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cost claims and the law...

Nuno Souto - Wed, 2011-03-23 04:39
Been a long time since last post.  It's been a busy period since the start of 2011. Mostly because we are in a period of turmoil when apparently every man and his dog is trying to get into our site for "outsourcing".  Even though that is most definitely not what we are doing.  But never let reality interfere with a good dose of marketing... We've seen a lot of "cloud computing" and SaaS Noonsnoreply@blogger.com10

How To Do Highly Available OVD-EUS

Mark Wilcox - Tue, 2011-03-22 23:21

Got a question from sales on our mailing list that I think is good to have generally available:

My customer is considering using OVD for EUS (against AD) but worries about having one more point of failure (OVD).
Mark Comment - This is covered in our product documentation as well.

Question - What are the failover solutions available?
Answer - It's easy to make OVD highly available. All that is required that you have 2 (or more) OVD instances installed. Then you can synchronize the configuration. I typically prefer to get 1 server configured and then do the synchronize.

  Question - What  are the best practices?
Answer - After you have multiple OVD instances configured - then you can either put OVD behind an existing hardware load-balancer (most common) or if OVD implementation is restricted to just OVD-EUS, can list the specific OVD servers hostname and ports in the database's ldap.ora file. The reason why I put this caveat is that not all applications lets you list multiple connections for fail-over.

Question - Do we have customers working with highly available OVD solution?
Answer - As far as I know, everyone has OVD deployed in a highly available configuration

Posted via email from Virtual Identity Dialogue

Installing Oracle XE 10g on Ubuntu 10.10 Server and VMWare Fusion 3.1

Chris Muir - Tue, 2011-03-22 08:03
The following blog post is purely for my own purposes, to document how to install Oracle XE 10g on Ubuntu 10.10 Server as a VM under VMWare Fusion 3.1 on Mac OS X 10.6.6.

These instructions are gathered from numerous internet resources and much of the credit must be given to these authors for their superb guides. The main difference for my guide is the inclusion of screenshots which I prefer over text or video, and the occasional fix where the original instructions didn’t work for me. Reference to the external authors is given throughout this article.

Installing Ubuntu 10.10 Server on VMWare Fusion

Opening credit must go to Ted Wise for his XE on Mac guide. Ted’s guide is very indepth detailing the exact options for installing Ubuntu’s JeOS 8.04. Ubuntu doesn’t appear to have a JeOS download for 10.10 so my instructions are the Ubuntu 10.10 Server .iso instead.

First download the Ubuntu “i386” 10.10 Server edition as the Oracle XE .deb package downloaded later is “i386” too. I’m a little unsure why, but there doesn’t appear to be a 64bit version of the i386 ISO for Ubuntu, but there is an Ubuntu amd64 server release for 10.10. While the amd64 version will run in VMWare Fusion, later on attempting to install the Oracle XE .deb package, it will complain it’s only for the i386 platform, which makes the amd64 Ubuntu unviable.

There’s obviously something I don’t know about the Ubuntu supported platforms and the relating ISOs.

iiNet (local Aussie ISP) provides a handy mirror.

Once downloaded open the VMWare Fusion. From the menu select File -> New which opens the New Virtual Machine Assistant wizard:

Select the “Continue without disc” button which opens the Installation Media page in the wizard:

Select the “Use operating system installation disc image file” radio button. This will open a select file dialog where you select the Ubuntu 10.10 Server i386 iso:

Presenting the following options in the previous dialog:

Selecting “Continue” presents the Operating System page. By default Linux and Ubuntu should already be selected under the respective Operating System and Version options:

Selecting “Continue” presents the Linux Easy Install options:

Note in the above picture we unselect the “Use Easy Install” option as this will skip many of the options we want to configure when the Ubuntu installation starts in the VM. Selecting the “Continue” button will present the Finish page:

The default options for the VM are fine. However you can click the “Customize Settings” button to change them. Note on selecting either this button or the Finish button will display a save dialog asking you to name and place the VM file on the OSX file system. The default location appears to be /Users/(your username)/Documents/Virtual Machines:

Note in the above picture I already have a number of other Ubuntu VMs that were previous trials.

