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13 July 2010

Mortal man can do it

Install 11.1.2 that is.

Introduction

This is thankfully going to be a relatively short one, both for you and for me, as I’m busy working on other (hopefully) cool things to blog about.  Dodeca is coming back as are a series of Planning posts.

 

This is not a post on how to install EPM 11.1.2 as John Goodwin (and others) took care of that.  Nor am I going to review all of the good things 11.1.2 brings to Essbase geeks, as it’s been more than adequately covered here, and here, and here, and goodness knows how many other places.  Besides, you all went to ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010 and know all of this already.

 

What follows is just my general impression of the 11.1.2 install from a non-infrastructure consultant’s perspective and a few tips and tricks I picked up along the way.

The last one just about killed me

I had sort of a love/hate relationship with my just-on-my-laptop VM 11.1.1.3 installation.  I don’t know if I was having the mental block of the ages, was plain stupid, or just unlucky, but that install was hellacious, especially getting EPMA to work.  I probably reinstalled that product eight or nine times.  If VM Ware didn’t have a snapshot feature for me to restore to a clean pre-install view of the VM, I’d likely still be installing 11.1.1.3.

Heavy Lifting

Well, the 11.1.2 install is still big.  The install footprint of 32-bit Foundation, Essbase, Planning, ERPi, Financial Data Quality Management, Financial Reports, and Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management is 8.37 gigabytes.  All I can say is downloading the install files on my meager DSL line took a looooong time.

 

But we like big in America, right?  (Some day I will bore you all with my housewares-are-built-for-aircraft-carries-but-alas-I-live-in-a-submarine analogy about old urban houses, but not today.  Lucky you.)  So big is in, big is bold, and as far as Oracle EPM is concerned, big is here to stay.

 

Memory requirements are big as well.  11.1.2 uses significantly more than 11.1.1.3.  Where the four gigabytes available to Windows 2003 Standard Edition 32 bit was more than adequate for 11.1.1.3, it isn’t really for 11.1.2.  It’s time to move on up to Enterprise Edition, or in my case, a 64 bit version of Windows 2008 Standard Edition.  I didn’t use the 64 bit OS for this first install, but for all of you consultants (no one puts everything onto a single box in the real world, right?) out there with 32 bit machines – ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for your x86 box.

My “full stack” on 11.1.1.3

11.1.1.3 free memory

My “full stack” on 11.1.2

11.1.2 free memory

Quite a difference there.  Oh well, 64 bit is the future anyway.

Didn’t hurt a bit

Keeping memory considerations in mind, here’s the really important thing – after the tedium of expanding and combining the 11.1.2 installation files into a single directory, the installation was painless with the exception of two issues.

One tiny snag

After installation was complete, I ran the EPM Configurator.  It all worked (slowly, but hey, this is a VM) without a hitch, with the exception of one thing – ERPi.  My VM is Windows Server 2008 SP2 and SQL Server 2008.  The configurator threw an error when it got to ERPi as that only works with Oracle’s own database.  (What, they make something other than the world’s most awesome EPM stack?  Apparently, there’s this product called Oracle 11g.  Who knew?)  That is a change from 11.1.1.3 – ERPi worked just fine with SQL Server 2005.  So, for the time being at least, ERPi isn’t on this box.  Maybe later.

One other snag, not so tiny

If this one is in the documentation, I couldn’t find it.  It’s valid at least for SQL Server installations and if you want EPMA to run, it will behoove you to read on. 

 

I used one great big single database for everything – remember what I wrote about real world considerations not exactly entering into my install?  This is just for testing/education purposes so please don’t use my example as the way to properly install Oracle EPM 11.1.2.

 

Having stated that caveat, when I tried to run EPMA, I got a lulu of an Event Viewer error message, telling me that my SQL Server 2008 database needed to be in ALLOW_SNAPSHOT_ISOLATION and READ_COMMITTED_SNAPSHOT mode.

 

I have read around and am slightly alarmed by the comments here and here about what happens when these settings are turned on.  However, my actual usage will be pretty light and if things get too slow, I’ll reevaluate the settings.  This is probably not a great approach in your real world settings.  I will also caution that I am fairly SQL-stupid, so this may not be a big deal.

 

Using the all-in-one database HYP_EPM, here’s the SQL query I had to run to apply the settings:

ALTER DATABASE HYP_EPM

SET ALLOW_SNAPSHOT_ISOLATION ON

 

ALTER DATABASE HYP_EPM

SET READ_COMMITTED_SNAPSHOT ON

 

VM Ware came to the rescue again, as I had oh-so-cleverly created a VM Snapshot of the bare OS.  Having reverted to that, recreating the HYP_EPM database, and then running the above query, the install (and EPMA) worked, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this setting not having any really bad impact. 

 

You can read people who actually have a clue about installations discussing this very subject in this thread on OTN, so it wasn’t just happenstance that I decided to go down this route.

Errata

The word “Hyperion” is almost gone.  It’s not in the directory path.  It’s not in Windows’ Start Menu.  It is however, amusingly the name of the configurator utility. 

Eh, I always preferred Arbor Software anyway, and yes, ARBORPATH lives.

Look Ma, no cavities!

As this is a testing environment only (my VM, that is), I had no fears about installing all of the components into a single SQL Server databaseAnd that’s it – it installed and configured on the first second go round.  Who’d a thunk it?  Maybe you all had unalloyed success with 11.1.1.3, but that wasn’t my experience. 

Service startup

11.1.1.3 had a service startup script, sort of, that never really worked; 11.1.2 has one and it works.  No more trying different start orders, or reading the official order and knowing that it doesn’t really work for you, or casting the chicken bones to figure out how to get the services running.  Someone at Oracle heard the huddled masses yearning to breathe free and cut The Gordian Knot of service startup with this service start script.  (I hope there’s some sort of award for mixing metaphors, ‘cause I think I have at least a shot at honorable mention with that last sentence.) 

 

Why do I get these warm and fuzzy feelings about Oracle?  They just get it in a way Hyperion never did.  What’s really weird is that so many of the players are the same – what on earth was holding them back?  No matter, Oracle has set them free and we all benefit from it.

Conclusion

  • Oracle EPM 11.1.2 is resource intensive.  Now would be a good time for us my-world-is-on-my-laptop tinkerers to go 64 bit.  I am downloading the 64 bit binaries as I type.
  • At least on SQL Server installations, the EPMA relational data store needs ALLOW_SNAPSHOT_ISOLATION and READ_COMMITTED_SNAPSHOT set to ON.
  • A plain Jane install on a single Windows 2008 Server box can be accomplished by mere mortals, like Yr. Obdt. Srvnt.  I have no idea what it’s like to install in a distributed environment. 

 

Once installed, you’re off to the cool new stuff in Planning and especially those ASO allocations through Calc Manager and MaxL.

 

Happy Essbase hacking until next time.


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