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Dec 22

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PeopleTools 8.55 and PSADMIN

As per Oracle, there will be no more Release Value Proposition (RVP) documents, going forward (starting from PeopleTools 8.55), there is “Planned Features and Enhancements” document which replaced RVP. From that document, I have tried to understand and gather as much as information I can and putting it below. I have not downloaded and installed this release, however based on PT 8.54 experience, I can connect with the new features delivered with PT 8.55.

I have been through with PT 8.55 “Planned Features and Enhancements” document thoroughly and I have taken abstracts from there to complete this post.

Few main inclusions/enhancements are:

  1. User experience: fluid interface, PeopleSoft search (SES)
  2. Development tools: Application Designer (auto-completion), log analyzer, mobile application enhancements
  3. Infrastructure: Linux 7
  4. Reporting and analytic tools: simplified analytic and enhancement of pivot grid
  5. Lifecycle management tools: application dataset performance improved, search for bug in PUM improved, test framework improved

Few main exclusions are:

  1. Does not support Crystal Reports
  2. Does not support the Sybase and Informix database platforms
  3. Windows 2008 is out

PeopleTools 8.55 for PeopleSoft admin

 

A. PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture

Oracle is offering a new feature “PeopleSoft Deployment Packages (DPKs)” to install and configure your PeopleSoft environment. This is an enhanced utility by which we can do the installation and configuration of PeopleSoft environment, rather than using standard VCD installation. DPKs allow fast deployment of a PeopleSoft environment on any hardware platform—physical/virtual.

However, this utility is currently available for the customers who are having Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems and on Oracle database platforms. For customers which are using other database platforms, Oracle will deliver the same on a later stage. Plus, they will not deliver this utility for any other Operating systems other than Linux and Microsoft Windows (not even later). (See Appendix section 2 below to know more about DPKs)

B. Server Administration and Data Management

B.1 Push Notification

In PeopleTools 8.54, Oracle introduced “Push Notification” feature, where they gave ability to the end user to subscribe for real time notification for the server events, for which user subscribed. In PT 8.55, they extented this ability for iOS and Android devices, where end users may subscribe to events and have notifications directed to their Android or iOS mobile devices.

B.2 Log Correlation

Prior to PeopleTools 8.55, for debugging issues that span both the application and web servers, log files were correlated based on the common field – timestamp. Additionally, the timestamp could vary between servers if the time is not synchronized, which made the debugging activity difficult and error prone. In PeopleTools 8.55, new fields are added to the application and web server domain logs that help easily correlate log entries on the middle tiers.

Correlation data is logged when available, otherwise placeholders (hyphen) are used in place of correlation fields to maintain uniformity of format in the log files.

A typical log file now contains these log fields:

[Server Process]:[Operating System Process ID] [Service Request Number] [Timestamp] [SRID] [TOPInstance ID] [Operator ID] [Log Level] [Message]

**Integration Broker, trace, and third-party log files do not include correlation information. However, all log files include placeholders (hyphen) for the correlation fields to maintain uniformity of format in the log files.

B.3 PSAdmin Commandline Improvements

Improvements have been done for replicate/import web domain directly from the command line, refresh PS_CFG_HOME etc.

B.4 Oracle Policy Automation Integration with PeopleSoft

Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) is a suite of software products for modeling and deploying business rules within enterprise applications. This application focuses on modeling, automating, and optimizing the implementation of policy, legislation, and complex business rules. (See Appendix section 2 below to know more about OPA)

In PeopleTools 8.55, PeopleSoft is integrated with Oracle Policy Automation to leverage the following benefits:

  • Enable business analysts to author rules in Oracle Policy Modeling (OPM) using natural language sentences written either in MS Word or MS Excel.
  • Enable business analysts to build and process complex rules on Oracle Determinations Server outside of PeopleSoft components.

B.5 Support for WITH and MERGE Statements in SQL Access Manager

SQL Access Manager (SAM) has been enhanced to support WITH and MERGE statements, the SQL constructs that allow combining multiple DML queries into a single query to boost the performance. This functionality can be used with SELECT and INSERT statements, not with UPDATE and DELETE statements. Also, SAM does not modify/verify the syntax of the WITH and MERGE queries, it just passes the queries as is to the database for execution, hence its the developers responsibility to pass the right code.

B.6 Support for Oracle 12c In-Memory

PT 8.55 provides the ability to setup and utilize the in-memory functionality for PeopleSoft, which is delivered in database Oracle 12c. This is again a performance booster, as per notes.

B.7 Materialized Views for SQL Server and DB2 z/OS

Oracle included the support for Materialized Views for SQL Server and DB2 z/OS, which was there only for Oracle database till PT 8.54.

