Archive for the ‘Just make it work’ Category

Part 1: Hyperion Planning Budget Application to ASO Reporting Application

August 22, 2015 1 comment

A business need which has become quite common in the last two to five years is taking your budget/plan data and placing it in a reporting application.   Although Oracle has made ASO capabilities part of Planning it’s not always the best fit especially if hierarchies diverge between the systems.   In my specific instance our planning application has a summarized account structure where are reporting application has the full general ledger chart of accounts.

In this post I am going to show visually the steps we use to move the data and identify technology we make use of.

With this solution our planning administration team can on-demand launch a rule to:

  • Export the data
  • Clear target region
  • Map and load data to target cube

HP to ASO Flow

While considering the solution the different levels of detail on the accounts dimension needed to be handled.  We thought of a few ways to attack the problem and decided all three were not as elegant as the above solution.

  • Pure FDM EE e.g. extract from source, process through FDM EE, export
  • Essbase load rules with hard-coded maps
  • Alias tables on source side having target accounts

What makes the diagram much more elegant is our mapping is “free” and automatically updated.  We have a process which loads actuals into our planning system via Financial Management Extended Analytics tables.  This process does a summary mapping on our accounts dimension.   Via some SQL Fu our HP to ASO maps reverse that summary logic to target the first child of the detail mapping.

More to come in future posts with some script logic as well!

Curious about the solution?  Meet me at our Dallas Texas Infratects Top Gun Conference!

Get Hyper Smart!

John A. Booth

Company: Infratects
Categories: Just make it work Tags: , ,

Just Scrub It!

July 14, 2015 Leave a comment

While working on an ASO optimization problem we need to use the full data set however have it be scrubbed. Based on client preference I went down the MS route and started using Regular Expressions in VB Script.  This quickly became a frustrating exercise as these “Regular Expressions” do not work like those of Perl or other real Regular Expressions. The goal is to replace all numeric data with a hard-coded one — 9.0 in this instance.

Update: Oracle Ace Tim German relates if you happen to have Essbase you can also use MaxL to export anonymous data.

So with Microsoft “Regular Expressions” 3.1459 became 9.0 9.0 9.0 — whereas implementing the same logic in Perl gives the expected 9.0 Working code below:

# Author: John A. Booth
#	perl <FILEPATH>
# e.g.
#	perl C:\data\asodump.txt
#	creates C:\data\asodump.txt.scrub
# Converts every numeric value to 9.0

if ( $#ARGV==0 && -f $ARGV[0] ) {
    open(INFILE,$ARGV[0]) || die("Could not open input file");
    open(OUTFILE,">$ARGV[0].scrub") || die ("Could not open output file");

    while(<INFILE>)  {
        s/\s[0-9]+[\.]*[0-9]*/ 9.0/g;
        print OUTFILE $_;

    print "\n";
    print "Created file $ARGV[0].scrub\n";
else {
	if ($#ARGV==0) {
		print "\n";
		print "Cannot find input file $ARGV[0]\n"; 
    else {
        print "\n";
        print "Usage: $0 input.txt\n";

Get Hyper Smart!

John A. Booth
Company: Infratects
Categories: Just make it work

Password Attack

June 26, 2015 Leave a comment

Dusting some things off here post Kscope 15.  This doesn’t look like it saw the light of day.

As an aside still has the password should contain no special characters clause.  Do read the last few sentences if you use products requiring the repository creation utilities also (RCU) as it has some slightly conflicting requirements.

Some days I wonder about my chosen profession.   Typically it’s the days where nothing seems to be working right (usually a specific install more than the whole set of things).

What happens when you allow your clients to choose passwords?

I’ve ran into two situations in the last year on the release where passwords which were chosen by clients caused pretty un-fun installation woes.

Situation 1: Within two weeks of the release of  The 25 character password — if password complexity is good surely a longer password is more secure!

Outcome 1: The password worked mostly.   The mostly part is where it gets fun.  This happened to break down on the security import from the old system.  My philosophy is don’t try to test the bounds of the software testers as you will find something somewhere that doesn’t deal

Situation 2: I have recently began suggesting clients key in their own passwords so that they do not feel the need to immediately go through a password change procedure.   Sometimes we have passwords, sometimes we don’t.

Outcome 2: More recent on a with all the latest patches at the time I came upon an issue where several products were not configuring and/or deploying as expected.  This was a well known configuration, full physical servers, and after three re-installations one of which I decided to put in my own password.  Oddly enough the password I selected worked which didn’t contain <, >, %, &, ‘, “, or _.   Most of those characters if not escaped properly cause issues with SQL statements.  The ampersand and greater than/less than symbols cause issues for systems not escaping or converting for web.