Once you press Save the VM will start and the Ubuntu installer will flash through some startup screens, quickly arriving at the first option to select English as the preferred language:

At the next screen select the “Install Ubuntu Server” option:

For whatever reason we’re prompted for the language again, “English damn you, English”:

Then select your country:

Select No at the “Detect keyboard layout” option:

Select USA on the “Origin of the keyboard” screen:

Wow, Ubuntu loves it’s keyboard options. Select USA at the “Keyboard layout” screen:

Change the hostname to something more suitable at the Hostname prompt on the next screen, such as “oraclexe”:

At the timezone prompt assuming the right default has been picked, press Yes:

The next set of steps owes all its credit to Ted Wise’s instructions. As Ted notes Oracle XE will require a Linux swap partition twice the size of the available RAM. This can be done post install but it’s easier done now through the install screens with no typing required. The first screen titled “Partitioned disks” select the Manual option:

On the next screen select the SCSI3 option representing the VMWare disk available to the VM:

The screen will warn you that we’re going to drop and recreate the partition, which we select the Yes prompt:

This returns to the previous screen where under the SCSI option you’ll see that there is an entry for the empty partition entitled “pri/log 21.5GB” which we select:

In the following screen select the “Create a new partition” option to create a new partition in the empty partition we just selected:

In the following screen downgrade the partition size from 21.5GB to 20GB. The remaining size will be used for the swap partition soon.

Select “Primary” to make this the primary partition:

Allow the partition to be created at the “Beginning” of the available space:

Select “Done setting up the partition” which completes the primary partition. Next we create the swap partition:

Returning to the main partition page, select the remaining “pri/log FREE SPACE” option, which will be used for the swap:

Again select the “Create a new partition” option:

Take the default 1.5GB partition space next which will allocate the remaining free space to the swap:

Again make this a Primary partition:

Select the “Use as” option as we want to change what the partition is used for:

Select “swap area” when prompted “How to use this partition”:

Then finally “Done setting up this partition”

Returning to the partitions screen select “Finish partitioning and write changes to disk”:

A final prompt warning you on your changes will display, select Yes:

At this point the installer will start copying and configuring files:

At the “Set up users and passwords” screen you have the chance to configure the primary none-root user. The first page prompts you for the user’s name, not the account name. However they can be the same. As seen in this screenshot “administrator” is entered:

Next screen you enter the actual user account name, again “administrator” is entered in this screenshot:

Over 2 screens you’ll be asked to enter and confirm a password for the new account:

Choose not to encrypt the home directory:

Only if you have a HTTP proxy between the internet and the Mac set the following options, otherwise just select Continue. The install requires access to the internet so it’s essential this is configured if required:

Now the installer will download and install additional files:

Select your preference at the screen prompting you how to apply security updates:

At the software selection page, as we want this to be a very small server install just to run Oracle XE, leave the software package selection undone:

At the GRUB Boot prompt select Yes:

Hurray!… the installation is complete:

On a reboot the VM will display the Ubuntu command line login:

On logging in using the administrator account created in the previous steps, force the Ubuntu Server to update itself using the APT package installer via the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

When prompted press Y

Finally reboot the server:

sudo shutdown –r now

Install VMWare Tools

Here we depart from Ted's instructions. The Ubuntu Community documentation provides under the "Installing from Ubuntu package from VM-tools" heading the instructions for installing the VMWare Tools. A number of prescribed methods didn't work, including those requiring the VMWare Tools to be mounted via a virtual cdrom.

On logging in again as administrator, enter the following commands. Note the third command; as we've installed a UI-less Ubuntu Server we use this specific command (the Ubuntu documentation lists 2 options):

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-virtual
sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends open-vm-dkms
sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends open-vm-tools

Installing Oracle XE

First login as administrator and install the prerequisite libraries and packages:

sudo aptitude install libaio-dev
sudo apt-get install bc

Note that there appears to be some documentation around that indicates if Oracle XE is installed under Ubuntu 64bit, there are additional prerequisite libraries that must be installed including "bc" and "ia32-libs".

In the next step I had significant issues in using the usual method that most others used to download Oracle XE. As described in Ted's instructions, the typical manner is to download and Oracle XE is to add an entry to your /etc/apt/sources.list, use wget to retrieve the GPG key for the Oracle XE package and install it the APT repository, then finally download Oracle XE using APT.

Instead I came up with the following solution.

