Thinking Man
The Triora Times


    Offering Practical Ideas, Tips and Best Practices
                   for Your Oracle Environment
February, 2009 - Volume 2, Issue 10

Triora Group

In This Issue
Experiences with 12.0.6
Making a Difference
Article Headline
Quick Links

OAUG Collaborate 09

valentines fireworks

Show Your Database and Applications Some LOVE - Apply the January 2009 CPU



Just Say No

Check out Steven Chan's Article on IE 8 - it's not certified yet!


Look For Triora At:

Collaborate 09

May 3-7 Orlando, FL
Greetings!

We have a new President at the White House, so we're all hoping to see improvements in the economy and some fixes to our health plans.

In the meantime, read on, because our team found a lot to talk about this month. Our guest author, Jeff Vold from Hazelden Foundation, talks about the assortment of issues that he bumped into when he installed RUP6 on his Release 12 environment. John Stouffer addresses the question of whether it's ok to run a patch more than once, and if so, how to do it. John also tells us about a new mandatory patch for Release 12: R12.1 SCP_PF.B CU1 (12.1.01). Rob McMillen describes TOra, an open-source database tool. James Morrow describes his patching philosophy, and Barb Matthews takes note of the newest CPU from Oracle, which arrived in January. Last but not least, Lon White covers a topic well worth understanding: How to use OAM to troubleshoot problem PIDs.

We hope your year started well.

The Triora Team
Experiences with 12.0.6 Release Update Pack (RUP6)
Guest Author, Jeff Vold, Hazelden Foundation

Special thanks go to Jeff Vold, an Apps DBA at Hazelden Foundation, who contributed this article. Remember, if you'd like to submit an article, just drop a note to our editor.

Hazelden Foundation is running Release 11.5.9 in production and is in the midst of a Release 12 upgrade. We recently applied the 12.0.6 Release Update Pack (RUP6) on top of our 12.0.4 development environment and were asked to share our experiences. Here are some quick facts on RUP 6: According to Metalink Note:743368.1, RUP 6 is cumulative and delivers error corrections and system updates included in 12.0.1, 12.0.2, 12.0.3, 12.0.5, or FIN and HRMS family RUP5 along with those in 12.0.6.

Our patching consisted of the following: 7305220 - R12.AD.A.DELTA.6, 7505241 -  PRC Rollup November 2008, 6728000 - RUP6, 7109200 - Consolidated Help, and the two November CPCs for Payables and Receivables.  I applied this set of patches three separate times on top of a clean 12.0.4 instance to eliminate all possible adworker job failures.

Read More About RUP6
Is It OK to Run a Patch More Than Once?
John Stouffer

We received this question from a colleague:
I applied the RUP 6 patch (plus pre and post req patches)  in my Patch and DEV instance and all seemed to work just fine. So I applied RUP 6 to our Test environment and there were a few issues, but it seemed I resolved them. I am getting errors, though, that say that not all the code was loaded from the file system to the database.  I did have to load a couple of packages from the file system to the database to resolve some of my errors. Still, the Workflow notification package has issues, Oracle Diagnostics has issues, and there are a couple of other odd errors. It seems most of the errors are either PLS-00302 or ora-1403 data not found.

Is it an acceptable practice  to just rerun a patch again? Can I just rerun RUP 6 patch against my Test environment or will that cause duplicate data issues and other issues? Or, should I restore my database prior to running the RUP 6 patch and reapply all the patches?

I have heard mixed messages about just reapplying patches and since testing is not going well I wanted to get your feedback on how best to proceed.

Answer:
I would rerun the patch again after you clean up the history tag that says it is already applied in the patch sub-directory (just delete the entire backup directory for that patch). If that does not work, I would restore and run the patch clean - make sure you check all of your log files (patch, dev and test) for any copy errors.

None of the packages you mentioned should have errors post-patch install.
TOra: An Open-Source Database Tool
Rob McMillen

I've been looking recently at database tools.  There are a lot of good ones out there, like Oracle Enterprise Manager and TOAD, just to name two of them.  TOAD seems to be a favorite because of its powerful features, but it is fairly expensive unless your company is footing the bill.

