I'm speaking at OpenWorld 2017

Monday, 27 November 2017

5 Things on PeopleSoft Cloud Manager 05

PeopleSoft not only runs on cloud infrastructure but is intentionally engineered for the kinds of platform and application automation essential for managing applications in the cloud. 

PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture addresses installation, configuration, testing, patching and upgrades and this all comes together in PeopleSoft Cloud Manager.  



Loads of PeopleSoft content on Tuesday
On Tuesday 5 December I'll be covering this material in depth at the annual UKOUG Apps 17 conference.  I look forward to seeing you there if you can make.  Register for Apps17 here.




In September 2017 Cloud Manager 05 was released and here's my top 5 observations.

(1) New instances provisioned in Cloud Manager can now be migrated to use Orchestrations.  By default if you select STOP in the environment action menu the PeopleSoft application, web and batch services will be stopped.  This is useful but won't save you any money!  If the environment is migrated to using orchestrations then the STOP action will shutdown the instances itself on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.  If the instance is running you pay for CPU and storage.  If the instance is stopped then you only pay for storage.

(2) New PeopleSoft environments are provisioned using Linux and Windows template images.  It is essential you get the Linux and Windows 2012 r2 images from Oracle Cloud Marketplace. Before you can use them in Cloud Manager you first need to update the Windows images with latest updates from Microsoft.  You can also add in your favourite developer tools, create new users and any other configuration you normally do.   How to create a private Windows Image for Cloud Manager.

(3) There is a very nice feature which will automatically download the latest Cloud Manager Update Image which can then be used to automatically update your currently running Cloud Manager instance.  The first version of this is a bit buggy but I'm sure the Cloud Manager development team will sort this out.  At writing this (November 2017) I had to manually intervene with a few steps and there is an essential PRP that must be applied to the CM Update Image before it can be used.  Read Automated Self-UpdateOf Cloud Manager From Cloud Manager Settings | Manage Updates Page Fails AtStep "Apply PRP to PUM source.




(4)  A Cloud Manager provisioned environment can now be upgraded to the latest PeopleTools patch or even upgraded to the latest PeopleTools version.  This really is quite magical.



Think about what's going on here.

  • download the relevant tools patch onto your client and Linux machines
  • install Change Assistant on client
  • Install PeopleTools on client
  • Shutdown PIA, App and batch domains
  • Run CA job to Apply PeopleTools Patch to target database
  • Install patch files on Linux server to update PS_HOME
  • Redeploy PIA, App and batch domains
  • Start everything back up again
  • All in just over 20 mins !


(5) Cloud Manager REST APIs are now available.  This is a nice touch and demonstrates just how extensible the PeopleTools framework is.  Cloud Manager creates a simplified user experience to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and the PeopleSoft DPKs - This is very useful - if you're a human!  But what if you want to build automated schedules to stop and start Cloud Manager environments using your companies enterprise scheduler?  Well ... there's an API for that.

http://web_server/PSIGW/RESTListeningConnector/PSFT_PA/environment.v1/?action=start

http://web_server/PSIGW/RESTListeningConnector/PSFT_PA/environment.v1/<enviID>?action=stop

The environment ID (EnvID) doesn't seem to be visible anywhere in the Cloud Manager user interface and so we need to use the REST API to list environments to find it. The output is a JSON response containing a list of all Environments and their status.

http:///PSIGW/RESTListeningConnector/PSFT_PA/environment.v1


[
    {
        "environmentID" : "434343",
        "environmentName" : "CDMSLFUPD1",
        "description " : "Environment for Cloud Manager Self Update",
        "status " : "Stopped"
    },
    {
        "environmentID" : "434344",
        "environmentName" : "FS025E",
        "description " : "Test system for FS 025",
        "status " : "Running"
    },
    {
        "environmentID" : "434345",
        "environmentName" : "HCM024A",
        "description " : "",
        "status " : "Stopped"
    }
]



Watch all the magic here.






Tuesday, 21 November 2017

OOW17 Day 4 Wednesday



OK.....  so it's taken me a little while to complete my writeup for the final day of the 2017 OpenWorld conference. For some reason when I got back to the RealWorld from OpenWorld I had a million and one things to do and ended up a bit busy.

Anyway, for what it's worth let me try and outline highlights from the final day.