Via my browser I discovered the URL of the Oracle XE i386 deb package from the OTN web page was as follows:

Still logged in as administrator, issue the following command changing the username and password to match your OTN username and password:

(Post edit: It appears the wget command can't deal with the licence prompt the Oracle website asks for. To solve this, in your Mac and your favourite browser, access the following page and accept the license condition. This will set your IP up to be allowed to download the software, such that both your Mac and the VMWare session can download the .deb file. Obviously another option is to download the .deb file onto your Mac, and then access it from your VMWare session)

wget --user=(username) --password=(password) http://download.oracle.com/otn/linux/oracle10g/xe/10201/oracle-xe_10.2.0.1-1.0_i386.deb

This will download the XE .deb file. Once completed we can install the .deb file using dpkg (more information on .deb files and dpkg can be found via Chris Buckridge's page):

sudo dpkg -i oracle-xe_10.2.0.1-1.0_i386.deb

Ensure to complete the usermod step next otherwise the administrator user will not be given correct privileges to install and start the database after a reboot:

(Post edit: there's a mistake in my notes here. Either the following command must be entered now, or, after the oracle-xe configure line next. Without reinstalling the whole VM it's currently hard for me to check this)

sudo usermod -g dba administrator

The next command configures and installs the database:

sudo /etc/init.d/oracle-xe configure

At the prompts:

1) Enter a port for Apex, the default being 8080
2) Enter a port for the Oracle Listener, the default being 1521.
3) Enter a password for the SYS/SYSTEM database accounts.
4) When prompted enter Y to allow Oracle XE to be started with the VM boots.

For reference /etc/default/oracle-xe is the configuration file which stores these options.

Once completed, edit the following file via or similar:

vi ~/.bashrc

At the end of the file enter the following:

export PATH

Finally we need to login to the database as system and allow remote access to the HTTP server:

sqlplus system/(password)

Accessing the APEX homepage from the VM Host (not Guest)

Finally to access the APEX homepage from the VM Host, on the guest issue the command "ifconfig" which will reveal the current IP of the VM guest, listed under the "eth0" "inet addr" entry, as example

On the VM Host, return to your favourite browser and enter:

..and the APEX home page should display. Ensure you can login using the SYSTEM account.

It's worth checking from a tool like JDeveloper installed under OSX that you can also access the database.


Cloud Computing for Java Developers

Debu Panda - Mon, 2011-03-21 13:38
I wrote an article Java Cloud Development: What Developers Need to Know at Developer.com. This provides an introduction to Cloud Computing from Java Developers perspective. You can read the article here.

Exciting changes at UKOUG!

Lisa Dobson - Mon, 2011-03-21 07:04
First of all, a big Thank you to everyone who voted to keep me on the Board of Directors. I’m very grateful for all of the support and very pleased to be able to continue as a Director.We had our first Board meeting on Thursday and were able to welcome two new Directors to the Board, Jeremy Duggan and Robert Stanton.This board meeting was a very different experience for me as, due to a rather Lisahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/16434297444320005874noreply@blogger.com0

Upcoming Webcast: Do You Have The Right Directory Services For Cloud Computing?

Mark Wilcox - Sun, 2011-03-20 23:40

I'm giving a new webcast this week about making sure you choose the right directory service for cloud computing:
Webcast Date: Thursday, March 24, 2011
Webcast Time: 10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time / 1:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Please register and attend to learn about the key points you need to keep in mind when choosing a directory service for your cloud initiatives.

Posted via email from Virtual Identity Dialogue

Open cursor paranoia

Rob van Wijk - Thu, 2011-03-17 17:15
Most PL/SQL developers will likely have witnessed this phenomenon several times during their career. But only in other people's code, of course :-). I'm talking about PL/SQL code where every program unit ends like this:exceptionwhen others then if c%isopen then close c; end if; raise;end;where lines 3 to 6 are repeated for every cursor in the block above.Proponents of open cursor paranoia Rob van Wijkhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/00499478359372903250noreply@blogger.com6

EJB 3 In Action, 2nd Edition

Debu Panda - Thu, 2011-03-17 00:00
The second edition of EJB 3 In Action was announced recently. Ryan Cuprak joined as a new author of the book. Ryan and Reza are doing most of the work on the book. We have made a lot of changes in the content to include EJB 3.1 and other Java EE features such as CDI.
Here is the table of contents for the book:

Part I: Overview of the EJB landscape
1. What's what in EJB 3.1
2. A first taste of EJB 3

Part II: Working with EJB 3 components
3. Building business logic with session beans
4. Messaging and message-driven beans
5. EJB runtime context, dependency injection, and aspect oriented programming
6. Transactions and security
7. Scheduling and timers in EJB
8. Exposing EJBs as SOAP and REST web services

Part III: Using EJB 3 with JPA and CDI
9. JPA entities
10. Managing entities
11. Using CDI with EJB 3

Part IV: Putting EJB 3 into action
12. Packaging EJB 3 applications
13. EJB 3 testing
14. Designing EJB-based systems
15. EJB performance and scalability
16. EJB 3, Seam, and Spring
17. The future of EJB 3

A. RMI primer
B. Migrating from EJB 2.1 to EJB 3
C. Annotations reference
D. Deployment descriptors reference
E. Installing and configuring the Java EE 6 SDK
F. EJB 3 developer certification exam
G. EJB 3 tools support

The book is available on Manning Early Release Program. You can join MEAP and help improve the program

Web 2.0 Solutions with Oracle WebCenter 11g (book review)

Eduardo Rodrigues - Wed, 2011-03-16 20:16
by Fábio SouzaHello People! This was supposed to be a post to celebrate the new year, but, as you all can notice, the things didn't happen the way I was expecting (again haha). Today I will talk...

This is a summary only. Please, visit the blog for full content and more.

Web 2.0 Solutions with Oracle WebCenter 11g (book review)

Java 2 Go! - Wed, 2011-03-16 20:16
by Fábio SouzaHello People! This was supposed to be a post to celebrate the new year, but, as you all can notice, the things didn't happen the way I was expecting (again haha). Today I will talk...

This is a summary only. Please, visit the blog for full content and more.
Categories: Development

Why we do not use PowerConnect to access PeopleSoft Tree

Dylan Wan - Wed, 2011-03-16 12:51

1. It does not allow you to use parameters to the PeopleSoft connect. It may be changed later. However, it was a big issue when we try to address customer issues.

2. It requires EFFDT as an option.It expect that people change the EFFDT using Mapping Editor. How can a business user does that every month?

3. It asks for a Tree Name. Many PeopleSoft tree structure supports multiple trees. Tree is just a header of the hierarchy. Whenever you add a new Tree, you need to create a new mapping!!

It does not make sense to use PowerConnect due to the customer demands. All requirements are from customers.

We have no choice but stop using it.

Categories: BI & Warehousing

Oracle JHeadstart Now Available

JHeadstart - Wed, 2011-03-16 05:27

Oracle JHeadstart is now available for download (build
This release is compatible with JDeveloper 11 releases, as well as and
Customers who own a JHeadstart supplement option license can download it from the Consulting Supplement Option portal.

In addition to many small enhancements and bug fixes, the following features have been added to JHeadstart

  • Support for Dynamic Tabs: There is a new page template insipred by the dynamic tabs functional pattern. Note that this template and associated managed beans are all included with JHeadstart and can be easily customized. The implementation does not depend on the "Oracle Extended Page Templates" library. Additional JHeadstart-specific features include: automatically marking the current tab dirty, initially displaying one or more tabs, ability to uniquely identify tabs by a tab unique identifier, close tab icon displayed on tab itself. When using the item Display Type "groupLink" there is a new allowable value "New Dynamic Tab" for property Display Linked Group In that can be used when you use the dynamic tabs template. For example, this allows you to have a first "EmployeeSearch" group that searches employees and shows the result in a table, and then clicking a groupLink edit icon for one employee in the table, which opens a new dynamic tab showing the linked "CustomerEdit" group for this specific employee. See section 9.3 "Using Dynamic Tabs when Opening a Menu Item" in the JHeadstart Developer's Guide for more information.

    Dynamic Tabs

  • Support for Function Keys: There is a new application level property Enable Function Keys. When this property is checked, JHeadstart will generate context-sensitive function keys. The list of function keys can be
    seen by clicking Ctrl-K. The actual function keys shown in the list depend on the location of the cursor in the page. The default mapping of function keys to ADF actions is inspired by Oracle Forms function key mapping, but can very easily be changed. Function keys for custom buttons can easily be added as well. See section 11.7 "Using Function Keys" in the JHeadstart Developer's Guide for more information.

