A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Oracle Diagnostics Support Pack and the Applications Collection Tool (ACT)

This post contains information on a very useful feature of the Oracle E-Business Suite that allows you to perform diagnostics on your instance and the related setup.

For quite some time now I’ve been making use of the Oracle Diagnostics Support Pack when implementing and supporting Oracle E-Business Suite. I’ve found it an invaluable tool to check applications setups, compare setups between different instances/environments and diagnose specific problems with a particular module or process. In addition to this, when raising a TAR with Metalink, quite often you will find that they will require you to run some of the scripts in the Diagnostics Support Pack.  Surprisingly not many implementor’s I’ve dealt with know about this tool so hopefully I will be able to raise the awareness of it.

March 2005 saw the release of the Diagnostics Support Pack version 5.3 which contains diagnostic scripts for the following components of Oracle E-Business Suite: -

  • ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning
    • Applications Core Technology
    • Distribution/Supply Chain
    • Financials
    • Human Resource Management Systems
    • Manufacturing
    • Projects Suite
    • Public Sector
    • Self-Service Web Applications
  • CRM - Customer Relationship Management
    • CRM Applications Foundation
    • Service
    • Contracts
    • E-Commerce
    • Marketing
    • Sales

The details of how to setup the Diagnostics Support Pack can be found in Metalink note 167000.1 entitled eBusiness Suite Support - Oracle Diagnostics Support Pack Installation Guide. According to this note: -

Oracle eBusiness Support initiated an automation effort to ensure customers are successful at installing, using and upgrading Oracle eBusiness products. The goal of this program is to create tools that will increase customer problem avoidance, customer self-service and support engineer efficiency.

The diagnostic tests provided as part of this Oracle Diagnostics Support Pack gather information and perform a set of tests on that information. The results include the output of information gathered, the results of the tests and appropriate actions to take. The tests provided do not alter data or setup.

The Support Packs are updated and released every other month and include the latest updates to existing tests and all new tests that are available.

The note provides you with the URL from which you can access the diagnostics, namely http://<web-tier-host:port>/OA_HTML/jtfqalgn.htm, and contains the following sections: -

  1. Diagnostic Support Pack Overview - An overview of the diagnostic support pack and how it can help you
  2. System Requirements - System/Version requirements for the diagnostic support pack
  3. References
  4. Installation Instructions - Instructions for installing the diagnostic support pack
  5. Usage - Instructions for running tests included in the diagnostic support pack
  6. Recent New/Updated Diagnostic Tests
  7. Complete List of All Tests Contained in the Diagnostic Support Pack

Applications Collection Tool

The Applications Collection Tool (ACT) is another tool that collects detailed information about your technical environment as well as any module you specify. E-Business Suite R11 users can run this as a separate programme (see Note:293127.1)  whilst 11i users can run it from the Diagnostics Support Pack under the Applications DBA responsibility.

Other Useful Metalink Notes

  • Note:235307.1 - OSS Application Diagnostics Tools: FAQ and Troubleshooting Guide
  • Note:179661.1 - Applications Support Diagnostic Tools Catalog
  • Note:293198.1 - How To Use Support Diagnostics Tools Most Effectively
  • Note:296261.1 - How To Install And Run The Applications Collection Tool (ACT) - On-Line Trainings

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Monday, April 25, 2005

JD Edwards and Peoplesoft Product Packs now downloadable via Oracle’s e-delivery site

Last week I mentioned that you can now download the latest Oracle Software and Updates via Oracle’s e-delivery web site. I was rather chuffed to discover today that JD Edwards World, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Peoplesoft Enterprise have been added to the list of available downloads on this site.

This post from last week outlines how to access Oracle’s e-delivery site. The following additional software and products can now be downloaded from this site:

JD Edwards World

According to the JD Edwards World Product Lines Page: -

JD Edwards World is the leading enterprise software solution for the IBM iSeries platform. The applications offer small businesses a reliable, functionality-rich, web-enabled environment for world-class management of plants, inventories, equipment, finances, and people as a synchronized, integrated whole and are tightly integrated and pre-bundled on a single database, reducing implementation cost and complexity.

The following CD/Media Packs are available for this product on the IBM iSeries OS/400 platform: -

  • JD Edwards World Express V1.2
  • JD Edwards World A73 Multi Language Documentation
  • JD Edwards World A73SP15 MP2 Web Enablement
  • Letter: Crystal Reports Install
  • Crystal Reports for JD Edwards World
  • Crystal Enterprise for J. D. Edwards World
  • Crystal Reports ERP Direct 2032
  • Crystal Enterprise Direct 2032

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne

According to the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Product Lines Page

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne is a complete suite of modular, pre-integrated industry-specific business applications designed for rapid deployment and ease of administration on a pure internet architecture. It is ideally suited for organizations that manufacture, construct, distribute, service, or manage products or physical assets.

