Thursday, April 24, 2014

Next Generation Cloud Backups Q and A Transcript

IT Convergence and EMC Corporation’s recent webcast “Next Generation Cloud Backups with EMC” was an outstanding success.

As always, we are happy to publish a complete copy of the webcast Q and A transcript. 

What are the bandwidth requirements for the Cloud backup solution?

The bandwidth requirements depend on the topology of the data and how much data flows across the system. Generally, we’ve seen that for 10 terabytes of daily backup data you’d need less than 20 mbps bandwidth. If you request an assessment we can give you a more accurate estimate of the bandwidth requirements you will need.

And if you have a local appliance in your center on premise, the bandwidth requirement is only for the replication data which can happen offline independently of the backups- then the bandwidth requirement is even less.

If contracted a BaaS solution from you, who would install the Avamar agent, define schedules or perform restores: the customer or ITC? 

This depends on the option you pick for ITC BaaS solution. In the first option, we provide you with the infrastructure and your administrators will have full access and control over installing the backup agents and restores, which you can do from the portal. The other option is ITC will manage your backups completely, we are also integrated with our service desk, so all you need to do is send us an email on which file and from what day you need to restore and we’ll do it. So we are pretty flexible. Again, you can restore files from the self-service portal even if we are managing your backups. As far as the Avamar  agent installation, we’ll do the installation for you, if you have security concerns or strict user access policies we can provide the instructions and the software and your administrators can do the Avamar agents installation on your servers.

Can we continue to use our existing backup software with this solution or is it replaced by proprietary software from ITC?

First, it’s important to clarify that we will replace your backup software with the EMC Avamar software. That’s one of the advantages of using this solution: you no longer have to pay for your backup software.
Avamar supports almost every OS and almost every known application. Additionally Avamar is application-aware, so for example, if you backup Oracle, the restore will be a consistent Oracle Database.

The ROI shown during the webcast was for which option: managed or unmanaged? 

The ROI was referring to the managed one. For the unmanaged option, the ROI would be even better.

Move Your Backups to the Cloud

Any and all of you who missed the webcast can still move your backups to the Cloud. To jumpstart that process, simply click here to request a free trail proof of concept BaaS subscription .

Monday, April 14, 2014

Collaborate 14 “Outtake” – Recapping the Best Collaborate Conference Yet

Collaborate 2014 was an outstanding success! IT Convergence’s Chief Technology Officer Gustavo Gonzalez even got into a debate over support with Rimini robot. Yes, we disagree oncertain aspects but it was a good discussion on why the value of anupgrade should not be tie to a support!

Every year on our way back home from Collaborate, I repeat the samewords "It was better than last year." The user groups OAUG, IOUG and QUEST did as always a great job putting together a show with hundredsof educational sessions and networking events that made Collaborate2014 the best ever.

So let's summarize some of the highlights of the show:

In terms of technology,Oracle Database 12c is being adopted more andmore widely and now everyone is eager to hear from those early adopters that havestarted to use advanced features and learn how you can move from theory to practice.

Fusion Middleware and SOA has so many interesting examples ofimprovements in monitoring and integration demonstrating a step forwardin how to reach a short term return on investment (ROI). To that end, ITC’s Vice President of Cloud Services, Bimal Dorshi’s presentation on how Oracle Web Center can be integrated with Oracle E-Business Suite is a good example of using standardization to decrease of total cost of ownership.

Oracle UPK continues to be the preferred tool for training, and it is alsoextending its use for testingpurposes. IT Convergence UPK Practice Director Jordan Collard's session was a greatdemonstration on how a cost effective tool can expand its functionality.

On the Oracle Applications side we saw a big change from 2013 on therelease adoption. Last year we have many hands being raised when askedabout 11i. This year it was clear that the adoption of 12.1.3 wasabout 70% or more. And the attention from those who were on 11i andorganizations already in R12, was on Release 12.2. Common questions at session included:

What was onlinepatching?
What is Oracle R12.2’snew functionality and how can I leverage it formy organization?
How is the cloning process of R12?

Answers to these questions could not be delivered in single session but many presenters from Oracleand integrators such as IT Convergence explained from multiple angles. (Click here to read over a dozen Oracle R12.2 related blog entries.)

Oracle’s E-Business Suite product development team laid out EBS’s future road map along threepillars: User Experience, Functionality and total cost of ownership.