 

C. Security Administration

C.1 Secure by Default Initiative

As a part of “Secure Configuration Initiative”, Oracle has done some changes in Password controls by taking “Secure by Default” approach to ensure that the application configuration settings adhere to system hardening recommendations. When we do a standard installation (not upgrade), values get hardened for password controls, which adhere to the recommendations (Password expiration 180 days, Account lockout = 5 unsuccessful attempts, etc)

C.2 Forgotten Password Functionality

In PT 8.55, the system will not provide the feedback if a correct user ID is entered or if the correct response is entered to the password question, to reset the password by using “Forgot Password Utility”. This is another security step taken as a part of “Secure Configuration Initiative”.

C.3 Access ID and Connect ID Password Length Extended

In PT 8.55, the maximum length for the database access ID password and for the connect ID password has been extended to 32 characters. Also, PSACCESSPRFL table has been replaced by the PSACCESSPROFILE table to accommodate the longer passwords.

C.4 SHA-2 Hash Algorithm and 4096 Key size Support

When generating private keys for application server-based digital certificates, by default PT 8.55 uses the SHA-256 with RSA encryption algorithm and the 4096 key size. When using PSKeyManager to generate private keys for web server-based digital certificates, the default signing algorithm is SHA-256 with RSA encryption. In addition, the PSOPRDEFN table features a new column for SHA-2 hashed passwords.

C.5 My Preferences Framework

In this release the My Preferences framework has replaced the My Personalization framework. The My Preferences framework provides a WorkCenter-like interface for end-users to view and configure system-level preference items, such as time format, date format, default dictionary language, and so on.

D. Performance Monitor

D.1 PeopleTools Health Center

This feature enhanced for PeopleTools Performance Monitor (PPM). Now PPM will have dashboards for monitoring health, load, and performance in real time, alerts for potential availability or performance problems, integrated logs (in-browser viewing of all log files).

D.2 Automated Configuration Management

The automated configuration management framework allows to automate product configurations using your browser (PIA) or from the command line. This framework enables to store the environment configuration settings in a template stored in the database or an external template file. Because these settings are set once, and then saved, one can leverage the stored settings and reapply them easily when needed. PeopleTools provides two methods of running the automated configuration process — using the Automated Configuration Manager browser interface in PIA or using the command line. (See Appendix section below to know more about ACM).

These plugins are available for IB, Push notification, error handling, validations etc.

**Oracle recommends that product configuration through PIA be used only to test a template. The actual product configurations in a system must be performed through the command line

 

E. Enterprise Manager Plug-In

E.1 Alternate PeopleSoft Target discovery through plug-in

Enterprise Manager 13.1 release including new responsive UI to adapt automatically to different form-factors such as mobile/tablet clients. The administrator can schedule automatic discovery to happen from the Enterprise Manager console at periodic intervals such as once a day. PeopleSoft Plug-in will sweep thru all the hosts and discover PeopleSoft Targets automatically.

E.2 Auto Discover Environment Variables for Effective PeopleSoft Domain Administration

This feature intends to make the PeopleSoft Plug-in smarter by automatically detecting the required environment variables needed for running PeopleSoft utilities such as psadmin and psae to monitor the PeopleSoft domains. This will reduce the need do complex configuration steps like setting right “.profile” script or psemenv.sh script (as psoft user) with environment variables needed for running the PeopleSoft Plug-in. As soon as the PeopleSoft Plug-in is deployed on the Enterprise Manager Agent, it is ready to administer and monitor the PeopleSoft Domains without any pre-requisite setups needed to make the plug-in to work as a “psoft” user.

 

Appendix

A. DPKs

The DPKs include a bootstrap script that deploys a default instance of each of the PeopleSoft mid-tier domains—PeopleSoft Pure Internet Architecture (PIA), Application Server, and Process Scheduler domains. These domains are fully functional out-of-the-box. However, it is assumed that you will need to make changes to these deployments. These changes will be required to reflect your organizational standards, preferences, and customizations. DPKs set up your infrastructure for you—“infrastructure as a code,” which allows you to customize the environments to produce various topologies to serve different functionality, such as test environments, environments for performance testing or development environments, and so on. Notably, these customizations can be retained across maintenance application (upgrades, patches, and updates).

Using DPKs to create a PeopleTools middle-tier (Application Server, Process Scheduler, and PIA) typically takes less than 15 minutes. This allows for dynamic scaling and quick patching. With such fast creation of the middle-tier components, you can optimize hardware resources by creating middle-tier virtual machines (VMs) on demand. These VMs can be removed to release the resources when not in use, yet be quickly recreated as needed.

DPKs are integrated with PeopleSoft Automated Configuration Management (ACM) to provide PeopleSoft application configuration using plug-ins delivered by the PeopleSoft Application. For example, for all deployed environments, the Integration Broker and Gateway are set with ACM plug-ins, as is Oracle SES for demo environments.