    Context-Sensitive Function Keys

  • Support for Popup Regions: There are two new region container layout styles: Modeless Popup Window and Modal Popup Window. With these layout styles, the content of the region container and its child regions are displayed in a poupup window. If the Depends on Item(s) property is set on the region container, the item context facet of the depends-on-item is used to launch the region container popup. If the depends-on-item is a button item, the popup will be launched when clicking the button. If the Depends on Item(s) property is not set for the popup region conatiner, an additional button with the label set to the region title is generated to launch the popup. See section 5.10.4 "Generating Content in a Popup Window" in the JHeadstart Developer's Guide for more information.

    Popup Region Container with Method Call Button

  • Support for Dynamic Iterator Bindings: There is a new group property Data collection Expression. In this property you can specify an EL expression that determines at runtime which data collection (view object usage) should be used. This can be useful when reusing the same group taskflow multiple times. For example, the Employees group can be used as a top-level taskflow, and as a group region taskflow under the departments group. Rather then setting up bind variables and a query where clause, this use case can be implemented much easier by dynamically switching the view object usage between a top-level employees view object usage and a nested usage under the departments view object usage. The data collection expression can then refer to a taskflow parameter which specifies the actual view object usage name.
  • Support for Custom Toolbar Buttons: There are two new item display types toolbarButton and groupLinkToolbarButton. Items with this display type are generated into the group-level toolbar for form layout, and added to the table toolbar for table layouts

    Custom Iconic Toolbar Button

  • Control over Label Position: There is a new property Label Alignment for groups and item regions that allows you to specify whether labels (prompts) should be positioned at the left of an item, or above the item.
  • Support for Icons: There is a new icon property available at group and item level. At item level, this can be used to generate iconic buttons and group links. At group level, the icon is displayed in the header bar of the group, and in buttons that navigate to the group taskflow
  • Support for Online Help: At the application level, there is a new property Online Help Provider. Two new properties Help Text and Instruction Text have been added to the group, region container, group region, item region and item elements. These two new properties are only used when a help provider is set at application level. If a help text is entered a help icon will be displayed at the right of the element title, or in case of an item, at the left of the item prompt. If an instruction text is entered, it will be displayed below the element title, or in case of an item, in a popup when the user clicks in the input component of the item. See section 11.6 "Using Online Help" in the JHeadstart Developer's Guide for more information.

    Online Help

  • Deeplinking from External Source Like E-Mail: You can now launch the application with a specific page (region) being displayed by adding "jhsTaskFlowName" as parameter to the request URL.
    The value of "jhsTaskFlowName" should be set to a valid group name as defined in the application definition. Any other request parameters will be set as taskflow parameters.
    For example the following URL will start the application with the Employees taskflow, displaying employee with employeeid 110:
  • Ability to Call Business Method from Button: There is a new item level property Method Call where you can select a method from the list of application module methods that have been added to the client interface.
    Using item parameters, you can specify the method arguments. The return value of a method call can easily be displayed in an unbound item using a simple EL expression. See section 6.10.3 "Executing a Button Action" in the JHeadstart Developer's Guide for more information.
  • Requery when Entering Task Flow: The group-level combobox property Requery Condition has a new allowable value "When Entering the Task Flow" to ensure the latest data are queried when the user enters a task flow. As before, you can still enter a custom boolean EL expression in this property as well.
  • Additional Item Properties: There is a new item property "Additional Properties" where you specify additional properties that are added to the ADF Faces
    Component generated for the item. See section 12.4.4 "Adding Custom Properties to a Generated Item" in the JHeadstart Developer's Guide for more information.
  • New Custom Properties: You can now specify 5 custom properties against region containers, item regions and group regions.
  • Easier Taskflow Customization: Most of the content of the bounded taskflow Velocity template for a top group (groupAdfcConfig.vm) has been refactored into separate templates to make customization of generated bounded taskflows easier and faster. Placeholder (empty) templates to easily add custom managed beans, custom taskflow activities and custom control flow rules have been added as well. See section 12.5 "Customizing Task Flows" in the JHeadstart Developer's Guide for more information.
  • Easier File Generation Customization: The fileGenerator.vm now uses logical template names instead of hardcoded template paths to generate files. You can now use the Application Definition Editor to create a custom template for a specific file, just like all other templates. In addition, to prevent generation of a file, you can set the template to default/common/empty.vm, the file generator will no longer create files with empty content. See section 12.6 "Customizing Output of the File Generator" in the JHeadstart Developer's Guide for more information.
  • Better Support for ADF Libraries: A new paragraph (2.4) in the JHeadstart Developer's Guide describes JHeadstart-specific steps to take when using ADF Libraries. In addition, it is now possible to "import" JHeadstart service definitions from other projects that are packaged as ADF Library so you can reference JHeadstart groups in other projects in the JHeadstart Application Definition editor of the project that contains the ADF libraries with JHeadstart-generated content. See section 2.4 "Packaging JHeadstart-Generated ViewController Project as ADF Library" in the JHeadstart Developer's Guide for more information.
  • Use of ADFLogger: The JHeadstart runtime classes now use the ADFLogger instead of Log4j. The ADFLogger nicely integrates with WebLogic, allowing you to configure log levels dynamically at runtime and monitoring log messages from specific threads. To see all JHeadstart debug messages during development, go to the WebLogic log window in JDeveloper, click on the "Actions" dropdown list and choose "Configure Oracle Diagnostic Logging". Now add a persistent logger with name "oracle.jheadstart" and log level "INFO". You can do this while Weblogic is already running.