One of the things I most enjoy and value about all PeopleSoft events, including OpenWorld, is the opportunity to meet people from the PeopleSoft community. 
A recent and rapidly growing part of this community, focused on PeopleSoft technical administrators, has been organised by Dan Iverson and Kyle Benson from http://psadmin.io .   They run a blog, weekly podcast, training on things like DPK and facilitate the psadmin.io Slack channel.  Drop them a line here if you want to join in.
To round of the conference this year they hosted a podcast featuring several PS techs from around the world and I was honoured to be invited to join in. You can listen in on this fascinating discussion here http://psadmin.io/2017/10/20/103-oow-2017-all-star-recap/ 

psadmin.io podcast in the basement of the Marriott

Some of  the many PeopleSoft admins 

The other community that I enjoy being part of is the My Oracle Support Community (MOSC) site. You'll need an Oracle account to access it but it's a great place to engage with customers and Oracle support staff to get help, discuss issues and submit and vote on enhancement requests (ideas) to Oracle development teams.
The PeopleTools MOSC site can be found here  https://community.oracle.com/community/support/peoplesoft/peopletools_-_psft

HR OnBoarding

During the afternoon of the final day I sat through some excellent presentations on enhancements to Core HR including the new OnBoarding feature.    Not a new module to buy but included in your core HR license.  Oracle Product Management made a point of this fact and we should start to see more and more new features being delivered in core HR.  If you get it as part of your core license then it's more likely to get used is the thinking.  I like it !

This nice new feature that can help customers implement more consistent and audited processes for bringing new staff into their organisations and ensuring they know what to do, where to go, who to meet, what documents are needed, etc.  It may also help customers who already have on-boarding systems become more efficient by bringing it into PeopleSoft where integrating with core HR data should be much easier.

  • Read it in PeopleBooks
  • Watch it on YouTube 























  • CloudFest 2017

    And the Oracle party this year - again at the AT&T Park - home of the Giants baseball team.

    Ellie Goulding and The Chainsmokers - "who ???" ---- oh dear.... I must be getting old!







    Thursday, 5 October 2017

    OOW17 Tuesday Day 3


    Yet more blue sky outside, it's warm and we're all stuck in an air conditioned conference centre.  I hope you're feeling suitably sorry for me.  Today I've attended a number of conference sessions. Here's some highlights.

    PeopleSoft PeopleTools Platform and Infrastructure Overview - Mark Hoernemann doing a most
    excellent job juggling a million and one platform version number combinations.  Microsoft Windows Server 2016 hasjust been certified on 8.55 and 8.56.  Me thinks the myriad of ever increasing layers of software each with the version dependencies in just the kind of thing that drives people to the cloud.

    Getting the Most Out of PeopleSoft PeopleTools: Tips and Techniques - The legendary Jim Marion accompanied by Sarah (book co-author, editor and Jim's wife) gave a brilliant masterclass in Fluid development and Event Mapping.  I love Jim's style and I always learn something new when I attend his sessions and I leave inspired to learn more.  Check out Jim and Sarah's training courses here ....  http://www.jsmpros.com

    Sorry Jim.... as exciting as Fluid development and Event Mapping is .... I want to focus today on the exciting news about Classic Plus announced in session CON6948- PeopleSoft User Experience: Improving Classic Pages with Classic Plus.

    At OpenWorld 2016 we first heard about Classic Plus in Paco's keynote - a new style sheet coming in PeopleTools 856 that will make Classic pages look like Fluid pages.

    What we didn't realise until Dave Bain's session today is that the Applications teams are working towards converting all Classic Pages to Classic Plus.  Here's what I know and what I read from Dave's session:


    • To enable Classic Plus you need to be on PeopleTools 8.56.
    • It's enabled at a Global level in PeopleTools > Portal > Branding System Options
    • Once globally enabled each Classic component needs to have the "Apply Fluid like theme for Classic" property set ON if you want the component pages to appear with Classic Plus styling.  
    • In making Classic pages "look" like Fluid the Classic Plus stylesheet changes certain cosmetic characteristics of the page. Fundamentally, the changes relate to creating more space between page objects.   Inevitably, this results in some cosmetic tweaking on the page itself using Application Designer.
    • What the Applications teams (HCM, FSCM, ELM, Campus, CRM, etc) have been doing/done is to make every Component/Page work with Classic Plus and to fix any easy to make cosmetic page issues.  Most pages work straight away and some have required just some minor tweaking to fix field alignment issues.  We'll see the results of this work in the next round of PI releases (HCM024 and FSCM026)
    • Whilst the intent is to make every page work with Classic Plus there are some pages that are just too complex and cannot easily be tweaked.  These pages, for now at least, will remain on Classic.
    All sounds simple right?  Well, it get's a little more involved.  Here's what's going to be delivered in the next PIs.
    • If the PeopleSoft Apps team opened every Component and set the "Apply Fluid like theme for Classic" property ON to make it Classic Plus then that Component would have changed AND when you came to do a get current you'd be picking up lots of modified Component definitions. This is too big an issue for customers to deal with as it would involve a significant re-customisation effort plus the size of the change package would be considerable.
    • To solve this problem PeopleSoft are delivering a Classic Plus Configuration page.  The customer selects the Components they want to enable for Classic Plus and a batch process (AE) then does a bulk update of the "Apply Fluid like theme for Classic" flag on each of these.
    • This will provide customers the choice of enabling Classic Plus on all pages, some or none.
    So, why Classic Plus?  Here's a good summary slide.


