“There is plenty of life left in Oracle E-Business Suite,” says Marc Caruso, Data Intensity’s Chief Technology Officer in a recent webinar. He points out that Premier Support for Oracle E-Business Suite 11i and R12 releases have been extended into 2021 and 2023, respectively, and the upcoming 12.3 release will ensure at least eight more years of support upon general release.
Because Oracle has extended its support timeline for the E-Business Suite, it’s time to map out a fresh approach to your E-Business applications based on where they fit, what hardware they’re running on, your cloud strategy and the new functionalities they provide.
Key to-dos for Release 12.1.3 E-Business suite users
If you are on 12.1.3 and plan to stay there, implement these four steps:
- Apply Recommended Patch Collection 5. This release full of important fixes and improvements came out in September 2016. It will bring your 12.1 implementation up to date.
- Use database version 126.96.36.199 or higher. It’s the only supported release of Database 11g, so it’s time to start thinking about upgrading to Database 12c.
- Make sure you have a browser and JRE compatibility roadmap. Having a roadmap that accounts for Windows 10 and IE 11 is important for maintaining compatibility.
- Keep current with Oracle CPUs. Schedule testing cycles at least once a year for peace of mind.
New 12.2.6 features may make it an attractive upgrade
12.2.6 shipped in September 2016 with hundreds of functional improvements. New 12.2.X features including subscription billing capabilities, outcome-driven procurement and information discovery are compelling functional enhancements. However, the online patching feature is probably the biggest news. It answers the needs of the many customers with 24 x 7 uptime requirements who have long urged Oracle to develop that functionality. It’s important to be aware of tradeoffs, which include a 2-3X increase in application tier storage capacity and database growth from shadow tables ranging from 5% to 35%. There are many best practices to consider, and Data Intensity offers guidance on how to prepare for the online patching feature, as well as redevelopment of CEMLIs that need to be brought into compliance with the feature.
There are some other features that may be of interest to customers too. First, Oracle has expanded testing automation products to make it easier to go through change and release cycles. Second, there are enhancements to both mobile functionality as well as an expanded lineup of over 25 smartphone applications, that include functionality for things like workflow approvals and time and expense entry.
Users already on 12.2 and considering the 12.2.6 release should know that:
- There were some helpful user interface improvements that were made that should improve the overall user experience.
- There are important AD and TXK RUP patches (R12 AD.C.Delta 8 Patch 21841299 and R12.TXK.C.Delta.8 – Patch 21830810) that you don’t want to get behind on.
With 12.2X, the following modules are no longer supported:
- Daily Business Intelligence
- Balanced Scorecard
- Embedded Data Warehouse
Also, these 10G product line technologies have been put out to pasture:
- SSO 10G
- OID 10G
- BPEL 10G
- Portal 10G
Infrastructure and technical management considerations should be part of planning
Factor in infrastructure and technical management issues when doing E-Business Suite lifecycle planning. For instance, when moving to 12.2, you will surely require additional storage capacity. But you can offset that need by leveraging snapshots, deduplication and thin provisioning. Plan to boost I/O, add both CPU and memory resources to support online patches, and prioritize processes by working with OS administrators. These steps will all contribute to a smoother transition.
On the technical management side, your DBAs will need training on
- managing WebLogic Server
- understanding E-Business suite’s topology architecture
- how online patching works and how to troubleshoot it
Finally, consider offering a virtual desktop for users of older versions. This will allow you to continue offering the interface that they’re already familiar with, accelerating their acceptance of the new release.
Changes in Oracle database support may positively impact plans for 2017 and beyond
If you were pushing forward with a database upgrade out of concern for extended 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 support fees, the pressure is off. Oracle has waived those fees through December 2018 and July 2019, respectively. While the immediate cost impact is no longer a concern, that doesn’t mean you should put thoughts of a database upgrade out of mind. Extended support is still extended support. Start planning your upgrade to Database 12c soon to ensure the business has adequate time to test.
Which upgrade is for you? 12.1 or 12.2?
While 12.1.3 is the path of least resistance – lower effort and cost especially if you have a lot of customization it’s probably a better bet to move to 12.2.6. That’s because it gives you nearly two additional years of Premier Support, and possibly more if Oracle extends it. Of course, anyone who wants to take advantage of 12.2’s online patching will want to make the move.
What about Cloud?
While a lot of the material we see from Oracle today is about Oracle’s Cloud Applications, that doesn’t mean there aren’t options for Oracle E-Business Suite in the cloud. Data Intensity provides an industry-leading, purpose-built private cloud for Oracle E-Business Suite and other enterprise technologies. We also provide support for public cloud solutions for E-Business Suite using either Amazon Web Services or Oracle Public Cloud. In fact, we are working closely with Oracle Development on the automation tools that will be used to move E-Business Suite workloads into and out of Oracle Public Cloud.
Just because it’s not the right time for you to move to Cloud Applications doesn’t mean you can’t say you’re in the cloud. The bottom line is that you can remove infrastructure management from the equation, get an improved user experience, and benefit from the automation and higher SLAs that a cloud model can provide.
The following actions will give you a good head start toward meeting your upgrade goals:
- Develop a plan that considers Oracle’s support timeline extensions. Involve the business to create the justifications you need, whether you’ve decided to upgrade, keep current with your release, or make technical changes – like CPU patches, TXK or AD updates – that sometimes fall by the wayside during planning.
- Develop CEMLIs to comply with 12.2 standards. Have a system integrator do a scan to identify all your CEMLIs. Be sure to search outside of Oracle E-Business applications to catch CEMLIs embedded in integrated third-party applications.
- Ensure desktop compatibility with your browser: Windows 10 and IE 11, JRE
- Use an upgrade as an opportunity to modernize and update platform security. Review and correct processor core sizing as well as older operating systems and compatibility limitations that can crop up when running an older OS with virtualization and cloud platforms.
- Seize the opportunity to add more up-to-date security components like privileged user access and role mapping. Think about a move to a cloud platform and what that means for the agility of your E-Business Suite investment, and do it with a company that can help you in your journey from E-Business Suite to Oracle Cloud Applications.
- Licensing. Be safe rather than sorry regarding licensing! If you haven’t been audited by Oracle in a couple of years, you are probably on the list. Stay ahead of this and avoid being hit with unbudgeted expenses. In many cases, you can convert unused on-premises licenses to corresponding cloud capacity, which is certainly worth exploring. Data Intensity provides both one-time soft audit as well as ongoing License Management-as-a-Service (LMaaS) services to help you find compliance issues, resolve them, and stay in compliance.
Find out how Data Intensity can help you make the most of your Oracle E-Business Suite investments by helping you develop the right plan for your organization. Contact us today »