Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oh, forgot to carry the one...Boom!


I've been wondering just what went wrong with the world's finances, and finally found an article that explains the heart of the matter in simple terms (okay, there's a lot of political things that come into play as well, but I'm not going to get into that dogfight and that's not what the article talks about). Instead it talks about a central formula used to calculate risk. The problem arose from a combination of depending on things staying the same (they change), using a formula to correlate risk that doesn't cover a large enough amount of history to actually be useful as a predictor of risk (oh, and some greed and stupidity, but you knew that). The article is posted at Wired.

What does that have to do with Oracle? Absolutely nothing. But it is a fascinating article, and I personally recommend it. Also I suppose one can draw some valuable lessons about IT from the failure. The main lesson would be that you shouldn't depend on everything turning out perfectly without a glitch, nor should you depend on everything coming out as the worst case scenario every time, but you should probably perform due diligence before you bet the farm on a single, simplified assumption. 

Oh, and anothere good explanation of the mechanism behind the whole debacle (also pointed out by the Dark Roasted Blend blog) is this video, part 1 and part 2.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oracle News and Events

Midsize Businesses Prepare for Slowing Economy—and New Opportunities
Business leaders who meet challenges with shrewdness and pragmatism (not to mention long-term optimism) may spot a silver lining. Judy Hodges, IDC's research manager for the small and medium business sector, describes how enterprise software can help companies seize and sustain a competitive edge.

Oracle CFO Summit Showcases Strategies for Capitalizing on the Economic Downturn
Although the world's economies may be in for a protracted downturn, savvy companies will continue to invest in strategic IT and business-process optimization projects to give themselves a competitive advantage when better times return.

May 3-7Join your peers in Orlando, Florida, for the premiere user group conference for gaining greater value from your Oracle investments.

Tech Dive: Transparent Data Encryption: Experience from the Trenches
One user's experience implementing Oracle TDE reveals some helpful advice about the best approach to encrypting existing data.

16 Ways to Cut Costs and Save

Oracle technologies and services help you do more with less
Today, more than ever, IT professionals must quantify the value of investments, demonstrate business value and help their businesses go green—while maintaining quality of service and flexibility for future changes. Discover how real-world customers are succeeding and saving with more than a dozen of Oracle's technologies and services, and learn how Oracle can help you do more with less, cut costs, and start saving today.

EBS, APEX, Hyperion, IBM System z, Performance, Data Modeling


This week from the Oracle E-Business Suite Technology Blog:

Purging in EBS

Many systems run along for a time and then discover that yes, you need to purge items from time to time. A note of note on the subject is Metalink note 752322.1, Reducing Your Oracle E-Business Suite Data Footprint using Archiving, Purging, and Information Lifecycle Management


David Peake on Oracle APEX blog has some good material for those of you who want to kick the tires on APEX 3.2. 


So, now that there are three conferences for Hyperion folks instead of one, which one should you pick? That's the question posed to Tim Tow, and his answers are here.

IBM System z Resources

The Mainframe Watch Belgium blog came up with a great resource document on running Linux on IBM System z. I have to admit I haven't been to Belgium since I was about 6, but apparently they've started watching the mainframes there. Something like a northern European form of bird watching. Only the birds are much larger and not nearly as mobile.

Performance: SQL

The OptimalDBA blog has a few thoughts on when is a SQL statement too long?

Performance: CRM

The Oracle Applications DBA blog brings us a good posting on how to enable tracing on a CRM user here.

Data Modeling

I seemed to have missed this posting from last year at the Oracle at Work blog, but here's a link now. The author is pleased that SQL Developer now has a free data modeling application available.


Large block tablespaces, indexes, rebuilding them (or rather, NOT rebuilding them), and an odd music store, all at Richard Foote's Oracle blog. Part 2 or a series here. And part 1 right here.

Challenge: Differentiate from competition. Solution: Siebel's latest release.

Contribution by Tara Bardallis

To win in this challenging economic environment, you must differentiate for strategic advantage. The latest release of Oracle’s industry-leading CRM suite delivers powerful new and enhanced capabilities in loyalty, self-service, marketing, sales and a variety of other functional areas.