The interesting thing about tools is that our preferences are very personal.

I have friends who have developed their own tools using html.  They've come up with some nifty reporting capabilities using simple html, a local install of Apache and some sql queries.

Others believe that using a database tool is an admission of ignorance or lack of skills and they rely on trusty SQLPLUS and all of the database views/scripts.

Read More About TOra

Is It A CPC? A CPU? Nope, It's a New CU!
John Stouffer


For those of you on Release 12, MetaLink Doc. ID: 746824.1, "Alert! - Mandatory Patch R12.1 SCP_PF.B CU1 (12.1.01) Released" announces another mandatory patch. The SCP_PF.B CU1 patch looks like the first Critical Update patch for Release 12.1, which hasn't been released yet. Floyd Teter tells us he thinks Release 12.1 is close, because Oracle has published their E-Business 12.1 Release Content Documents (RCDs) in MetaLink Doc. ID: 561580.1. Please take note that the patch definitely says it is mandatory, so if you are running on Release 12, you should take a look at the Readme.
New Critical Patch Update - January 2009 CPU is Available
Barbara Matthews

The latest Critical Patch Update from Oracle has been released. Check out MetaLink to see more, and then take a look at Integrigy's website for a review of what this CPU fixes.
 
How Often Should I Apply Patches?
James Morrow

If there is one question that we are asked most frequently by our clients, this is probably it.  Unfortunately, the answer isn't as cut-and-dried as they typically expect.  Just like onions (and ogres), the answer has layers.

First, let's ask the question, "Why do we patch?" or, more precisely, "Why do we want to apply THIS patch?"  I think that there are four valid answers:

1.           Something is broken.

2.                 We need new features/functionality

3.                 The patch is required by another patch (a prerequisite)

4.                 Oracle says we have to apply it in order to stay supported.

While all four are quite valid, users at many sites tend to balk at answers #3 and #4.  They understand that a patch is required to fix a problem.  They are willing to accept downtime for patching if they get new functionality out of the deal.  But seriously, why should they care about a prerequisite?  Or even patching just to stay supported?  "Our system works fine and we don't need no stinking patches."

All that said, we IT-types tend to have this odd desire to be proactive and try to avoid problems down the road.  So, we like #3 and #4.  Besides, unless the user-types tell us about a new feature they want, we don't tend to know that much about it.

Read More About Patching
They Like Us, They Really Like Us!
Sally Field at the Oscars Not unlike that fabulous Oscar Night moment when Sally Field shouted to the world "You like me! You really like me!", the OAUG Paper Selection Commmittee Accepted Papers Announcements for Collaborate 09 are an exciting time for all of us here at Triora. We are tickled to say that everyone who wanted to present gets to present this year. Here's the lineup:

John Stouffer
  • The Upgrade SIG
  • What About Release 12.1? And, is it Time to Upgrade to the 11g RDBMS?
  • A Technical Roadmap for Oracle Fusion Middleware, E-Business Suite Release 12 and Oracle Fusion Applications
  • The Largest Healthcare Payer in the World Captures the Force of Data Integration - Scott Beam, John co-presenting
  • The Twelve Steps to a Release 12 Upgrade - Hazelden Foundation's Release 12 Lessons Learned, Jeff Vold, John co-presenting
Rob McMillen
  • Introduction to SOA for Business Managers
Lon White
  • The Apps DBA and Java
James Morrow
  • Oracle Applications Release 12 DBA Tips and Tricks
  • Orthofix Case Study (Upgrading EBS Release 11.5.9/RDBMS 8i to Release 12/RDBMS 11g on Linux)
  • Database Migrations in an E-Business Suite Environment panel
How to Use OAM to Troubleshoot Problem PIDs
Lon White

Have you ever been watching the output of TOP, or, say GLANCE, and noted the high resource usage of a particular process? The other day a co-worker and I were watching just such an event. We run in an HP-UX environment, so we were using GLANCE to monitor resource consumption. We had recently implemented some new functionality and expected an increase in load on the system, but were not sure to what extent. So when we finally saw a process consuming substantial resources (CPU, IO and/or Memory) we wanted to dive in and get more pointed information.

