Tech Tips


Yesterday, Oracle issued an urgent Security Alert about a vulnerability in Oracle’s WebLogic application server (formerly BEA WebLogic). The company also provided a workaround for the vulnerability that WebLogic customers can implement until developers create a patch for the flaw. This is the first time in more than three years that Oracle has issued a security alert outside of its regularly scheduled Critical Patch Updates, making this a “must fix” for WebLogic users.

The story behind the unusual alert was broken yesterday by Eric Maurice on the Oracle Global Product Security Blog. For those of you who do not know him, Maurice anchors this blog and has made it one of the best sources of information about securing Oracle products on the web. As Maurice explained in yesterday’s post, both the vulnerability and the code to exploit it was posted on public forums before it was sent to Oracle (a definite “no no” that separates ethical hackers from the black hats of the business). To make matters worse, the exploit code hit the forums shortly after Oracle released its last Critical Patch Update on July 15. This is forcing Oracle to issue an out of cycle security update.

If you do not subscribe to the feed for the Oracle Global Product Security Blog, I would encourage you to do so. Its timely warnings could save you from a nasty breach of your JD Edwards applications.

While the summer doldrums may be upon us, there has been no reduction in the flow of JD Edwards news coming across my desk. In this article, I’ll discuss important changes on the middleware and tools fronts, promising developments for JD Edwards World, and a way that almost any company can get a fat check from Oracle.

Next Stop…WebLogic?

Last week, I posted a review of Oracle’s plans to integrate BEA products into its Fusion Middleware portfolio. As the review stated, Oracle’s middleware roadmap raises many questions about the role that BEA products will play in the Oracle Technology Foundation for EnterpriseOne. While we are still working to get definitive answers to those questions, sources inside Oracle have confirmed that there are no plans to force EnterpriseOne customers to use BEA WebLogic Server. If you are running Oracle Application Server or IBM WebSphere Application Server, you will continue to receive support.

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Now that IBM has announced a new line of Power Systems and a new version of the i5/OS operating system, JD Edwards customers are asking, “Should I run my applications on this stuff?” To help you answer that question, here are some important things you need to know before you give Big Blue a call.

The Basics

First off, here are the essential facts about what IBM has done. This month, the company completely replaced its System i and System p servers with new line of Power Systems. All of the systems run on the latest POWER6 processors. Each model in the Power Systems line comes in IBM i, AIX, and Linux Editions. These editions are configured to meet the unique requirements of each operating system and the customer bases that use them. Here’s an IBM diagram that shows how the computer giant unified the System i and System p lines.

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So here I am sitting in front of my computer, with a cold Pepsi at my side, again placing pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were) to offer up another bit of insight into the vagaries of how EnterpriseOne works.

Let’s dive right in, shall we? The issue at hand is, while using the Enterprise Report Writer (otherwise known as ERW, or RDA for you old schoolers like me) the message, “The GBSPEC file is missing. Would you like to create a new one?” hits the screen and stops you dead in your tracks.

Now if you’re like me, at this point you normally would groan and use some creative phrasing to describe your feelings for the machine in front of you. Don’t be shy; it’s OK to admit you’ve done it. I have too. But let’s be honest about a few things. It’s really not the computer’s fault (though I like to blame it anyway just to make myself feel better). Chances are it’s something that was done in the not so distant past that caused you to get this message and it may be something you don’t even realize.

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Are you an EnterpriseOne 8.10 or 8.11 user who plans on upgrading to the EnterpriseOne Tools 8.96 release? If you are, you could be in for some surprises that could be unpleasant if you’re not adequately prepared.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying that EnterpriseOne 8.10 and 8.11 users should avoid Tools 8.96, as it works perfectly well with these releases. You should know, however, that Oracle really engineered the latest Tools release with EnterpriseOne 8.12 in mind. For instance, Tools 8.96 can generate Java Serialized Objects from EnterpriseOne 8.12 specifications on the fly (with some limitations). If you run Tools 8.96 on Enterprise 8.10 or 8.11, however, you have to install and configure a web generator to generate the JSOs manually. Unfortunately, Oracle does not provide thorough documentation for how to properly install and configure the web generator on these two earlier releases.