For a complete list of all existing features, use this link.

Categories: Development

ISA Consulting Bought by E&Y

Look Smarter Than You Are - 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

Runtime error ORA-01031: insufficient privileges

Rob van Wijk - Tue, 2011-03-15 16:13
After a new version of software was installed in production, the end users reported a runtime error: ORA-01031: insufficient privileges, when selecting from a view. The developers of the code were investigating the problem and half way through, they asked me to have a look at the problem. I saw a function from schema3, which was used in a view in schema2, which was used by schema1. I had just Rob van Wijkhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/00499478359372903250noreply@blogger.com1

Anonymous exposes sensitive bank emails

Simon Thorpe - Mon, 2011-03-14 03:46


anonymous As expected for quite a while, emails purporting to reveal alleged naughtiness at a major bank have been released today. A bank spokesman says "We are confident that his extravagant assertions are untrue".

The BBC report concludes...  "Firms are increasingly concerned about the prospect of disgruntled staff taking caches of sensitive e-mails with them when they leave, said Rami Habal, of security firm Proofpoint.

"You can't do anything about people copying the content," he said.

But firms can put measures in place, such as revoking encryption keys, which means stolen e-mails become unreadable, he added."

Actually, there is something you can do to guard against copying. While traditional encryption lets authorised recipients make unprotected copies long before you revoke the keys, Oracle IRM provides encryption AND guards against unprotected copies being made. Recipients can be authorised to save protected copies, and cut-and-paste within the scope of a protected workflow or email thread - but can be prevented from saving unprotected copies or pasting to unprotected files and emails. 

The IRM audit trail would also help track down attempts to open the protected emails and documents by unauthorised individuals within or beyond your perimeter.


Personalized News Recommendations

Khanderao Kand - Sun, 2011-03-13 19:53
A couple of days back, on March 10, Barron’s reported that “NYTimes.com Adds Recommendation Feature‘. Back in Nov 2010 MyBantu powered ‘Personalized News Recommendations‘ was launched for Samachar, largest news portal about India. This personalized news recommendation, one of the firsts, not only increased visitors(readers) traffic to the Samachar site but it also resulted in the readers spending more time reading these personalized articles.  more ....

Explain this

Oracle WTF - Sat, 2011-03-12 09:04

On the subject of cryptic OTN posts, this one has to get an honorary mention as well:

explain this


write query to find out order detail of oder_date 2 year before (sorry i forget exact question)

No solutions so far.

Make Me One With Everything

Oracle WTF - Sat, 2011-03-12 08:52

Seen on OTN Forums recently (part of a question entitled "HTML not working in PL/SQL block", so I suppose we were warned):

l_col VARCHAR2(30) := to_number(to_char(to_date('01-feb-2011','dd-mon-yyyy'),'dd'));

So the string '01-feb-2011' becomes first a date, then a string again, then a number, before being assigned to a string variable. Much more interesting than boring old

l_col VARCHAR2(30) := extract (day from date '2011-02-01');

Or even,

l_col VARCHAR2(30) := '1';

IRM Item Codes – what are they for?

