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01 February 2015

Taking for a spin in the cloud

Giving thanks

As most of you know, or should know by now, yr. obt. svt. is a complete, full, and unreserved infrastructure idiot.  As most of you also know, or should know by now, that the EPM suite has just been released.  And with this, I am faced with a conundrum:  I need (well, I want) to play with the latest release, but I will need about a month (yes, really, if I do it after hours) to get the !@#$ thing to install on my VM.  So here I am, between trapped between Scylla and Charybdis.  What to do, what to do, what to do?  I want to do a test drive, but I’ll get to it done in time for the first patch.  Ugh.

Metavero to the rescue in the cloud

John Booth has solved the problem – he has created another of his EPM Amazon Web Services AMIs (Amazon Machine Instance).  Get an AWS account and fire up John’s AMI  (see Tim German’s post on how to go through the steps on this), and off you go to EPM

This blog post is not going to be much about connecting to the cloud as Tim German will be covering the mechanics (and quite a bit more) over on his blog; I’ll just note the highlights and the some of my stupid mistakes intrepid adventures in the new AMI.  This post will also cover an interesting thing I discovered about Planning and Hybrid.

As an aside about the cloud – as you know, Oracle is making a huge push into that area with many of their products.  There’s Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service which has been a runaway success, surprising many in its popularity, and I expect there will be many more like services.  What is somewhat amusing is that John and I presented on EPM in the cloud at Kaleidoscope (as it was called then) 2010.  And we had…about 30 people in the room.  It’s not often I get to lead the market, but apparently when I do, no one cares.  :)  They do now.

Running the new Metavero image

What it looks like

OMG, it is Windows 2012.  I cannot (well, I can and am) tell you how much I hate this interface.  And no, it is not because it is unfamiliar, it is because it sucks.  Hey, why not break 20-odd years of interface so a server can look like a tablet?  Sounds like an excellent idea.  Only not really.  Okay, rant out of the way and I’ll show you how John mitigated this less than stellar approach.  Here’s hoping that Microsoft update the UI to match the rumored not-completely-awful Windows 10.  Fingers crossed on this one.

Again, the whine is over and here it is:

As you may note, John has put the most important icons onto the desktop so you can get going as quickly as possible.  If you hit what-passes-for-the-Start-menu on the 2012 instance, you will see all of the detailed shortcuts you need.  You have heard my rant about this subject so I willl spare you any more of my vitriol.

Actually running EPM

The AMI does not automatically start up the “compact” EPM service.  You must do so by clicking on the helpfully numbered 1. Start Test Drive icon.

That will bring up a dialog box asking if you want to run some who-knows-what-but-I-don’t-care (I am an Essbase/Planning guy, not a bean counter – no offence intended towards those with a green eye shade) portion of the EPM suite.

You will then see a cool graphic John created to let you know that the instance is Working, Working, Working.  It will not be overly fast, alas, but that’s hardly his fault..

Creating a new database for Planning

While that is slowly starting up, let’s create a new Oracle database (note that SQL Server is gone, gone, gone) user instance.  Navigate over to EM Express Login either on the desktop (I went to this because when the starting image is showing the desktop icon is blocked).

Lauch that, log in as sys using the common epmtestdrive123 password making sure you tick the
“as sysdba” box:

Go to Security:

Click on the HYPPLANAPP2 user name (for us SQL Server types, this equates to, sort of, a database) and then click on Create Like.

Name your user and give it a password.  For sanity’s sake, I used the epmtestdrive123 password.

Follow the dialog box, taking the defaults each time.

Again, the defaults:

Ta da, you have just created a new user in Oracle.

Hello, Workspace and Essbase

And now that you’ve done that, EPM should be ready to go.  Go ahead and log in as epm_admin/epmtestdrive123.

If you want to be wild and crazy, go ahead and launch EAS off the web as well:

Don’t do this

Do not use epmtestdrive, ‘coz that:

Will lead to this:

Oh agony.

Do this

Instead, use epm_admin/epmtestdrive123:

Success!  Boil in bag!

Back to Planning

Creating a Planning data source is no different than in  I’m not going to bore you with any of it save the Oracle settings for us SQL Server types as it is a bit different:
Make sure that you don’t use the default 1521 or you will spend a long time cursing and whining and moaning.  Not that I could possibly tell you what that is like from personal experience.

