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Oracle Hyperion features and gotchas

Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) corrects some issues with running on Microsoft Windows 2008, but doesn’t fix a longstanding problem and adds an additional installation issue.

After a yearlong wait, Oracle has released Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) This is a much friendlier release than 11.1.2, with a few new utilities and a large number of much needed bug fixes that users should find to be a refreshing change from version 11.1.2.

The new release is more intricate than previous releases, and there is a great deal to learn. Definitely take a look at the “Installation and Configuration Guide.” It provides critical information, including all prerequisites that you’ll want to know before beginning.

Two important fixes in Oracle Hyperion

Even though this is a maintenance release, the number of fixes and changes is extensive. Two of the most welcomed changes -- both related to running Hyperion on Microsoft Windows 2008 -- are major fixes to seemingly minor issues that, in fact, caused headaches with version 11.1.2.

The introduction of Windows 2008 support in Hyperion 11.1.2 brought with it a host of new challenges. In addition to the new software, users had to learn a new operating system. Part of this learning process included negotiating the new Windows 2008 security measures. Specifically, Windows 2008 introduced a new feature called User Access Control (UAC). UAC restricts operations that particular users can perform on a server. This, combined with other new Windows 2008 features, caused the Hyperion 11.1.2 installation to become unexpectedly problematic.

Investigating the cause was painstaking and time-consuming. The initial problem of user access permission was resolved by disabling the various restrictive components and running everything as an administrator. The second problem -- Hyperion services stopping unexpectedly -- was resolved by updating the registry with a valid directory for the Oracle WebLogic temporary storage location.

Oracle has responded to those Windows 2008 issues in version by documenting the appropriate steps to disable UAC. The result is a much smoother installation process. Oracle also corrected the temporary storage location of the services created for WebLogic so that they no longer stop unexpectedly.

The release also includes new features for upgrading from previous versions. There are several new utilities and enhancements to make the upgrade process easier. You will see some of these new features during the configuration of the various products. 

‘Gotchas’ in Oracle Hyperion

There aren’t many negative things to say about the new release, but there are a few issues that users should watch for during installation.

The biggest “gotcha” appears to be with Financial Reporting. Oracle did not clean up the existing issue of connecting with Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) as the data source on a 64-bit Windows platform. This issue dates back to the 11.1.1 release. In a nutshell, the change from 32-bit to 64-bit has made HFM a hybrid. The application runs on a Windows 64-bit platform, but behind the scenes it still processes like a 32-bit application. So the registry information is not stored where the 64-bit platform expects it to be.

Oracle has had enough time to fix this problem. The installation should automatically point to the information regardless of where it is stored. But it does not. Compounding the problem is that the workaround noted in the release documentation is incorrect. However, the manual fix noted in the documentation does still work. Basically, to fix this issue you have to go into the registry and manually point the application to the right place.

The Financial Reporting Print Server installation also has changed. The Financial Reporting Print Server is now coupled with the Financial Reporting Studio installation package. In the past, the Financial Reporting Print Server was packaged with the Oracle Universal Installer. In an effort to make the installation more flexible, Oracle separated the Financial Reporting Print Server from the Universal Installer. The result is what was once done through a graphical user interface is now done via command-line, making the installation steps more cumbersome and less intuitive. The good news is that the documentation instructs you on the process of installing the Financial Reporting Print Server. That said, moving the Financial Reporting Print Server out of the Universal Installer is still a bit confusing. 

The Financial Close Management installation is big for one product. In a distributed environment, it requires that an SOA suite be installed on multiple servers.

The installation, upgrade and migration is also time-consuming and resource-intensive -- the former because the new release is more intricate than previous releases, and there is a great deal to learn.

Future releases and a wish list

When looking to future releases, it is tough to say what Oracle should include. Oracle has a reputation for keeping people on their toes with fairly complex releases. Most time is spent reacting to what the company has delivered, figuring out what works and finding workarounds for what doesn’t. That said, there are a couple of items on the wish list for the next release:

  1. Package the Financial Print Server Install with the Financial Reporting Server Universal Install.
  2. Add back support for WebSphere. Hyperion offered support up to 11.1.2. WebSphere has a huge audience and market share that Oracle is missing out on.

Given the scale of version, these thoughts are just the tip of the iceberg. We haven’t even touched on Migration yet, but I plan to do so in a future article. In the meantime, to take advantage of everything the new release offers, remember to read the documentation, take your time, and feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.

Eldred Smikle is the technical services manager for TopDown Consulting. He has more than 10 years experience working with Oracle Hyperion Enterprise applications.

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