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31 May 2017

Head in the Essbase Cloud No. 4 -- Fixing Cube Designer's download

Procrastination really isn’t that bad sucks

For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter (surely all of the sensible ones but here you are reading this so who knows), I just made the deadline for Kscope17 presentation submissions.  Is it possible that I may have waited till the last minute?  Possibly.  I will note that Tim German, my copresenter, had his slides to me in plenty of time so I suppose I have to own the almost-deadly tardiness.

In an effort to blame an inanimate object over my lateness, this post will illustrate something about Essbase Cloud that almost drove me to distraction over the weekend – updating Cube Desinger.

No, I’m not going to show you the beta I’m NDA’d to death with

My issue is that I’ve been blogging with the GA release of Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) but need to show some interesting new stuff in what-will-be-GA-but-is-now-beta.  Whew.  This not-quite-yet-released version has new functionality that I want to demo and that means I needed the latest Cube Designer.  What you’re going to see below will not show anything Secret Squirrel-like other than a release number which, given that it is precisely one number up from the current release ought to not have Oracle breathing down my pencil neck.

Trying to make it work

Those unfortunates who know me know that I use VMWorkstation to virtualize server and client instances to keep software versions separate:  client X uses 11.1.2.3.500 so that goes to Win 7 VM 1, client Y uses 11.1.2.4 and I want to use Office 2016 so that goes to Win 10 VM1, etc.  All well and good, but the VM I use to do Essbase Cloud (yes, really, I do this) had the GA Cube Designer and I couldn’t get that upgrade to work.  Yes, I could have spun up another VM but I am lazy so thought I’d simply upgrade it.  That was possibly not a good idea.

NB – I’ve redacted server names and IP addresses.  Take it as read (This is a Britishism?  Lord love a duck I had no idea, which (the bit about the duck) also turns out to be an English expression.  It think I spend too much time around Tim German or Pete Nitschke or Mark Rittman or…who knows, maybe I’m just an odd duck.  Heh, probably so.)  when I say that the GA URL and the beta URL are not same.

Upgrade?  Or not.

For those of you who use Planning’s administrator extension, this Smart View screen ought to be a familiar looking dialog box.  In this screenshot I’ve clicked on the “Check for Updates, New Installs, and Uninstalls” link and got the Check for Updates query box.  Of course I click on OK.

Alas and alack, here’s the response:

Fwiw, I was actually connected to the OAC instance.

Then I saw this happy (or not) message:

Okeydoke, I’ll simply log in.  How could that not work?

After providing my credentials Smart View popped this up:

The maddening thing was that Cube Designer then showed up as a Smart View extension.  Success?  No, because while the new version (105) of Cube Designer showed up, it wasn’t actually installable.  Drat, foiled again.

I tried changing the OAC server, overriding the default download URL, turning three times on my head, etc., etc., etc. all to no avail.  I had once again demonstrated why, even with the cloud, my reputation for infrastructure incompetence is well deserved.

Great googly moogly

At this point (and you are looking at about an hour of trying different approaches leavened with plenty of Excel/Smart View going into its Never-never land of a blanked out screen) I just gave up and reached out to Oracle development.  Perhaps it was only a heartfelt attempt to make me go away on Memorial Day, they were very helpful in trying to resolve this.  

The first suggestion was to make sure I was connected to the new OAC instance.  ‘Natch, I did that from the start.

The next suggestion was to get rid of all of those horrible, redundant, and wrong (mostly) connections in the Smart View options.  I am somewhat embarrassed to admit I’ve never done this.  Sigh, another example of my well-deserved reputation for laziness.

Happily, there are those who are not as lethargic as I and went out and figured out how to do this:  Gary Adashek’s blog showes how to get rid of the properties.xml file that defines those entries.  Huzzah! I thought but no, it still didn’t work.

So deleting one list of connections didn’t help but it was suggested by Oracle.  Was there something else I might delete?  I wasn’t quite ready for the metaphorical analogue of this but I was pretty close.

Ah, but beyond the brute force approach that Gary outlined, it turns out that there’s another way to delete connection URLs over in Smart View connection panel.  