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If you run EnterpriseOne and are finding that your pre-payroll processing runs are coming up with incorrect figures, you are not alone. Our consultants have noticed that a number of EnterpriseOne shops are having similar problems with their pre-payroll runs. The errors do not seem to be restricted to any particular server or software platform, as some of the afflicted sites run on Intel systems and Microsoft’s SQL Server while others run on IBM’s System i and DB2.

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A few weeks ago, I posted an article about a tool I’ve created that makes it easier for EnterpriseOne and World users to balance their general ledger (GL) against perpetual inventory. I also posted a screen shot of the solution, which all of us at Andrews Consulting Group call RapidReconciler. The problem is, that screen shot is now obsolete! I’ve just completed work on a new interface for RapidReconciler that is much easier to use. Today, I’m going to share parts of that interface with you. I welcome any questions or feedback you might have about what I’ve done.

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A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me, “We are upgrading to EnterpriseOne from World and have some programs that run on our AS/400 to extract data. Is there a way for us to call these programs from EnterpriseOne?” Upon hearing this question, I just smiled and thought, “Sure you can do that.” In fact, it is easier than most people would think. Just use the business function in EnterpriseOne called Execute External Program. This function lets developers call a program external to EnterpriseOne from within the EnterpriseOne architecture.

Sound difficult? It’s not, and here’s a step-by-step way to do it. I encourage you to try it.

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Earlier this month, I posted an article to the JD Edwards Advisor entitled “What is High Availability for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne?” At the end of the article, I promised that I would post a full slide deck on EnterpriseOne high availability options after I presented the slides at Collaborate. Now that Collaborate is over, I’m keeping my promise. Here is the full deck for your thoughtful review. (Please be patient…this is a big file!)

As you will see from the slide deck, I discuss many of the issues that an EnterpriseOne shop must consider if it wants to ensure application availability. Besides defining what high availability for EnterpriseOne is, the slides cover the following topics.

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rapidreconciler-fig-5.jpgAt the end of every month, the blood pressure of thousands of JD Edwards professionals rises several points. Why? Many times, it’s because their CFOs are pounding the table asking why they can’t balance their general ledger (GL) against perpetual inventory.

Several years ago, I looked at the inventory reconciliation headache and started asking questions. Why does a process that should take a few days end up taking several weeks? And why are the integrity reports in World and EnterpriseOne so inadequate to the task? Those questions led me to develop a solution to the problem. I’m going to talk about that solution at Collaborate ’07. If you’re going, I invite you to see me. I’ll be presenting on Thursday at 9:45AM at Session 23770. I’ll also be at the Andrews Consulting Group/GSI Booth 718 in the exhibit hall if you want to talk.

If you are not going to Collaborate, keep reading. I’ll give you a high-level overview of the solution.

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In today’s global marketplace, just one hour of unplanned downtime could cost your company hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s why chances are good that you are being asked to ensure the availability of your EnterpriseOne applications. So where do you start? In this post, I’ll lay down some basic definitions you can work from to start developing your high availability strategy. For more help, just email me at kherrig@gsi-solutions.com or see me at Collaborate ’07. I’ll be presenting on this topic at Session 20710 and representing Global Systems Integration (GSI) at Booth 718.

Let’s Get Started!

What is “high availability” with regards to EnterpriseOne? Well, everyone’s definition of “high” is different, so we should really refer to it as, “HIGHER Availability.” But for the purposes of this blog, the upcoming presentation, and familiarity, we will go with “high availability.” That being said, what is “High Availability for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne?”

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As CNC professionals, we were shielded from the numerous functional changes that JD Edwards made to EnterpriseOne Xe and all releases up to the 8.11 level. However, EnterpriseOne 8.12 contains important architectural changes that will affect our management of the system.

In all previous EnterpriseOne releases, the specifications we use were stored in several locations: on the “SPEC” directory on the deployment server; on standalone machines with a “fat” or “thick” client in the “SPEC” directory, as well as in the RDBMS repository after check in; and on the Java application server (JAS) generation machine. The deployment server databases were either MS Access or MS SQL Server, depending on your release. But we all knew that the spec files were where the changes were contained.

Now, if you are installing or upgrading to EnterpriseOne 8.12, why is the spec directory empty?

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