Monday, August 27, 2007

Discoverer and ORA-1483 Errors

This article is based on a friend’s Discoverer experiences. He had an issue with Discoverer 10.1.2 where every time a user tried to save a workbook to the database they got the following error: (unable to save a workbook to the database).
Upon further investigation it was noted that they were using version of the database and that the database was installed onto a HP-UX(PA-RSIC) 64 bit server.

According to Oracle there is a known bug, number 3668164 entitled "SAVING A WORKBOOK USING DISCOVERER 10G GIVES - ORA-1483", within the database that will prevent Discoverer from being able to save to the database. Upon further investigation it turns out that the operating system is a red herring and that this issue can in fact arise on any operating system!

The solution is to patch the database to or higher. Apparently there is a one-off patch for 3668164, unless your database is running on a Windows server. In this case you will have to apply the full database upgrade. So after that the client upgraded their database to anyway, as many other bugs were fixed in this release.

After they upgraded their database the issue went away.

Note on this bug: bug 3668164 is not available for public viewing. This is most frustrating because Oracle has a lot of cross references to it on MetaLink.

Posted on behalf of:
Srinu Katreddi | Oracle Applications Consultant

How to determine Workflow Mailer status without using OAM

Have you been trying to determine the availability of WF Mailer without using OAM?

The following query provides the status, eliminating the need to use OAM.

SELECT Component_name, Component_Status
WHERE component_type = 'WF_MAILER'

Reference: Metalink Doc: 316352.1

Posted on behalf of:
Srini Ramanujam | Senior Oracle Consultant

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Inside the Middle

I've written generally about Oracle Fusion Middleware but let's move down to the next level of detail. An easy way to do this is to focus on functionality. There are seven functional categories of products in Fusion Middleware, per Oracle.

The Unified Workplace group which provides collaboration tools (Groupware, Instant Messaging), portals, mobile/desktop presentation and secure search.

The Composition and Process Orchestration group which includes the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) Process Manager and the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). These products enable the integration of application services across disparate systems so everyone's communicating interactively.

The Development Tools which include JDeveloper. This is Oracle’s Java Integrated Development Environment (think Visual Studio for Java). Several development framework products (ADF, Toplink…) are also included here. They extend JDeveloper’s capabilities and simplify sophisticated Java development.
Development Tools also includes Oracle's Process Modeling tool which was licensed from Aris along with the Business Rules developer.

The Enterprise Application Server group consists of the 10g Application Server (J2EE), Services Registry and Web Services support.

The Security group which provides Identity Management for people/roles and for those rogue application services that might exist in a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Rogue? Sounds cool doesn't it?

The Management group of products includes Oracle Enterprise Manager, Web Services management and tools for BPEL/BAM monitoring. Like all good management it ensures that no one is slacking off including the database, network and you.

The Information and Aggregation Analysis group includes Oracle’s Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), formerly known as Siebel Analytics. Also you will find Business Activity Management (BAM), Content Management, Oracle Master Data Management and BI Discoverer. There's a data warehouse in there somewhere but the focus is more on pulling information from operational systems.

With so many products in Fusion Middleware it’s easy to get lost and never want go back.

For that reason I’m seeing Oracle’s current marketing focus in the Fusion Middleware area being primarily with
  • Business Intelligence
  • Identity Management
  • Service Oriented Architecture
  • Business Process Management
These are nice industry buzzwords that most of us have encountered in the press. Oracle knows that and hopes it will help us get on board with the products. I think it's a good strategy.

I'll close this post with my perceptions on Fusion Middleware, in general. See if you agree.

1. Because of Fusion Middleware’s breadth there is a lot of uncertainty about how to leverage its capabilities. Right now there are a few early adopters, excepting Business Intelligence, who are really using the products effectively. But be aware. There is a wave forming out there just beyond your view that will bring this into the mainstream.

2. This family of products is one that will generate a lot of interesting work for everyone. How will that impact your career?

