New Year, New Version!?!


Now that the books are closed on 2010, we now finally have an opportunity to reflect on our EPM/Hyperrion Strategy for 2011.

But, what version should you upgrade to? It’s confusing….. 11.1.1.3?  11.1.2?  Wait for 11.1.2.1?

Here is some information to help you make that decision, from the I.T. Side…

There are many factors in choosing a version from an IT perspective.  I break down each release and discuss considerations on supported upgrade paths, 32-bit/64-bit, operating system support, supported client side software, and other technical considerations.  For this article, I will focus on Windows, perhaps later I will write up something focused on Unix/Linux.

Version 11.1.1.3

Upgrade Path

While most products on this version can be installed on a 64-bit operating system, don’t be fooled…MOST of the binaries in this release are 32-bit applications.

Products like HFM, EPMA, and Essbase are 64-bit applications, however  most of the other applications in this release are native 32-bit binaries such as Data Relationship Management, EPM Workspace Services, FDM, Financial Reporting Services, Interactive Reporting Services, Shared Services (embedded Native Directory OpenLDAP service), Smart Search, and Strategic Finance.

So while you may feel better about getting things installed on a 64-bit platform, you are not really taking advantage of the overall 64-bit performance.

There are also some issues when attempting to co-locate 32-bit and 64-bit applications together on the same machine. For example, it is a common configuration to co-locate HFM and FDM on the same server, however that will cause problems on the same 64-bit machine as HFM is 64-bit and FDM is 32-bit.

Co locating Strat FI, or FDM on the same server as HFM-64 or EPMA-64 is not supported.

In many cases because of these limitations, some machines in my 11.1.1.3 designs end up being 32-bit operating systems as we have more flexibility on product placement.  Careful consideration should be made here.

Operating Systems

Windows 2003 SP1 and SP2, 32-bit or 64-bit are supported.  Note that Windows 2008 is not supported at all.  Remember with Windows 2003, if you have more that 4 GB of memory you must install the Enterprise edition of the operating system in order for the Operating System to use it.

Client Side Software

Internet Explorer 6, 7 and Firefox 2.0.x (Except DRM, FDM, and IR)

Office 2002 (XP), 2003, 2007

Java JRE Plugin (For Web Analysis and Performance Scorecard): 1.5.0_17+

Other Considerations

11.1.1.3 is certainly more widely adopted, as it has been out longer.  There are a lot of patches that have been released and it is quite stable.  Since it does have a fully supported upgrade path, you may consider upgrading to this release.

However, please know that for your next hop to 11.1.2.x, you will not want to upgrade-in-place, as the underlying architecture for 11.1.2.x is dramatically different. So your next upgrade will be a full fresh install of 11.1.2.x on fresh hardware, and you will need to migrate applications from 11.1.1.3.

See my article on the architectural differences in 11.1.2

Version 11.1.2

Upgrade Path

 

As I have stated before, 11.1.2 is intended for a new installation/adoption only.  Reading the literature, you will see that Oracle does not have a supported upgrade mechanism.  Let me explain what that means…

That means you will not be able to upgrade-in-place from any older version to 11.1.2.  But how does that effect “migrating” objects from an older version to 11.1.2 via export/import?

11.1.2 does not come with any upgrading wizards.  For example, historically, when upgrading a Planning application we would copy the relational repository associated with it to an application in the newer version.  Then, when we logged into Planning, it would notice that the version is older and offer to happily upgrade it for you.  This functionality is an example of what is missing in 11.1.2.  Likewise the upgrade wizard for HFM is not included in 11.1.2.

However most objects can be exported and imported.  All Essbase objects, security, reporting objects, etc. can be moved to 11.1.2.

We have “upgraded” many customers to 11.1.2, simply by moving what we can, and rebuilding what we need to.  For Planning, we simply need to recreate the planning application and dimensionality.  So for those shops that only have 1 or 2 planning applications, this is not that big of a deal in most cases, as we can do some creative things such as using ODI to extract the dimensionality and rebuild it in the new version.

Operating Systems

11.1.2 is the first version to support Windows Server 2008 R1, both 64-bit and 32-bit.  What is even more exciting is that most all the products are now true 64-bit binary applications, with the exception of FDM, Financial Reporting Print Server, Interactive Reporting Services, and Strategic Finance. Regardless, all products now will run on Windows Server 2008 64-bit without restriction. Note that Windows Server 2008 R2 has a lot of issues and is not supported.