The following CD/Media Packs are available for download via the Electronic Product Delivery (EPD) system: -

  • Crystal Reports and Enterprise Applications
  • JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.11 Applications
  • JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.11 Application with Translations
  • JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.10 Applications
  • JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.10 Application with Translations
  • JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.10 Application Localizations
  • JD Edwards EnterpriseOne User Productivity Kits Development Tool 2.5.4

These packs are available for the following platforms: -

  • AIX5L Based Systems (64-bit)
  • HP-UX PA-RISC (64-bit)
  • IBM iSeries OS/400
  • Linux x86
  • Microsoft Windows (32-bit)
  • Solaris Operating System (SPARC 64-Bit)

Peoplesoft Enterprise

According to the Peoplesoft Enterprise Product Lines Page: -

PeopleSoft Enterprise is a suite of best-in-class applications built on our Pure Internet Architecture and designed for the most complex business requirements. Ideally suited for large, company-wide functions across all industries, it provides industry-leading web services integration with multivendor and homegrown applications. PeopleSoft Enterprise can be easily configured and adapted to meet the most unique customer requirements. In addition, it supports the broadest choice of technology infrastructure in the industry.

The following CD/Media Packs are available for download via the EPD system: -

  • Process Modeler Client 8.91
  • Enterprise Learning Solution 8.81
  • PeopleTools Enterprise Development 8.46
  • Supply Chain Planning 8.11
  • Customer Relationship Management 8.9
  • Human Resources Management System and Campus Solutions 8.9
  • Portal Solutions 8.9
  • Revenue Management Solution 8.9
  • Incentive Management 8.9
  • Enterprise Performance Management 8.8
  • Financial & Supply Chain Management 8.8
  • Human Resources Management System and Campus Solutions 8.8
  • Portal Solutions 8.8
  • Staffing 8.8
  • Enterprise Performance Management 8.8
  • User Productivity Kits Development Tool 2.5.4

These packs are available for the following platforms: -

  • AIX5L Based Systems (64-bit)
  • HP Tru64 UNIX
  • HP-UX Itanium
  • HP-UX PA-RISC (32-bit)
  • HP-UX PA-RISC (64-bit)
  • IBM z/OS (OS/390)
  • Linux x86
  • Microsoft Windows (32-bit)
  • Solaris Operating System (SPARC 64-Bit)

Looks like I’ve got some serious downloading to start tonight!!

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Metalink announces new Electronic Product Delivery (EPD) System for Oracle Products and Updates

Metalink has recently announced the Electronic Product Delivery (EPD) System for Oracle Products and Updates. In the past, orders for Oracle Software and Updates had to made by requesting a media shipment using a TAR or the phone. This post discusses how you can now obtain this software on demand - no more waiting for those CD’s to arrive in the post!!

The Electronic Product Delivery (EPD) system can be accessed by clicking on the Patches & Updates button (formerly just a patches button) on Metalink. After clicking on the Patches and Updates button you should click on the e-delivery link as highlighted in red on Figure 1 below: -

Click to see a full image of how to gain access to Oracle's new edelivery site

Figure 1: Accessing Updates and Patches Button via Metalink

Having access the e-delivery site, downloading the software can be performed in three simple steps below as outlined on the e-delivery site: -

  1. Complete an Export Validation. This is a short process that will require you to enter a minimal amount of information (name, company, email address, and country)
  2. Once you complete the export validation you will need to specify the product pack and platform that you want to download
  3. After selecting a product pack, you will be able to download individual zip files. Once you download all the zip files for a given product, you will be able to continue with installation of your Oracle product(s)

Via e-delivery you can download the following product packs for a variety of platforms: -

  • E-Business Suite
  • Financial Services Applications
  • iLearning Applications
  • On Demand
  • Oracle Application Server Products
  • Oracle Collaboration Suite
  • Oracle Database
  • Oracle Development Tools
  • Oracle RDB
  • Pharmaceutical Applications

The diagram below (Figure 2) shows step two of this process and highights the three stages that you go through to download your Oracle Software.

An illustration of how to download Oracle Software Products and Updates via Metalink

Figure 2: Downloading Oracle Software and Updates Online

I think this is a great new feature which will be especially helpful to those who have broadband access as the files are obviously quite large in size.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Oracle eBS 11.5.10 Upgrade Assistant and Maintenance Wizard

Oracle Metalink has recently announced the release of the new upgrade assistant otherwise referred to as the Maintenance Wizard. This post contains the details.