3. Business Process Management (BPA, BPEL) is not glorified Workflow though that’s an easy way to first categorize it. More on that in a future blog.

4. Fusion Middleware relies significantly on industry-standards (Java, XML, SOA, BEPL, etc…). That’s a good thing and we should all be sleeping better because of it.

5. Fusion Middleware will create new job roles in most organizations. Remember when there was no such thing as a “DBA”? Well, get ready for some new acronyms!

6. Middleware will put pressure on many of the barriers that currently exist between the technical IT types and the Functional Business types because it will require both to work much more closely than in the past. We are potentially talking about the end of the Departmental Cold War in many organizations.

7. The underlying principles of SOA have the potential to revolutionize the agility of business processing and the efficiency of IT beyond all we’ve seen in the past. I know that sounds a bit over the top but I've drunk the kool-aid and I'm not going back.

In my next post: Oracle also markets the Fusion Middleware products in several Suites which bundle them for easier marketing.

To help sort it out I’ll provide a table of the products that should help better illustrate all of this. Plus I'll try to make it interesting! That's should be worth a look, right?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Starting in the Middle

During the Cold War, US and Russian analysts spent millions of hours analyzing one another’s public pronouncements trying to understand what was really going on with the other side.

In the same manner today, we often find ourselves trying to understand what Oracle is trying to communicate (or not communicate) through their many announcements, white papers and presentations.

One area where this applies for me is the topic of Oracle Fusion Middleware (OFM). It's clear that there is some confusion around this moniker. So, I’ve been sorting through the loads of information on the web to come up with a coherent view of OFM that both explains it for me (duh) and at the same time allows me to communicate the proposed value of OFM more effectively with others. It all started with Fusion.

Several years ago Oracle introduced the word “Fusion” as a new term. Fusion, they said, would help companies reach “The sustainable competitive advantage achieved by continuous blending of business insight and process execution.” If that phrase leaves you wondering what was just said, welcome to my world...

At the highest level, Fusion is Oracle’s planned architecture (and strategy) for dynamically integrating disparate systems and functions in the organization to provide needed business value. It's key contribution is helping business applications adapt to the real world business processes in a more rapid manner.

Here's one simple example. Today you have a Procurement process that has several sub-processes like A->C->B->D. There's a problem though. You need to respond to market or regulatory changes quickly and that requires you to add additional steps and re-order these sub-processes. Today you call in the developers and plan a project. But what if you could do this with a minimum of software development using powerful tools and existing functionality already in the application? And even better, what if you could include both software and human workflow processes in the mix? If this sounds interesting, then let's move on. Otherwise, thanks for the read...

But there’s more than the term "Fusion"! And right now that “more” is Fusion Middleware. Unfortunately there is a linguistic issue that needs to be discussed.The controversy centers on the term, “Middleware”. It’s unfortunate but true that “Middleware” connotes different things to different persons. EBS, PeopleSoft, Seibel and other application users probably assume that Middleware isn’t of much interest to them because it sounds technical and of little business value. Database purists, on the other hand, see Middleware as one more application they have to interact with. At least some software developers are comfortable with the term, so all is not lost.

The reality is that Oracle Fusion Middleware is still trying to fit in. Like a new kid, OFM, has a funny name, looks uncoordinated and isn’t yet fully understood or accepted by the rest of the Oracle classmates.

A quick look shows that OFM consists of a large family of products that don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other. What they do have in common is that they can extend the business processes of the organization, leverage the strengths of the Oracle Database and generally rely on the Oracle Application Server for their livelihood.

And what really holds them together is that they are the building blocks for more powerful applications. Both the kind your business needs today and the ones that Oracle hopes to offer in the future. But this doesn't mean we should just sit and wait for some future Fusion applications release. Let's find out if there's any real business value available now in OFM.

Next week I'll take you on a look under the hood of Oracle Fusion Middleware. We'll look at what's there and where this new business value might be lurking.

Rob McMillen - Fusion Middleware Practice