As Bertie Wooster would say, What ho!


That looks like the definition of the extensions although this time it’s on the OAC server.  What happens if I delete this?  I did just that and restarted Excel for good measure.  And then…

Would you believe it, it worked!


Btw, I have no idea, how Oracle Journals made its way onto my VM.  Perhaps I will be an accountant in future?  For the sake of every company out there let’s hope not as I get calls of exasperation from my accountant round tax time and what I’ll do to their close process doesn’t bear thinking about.

And there it is


Tim German and I are presenting on this release so I think it’s safe to say that many of you will go through this pain unless Oracle fix it in time.

Be seeing you.

18 May 2017

Head in the Essbase Cloud No. 3 -- Costing the Essbase Cloud

What price Essbase?

I can(‘t) get it for you wholesale

Oft times when I set pen to paper, I endeavor to get the geeky part of whatever I write just as accurately as I can manage to do.  Yes, I get bits wrong – Hah!  You’ll never, probably, know ‘cos I have a legion of haters fans who read my missives to you, Gentle Reader, with the zeal of Carrie Nation coming across Harry’s New York Bar whilst travelling Europe on $5 a day (‘natch, back home the 18th Amendment has shut down the honest whistle-wetting establishments so she’s got to go overseas) and, upon finding a teensy-weensy error on my part (Essbase is a very large egg that has gone off?  Planning is a color that reminds me of love?  I am a genius as yet undiscovered?  Non sequiturs are my chosen métier? ) point it out to me most lickety-split so that I may thus correct it before you even know it. – but they’re generally fixed just as soon as I can mutter culpa mea culpa and try to atone for the error of my ways.

Whew.  Did I lose you?  I know I lost myself but, through advanced navigation skills, have found myself again.

Unhappily, this post finds me (sorry, could not resist) in the unenviable position of an almost certainty of being corrected because:  none of this is technical, some of the information came to me secondhand, I’m making wild SWAGs about the mix of products, and, as Barbie once infamously said, “Math class is hard”.  

Money makes the world go round

On my laptop resides a Windows VM.  On that VM runs Windows 2008 Server (legally purchased I might note).  On that Windows install runs (most of) EPM 11.1.2.4.  You almost certainly have access to something like this.  You’ve paid for it (you’d better, Oracle customers, or an audit from Hell aka Oracle Contracts is almost certainly on its way), or you’re using it to evangelize the glories of Oracle software for free (Hah!, a second time because we all know I am far too lazy and stupid to ever profit from this blog.) and thus can use it for educational purposes which I fervently hope is tickety-boo with Oracle.  No matter how you’re here, you have a server(s), and someone installed Essbase and EPM and everything that goes with that.

If you’re using it in a commercial on-premises context, you’re paying for it.  There’s an upfront license fee and then a yearly maintenance charge equivalent to 22% of Essbase’s (or EPM-whatever’s) list price.  The server you run it on, the OS that surrounds Essbase, the relational database that supports EPM repositories, the backup software your firm buys, the antivirus package, the data center, etc., etc., etc., belong to your employer.  You (or your company) get to choose Linux over Windows, the Oracle Database over SQL Server, and so on down the line as you configure what makes Essbase your Essbase.  The choices and the costs are yours.

Essbase aka Oracle Analytics Cloud is totally different.

In the OAC cloud there are no:  local installs, VMs that you can see, payments to infrastructure consultants, patches, supporting software, or data centers and their server farms.  Other than the choice of buying Essbase in the cloud, there simply aren’t any choices to make; that’s all in Oracle’s bailiwick because Essbase Cloud is a PaaS product.  There are however monthly payments.  Some of these we can tease out but others Remain A Mystery that only an Oracle sales representative can answer.

Can’t means won’t and won’t means jail

No prison pallor is on the menu, but I can’t really know what you pay for on-premises Essbase nor can I tell you what Oracle will actually sell Essbase Cloud for.  The former is unknown because I haven’t (and don’t want to – there’s a reason I never got that JD) read your firm’s contract.  The latter is because, as my very first real world boss said, “Everything’s negotiable.”  I can say that generally there’s a 30% to 35% discount from list price on many of Oracle’s products but what you’ll actually pay is known only to you, your Oracle sales representative, and God.  Good luck.