One sign that Oracle is on the right path is the simplified look and feel for EBS along the lines to what we’ve seen in Fusion Applications for 12.2.4
3 native mobile applications about to be released and 14 more in the roadmap will clearly be a game changer on the ROI for new versions.
Lunch breaks like Tuesday with a Vegas show, are fantastic and lets you makesyou recharge for more educational sessions.Collabo-Con party that made us celebrate with friends the excellenttime was a great wrap up for another outstanding conference made byuser groups.

The next conference that I will be participating is the Oracle Day inMexico City on April 29th, see you there or just follow us for moreinformation.

Staying Connected Now that Collaborate Has Come to an End

Collaborate 14 has indeed come to an end, but you needn’t travel to Mexico City nor wait until Oracle OpenWorld 2014 to hook up with IT Convergence.

First, you can click here to access our Collaborate 14 Resources page where you can download copies or our presenters Power Points and White Papers.

You can join our webcast “Next Generation Backups with IT Convergence” on Tuesday April 15th at 9:00 am Pacific/12:00 pm Eastern.

- Gustavo Gonzalez, Chief Technology Officer @ IT Convergence

Click here to access all blog entries with our Collaborate tag. 

Collaborate 14 “Outtake” A Primer on Exadata

A quick search of the Collaborate 14 lists of sessions and panel discussions showed that the name “Extadata” appeared more than 50 times.

No wonder. The Oracle Exadata Appliance is designed to provide optimal performance for both data warehousing and online transaction processing (OLTP) applications, making it the ideal platform for gird or private cloud consolidation. Exadata provides the a perfect mix of servers, storage, networking, and software that is massively scalable, secure, and redundant.

Here is a primer on Oracle Exadata

Oracle Exadata from 20,000 Feet
  • Oracle Extadata is an integrated system consisting of hardware and software in a single machine.
  • With Oracle Extadata, data storage capability increased to ten times more, search data up to ten times faster, and make faster business decisions without any  changes in applications
  • Is easy to deploy system that consists of the hardware needed for running the Oracle Database.
  • Encompasses storage technology for improving the performance of Oracle database
  • Uses the concept of offloading to reduce the CPU usage and reduces the amount of data moved between database servers and Storage servers

Exadata storage also has the ability to query fully encrypted databases at around hundreds of gigabytes per second as it is built on the superior security capabilities of the Oracle Database.

Exadata Versions 

Oracle Corporation currently supports four distinct versions of Exadata.

  • V1: The first Exadata was released in 2008. This was combination of HP hardware & Oracle software.
  • V2: The second version of Exadata was announced in 2009. Oracle constructed this version built in partnership with Sun Microsystems, which was still independent then. 
  • X2: Third version of Exadata announced in 2010 named “X2.” There are two X2 models named as X2-2 & X2-8. X2-2 model is available in Quarter, Half and full RACK whereas X2-8 model is high end Full RACK model.
  • X3: The most recent version of Exadata released in Oct, 2012. The models are named as X3-2 and X3-8 similar to the X2 release.

Exadata components

Oracle EXADATA Prominent Features

Oracle EXADATA Features – USP

How Does Exadata Improve Performance?

The key to Extadata’s performance improvements lie in smart scans and offloading.  The sole purpose of smart scans/offloading is to reduce the burden on the database servers, thus allowing storage servers and storage software to do most of the CPU intensive tasks

Return only the data/blocks which are required to fulfill the request
Column Projection
Predicate filtering
Storage Indexes
Decompression  and  Decryption 
Oracle Exadata: Business Value Adds

Exadata Use Cases

As mentioned before, Extadata can be deployed in a number of different ways:

Data Warehouse Appliance 
OLTP Appliance
Consolidation platform

Exadata has been documented to reduce database deployment from 3 months to up to less than a week. By taking advantage of Exadata’s Complimentary Workload Peaks users reduce peak-to-trough variance, in addition to providing other advantages:

Asset Consolidation
Reduced variance allows each server to be run hotter, this can result in a four-fold server utilization increase

Exadata allows CPU resources to be drawn from anywhere on the grid, based on needs as they arise
Exadata horizontal workload scale out without impacting or requiring changes to any application

Cost Reductions
Reduce the size of your server footprint, making your footprint greener while improving your bottom line
Cut your Oracle licensing requirements

Higher Availability 
Improved load balancing
Full component high availibilty failover capability
Standby DR (Disaster Recovery) – RTO of 10 minutes
All apps benefit from these capabilities without increasing expenses

Collaborate 14 Has Ended But Let’s Stay Connected!