According to Metalink: -

Oracle Support provides a self-service tool (formerly known as E-Business 11i Upgrade Assistant) that guides customers in a methodical and repeatable way through the upgrade process. The Upgrade Assistant and Maintenance Pack Assistant are now part of a tool called Maintenance Wizard.

Upgrade Assistant 11.5.10 was released on February 4, 2005 and is intended to help implementers upgrade Oracle Applications from 10.7 or 11.0.3 to 11.5.10. In March 2005 Oracle intends to release the Database Upgrade Assistant 9i for upgrading Applications databases from 8i to 9i.

View Oracle Support’s Free Upgrade Assistance Data Sheet (Metalink User Name and Password required) or read the Maintenance Wizard FAQ. To download the latest version of the Maintenance Wizard visit Metalink Note 215527.1 entitled Master issue list for the Maintenance Wizard - this note provides you with a listing of all the releases from version 1.01 through to the current release, version 1.07. The diagram below also gives you some idea of what the Maintenance Wizard looks like.

An illustration of the Oracle 11i Upgrade Assistant or Maintenance Wizard

You can also find the following demonstrations on Metalink which will give you some idea of how to use and implement it: -

Lastly, for those readers who don’t have access to Metalink you can obtain more information at the official Oracle Upgrade Assistant Web Page.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Enhancements to Oracle Metalink - my Configs & Projects

This post contains details of a new feature on Metalink, namely my Configurations and Projects.

My Configurations and Projects is a comprehensive set of enhancements to Oracle’s existing web support service. According to Oracle, this new feature provides the following functions: -

  • An environment to proactively exchange information between customer environment(s) and Oracle Product Support.
  • Tools and methodologies to automate and standardize information collection.
  • The ability to dynamically run Healthchecks to identify and prevent problems.

The my Configs and Projects section of Metalink is shown below (I don’t have any configs yet since I haven’t done the install)

A screen shot of the Metalink my configurations and projects

Typically your configurations will contain a description of a computer or a group of computers and the software those computers are running. On the other hand, projects will list activities defined by a customer describing business objectives involving Oracle products.

Oracle Support Agent

To provide you with the information for my Configs and Projects it is necessary to download and install the Oracle Support Agent.

According to Metalink: -

The Support Agent is a data collector agent designed to provide continuous tracking of key Oracle and system statistics of the machine it is running on. The support agent provides precise information to Oracle Support analysts so they can understand the problem and deal with it quickly and effectively. One support agent is required per machine running Oracle. Data collected by the support agent is sent via secured HTTP back to Oracle Support where we can maintain an updated view of your Oracle instance.

Key Benefits

  • Greatly reduce service request resolution time
  • View your latest platform and Oracle configuration online from MetaLink
  • Track which Oracle software components are out of date
  • Easy to deploy, install, and use

Key Features

  • Lightweight agent that consumes little CPU resources
  • Automatic discovery of Oracle and platform profiles at first start-up
  • Collects data from Host, Oracle 8i/9i database, Oracle iAS, and Oracle Applications 11i
  • Collects data at pre-defined intervals or by event threshold
  • Uses HTTPS protocol to communicate securely with Oracle

Support Agent Downloads

If you click the button highlighted in Green on the diagram you will be taken to a list of The following downloads are available from Metalink for the support agent (Metalink Password Required)


Based on the information gathered by Oracle Support Agent, a variety of Health Checks (dynamically generated reports) can be prepared in the following areas: -

  • Host HealthChecks 
  • 9i Application Server
  • EBS (eBusiness Suite)
  • Database Configuration

Concerned about Data Security?

Certainly, one of the key concerns for those using Oracle Support agent might be the security of data transmitted to Oracle and residing on their web site. Oracle’s response to this is as follows: -

  • Support Agent only collects configuration information; it does not collect business transactions, passwords, or control sensitive information
  • Configuration information is securely collected by encrypted internal upload or Oracle OCCN (VPN)
  • The Configuration Repository is located in the Oracle Intranet and protected by several firewalls
  • All uploads go through a series of validation checks before the configuration is viewable by MetaLink
  • No other customers are able to access your configuration data

Additional Reading and Learning

  • Metalink Note:250434.1 Learn More About My Configs & Projects - contains various web based tutorials/training slides
  • Metalink Note:236534.1 MySupport V1.0 Collection White Paper
  • If you are an Oracle Partner check out the presentations at

Lastly, I would be interested in receiving comments from anyone who has made use of this Oracle Support Tool. Certainly if your an organisation running a number of environments this would be a very useful way of monitoring and keeping track of them.

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