Need to differentiate in this tough economic environment? Check out Siebel CRM 8.1.1 and start maximizing top and bottom line growth today.

Click here to listen to podcasts, view demos and read datasheets, solution briefs and white papers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Contributions By Angela Golla

Data Center: The Next Generation
Companies face continuous challenges to streamline business processes and conserve resources even as business demands increase. These demands—as well as the need to upgrade hardware and software—mean that data centers must deliver both on improved efficiencies and greater capacity. See how Oracle solutions lead the way to the next-generation data center.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Performance, SOA, PL/SQL, Storage, Identity Management, Humor


The AMIS Technology blog has an article that warms the heart of performance folks: Logging in JDeveloper 11g/WebLogic Server.  Instrumentation is a wonderful thing.


Also of interest recently at the AMIS Technology was a SOA article. I have to admit that, for an old core DBA type like me a title like SOA Suite 11g (TP4) - Create Mediator based SCA Composite Application from XSD - write to output file using File Adapter seemed a tad confusing at first. After that I read around in the article and really found I had no clue. But it does look like a handy thing for a SOA developer to muck with.


Lucas Jellema of AMIS Technology has another great little item (seems like AMIS week at the Infogram, doesn't it?), and this one I even understand, on how to use a global context for sharing small bits of data (something like a global variable stored in the SGA as a context: Oracle Database Cross Session Data Cache - Introducing the Globally Accessible Database Context


In his Little Things Doth Crabby Make Part VI. Oracle Database 11g Automatic Storage Management Doesn’t Work. Exadata Requires ASM So Exadata Doesn’t Work. Kevin Closson talks about yet another thing that makes him crabby, and also links to this page of miscellaneous items that have some real gold for serious storage geeks (and collectors of error traps that annoy much better than they actually point out the source of the error). 

Identity Management

In the second of a series of postings on the pithy topic of federated provisioning (wasn't that something the civil service did during the Civil War?),  Nishant Kaushik  at the Talking Identity blog discusses the topic and links to several other bloggers carrying on a multiblog discussion of the matter.


Slashdot had a nice link recently to the Gallery of Exploding Servers. Good video for those who are tired of all the patching and user complaints. Based on the videos, don't put your data center in the middle of a field. The temptation for geeks in white coats to dynamite them (or light off a natural gas line under them), will simply be too much. Oh, and keep a remote backup for key systems, which is the real point of the piece.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Maximizing CRM Effectiveness During Lean Times

Contribution by Tara Bardallis

When the economy turns around, as it will, how will your organization be poised to take advantage of the next expansion? Read the latest white paper written by Steve Diamond, Sr. Director, Product Marketing at Oracle, to learn six areas your organization can focus on to improve business results.
Contributions By Angela Golla

Fusion Development Workshops: New York, Pasadena, Boston, Europe Cities, and More
Get hands-on experience creating Ajax-enabled, rich Web user interfaces and Java EE-based SOA services with ease at free OTN Developer Day workshops. New dates and cities have been added to the schedule, including several in Europe!

PeopleSoft Support Advisor WebCasts and Updates

Change Impact Analyzer
PSChange Impact Analyzer (PSCIA) is a powerful Tool that shows the far reaching effects that even one small change to a PeopleSoft object can have. PSCIA is designed to help developers and designers assess these effects before they make their changes, thereby providing everyone downstream - QA, Documentation, and most of all our Customers- with a better product experience.

Working Effectively With Support (WEWS)
Learn how to save time and work effectively with Oracle PSFT Support. Obtain details on leveraging your support investment and customer best practices. Understand support terminology, tools, and the escalation process.

Change Assistant
Change Assistant for PeopleSoft Enterprise can enable you to assemble and organize the steps necessary to apply patches and fixes for your PeopleTools maintenance updates. Change Assistant also helps automate the application of change packages to ensure your systems have the latest maintenance software, and can do so with dramatic improvements compared with manual processes.

Setup Manager
Setup Manager is a tool that helps you implement PeopleSoft applications by using a project and predefined tasks to produce a setup task list that is specific to your implementation project.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hyperion Essbase Optimization: What is the Calc Cache?