Simon Thorpe - Fri, 2011-03-11 07:51



A number of colleagues have been asking about IRM item codes recently - what are they for, when are they useful, how can you control them to meet some customer requirements? This is quite a big topic, but this article provides a few answers.

An item code is part of the metadata of every sealed document - unless you define a custom metadata model. The item code is defined when a file is sealed, and usually defaults to a timestamp/filename combination.

This time/name combo tends to make item codes unique for each new document, but actually item codes are not necessarily unique, as will become clear shortly.

In most scenarios, item codes are not relevant to the evaluation of a user's rights - the context name is the critical piece of metadata, as a user typically has a role that grants access to an entire classification of information regardless of item code. This is key to the simplicity and manageability of the Oracle IRM solution.

Item codes are occasionally exposed to users in the UI, but most users probably never notice and never care. Nevertheless, here is one example of where you can see an item code - when you hover the mouse pointer over a sealed file.

tooltip As you see, the item code for this freshly created file combines a timestamp with the file name.

But what are item codes for?

The first benefit of item codes is that they enable you to manage exceptions to the policy defined for a context. Thus, I might have access to all oracle - internal files - except for 2011_03_11 13:33:29 Board Minutes.sdocx.

This simple mechanism enables Oracle IRM to provide file-by-file control where appropriate, whilst offering the scalability and manageability of classification-based control for the majority of users and content. You really don't want to be managing each file individually, but never say never.

Item codes can also be used for the opposite effect - to include a file in a user's rights when their role would ordinarily deny access. So, you can assign a role that allows access only to specified item codes. For example, my role might say that I have access to precisely one file - the one shown above.

So how are item codes set?

In the vast majority of scenarios, item codes are set automatically as part of the sealing process. The sealing API uses the timestamp and filename as shown, and the user need not even realise that this has happened. This automatically creates item codes that are for all practical purposes unique - and that are also intelligible to users who might want to refer to them when viewing or assigning rights in the management UI.

It is also possible for suitably authorised users and applications to set the item code manually or programmatically if required.

Setting the item code manually using the IRM Desktop

The manual process is a simple extension of the sealing task. An authorised user can select the Advanced... sealing option, and will see a dialog that offers the option to specify the item code.



To see this option, the user's role needs the Set Item Code right - you don't want most users to give any thought at all to item codes, so by default the option is hidden.

Setting the item code programmatically

A more common scenario is that an application controls the item code programmatically. For example, a document management system that seals documents as part of a workflow might set the item code to match the document's unique identifier in its repository. This offers the option to tie IRM rights evaluation directly to the security model defined in the document management system. Again, the sealing application needs to be authorised to Set Item Code.

The Payslip Scenario

To give a concrete example of how item codes might be used in a real world scenario, consider a Human Resources workflow such as a payslips. The goal might be to allow the HR team to have access to all payslips, but each employee to have access only to their own payslips.

To enable this, you might have an IRM classification called Payslips. The HR team have a role in the normal way that allows access to all payslips. However, each employee would have an Item Reader role that only allows them to access files that have a particular item code - and that item code might match the employee's payroll number. So, employee number 123123123 would have access to items with that code. This shows why item codes are not necessarily unique - you can deliberately set the same code on many files for ease of administration.

The employees might have the right to unseal or print their payslip, so the solution acts as a secure delivery mechanism that allows payslips to be distributed via corporate email without any fear that they might be accessed by IT administrators, or forwarded accidentally to anyone other than the intended recipient.

All that remains is to ensure that as each user's payslip is sealed, it is assigned the correct item code - something that is easily managed by a simple IRM sealing application. Each month, an employee's payslip is sealed with the same item code, so you do not need to keep amending the list of items that the user has access to - they have access to all documents that carry their employee code.


Hospital fined $1m for Patient Data Breach

Simon Thorpe - Thu, 2011-03-10 22:14


hospital-finedAs an illustration of the potential cost of accidental breaches, the US Dept of Health and Human Services recently fined a hospital $1m for losing documents relating to some of its patients. Allegedly, the documents were left on the subway by a hospital employee.

For incidents in the UK, several local government bodies have been fined between £60k and £100k. Evidently, the watchdogs are taking an increasingly firm position.



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