar.year);

myCar is an instance of Car.

Encapsulation is not really about security. Its for code maintainence.

prototype is like a backpack. Any method not defined on object is routed to prototype.

Car.prototype.drive = function(dist) {
print('driving..);
this.miles += dist;
}
Car.prototype.tune = function() {print ('tune')};

print (myCar["year"]); --> you can use this instead of dot notation. You can dynamically recieve the parameter since its in a double quote.

Object is nothing but a collection (property holder).
It can be a function, object or a collection of properties

for (var prop in myCar.__proto__) {
print(prop + '\n');
}


Inheritance in Javascript

Composition is better than Inheritance. Ruby and Groovy have delegation (@delegate).

Javascript supports inheritance through method composition.

function Base() {
}

function Dervied() {
}

Derived.prototype = new Base();

Code Quality

jslint is a nice tool to check code quality.

You need to separate the logic from HTML page.

Overall it was an amazing session with good insights on JS

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