Windows Server 2003 64 bit is also still supported, but you have still have to use the 32-bit binaries for a lot of the products and still have the same co-location problems you had with 11.1.1.3.

Client Side Software

Internet Explorer 7.x, 8.x and Firefox 3.5.x (Except FDM, and IR)

Office 2003, 2007 SP2

Java JRE Plugin (For Web Analysis and Performance Scorecard): 1.6.0_14+

Other Considerations

No more OpenLDAP, Essbase Clustering, Weblogic embedded, SSL offloading, new directory structure.

Version 11.1.2.1

Upgrade Path

11.1.2.1 is reported to include an official upgrade path and backwards compatibility from  9.2.1,  9.3.3, 11.1.1.3, and 11.1.2.  This means that Planning and HFM applications, etc. will be able to be migrated from one of these versions to 11.1.2.1 and a wizard will be able to upgrade them for you.  This may not mean that you will be able to upgrade-in-place.

To be honest, even if it is supported and possible, I would not consider upgrading in-place to 11.1.2.1 from any version lower than 11.1.2 because of the massive infrastructure changes to this product that started in 11.1.2.

As for new functionality, most of it is rumored to be around the Planning module.  There are enhancements in approvals, form designer, end user web forms, etc.  There should also be some new ways to export Planning meta-info to CSV and perform lights-out pushing to ASO.  I do not believe there are many, if any, enhancements to Essbase, HFM, or FDM other than the upgrade path.

Operating Systems

11.1.2.1 is the first version to support Windows 2008 R2

Client Side Software

Besides the supported software for 11.1.2, 11.1.2.1 should also include support Office 2010, but 32-bit only.  64-bit Office support will be at a later release.

In Summary

If you are in a lower version and looking to upgrade, I would strongly consider 11.1.2 version now.  Many organizations are now standardizing on Windows 2008 and IE 8, which makes the move to 11.1.2 quite compelling.

For those customers on older versions, I’m sure you are aware that you may be required to take an intermediate step upgrade before going to 11.1.1.3.  However, why not consider  directly to 11.1.2?  In many cases, we have seen shorter upgrade times by simply rebuilding things directly in 11.1.2, and skipping the need for the intermediate step.  As a matter of fact, even if 11.1.2.1 was out today, we may consider rebuilding things anyway.  So you may be waiting for 11.1.2.1 for upgrade tools you may never even use.

Depending on your complexity, considering 11.1.2 now could be fruitful.  The new features, functionality, plus the support for more modern 64-bit operating systems, and 3rd party software make the move to 11.1.2 now great consideration for Q1.

Are you seriously waiting on Oracle to release 11.1.2.1?  We have heard them say September, then October, then December…now they are saying February or March.  Forget it!  In most cases, you can get to 11.1.2 now and enjoy all the features and functionality now.

Regardless, weather you wait or not, now is the time for IT design.  We need to design a hardware environment now that enables the delivered performance and availability you need going into 2011 and 2012.  We must take into consideration performance, load, high availability/clustering, backup and recovery, disk space and SANs, helpdesk integration, training schedules, desktop software roll-outs, disaster recovery, etc.  Now is the time for strategic IT planning and design, regardless on your targeted version.

Shoot me an email to schedule a design session to create the right design for your needs so you can get your hardware ordered and underway.  You never know, 11.1.2.1 may be released and out by the time you have received, racked, stacked, and prepare the servers.  Either way, stop waiting on Oracle!

 

 

 

~ by Eric Helmer on December 27, 2010.

4 Responses to “New Year, New Version!?!”

  1. Eric,

    Great blog, as always.

    One argument against going to 11.1.2 is PeopleSoft GL 9.1 integration. I am working with a company that is implementing GL 9.1, and already has 11.1.1.2 (HFM/FDM). GL 9.1 is currently not supported on 11.1.2, and will be on 11.1.2.1. This has to do more with the iERP Adapter for FDM.

    I have advised them that 2 upgrades will need to happen…One to 11.1.1.3, then another to 11.1.2.1, when it comes out…whenever that is. :/

    Regards,
    –Ed Puente

  2. I would go even farther with your statement of not doing an in place upgrade. I would never suggest doing an in place upgrade because you cannot roll back as easily. It’s always better to install another environment and migrate as you will know that you will have a working system.

  3. Nice info. Thanks Eric.

  4. This is what I was looking for, thankyou for putting it up.

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