Now, for those of you who have ever attended Cary Millsap's PD101 class, you know he is fond of saying (paraphrased?) "The fastest way to do anything is to not do it at all". Well, I can't not look at the resource hog, so therefore I'm already in the hole. So, to not compound the issue, I decided that I would show my co-worker how to use OAM (Oracle Application Manager) to find detailed information. But, how do I make the match between what we are seeing in TOP and / or GLANCE and OAM?

Read More About PIDs and OAM
Web Goodies
Barbara Matthews
The following is our list of must-see blog articles and websites:
 
http://blogs.oracle.com/schan - Steven Chan is Oracle's Senior Director of Oracle Applications Technology Integration. His Oracle E-Business Suite Technology blog covers information about upcoming releases, new product announcements, and detailed discussions of the technology that makes the E-Business Suite run. New articles this month:
http://orclville.blogspot.com - Floyd Teter, who won the prestigious OAUG 2008 President's Award and recently became an Oracle ACE Director, writes this blog. Floyd's blog does a great job of keeping the world current about the status of Fusion and how and why it will be important to E-Business Suite users. Check out Floyd's views on his recent visit to oracle Headquarters at Redwood Shores for the IOUC Summit.

http://www.oncalldba.com - check out Barb Matthews' website for the latest E-Business Suite technical books. Barb is our behind-the-scenes researcher/editor/writer. Barb also edits and publishes books, so if you're a subject matter expert, consider talking to Barb about publishing a technical or functional book about what you know. And check out our books section on the Triora Group website - Rob, Lon and Barb have posted their favorite books.

http://www.oaug.org - access to OAUG's Collaborate Conference Archive alone is worth the price of membership. We support the OAUG in every way possible. Be sure to read "Laying a Foundataion for Service Oriented Architecture", an article co-authored by Rob McMillen and Michael Seymour, published in the Summer 2008 edition of OAUG Insight Magazine. And start getting your mind ready for Collaborate 09, which will be held May 3-7.

http://www.integrigy.com - Have you checked out the January 2009 CPU yet? Integrigy analyzes the impact of each of Oracle's quarterly Critical Patch Upgrades (CPUs) and is an excellent resource when you need to test CPUs. A particularly nice feature of this website is that the components of the CPU are broken down into portions that must be applied immediately to maintain a secure environment as well as those that could be applied later.
Making A Difference in Our World
Barbara Matthews
http://www.kenyakidscan.org - one of our favorite causes, led by Steve Peifer, a fellow Oracle consultant geek turned missionary. Steve sets up schools and feeds students - 18,300 students at 34 schools in Kenya. Steve won the CNN Hero Award in 2007 for his wonderful work.

In addition to the feeding programs for the schools, Steve and his fellows build self-contained, solar powered computer centers in the heart of Kenya. So far, he is up to 15 centers. We're proud to say that we were there from the beginning.  In fact, the first computer center was named for John's mom, a wonderful person lost to cancer before her time in May 2000.

This month Steve described an innovative Texas A&M student who started a fund raising program of sitting in front of the cafeteria and offering to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for students. He then requests a donation with the money they would have used in the cafeteria.  It has brought in enough money to feed a school for a year, and in this harsh economic climate, Steve says "I love that a young man with a creative thought can make such a difference to so many kids."

So if you've got a kid who has been trying to think of a way to make a difference, please tell them about Steve's mission. We'd love to report on more out-of-the-box thinking like this student's.

You can read all about Steve's mission in his book, Your Pal, Steve. Proceeds from the book fund the schools and meals in Kenya. The proceeds from other books that we've collaborated on, including The ABCs of Workflow for E-Business Suite Release 11i and Release 12, The Release 12 Primer, and Installing, Upgrading and Maintaining Oracle E-Business Suite Applications Release 11.5.10+, also donate proceeds to Steve's mission.

Kenya Kids Can Computer Center

http://www.dandy-walker.org/ - Our friend Eric Cole's son Ryan suffers from Dandy-Walker Syndrome, a congenital brain malformation. Read about Eric's family in Business Week's Million Dollar Babies article.
 
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Rob McMillen, John Stouffer, Lon White, James Morrow, Barbara Matthews and the rest of the Triora Team