Collaborate 14 was a blast, but all good things must come to an end. 

Fortunately, there are many ways we can stay connected. 

First, we invite you to visit our Collaborate 14 Resources page, where you’ll find copies of the white papers and Power Points delivered by our experts at our show.

Second, you can make plans to join our webcast Next Generation Backups with IT Convergence on Tuesday April 15th at 9:00 am Pacfic/12 pm Eastern. The webcast is hosted by ITC in conjunction with EMC Corporation and details how you can run backups better, cheaper and more efficiently with EMC-powered BaaS Solutions. 

Finally, if you’d like to speak with one of our experts about EXADATA or any other data infrastructure related issue, simply contact us and we’ll be happy to set up a call. 

Click here to access all blog entries with our Collaborate tag. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Collaborate 14 Outtake: Oracle Fusion Compensation Work Bench Features, Benefits & Process Flow Chart

Oracle Fusion Applications represents the future of E-Business computing, and there’s no wonder that Oracle HCM and Oracle HRMS are among the hottest topics here at Collaborate 14.

One of the most advanced applications available at the moment is Oracle Human Capital Management and one of the hottest topics from HCM is the Compensation Work Bench .

Oracle Fusion Compensation Work Bench – Overview 

Oracle Fusion Applications Compensation Work Bench has come up with various user friendly and Strategic Planning features which will attract and motivate organizations to Award and Retain Talent. Because the Compensation Work Bench is integrated with Performance Management it will help to allocate compensation based on Performance by considering different pay components.

Fusion Compensation Workbench comes with different, pre-built worksheet properties which makes compensation plan flexible and easy to configure. This helps organizations to view worksheets in a preferred layout with added feature of downloading the worksheets, flexibility in creating eligibility profiles, access criteria and security.

 Below are the most important features of Fusion Compensation Workbench
  1. Fusion Compensation simplifies to write complex compensation calculation rules as well with its new features in writing formulae.
  2. Users can have better understanding of Compensation structure changes in compensation letters with the help of detailed components.
  3. Managers can view compensation history, comments and ratings on one page in the form of analytics which will make compensation process more effective and help in decision making.
  4. Design compensation structure in terms of multiple components making budget analysis easy and comprehensive.
  5. Flexibility in viewing and filtering data across different dimensions.
  6. Restrict Compensation Work area access to specified levels and users by configuring Data Roles and Security profiles.
  7. We can make plan restrictions in simplified way by configuring Eligibility Profiles.
  8. Fusion Compensation provides the facility to view worksheet details in different Tabs which will help users to review the data in a clean way.
  9. Fusion Applications come up with few pre-defined alerts and facilitates creation of new alerts in fewer steps making the functionality more effective.
  10. It’s easier to migrate compensation plan configuration from one instance to another using Export/ Import XML files feature of Fusion compensation work bench.
  11. Fusion Compensation Worksheet display has few custom columns facilitating flexibility in configuring custom columns with formulas, LOVS, text data features. Fusion Compensation workbench will help in making better business decisions Based on Analytics.
Fusion Compensation Plan Design Flow Chart

Experience with Compensation Workbench

IT Convergence has helped clients deploy the Oracle Fusion Financials Compensation Workbench for several clients and the experience has been quite positive.  The Compensation Workbench proved to be quite flexible and could be configured to meet wide ranging compensation requirements.

Moreover, the Compensation Workbench’s worksheet display features, fast formulae, security roles and approvals were very user friendly, although its best to stick to the solution’s preferred formats when configuring Pay stubs and Compensation statements.

Worksheets, however were easy to work with and one example of this was a need to display each component separately in the worksheet. In order meet this need, we created separate tabs for each component and used custom columns to display calculations.

Check Out Our Collaborate 14 Resources Page

If you weren’t able to make it to Vegas, you can still share in the insight from the one and only technology conference that is driven by the Oracle end users lock, stock and barrel.

Simply click here to access our Collaborate 14 resources page.

Follow the action at Collaborate 14 as it happens! Click here to access all blog entries with our Collaborate tag. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Collaborate 14 Outtake: Round Up of Oracle R12.2 On-Line Patching, Cloning, and 12c Certification for EBS

Day 2 was a big day at Collaborate 2014 with lots of insights on R12.2 On-line Patching, Cloning, and Certifications. But before we could get to the deep dives on Oracle functionality and technology, the day started with  Adam Savage’s keynote.