What can I do through this post?  Break down all of the bits and bobs that actually comprise an Essbase Cloud instance because it’s not as clear as you might think.  With that information, you can berate/beseech/bargain with your Oracle sales representative when it comes down to cash on the proverbial barrelhead.  At least you’ll be forearmed when the reality distortion field known as a Sales Call envelops you.

What does it take to get to the cost of an Essbase Cloud instance?

I am, alas, not a wise old owl although with my glasses I do look a bit owlish so there’s that.

So just what are the components of an Essbase Cloud instance?  I’m not at all sure how one would figure that out based on OAC’s pricing page which really doesn’t list what it takes to truly run OAC.  

I’m not a lawyer but I play one on TV

OMG, the documents you’ll read to figure out what really and truly makes up and how much an Essbase Cloud instance costs.

To start with, take a look at

What you see below is my best guess as to what a customer actually needs to buy to get OAC at his company.  I could be – maybe am – wrong on this but as noted, this is what I can suss out.  I’ll correct this as I get corrections.  

There’s nothing secret here; your sales representative tell you all of this anyway (and as noted may correct some bits).  Regardless of the final validity of this information, my naiveté re just what makes up a cloud product appears to be without end:  I had no idea it took this many components.   

Non-metered

For non-metered usage, Essbase Cloud is comprised of:
Part
Description
Service type
Purpose
B87390
– or –
B87389
Oracle Analytics Cloud– Standard – Non-Metered – OCPU
-- or –
Oracle Analytics Cloud - Enterprise- Non-Metered – OCPU
PaaS
Essbase
B83531
Oracle Database Cloud Service - Standard Edition - General Purpose - Non-metered- Hosted Environment
PaaS
Database, Oracle, metadata, for the use of
B83543
Oracle Database Backup Cloud Service – Non-metered - TB of Storage Capacity
PaaS
Backup of Oracle database
B85643
Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Compute Capacity - 1 OCPU - Non-Metered
IaaS
CPU support for the Oracle database
B83456
Oracle Storage Cloud Service – Non-metered - TB of Storage Capacity
IaaS
Data storage
B83455
Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Block Storage - Non-metered -TB of Storage
Capacity
IaaS
Data storage

There are two paths to non-metered Essbase aka Oracle Analytic Cloud.  I believe but am not sure that the Enterprise product has full fat BICS as well as everything else in OAC.  See, I lied (again) when I wrote that this post would be uncorrectable.
  • B87390 Oracle Analytics Cloud– Standard – Non-Metered – OCPU which includes:  Essbase, BICS Mobile, 50 named users of Data Visualizer desktop per OCPU, Smart View for all users, and however many OCPUs you buy.
  • B87389 Oracle Analytics Cloud - Enterprise- Non-Metered – OCPU which includes:  BICS Mobile, 50 named users of Data Visualizer desktop per OCPU, Smart View for all users, one BICS administrator (I believe the significance of this is that Enterprise OAC is full BICS), and however many OCPUs you buy..  

Metered

NB – It’s not clear to me if metered and non-metered services can be combined, e.g. could a customer buy non-metered OAC but metered Storage?  OMG, have I mentioned who has the answer to this?  I have, haven’t I?

NB yet again – Although the OAC pricing page notes both metered and non-metered OAC, I can’t find OAC’s metered product numbers in Oracle’s Public Cloud Service Descriptions as of the writing of this post.  It’ll likely be there soon.