Once you have created the sample Planning application, go on and log into Workspace.  It looks pretty much the same as does the Vision app from

Playing in the Cloud, or at least looking like it

Of course, if you want to pretend you are on PBCS, simply go to http://metavero/HyperionPlanning and see the lovely new UI:

I couldn’t seem to view the Vision sample application, so I deleted it through the pretty UI and then created it again:

Where in the world…

And…I couldn’t see any forms:

Nor could I see any Dashboards (I have to admit, I’m not totally sure what that equates to in Workspace):

But I could see Tasks:

And Rules:

No Approvals:

But Reports:

And the Console:

And Settings:

And Academy:

And Navigator:

So what happens when I go back into Workspace?

I see Forms:

And Approvals:

So that’s a weird one that I am putting down to some kind of bug or some kind of idiocy on my part.

The good news

Hybrid aggregations?  They’re there both in the web UI and Smart View:

Here’s my starting number.

And a change in Product X’s Units to 999 from 451.

Do a submit and the Computer Equipment total is changed.

So what happens if I do it in Essbase?  Same change of data.

And…nothing.  Bummer.

And what gets more interesting is that the Essbase.cfg does not have the ASODYNAMICINBSO setting for the Vision application.

I can only surmise that this is because of the requirements of the cloud which do not allow manipulation of the Essbase.cfg.  I believe this means that all Planning applications are Hybrid without any choice.  I have to read the documentation a bit to see if this is a correct guess or not.

Stop the World – I Want to Get Off

John tells me that it’s a really good idea to stop the Oracle database in a graceful manner.  Happily, there is an icon – 2. Stop Test Drive….  Go ahead and click on it.

That will automatically shut down Windows:

Thankfully this takes care of Shut Down, as I couldn’t find the !@$%ing Shut Down link.  See, I am sparing you (most of) my Windows 8 and Windows 2012 Server rant.  You’re welcome.

Make sure you have no running instances in AWS:

You will still get billed for storage, but not for running costs.  

NB – This instance shuts down at 3 am automatically.

The end for now

I strongly urge you to get your feet wet on John’s AMI.  There’s lots of stuff that I’ve just barely scratched the surface, especially as the whole Financial Close product suite is really terra incognita to me.

Personally, I will be installing on a VM both to save costs and because I like wearing a cilice as penance for some kind of technological sin that I am not actually aware of.  I’m sure I’m guilty of whatever it is.

Putting aside my manifold neuroses and insecurities, John has give the EPM community round the globe something to really spend time on, and in, as we learn the intricacies of how really and truly works.

Thanks again, John, for making this available.

Be seeing you.


Tiptip said...



1. On the simplified interface you are not seing the webforms because you are at the root folder which does not contain any webforms. Tick the arrow to change the folder!

2. I think hybrid is not enabled, agg is performed because of the calc rule attached to the webform (I haven't checked the code inside)

Cameron Lackpour said...


Thanks for the comments re the forms. I've never been in that interface before so it's possible I have it wrong.

I'll take a look tonight at the instance and see if I can get to the forms.

Re the calcs -- wow, it's fast. Maybe Hybrid isn't under the covers? Given the demos I saw at Kscope and OOW, I cannot imagine how they instantaneously agg the form without Hybrid, but who knows.

If I do/don't see a BR on the form, I'll be sure to give you credit.


Cameron Lackpour

P.S. Thanks for commenting/correcting me. I don't get a lot of feedback on the blog and who knows how many other potential mistakes I've made.

Larry said...

Thanks to both of you. I was having the same question about forms not showing up.

Philip Hulsebosch said...

Hello Cameron, did you see that in line 11 of the Essbase.cfg a quote at the end is missing? It is the end of a comment about the driver. The rest of the lines are in comment if I look in the EAS. Did it not affect your settings?

I enjoyed reading your blog.

Cameron Lackpour said...


I *do* see that. I have to believe that is a bug on Oracle's part.

Doesn't it have something to do with ODBC access? If so, it wouldn't have affected anything I played with.


Cameron Lackpour