Savage, host of the Discovery Channel’s popular “Myth Busters” talked about collaboration and his experience with one of the coolest TV shows on TV today. It was a great speech and also took questions from the audience telling some of the toughest things he made like trying to get out of a car below the water (which is why he does not allow his mother to watch that show).

From Myth to the Reality of Oracle R12. On-Line Patching

Right after the keynote, Kevin Hudson from Oracle gave an in-depth presentation on the technical details of Oracle’s online patching functionality and discussed how this new online patching is changing the paradigm of patch application. Here are a couple of highlights:
  • Resource allocation - or the “cost” incurred by using online patching. In the database SYSTEM tablespace double its current space allocation during on-line patching activities.
  • SEED tablespace also requires double its current space allocation. 
  • The introduction of a new filesystem, of course doubles the file system space.
The Oracle E-Business Suite R12.2 product roadmap which is currently under development includes provisions to develop an off line patch application. Seems like it won't be released in 12.2.4 but it will bring the possibility for those whose business needs or technical environmental needs dictate that the continue to use the traditional off line patching.

Oracle E-Business Suite Cloning and Certifications
collaborate 14 lunch r12.2
Front Row Seat to Lunch at Collaborate 14

Lunch break had a big musical show which was great to take a deep breath before jumping into more sessions.
  • The afternoon brought 2 must attend sessions. The first was Steven Chan’s discussion on about certifications and a panel on cloning.
Steven talked about the different certifications, sending a clear message that Oracle Database 12c will be certified for E-Business Suite R12.2 very soon and he also reiterated what he had said on previous occasions about some of the new features such as Simplified Home screen, gestures, and Oracle’s 14 new mobile apps to add richness to the ERP solution.

The cloning panel had a great crew comprised of many members of the customer advisory board and key people from the Oracle team. The discussions centered around the new cloning process for R12.2 those processes were presented by Max Arderius and who also discussed some challenges on cloning R12.1.3.
  • The panel delivered very good information and we strongly recommend participating on this type of panel because of the top caliber of the panelist involved.
To close the day, the exhibitor hall opened with food and drinks and also having many visitors at ITC booth talking with our experts.

Stay in Touch, Stay Connected

If you're looking for more information on Oracle R12.2 please make sure to stop by Booth 1049 while at Collaborate 14.

If you're not in Vegas and/or if you find this post after its already too late, click here to access close to two dozen blog posts on Oracle R12.2 and/or visit our Collaborate 14 Resources page to download presentations and white papers on Oracle R12.2.

Follow the action at Collaborate 14 as it happens! Click here to access all blog entries with our Collaborate tag. 

Collaborate 14 “Outtake:” Building MS Excel Templates for BI Publisher in Oracle E-Business Suite R12

“So how do I get this into Excel?” There’s probably hasn’t been a conference goer in the history of Collaborate who hasn’t been on one, if not both ends of that question.

collaborate 14 day 2It seems like not matter how robust your reporting solution is, no matter how snazzy your graphical interface can be, at the end of the day the suits in the board room are going to ask to have the data presented in Excel.

Having been around this block a few times, we’re happy to do what we can to help conference goers bridge tried and true old fashioned MS Excel format and the latest from Oracle’s BI Publisher in our latest Collaborate 14 Outtake.
collaborate oaug oracle development bi publisher excel xml
Discussing Oracle Development @ Collaborate

Oracle BI Publisher Takes Center Stage

BI Publisher has taken enterprise reporting to the next level. It has made the life of the Oracle developer easy. Oracle has modularized the reporting allowing users to control the “look and feel” of the data in BI Publisher. Dare we say reporting using BI Publisher is now fun as we can even test the reports without logging into the Oracle E-Business Suite by using the BI Desktop utility.

BI Publisher also provides reporting security to report data by delivering data in xml format. XML is strongly recommended by most of the software giants as the preferred format for data security. It makes things easier for developers by providing the facility to write simple queries to generate the data in the same XML format  and registering it as data definitions.

In general, designing the look and feel of a report is challenging, but BI Publisher has provided lot of features that are useful. It is as simple as installing the BI Publisher desktop add-in for the Excel sheets. With the Excel templates, BI Publisher took the reporting to next level.