My bestest and most awesomest and quite likely wrongest guess as to what makes up metered OAC:
Part
Description
Service type
Purpose
B?????
– or –
B8????
Oracle Analytics Cloud– Standard – Metered – OCPU
-- or –
Oracle Analytics Cloud - Enterprise- Metered – OCPU
PaaS
Essbase
B78521
– or –  
B78522
Oracle Database Cloud Service-Standard Edition One Virtual Image-General Purpose OCPU per month – or – OCPU per hour
PaaS
Database, Oracle, metadata, for the use of
B77079, B77476,
B77477,
B77478
Oracle Database Backup Cloud Service – Metered
PaaS
Backup of Oracle database
B78516,
B78517,
B78518,
B78519,
B78520,
B85644,
B87082,
B87608,
B87285,
B87286
Oracle Compute Cloud Service –Compute Capacity - Instance – Metered
IaaS
CPU support for the Oracle database
B83456
Oracle Storage Cloud Service – Non-metered - TB of Storage Capacity
IaaS
Data storage
B83455
Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Block Storage - Non-metered -TB of Storage Capacity
IaaS
Data storage

Pricing

These are list prices.  Prices you can find, publicly, across all of those Read The Whole Thing™ links above.  What will you really pay?  As noted, it’s all negotiable and the only person that can really say is that Oracle sales rep I keep on referring to.  I am so far removed from the sales process I might as well be on another planet.  Come to think of it, I likely am on another planet (Vulcan?  Usra Minor Beta?) which explains all kinds of goofiness in my life both professional and personal.

A caveat re metered pricing:  I can’t even begin to understand it.  Read the docs, talk to your internal IT pricing analysts, talk to Oracle, but importantly, don’t bother asking me.  Non-metered is far easier although not necessarily a better fit for you.  Have I mentioned that you ought to talk to Oracle?  I have.  Again.

This example is for a two OCPU server (roughly four CPUs) with two terabytes of storage so a midsized Essbase server.

OCPUs explained

Just what is an OCPU?  Per Oracle’s, “Oracle Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service – Public Cloud  Service Descriptions-Metered & Non-Metered” document:
Oracle Compute Unit (OCPU) is defined as the CPU capacity equivalent of one physical core of an Intel Xeon processor with hyper threading enabled. Each OCPU corresponds to two hardware execution threads, known as vCPUs.

What kind of Xeon chip at what speed isn’t spelt out in the Service Descriptions document.  Shall I repeat the “you should talk to” statement?  Good, there’s no need.

Part
Description
Quantity
Purpose
B87390
– or –
B87389
Oracle Analytics Cloud– Standard – Non-Metered – OCPU
-- or –
Oracle Analytics Cloud - Enterprise- Non-Metered – OCPU
PaaS
Essbase
B83531
Oracle Database Cloud Service - Standard Edition - General Purpose - Non-metered- Hosted Environment
PaaS
Database, Oracle, metadata, for the use of
B83543
Oracle Database Backup Cloud Service – Non-metered - TB of Storage Capacity
PaaS
Backup of Oracle database
B85643
Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Compute Capacity - 1 OCPU - Non-Metered
IaaS
CPU support for the Oracle database
B83456
Oracle Storage Cloud Service – Non-metered - TB of Storage Capacity
IaaS
Data storage
B83455
Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Block Storage - Non-metered -TB of Storage
Capacity
IaaS
Data storage

List pricing

The below numbers are straight from Oracle’s web pages.  Again, what you will pay for may very well be less.

Is it worth it?

Only you can answer that.  What you see in the list prices above is the full cost of the product.  This is all you pay for non-metered Oracle Analytics Cloud.  No servers, no installs, no fighting working with IT.  You have the whole kit and kaboodle.

So what are license costs for on-premises?  Were you to buy Oracle Essbase Plus from shop.oracle.com for four unlimited CPUs for one year the price is…

Wowzers.

That almost $200,000 (this number is a bit high because the first year’s support is a one-time charge that differs from the 22% yearly maintenance fee but still) doesn’t include any of the infrastructure or internal support:  servers, relational databases, installs, OS license fees, etc. without mentioning Data Visualizer.  OAC beats Essbase Plus when comparing list to discounted cost and it includes all of the things that PaaS brings to the table.

Oracle Analytics Cloud isn’t just a good deal, it’s a fantastic deal.  Perhaps you should talk to your Oracle sales rep?  Probably.

Be seeing you.

Don’t be afraid to correct me

I don’t think there’s anyone afraid of that.  Fire away and I’ll correct accordingly, especially around metered products.