The Essbase block storage option (BSO) is today almost exclusively defined by Planning applications. So this blog entry really is of interest to customers who are either using Planning, or continue to have planning-type Essbase applications - which is to say Essbase cubes that use functionality currently not provided by the aggregate storage option (ASO).

The graphic is a hypothetical view of the Calc Cache in relation to the kernel and the other Essbase BSO caches. The intention is to convey that the CALC CACHE is used by the calculator engine not to hold data, but to assist in aggregating data, which is another way to say create data blocks.

Essbase uses the calc cache to keep track of children and parents. This is what the CALC CACHE is.

The essence of the CALC CACHE is that Essbase is able to use it to track when to create parent blocks and what children are needed to do so without having to make a more expensive external call like, for example, to read the outline. So the calculator has a way to keep close to the Kernel when to create parent blocks and what children are involved.

That is really all you need to know about what the calc cache is. How to configure the calc cache, however, really requires a white paper discussion all to itself.

The effectiveness of the CALC CACHE is strictly cube dependent. And tuning it will require “different” just about everything from testing different amounts of memory allocated to the CALC CACHE, to altering outline order, to altering sparse/dense settings, even to possibly altering calc logic.

Essbase divides sparse dimensions into 2 groupings: some become anchor dimensions, and the others become bitmap dimensions. The RAM required to create the calc cache depends upon the size and number of the bitmap dimensions.

There are several ways that Essbase can establish a CALC CACHE and the reader is referred to the Essbase documentation for the technical details. What you are trying to accomplish in the CALC CACH is to provide Essbase with the best scratch pad you can given the amount of RAM and number of CPUs you have access to, as well as the nature of the sparse dimensions of your cube.

Establishing the most efficient CALC CACHE is one of the main technical reasons that Essbase best practices suggests to declare sparse dimensions from smallest to largest in the outline. The reason is that the most efficient CALC CACHE is created when there is a single anchor dimension and sufficient memory to instantiate multiple bitmaps for the bitmap dimensions. Placing the largest dimension at the bottom of the outline eliminates it from the bitmap dimensions, and thereby reduces the amount of RAM required for bitmap dimensions. The hourglass shaped outline is not somehow magical. Currently most cubes have to break that hourglass paradigm in order to achieve the most efficient outline order for the purposes of script calculations.

So, not all cubes are able to take advantage of the CALC CACHE because of the limitations imposed by the server environment (RAM, CPU and Outline). Each cube needs to be tuned individually to determine the optimal CALC CACHE setting, or even whether to turn the CALC CACHE OFF in order to favour completely parallel calculation (CALC PARALLEL and the CALC CACHE need to be tuned together).

It is important to know that searching through the bitmap is not indexed and results in the strong suggestion NOT to allocate more than 50 MB of RAM to the CALC CACHE, because the effectiveness of the CALC CACHE search algorithm tails off beyond 50MB. When Essbase is unable to achieve multiple bitmaps with a single anchor using 50 MB or less, break the so-called “hourglass” motif and move non-aggregating sparse dimensions below the last and largest sparse (anchor) dimension. The objective is to reserve memory for Essbase to be able to place as many aggregating dimensions as possible into the bitmap.

Anyone who has tested using the CALC CACHE and CALCPARALLEL will probably have noticed that there is some sort of relation that exists between these two commands.

This is because for every thread that an aggregation calculation spawns requires its own CALC CACHE. It is non-trivial for Essbase to manage multiple threads, multiple TASKDIMS and multiple CALC CACHEs. Moreover, assigning large amounts or RAM to the CALC CACHE when using CALC PARALLEL is one way to almost ensure destabilizing the Essbase server.

For example, consider a 32-bit Planning application where 5 business rules run concurrently. If each rule sets CACHE HIGH (and CALC CACHE HIGH is set in the Essbase.cfg file at ~200 million bytes) and CALCPARALLEL is set to 4, then one business rule of this single cube requires (5 x 4 x 200 million) ~ 4GB of RAM! The OS is only able to allocate ~2GB of memory to a single application. Rember, in a Planning-Essbase environment, you can set up to five cubes in a single application...

The example is not an exaggeration. I have seen precisely this configuration at numerous customer sites. And I am never invited to customer sites because Essbase is performing well.

