Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Glimpses of E-Business Suite 12.2: WebLogic Server and Online Patching


Glimpses of E-Business Suite 12.2: WebLogic Server and Online Patching

The cat is out of the bag now.  Many readers noticed references to Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2 in   OAUG/Collaborate attendees got glimpses of this release a couple of months ago, but we've been keeping it relatively low-key on this upcoming release.
There are lots of updates coming in this release, but from a technology stack perspective, EBS 12.2 will be notable for two things:
  1. Replacing Oracle Containers for Java (OC4J) 10g with WebLogic Server 11g
  2. Online Patching support via 11gR2 Edition-Based Redefinition

EBS 12.2 high-level architecture diagram
1. Replacing OC4J with WebLogic Server
EBS 12.2 will use WebLogic Server from Fusion Middleware 11g in place of OC4J 10g as part of the release's internal technology stack.  Other additional new Fusion Middleware 11g components used will include WebLogic JSP and UIX 11g. 
2. Online Patching support via 11gR2 Edition-Based Redefinition
EBS 12.2 will use the 11gR2 Database's Edition-Based Redefinition features to provide support for Online Patching.  Edition-Based Redefinition is really exciting new technology. From the 11gR2 Application Developer's Guide:
"Edition-based redefinition enables you to upgrade the database component of an application while it is in use, thereby minimizing or eliminating down time.
"To upgrade an application while it is in use, you copy the database objects that comprise the application and redefine the copied objects in isolation. Your changes do not affect users of the application—they continue to run the unchanged application. When you are sure that your changes are correct, you make the upgraded application available to all users."
Online Patching means that patches that change EBS database objects can be applied while the E-Business Suite production instance is fully operational.  Only a short downtime will be required to complete the patching process.  This will ake your patching downtimes more predictable.

An Unofficial FAQ
We're very excited about this release, and we're all working hard on getting it out the door for you quickly.  We can't share all the details about this release yet, so here are some answers to the most frequently-asked questions that we're able to answer right now:
When will EBS 12.2 be released?
Oracle's Revenue Recognition rules prohibit us from discussing certification and release dates.  You're welcome to monitor or subscribe to this blog for updates, which I'll post as soon as soon as they're available.   
Will there be an EBS 12.1.4 release?
We're working hard on EBS 12.2 right now.  After we deliver this new release, we'll evaluate whether it's worthwhile producing a new suite-wide Release Update Pack for the EBS 12.1 codeline. 

My organisation needs to upgrade from EBS 11i.  Should I go to EBS 12.1.3 or wait for EBS 12.2?
When it comes to ERP software, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  It's always best to make your plans around releases that are currently available. 
You should plan your upgrade to EBS 12.1.3 today.  The upgrade from EBS 11i to 12 is technically-straightforward but has many new updates and features on the functional side.  These functional product updates and new features have the potential to introduce significant changes that will affect your business users.
If customer feedback is any indication, it is likely that you will spend more time working through the implications of the new EBS 12.1 features than anything else.  This process may be time-consuming, so it's best to get started now. If you're on EBS 11i today, you should focus your efforts on getting up to EBS 12.1.3 as the immediate priority. 
The preceding is intended to outline our general product direction.  It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.   It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decision.  The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.

E-Business Suite Technology Stack Roadmap (June 2011) Now Available

We certify over 150 new combinations and versions of Oracle products with the E-Business Suite a year -- and that's before you factor in our forty or so platform-based combinations.  We also update our certification plans and roadmap as new third-party products like Microsoft Office 2010 and Firefox are announced or released.  Complicating matters further, various Oracle products leave Premier Support or are superceded by more-recent versions.

This constant state of change means that any static representation of our roadmap is really a snapshot in time, and a snapshot that might begin to yellow and fade fairly quickly.  With that caveat in mind, here's this month's snapshot (which has some updates following my OAUG/Collaborate presentation in April 2011):
EBS release roadmap

What's in the latest roadmap?
  • Comparisons of support categories (Premier, Extended, Sustaining)
  • Summaries of the latest database, Fusion Middleware, and E-Business Suite Lifetime Support Policies
  • Desktop Client certifications (browsers, JREs, operating systems)
  • Database Tier certifications
  • Application Server Tier certifications
  • External Integrations certifications
  • Security-Related certifications
  • "Other Cool Stuff" -- virtualization, clouds
How should I use this roadmap?
  1. Check the support status of your currently deployed techstack component versions
  2. Plan your upgrades to the next certified level
  3. Build a business case for switching from older technology to the latest technology (e.g. switching from Discoverer to Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition+)
  4. Seek clarification on open questions

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