    Tuesday, 3 October 2017

    OOW17 Monday Day 2


    Let me try and summarise my OpenWorld Day 2.  The sky is blue and the walls are red with the only clouds being those mentioned in all the Oracle advertising.

    The opening PeopleSoft session of the day was Paco Aubrejuan (Senior Director of Product Strategy) delivering the high level Product Line Update and Investment Strategy.  It's true to say that there's been a significant amount of investment in PeopleSoft over recent years and that's planned to continue.


    • 2013 Selective Adoption and first Update Image released
    • 2014 Fluid user interface
    • 2016 Page Composer / Fluid Approvals and Elasticsearch
    • 2017 Cloud Manager


    Oracle continues to invest because there's over 5000 PeopleSoft customers.  72% of these are on release 9.2 but a notably low count of only 500 live on Fluid.  Paco's message was one of assuring customers of Oracle's continued commitment to invest in PeopleSoft applications and technology.    This commitment to support PeopleSoft is at least until 2027 and there was every expectation that each year that would get extended.   He encourage customers to continue to exploit all the features and enhancements delivered to date taking advantage of the PeopleSoft continuous delivery model and the availability of innovative and value added services on Oracle Compute Infrastructure.

    Paco showcased several customers that had fast-tracked new application features and then gave a live demo of the new HCM Onboarding feature and a live demo of new eBill applications in Financials  and the Supplier Portal.

    Later that day I sat through Dave Bains' PeopleSoft Technology strategy in which I heard that Oracle are continuing investment in Lifecycle Management, deployment automation and Cloud manager.  Oracle's website has a quote which I'm sure is true of many IT operations in that we spend a lot more time on maintenance than we do on delivering value and innovations.  It seems PeopleSoft future investment will continue to be in this area - helping customers reduce their maintenance costs and realise this vision.


    Because PeopleTools 8.56 was released a few months ago now the news of enhancements to Event Mapping and Page, Field Configurator and Cloud Manager were not new.

    Cloud Manager got a much more thorough coverage by Platforms Strategy Manager, Mark Hoernemann.  Basically Cloud Manager is a new PeopleSoft application which provides a self-service like interface to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure services and allows users to provision and patch instances of PeopleSoft running in the Oracle Cloud.

    My final session of the day was my own which explored Selective Adoption and how using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Cloud Manager can help.  I'm going to blog more on this in the coming weeks but for now here's my presentation.






    Monday, 2 October 2017

    OOW17 Sunday Day 1

    Moscone Centre - OpenWorld 2017
    It's a blue San Francisco sky and the buildings, buses, flags and posters are all red.  Yep... it's Oracle OpenWorld.  It's 2017 and Oracle have the gloves off - it's Oracle Cloud vs Amazon AWS.







    Self aware database?
    Watch Larry Ellison's Sunday night keynote for all the news and live race-demos of Oracle Cloud vs AWS.  Larry argues that Oracle Cloud  is cheaper, faster with higher availability than AWS for data-warehouse loads.  He also featured Oracle's new "autonomous database" - fully automated, real-time security patching, tunes itself, can assign additional compute resources when it's needed without downtime and more is coming in the data warehouse product available in December 2017.  (Apparently Amazon spent $60m on Oracle technology this year).   Oracle continue to be serious about becoming the number one player in the cloud services space.  Oh yes... they intend to win this battle.

    Sasank addresses a packed room on Sunday
    Most of the PeopleSoft sessions are located in Moscone South this year and after a painless registration and collecting my disappointingly empty conference backpack (not even a pen! ) I made my way up to floor 3 for some terrific Life Hacks for PeopleSoft by Sasank Vemana - PeopleSoft, JavaScript, Fluid and CSS genius.... I'm not even going to try to cover anything in my update today - simply going to point you to his very useful blog.  These were some of the things he did live coding demonstrations of.
    Sasank also wins my Quote of the day.... "Somehow the stars were aligned and Push Notifications started working".  Thank you Sasank :-)



    Now I'm a "real" PS Admin - no more pretending !
    Today I feel like I made it into the special club of PeopleSoft Administrators.  I was given a very special badge -- a laptop sticker from Dan & Kyle at psadmin.io .  Thank you !