DPKs allow for fast environment cloning. After creating an environment clone, you can use PeopleSoft ACM plug-ins to modify the configuration settings, such as those for Integration Broker, from those used in the original environment, to those required for the cloned environment, during the deployment of the middle-tier using PeopleTools DPK. DPKs can be used, to easily and effectively, create a fresh clone from your existing environments. Using database snap cloning, an environment clone can be achieved in less than 30 minutes.

B. Understanding Oracle Policy Automation

Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) is a suite of software products for modeling and deploying business rules within enterprise applications. It is a specialist application that is focused on modeling, automating, and optimizing the implementation of policy, legislation, and complex business rules.

OPA suite consists of the following five major components:

  • Oracle Web Determinations – The Web Determinations is a web application that allows rapid deployment of interactive applications based on rules.
  • Oracle Determinations Server – The Determinations Server is a web service interface that allows remote client applications to send assessment data, perform inference based on chosen rule-base and returns the determination of the inference to the requesting client. It is built on top of the Determinations Engine.
  • Oracle Determinations Engine – The Determinations Engine is the core component of the OPA, which provides basic services for executing rules based applications like inference mechanisms, metadata to build rules and natural language support.
  • Oracle Policy Modelling (OPM) – OPM is an integrated development environment that supports all aspects of the OPA lifecycle like natural language based rule authoring with MS Word or MS Excel, debugging of rules, comprehensive rule testing facilities and has integrated source control to store multiple versions of the rules.
  • Oracle Policy Automation Hub (OPA Hub) – OPA Hub is a central administration console with a repository database for storing Rules Projects and provides connections to third party applications, for example PeopleSoft, to fetch data models. It is a Web application deployed on WebLogic domain.

C. Understanding Automated Configuration Management

With each new release, Oracle PeopleTools provides new technology to our infrastructure, which adds rich, new features to support the functional requirements of our applications. While the new technology enhances the user experience and capabilities of our applications, the new technology often brings additional steps to the environment configuration and implementation process. This can create challenges for system administrators, development teams, and testing teams who routinely set up numerous environments that need to be refreshed on a regular basis. For example, with each implementation, system administrators routinely deal with multiple copies of various types of environments, such as production environments, testing environments, demonstration environments, , development environments, and so on. Oracle PeopleTools and PeopleSoft application teams share this same challenge.

For this reason, Oracle PeopleTools provides an automated configuration management framework that enables you to store your environment configuration settings in a template stored in the database

or an external template file. Because these settings are set once, and then saved, you can leverage the stored settings and reapply them easily when needed. PeopleTools provides two methods of running the automated configuration process — using the Automated Configuration Manager browser interface in PIA or using the command line. When running the process from the command line, you can use a batch file or shell script or the Application Engine command line options.

After setting up the basic infrastructure of a PeopleSoft environment, including database, application server, Process Scheduler server, and PIA domain, you run the configuration program (either using PIA or command line). This configuration program reads your configuration settings (referred to as environment properties) that you have stored in the template or template file, and inserts the stored values into the database, saving you from updating the settings manually each and every time you create or refresh an environment. The settings stored in the template or template file are those that you typically enter on a configuration page in PeopleTools and save to the database. For example, the value for your Integration Gateway URL, which you would normally add manually on the Gateways page, can be entered in your template or template file once, and then retrieved by the automated configuration management framework and inserted into the database each time you refresh that environment.

A template is a composite of configuration plug-ins in which the properties and its values are defined. The configuration program fires configuration plug-ins that take the properties specified in the plug-in and configures the feature associated with that plug-in. Each plug-in provided is focused on a particular setting or functional area of your configuration. You enable configuration plug-ins by referencing them in your template or template file and specifying the settings for that configuration plug-in to insert into the appropriate fields in the configuration interface.

Automated Configuration Manager uses a template to store settings and run a configuration program. In a template, you can include all the product configurations called plug-ins that you require for an environment, and you can group the plug-ins based on the product. For example, plug-ins required for an Integration Broker configuration can belong to one group, whereas the plug-ins required for a Search Framework configuration can be another group in the same template. This enables you to configure more than one product in a single configuration program run, and you can also control the sequence in which products are configured. For example, you can set Integration Broker to be setup and configured first and the Search Framework second to account for the dependencies the Search Framework has upon Integration Broker. Your configuration templates can be exported from one environment and imported by others so you can reuse templates in different environments by editing the configuration plug-in properties and values as required for an environment.

Automated Configuration Manager allows you to:

  • Create, edit, manage, import, and export templates.
  • Define template variables.
  • Register configuration plug-ins.
  • Specify template processing modes.

Permanent link to this article: http://alokbhardwaj.com/oracle-peoplesoft/2015/12/22/peopletools-8-55/

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