Questions about BSO tuning, configuration and optimization? Let me know what they are and I will consider adding then as discussions here. Send suggestions to and use set the subject to Infogram.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Optimizer, EBS, APEX, MIX, Indexing, PL/SQL, Hyperion and OBIEE, RDBMS


After concluding a great series last week, the Inside the Oracle Optimizer blog is keeping up the quality, this week with a posting on  Maintaining statistics on large partitioned tables.

This week from the Oracle E-Business Suite Technology Blog:


The David Peake on Oracle APEX blog announces that: 


Are you in Oracle Mix? It's a great place to share ideas with other users and Oracle, praise, complain, network, you name it.


Richard Foote's Oracle Blog has some wisdom on Updates and Indexes, Part 1 here, and Part 2 just came out.


Tyler Muth is looking for some help testing a very useful piece of code at this blog:

Why not help out?

also in the realm of PL/SQL this week, there's a discussion of the performance impact of the NOT NULL constraint in PL/SQL over at The Momen Blog.

Hyperion and OBIEE

The Ritmann Mead Consulting blog details some experiences with combining Hyperion and OBIEE, a pretty common scenario these days.

Another great article recently from Ritmann Mead was this one on OBIEE High Availability - Presentation Services and Scheduler.


Tanel Poder's blog has a good posting on When was a table last changed?

Make sure you look down in the comments, too, where there are some other valuable pointers on getting this done faster and in various versions of the DB.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Contributions By Angela Golla

Check out the new features in Oracle 11g for Data Warehousing and OLAP at this interesting article:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

R12 and EBS, Performance, Optimizer


Chris Warticki has a good resource for us this week, a grand link of links on R12:


Cary Milsap, Oracle performance god (though no longer inside the firewall), has a good posting on software instrumentation, as pointed out by Tom Kyte, Oracle performance and coding god (still inside the firewall).


There's a series on SQL plan management at the Inside the Oracle Optimizer blog. You can start from the end of the series or track back and read in the right order. If just thinking about that reminds you of indexes, you'll probably want to read the series: 

EJB 3.0 Features, Best practices and Guardian Software

The Infogram is starting a series of original material from some of our Oracle technical experts. We start with this article by Shree Srinivasan:

EJB 3.0 Features, Best practices and Guardian software

I. Comparison between EJB 2.0 and 3.0

Oracle’s Weblogic Server’s (OWLS) support for EJB 3.0 specification started from WLS 9.0 onwards. Here is some comparison between EJB 2.0 and 3.0 as well as requirements for EJB 3.0. For detailed discussions please refer to


Please note that starting Aug 31, 2009 will no longer be maintained and will be moved to OTN-  Oracle Technology Network (http//


One of the central goals of Version 3.0 of the EJB specification is to make it much easier to program an EJB, in particular by reducing the number of required programming artifacts and introducing a set of EJB-specific metadata annotations that make programming the bean file easier and more intuitive.


Another goal of the EJB 3.0 specification was to standardize the persistence framework and reduce the complexity of the entity bean programming model and object-relational (O/R) mapping model.

a) EJB Programming Model Requirements Between Versions 2.X and 3.0

The changes between EJB 2.X and 3.0 are:

·         You are no longer required to create the EJB deployment descriptor files (such as ejb-jar.xml). You can now use metadata annotations in the bean file itself to configure metadata. You are still allowed, however, to use XML deployment descriptors if you want; in the case of conflicts, the deployment descriptor value overrides the annotation value.

§                The bean file can be a plain Java object (or POJO); it is no longer required to implement javax.ejb.SessionBean or javax.ejb.MessageDrivenBean

§                As a result of not having to implement javax.ejb.SessionBean or javax.ejb.MessageDrivenBean, the bean file no longer has to implement the lifecycle callback methods, such as ejbCreate, ejbPassivate, and so on. If, however, you want to implement these callback methods, you can name them anything you want and then annotate them with the appropriate annotation, such as @javax.ejb.PostActivate.

§                The bean file is required to use a business interface. The bean file can either explicitly implement the business interface or it can specify it using the @javax.ejb.Remote or @javax.ejb.Local annotations

§                The business interface is a plain Java interface (or POJI); it should not extend javax.ejb.EJBObject or javax.ejb.EJBLocalObject.

