Friday, May 27, 2011

KScope Session Featuring Dodeca: Calix Networks

Tony Banta, from Calix Networks, will discuss how Calix, an industry leader in providing cutting-edge telecommunications equipment and management software, wanted to expand their leadership in the supply chain by more effectively managing both strategic and day-to-day aspects of manufacturing operations. This week, Tony sent me his slides to review and they look really cool! The slides talk about how the company moved from a spreadsheet-based, labor-intensive system to a new, state-of-the-art performance management and cost modeling system. The new system combines a number of technologies including an Oracle database, Oracle Data Integrator (ODI), Oracle Essbase and Dodeca and compares/contrasts several Dodeca grids and charts with their OBIEE versions.
By the way, Tony is senior vice president of manufacturing operations for Calix with responsibility for all aspects of worldwide manufacturing and supply chain operations and will be a very animated and entertaining speaker. He is also a former test pilot, astronaut, and now a warbird pilot.

In fact, Tony gave me a ride in his P-51 Mustang before Open World last year.  I blogged about it here: http://timtows-hyperion-blog.blogspot.com/2010/09/oracle-open-world-trip-day-3.html. Here is another video of the same flyover from another perspective; this was shot by my son Logan:

video


The week before my ride, he was out on a photo shoot in the Mustang. The photographer must not be the flying type:

http://vimeo.com/14912614

Finally, if you can't see videos at your place of business, here is a picture of me getting my pre-flight briefing before getting into the Mustang.
 

Early registration for KScope ends soon, so if you haven't registered yet, register today at http://www.kscope11.com/registration.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Essbase 11.1.2.1 Installation Notes

I now have the Essbase 11.1.2.1 stack, including Essbase/Foundation Services/Provider Services/EAS/EIS on my new 64-bit Windows 7 laptop. My youngest son actually did the installation and, if I remember correctly, he only needed to configure the loopback adapter and turn off the UAC (User Access Control) in order for the components to install. He did run the install using the right mouse click 'Run as Administrator' option. The relational datastore on my machine is SQL Server.

I wanted to setup EIS on this new machine and build the sample cubes for our internal testing. A couple of months ago, I posted an article about a problem creating the EIS Sample database from the EIS menu. The same problem, which appears to be an XML parsing issue, still exists in 11.1.2.1. For my new laptop, however, I cheated and copied the TBC and TBC_MD relational databases from my old laptop. I was able to build sample cubes successfully.

My new laptop is a Dell Latitude 6520 with the fastest quad core chip currently offered by Dell. It has the maximum of 8 Gb of RAM and I opted for the 256 Gb SSD drive. This is a fast system and it really rocks! To give you an example, EAS launches in 4 seconds on this machine and Dodeca launches in about 1.5 seconds.

My QA team has also been pounding 11.1.2.1 very hard recently. They have setup a number of VMs internally and noted a couple of interesting things:
  1. When installing with Oracle database as your relational repository, the installation requires the Oracle database to use the UTF-8 character set. I had the QA team search the installation readme's and they found a reference to this in the 11.1.2 readme files. Apparently, the UTF-8 character set was not enforced during 11.1.2 installs.
  2. It appears that relational repository names can no longer contain underscores.  Correction: A reader commented that they had used underscores in both Oracle and SQL Server; I found my laptop also has an underscore in the repository name (in SQL Server).
I haven't personally seen these issues yet, but I thought I would alert everyone out there what my team is seeing you can prepare accordingly.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Essbase API - Ephemeral Port Issues/Resources

One of the most popular posts on my blog has been the post where I showed how to open up the number of ports available to Essbase. This is necessary as the Essbase API is quite chatty and, when combined with the small number of available dynamic ports and the long default timeout on these ports in Windows, running out of ports has become an issue.  Most users see this when running many, many repetitive API calls against Essbase. 

One example is when users run the Essbase Outline Extractor against a large database.   Back in the old days when the Essbase API was designed, it probably wasn’t much of a consideration.  These days, however, with million member outlines and really fast computers, it is very easy to run out of ports.

We are currently testing some new Dodeca functionality we plan to introduce this summer that optionally performs some intensive caching of the Essbase outline.  Of course, we ran into the port issue very quickly and, in the course of looking at how the ports have changed in the new versions of Windows, found a couple of interesting links to pass along.

First, I found a nice link that explains how dynamic ports work.  Better yet, this link covers dynamic ports on non-Windows operating systems.  You can see this link at http://www.ncftp.com/ncftpd/doc/misc/ephemeral_ports.html.   This link also talks about the new, larger default dynamic port range in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 which now feature a default range of 16,384 ports.