Setting Up the Template in Excel 

The first step to getting something from BI Publisher to Excel is to design a template in Microsoft Excel for retrieving and formatting your enterprise reporting data in Excel. Excel templates provide a set of special features for mapping data to worksheets and for performing additional processing to control how your data is output to Excel workbooks.

In general, users love the reports to be in Excel sheets as it helps them in their daily day to day business. The advantages of providing the Excel outputs have changed the reporting as this facilitates the user to use all the available options of Excel sheets.

Key features of Excel templates:

  • Define the structure for your data in Excel output
  • Split hierarchical data across multiple sheets and dynamically name the sheets
  • Create sheets of data that have master-detail relationships
  • Use native XSL functions in your data to manipulate it prior to rendering
  • Use native Excel functionality
  • Supported Output
  • Excel templates generate Excel binary (.xls) output only.

Key Benefits of Publishing from BI Publisher to MS Excel

There are several benefits of this method, the first of which is that your reports are built using the MS Excel, which means you can get decision makers key business data into a format they can use without much knowledge. By the same token, once it is in Excel, you’ve got the freedom to format it in whatever way you need to. And you can do it quickly, as it is in .XML format.

Limitations of Publishing from BI Publisher to MS Excel

As with anything else, there are also limitations to this method and it is important that you understand them going forward. Here are two limitations to keep in mind.

  • First, for reports that split the data into multiple sheets, images are not supported. If the template sheet includes images, when the data is split into multiple sheets, the images will show only on the first sheet.

  • Second, there is no tool to facilitate the markup of the template with BI Publisher tags; all tags must be manually coded. Some features require the use of XSL and XSL Transformation (XSLT) specifications.

Make the Most of Collaborate!

In conclusion, Oracle’s BI Publisher has greatly simplified E-Business reporting.

Of course the devil is always in the details, if you need more input on beefing up the reporting solution that supports your Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, or JD Edwards ERP solution then please stop by and visit us at Booth 1049 during Collaborate 14 and ask to speak with one of our experts.

If you’re unable to be in Las Vegas (or your finding this long after Collaborate 14 has ended) then you’re still in luck. First, you can visit our Collaborate 14 Resources Page to download copies of our presentations.

Likewise, we encourage you to check out our Development Services page to see how we can help you bring your reporting to the next level.

Follow the action at Collaborate 14 as it happens! Click here to access all blog entries with our Collaborate tag. 

Collaborate 14: Day 3 Preview, Key Notes Get a Latin Twang….

It may be hard to believe, but Collaborate 14 is halfway over. However, in many ways the biggest and most important parts of the show are yet to come. And to help you take full advantage, ITC has put together this preview of Day 3 at Collaborate 14.

The action starts early at 7:00 am with the OAUG’s Ambassador Breakfast in the Sands, Level 1, 403. Please note, this is an invitation only event.

Then at 9:45 am, Oracle Senior Vice President for Analytics and Performance Management Products BalajiYelamanchili will deliver the first of the day’s two keynotes in the Palazzo Ballroom, Level 5. This event is highly anticipated, as Oracle Corporation usually uses the Collaborate key note as a platform for important product announcements.

The day’s second keynote will follow at 3:15 pm with Rick Clements, Program Director, Worldwide Big Data, Product Marketing, IBM, will deliver “Big Data and Analytics in the Era of Cognitive Computing” which will also take place in Palazzo Ballroom, Level 5.

At 4:30 sharp, IT Convergence will proudly host the LatinOAUG Meeting, which is OAUG’s user group that is dedicated to meeting the needs of Spanish speaking Oracle users in Latin America, an area which features one of the fastest growing user bases in the world.

From there the action shifts to the Exhibition Showcase Happy Hour in the main reception Hall. IT Convergence will be there at Booth 1049. Make sure you stop by for your chance to win an iPad.

Finally, IT Convergence will close the evening with an invitation-only dinner at the Postrioon  St. Marks Square at The Venetian Resort and Casino . Dinner starts at 7:00 pm preceded by a Happy Hour.

Away From Vegas? You Can Still Share in Collaborate

If you’re away from Vegas, you can still share in insights from Collaborate. Simply click here to visit our Collaborate 14 resources page.

Follow the action at Collaborate 14 as it happens! Click here to access all blog entries with our Collaborate tag.