§                The business interface methods may not throw java.rmi.RemoteException unless the business interface extends java.rmi.Remote.

b) New EJB 3.0 Features

§                Bean files can now use metadata annotations to configure metadata, thus eliminating the need for deployment descriptors.

§                The only required metadata annotation in your bean file is the one that specifies the type of EJB you are writing (@javax.ejb.Stateless, @javax.ejb.Stateful, @javax.ejb.MessageDriven, or @javax.persistence.Entity). The default value for all other annotations reflect typical and standard use of EJBs. This reduces the amount of code in your bean file in the case where you are programming a typical EJB; you only need to use additional annotations if the default values are do not support the requirements.

§                Bean files supports dependency injection. Dependency injection is when the EJB container automatically supplies (or injects) a variable or setter method in the bean file with a reference to another EJB or resource or another environment entry in the bean’s context.

§                Bean files support interceptors, which is a standard way of using aspect-oriented programming with EJB.

§                You can configure two types of interceptor methods: those that intercept business methods and those that intercept lifecycle callbacks.

§                You can configure multiple interceptor methods that execute in a chain in a particular order.

§                You can configure default interceptor methods that execute for all EJBs contained in a JAR file.

II. Tips for EJB Admin Best Practices in Weblogic Clusters

·         Set pool and cache sizes based on anticipated load. Remember, cache sizes affect all servers in cluster


·          Have developers mark methods as idempotent if they really are that way

·         Configure clusterable home stubs

·         Configure in-memory replication of Stateful Session Beans


·         If ALL clients of a particular EJB will access it from the the same server on which it is deployed, then


o        set clients-on-same-server to true  in weblogic-ejb-jar.xml

o        server will not send JNDI announcements about EJB to other

Servers in the cluster, reducing server startup time

III. Availability of Guardian Software

As all Weblogic Administrators aware Guardian software has pre-emptive support features which has been designed to eliminate potential  software issues and system outages towards better maintainance of  weblogic server environments. For those who are wondering its availability , the good news is,  still its available at :                                                                        

Article by Shree Srinivasan

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Webinar: Troubleshooting the generic FRM-9210x errors

The purpose of this one hour session is to give an insight into how the Forms Listener Servlet can aid in the diagnosis and detection of various anomalies and errors commonly seen in a web deployed Oracle Application Server.Which files contain diagnostic information about the Forms Listener Servlet and how to effectively interpret this information?

Target audience:
This seminar is primarily directed towards all Forms developers, but all attendees are welcome.
The web seminar duration is about 60 minutes.

- Which log files to check within the Internet application server.
- Interpretation of the information in the different kind of log files
- Different pragma’s and their meaning

Event details:
Seminar starts on:
11-February-2009 at 9:00 am GMT / 10:00 am CET
11-February-2009 at 5:00 pm GMT / 6:00 pm CET


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Contributions By Angela Golla

Tech Article: Guide to Advanced Linux Command Mastery, Part 3 - Resource Management
In this installment to the series authored by Oracle ACE Director Arup Nanda, learn how to use advanced Linux commands for monitoring physical components.

Upcoming Events

ProcureCon Indirect USA 2009
February 10-12
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Alliance 09
March 22-25
Anaheim, California

May 3-7
Orlando, Florida

Find an Oracle Event Near You

Oracle Procurement News

VeriFone Reveals How It Slashed $4 Million in Procurement Costs
A leading manufacturer of credit-card verification systems will discuss how it cut approximately $4 million in procurement costs over three quarters thanks to increased visibility of production expenses. More…

Cut Costs Quick: Oracle Looks at New Sourcing On Demand Subscription Offering
Oracle’s widely used sourcing application may soon be available in an Oracle-hosted version as an alternative for companies that want to jump-start sourcing programs while avoiding up-front capital expenses. More…

Use These Five Strategies to Save Money During the Recession
Procurement plays an important role in reducing costs and maintaining profit margins in all economic climates. But during extended economic downturns, procurement can drive savings. More…

Official, Youbetcha Legalese

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