    These guys have brought together an amazing grass roots community  of PeopleSoft techs/admins/DBAs and developers on their Slack channel and have been prolific pod casters, bloggers and all round useful repository of vital information on DPK, ACM , Puppet and all things YAML.  So, this session on all things PCA (PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture) certainly ticked all the boxes with a really neat live demo of a DPK reconfiguration of PIA and some very useful insights into how GIT can be used effectively to manage DPK code and configurations.  Download their presentation, become members of the Slack channel, listen to the podcasts, sign up for the DPK training and join the fun.    What their presentation shows is that fully automating the installation and configuration of PeopleSoft instances is not just a dream.... start small, learn more advanced DPK features, broaden the scope and automate more each time.

    Dan & Kyle - captains of admin




    Wednesday, 13 September 2017

    5 Things to look out for at OpenWorld 2017 - Part 1



    Are you going to OpenWorld this year?  Along with many others in our wonderful PeopleSoft community I'll be blogging in real-time (well near-time anyway) throughout so you'll get my take on proceedings if you can't be there.

    So to get things started here's my Top 5 Presentations to look out for at OpenWorld 2017.

    1)  Life Hacks for PeopleSoft Development by Sasank Vermana on Sunday @ 12:45
    Sasank is a prolific blogger with a most valuable array of tips, ideas and techniques for PeopleSoft developers.  His session is sure to loaded with goodies.

    2) Advanced PeopleSoft Administration Using the PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture by Dan & Kyle @ 3:45
    The psadmin.io community is thriving and the work that Dan & Kyle have done in spreading the word about DPK, ACM, Puppet, Hiera, YAML and all those other things that scare the heck out of most has been outstanding.  Don't miss this!



    3) PeopleSoft General Session: Product Line Update and Ongoing Investment Strategy by Paco Aubrejuan  and Marc Weintraub @ 12:15
    Paco Aubrejuan
    Paco leads the entire PeopleSoft division and Marc is in product strategy.  Paco's practical, hands-on style and Marc's passion and enthusiasm for PeopleSoft makes this investment and strategic insight an essential for the week.

    4) PeopleSoft Technology Roadmap by David Bain on Monday @ 2:15
    Last year's OpenWorld seemed to be missing the traditional technology roadmap.  PeopleTools is one of the key reasons why PeopleSoft applications remain future proof and so hearing about what's coming up is always useful.  Dave's first time at the OpenWorld helm for this session but he's a great speaker and I'm sure this will be a packed and useful session.

    5) PeopleSoft Cloud Manager and Selective Adoption by Graham Smith on Monday @ 5:45
    This is my session ... but hey.... it's my blog so I can include what I like.  :-)  I hope, if you're still awake at the end of the first day of this busy conference, that you'll stop by Moscone South (305)  to come and hear some real life stuff on how Oracle Cloud can help your PeopleSoft Selective Adoption strategy.  Something for everyone here.

    6) Getting the Most Out of PeopleSoft PeopleTools: Tips and Techniques by Jim Marion on Tuesday @ 12:45
    Great news that Jim's annual Tips & Techniques session is on the agenda again this year.  Even though Jim doesn't work for Oracle anymore this shows just how much his skills and experience are valued along with his continued contributions to the PeopleSoft community. Again, don't miss this one!


    Yes...yes... yes... i know.  I can't count.  I just couldn't get it down to 5.  (there'll be another top 5 coming soon anyway).







    Monday, 14 August 2017

    5 Things to remember when installing PeopleSoft Update Image on VirtualBox

    If you install PeopleSoft Update Images on VirtualBox (and many do) then here are 5 things to remember.

    1) Run psft-dpk-setup.bat  with --keep_vbox_alive parameter otherwise all running VirtualBox VMs will be immediately stopped by the installer!

    2) Remember to use the --keep_vbox_alive parameter otherwise all running VirtualBox VMs will be immediately stopped by the installer..... and you get a little cross!

    3) Don't forget to use the  --keep_vbox_alive parameter otherwise all running VirtualBox VMs will be immediately stopped by the installer!!  Hopefully they didn't get corrupted when this rather daft default behaviour caused all your VMs to suddenly stop!  Note to self.  "Use the --keep_vbox_alive next time"

    4) Highly recommend using the  --keep_vbox_alive parameter and putting a post-it note  reminder on your monitor, phone, diary, desk, children, pets and anything else that will take a post-it note.

    5) And lastly.... vote on my enhancement idea to change the default behaviour of psft-dpk-setup.bat  so that is ALWAYS adds the  --keep_vbox_alive parameter .

    https://community.oracle.com/ideas/18996