I also found a link to a Microsoft KnowledgeBase article that talks about the new defaults and shows ways to both display, and dynamically increase, the range of ports.  The KnowledgeBase article is located at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929851/.   I ran the commands listed there on my Windows 7 laptop:

C:\Users\timt>netsh int ipv4 show dynamicport tcp
Protocol tcp Dynamic Port Range
---------------------------------
Start Port      : 49152
Number of Ports : 16384


I then increased the number of ports dynamically:

C:\Users\timt>netsh int ipv4 set dynamic tcp start=5000 num=60536
Ok.


C:\Users\timt>netsh int ipv4 show dynamicport tcp
Protocol tcp Dynamic Port Range
---------------------------------
Start Port      : 5000
Number of Ports : 60536


The changes appear to permanent.  I rebooted my machine and found the new configuration remained.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Essbase JAPI 11.1.2.1 - Location of samples directory has changed

I noticed when we were doing our initial work on our Dodeca servlet that the Essbase JAPI samples directory was not where it used to be.  In 11.1.2, it was located at:

C:\Oracle\Middleware\EPMSystem11R1\products\Essbase\aps\samples

I am setting up my new 11.1.2.1 laptop today and found the samples directories, along with some of the other directories, have changed locations to live in the equivalent of the old HYPERION_HOME\common directory:

C:\Oracle\Middleware\EPMSystem11R1\common\EssbaseJavaAPI\11.1.2.0\samples

By the way, that is not a typo; the directory name does reference 11.1.2.0 although the accompanying lib\ess_japi.jar manifest.mf file does properly state the version as 11.1.2.1.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

KScope11 - More new Hyperion sessions added

As a member of the ODTUG Board of Directors and participant in the ODTUG Hyperion SIG, I can tell you many, many exciting things are happening with the upcoming KScope11 conference.   I am planning a series of short blog posts to talk about each of these things.

This week, five new sessions were added to the KScope11 agenda.  The conference now features over 100 Hyperion sessions and will truly be a gathering place for Hyperion experts and insiders.  The new sessions are:

Commenting on Essbase Commentary Options at ConocoPhillips
Presenter: Henry Robin, ConocoPhilips

LROs, Cell Text, Related Content? Essbase provides many options for adding commentary to your reporting and analysis solutions. Join ConocoPhillips as they share how they provided an automated system for capturing and reporting variance commentary. We will discuss our current solution as well as possible future changes based on Oracle's direction for Essbase commentary. Don't miss this chance to learn more about ways to capture critical text information about your Essbase numbers!

(Planning OR Essbase) AND FDM) AND ERPi = Success!
Presenter:  Anthony Scalese, Ranzal & Associates

This session will explore the capabilities of FDM, and now ERPi, to integrate with other target EPM applications such Essbase (BSO & ASO) and Strategic Finance.  Out of the box features such as the ability to execute calc scripts before and after a load as well as leveraging load rules will be showcased.  The session will highlight how the introduction of ERPi further expanded the already world class analysis & reporting capabilities of Essbase by adding drill through to transactional detail.  This session will conclude with an overview of automation capabilities of FDM, discussion of use cases and thorough Q&A. 

Essbase Custom Defined Functions are fun!
Presenter: Toufic Wakim, Oracle Corporation

This session will explore a number of interesting cases of Essbase CDFs used by Oracle customers explained by one of Oracle's most experienced Essbase CDF experts.

Using MaxL to Automate Essbase
Presenter: Natalie Delemar, Ernst & Young

What is this thing called MaxL (and why the funny capitalization)?  All will be revealed through practical code samples and interactive examples that show why MaxL is an essential Essbase tool.  You will see:  the many ways to invoke MaxL, driving MaxL scripts via the OS shell, Essbase database manipulation with error checking, encryption, script nesting and logging.

Mission Critical! Deploying Highly Available Oracle EPM Systems
Presenter: Eric Helmer, Linium

Mission Critical implementations of the Hyperion Enterprise Performance Suite are becoming more commonplace.  As corporations are turning to global integration and follow-the-sun real time analytics, Hyperion applications must accommodate thousands of users 24x7.  Join Oracle ACE Director Eric Helmer as he dissects larger Hyperion implementations and strategies to achieving a global, highly available enterprise.  Learn how many Fortune 500 companies achieve world class availability through clustering and failover techniques, disaster recovery procedures, load balancing, and virtual machines.

If you haven't registered for KScope11 yet, you can register at http://www.kscope11.com/.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Do You Have A Killer EPM Application?

My friend Ron Moore from Marketing Technologies Group in New York is currently doing an on-line survey to find out who has the best EPM applications deployed.  He, in turn, plans to use this information during a panel discussion at the ODTUG KScope11 conference in Long Beach.

If you think you have a 'Killer App', please take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/odtug.