To cap this off the Oracle RCU (Repository Creation Utility) doesn’t like passwords starting with numerals.   You use the RCU for products like Oracle Data Integrator or OBI/BI Foundation Suite.

The Rapid Deployment Guide for Essbase shows:

The Rapid Deployment Guide for Essbase shows:

Company:     Infratects,
Categories: Just make it work

Who moved my data?

September 18, 2014 Leave a comment

An homage to “Who moved my cheese?”

One of my colleagues had a client request to turn on data auditing in Hyperion Planning

Seems they have multiple people forecasting the same cost centers which was causing some confusion.

The “my data is gone” is always an interesting conversation; the last client conundrum of missing data I recall where planning data went “missing” was a defense contractor client — that root cause was someone changed substitution variables and voilà! presto chango no data show on the forms; always a fun conversation when your manager goes so this data is gone and the client isn’t real happy.   My first reaction is data doesn’t go missing; then the next reaction is I wish we had Essbase ssaudit on and we would know who cleared it, who changed it, or where it was before.

The interesting thing with the audit features of planning is it logs this information to a relational table within the given planning application database (schema on Oracle) however there is no query mechanism.

There are also no tools which come with planning other than Web Analysis which can query and put it into a nice presentable format.

So I mess around with Web Analysis for a bit, creating a relational data source and then in the wizard get stuck at the area you define dimensions and measures.  I phone a friend (or two as it turns out) one Mr. Collins and one Mr. Nader.  Dave quickly relates this technology isn’t recommended and Oracle (and Hyperion) hasn’t touched it since Brio wrote it.  He relates you probably want the SQL Spreadsheet vs trying to do it another way; turns out it’s very easy with this widget.

So how does it work?

Web Analysis New Document

Start a new Web Analysis Docuent

SQL Spreadsheet Widget

Drag the SQL Spreadsheet Widget to your canvas.

Setup your connection and query

Next save it to a handy area in your worskpace structure.

NOTE: One caveat; if this app were used for salary planning you may want to restrict who can see these reports.

P.S. Web Analysis is going away.

P.P.S One would expect Oracle would need a way for Planning and Budget Cloud Services to see the audit information.

John A. Booth

Company:     Infratects      
Categories: Just make it work

Installation check “diskspace” failed…..

July 13, 2014 2 comments

We’re working with a client on an upgrade where Essbase and Essbase Studio are on a Red Hat 5.6 Linux box.   Funnily enough a rival consulting firm said you shouldn’t use Linux for Hyperion due to memory leaks (I called BS on that fast).

So on to the issue: the installer hangs at 0% and logs reflect disk space issue.   All the disk space looks great — we even increased /tmp and swap to 10GB per a recommendation from an Oracle support friend.


First level Oracle Support for hard (read unique) issues is as useful as one would expect — I do have a great respect for how the Knowledge Base has grown.   The first tier guys aren’t as good as the Financial Data Quality Management support team has been (and rumor has it most of them are no longer with Oracle) when you get lucky or have a system down issue you generally get the better service.

So after a few hours of sleuthing it turns out the /tmp file system is mounted with the noexec flag.


Well this is interesting as we had set the four variables (TMP, TEMP, TEMPDIR, TMPDIR)  that should have been using /u01/tmp.

Syntax for this presuming you create a folder in u01 called tmp is:

$ export TMPDIR=/u01/tmp
$ export TEMPDIR=/u01/tmp
$ export TMP=/u01/tmp
$ export TEM=/u01/tmp


So a few complaints here:

1) The EPM is hard-coded in places to use /tmp vs adhering to over-rides — I’ve communicated this to Oracle at some pretty high levels today.   If you run into this issue hack the and use the directory you set above variables to see below for an example of this.


2) InstallShield has really bad error reporting for something that crashes and burns — they received a Twitter note which was promptly favorited from a fellow in France to my enjoyment.  Maybe @InstallShield will put a note in their KB.

3) Irritated when security things kill product functionality; at least there is a work around (shown above).

4) GoogleFu saved me — an IBM web page had a vague comment (not related to Oracle, Hyperion, or InstallShield) that made me check /tmp settings in the /etc/fstab

John A. Booth

Company:     Infratects      
Categories: Just make it work

Falling in Seattle aka “Dusting off this blog thing”

June 27, 2014 1 comment

Hello all, it’s been quite some time since my last post.   I’m going to share some recent things and also talk about Kscope14.   This post is a bit different than my typical keep it technical. We’ll see if I get into trouble from anyone or everyone ;).

What’s been going on with me? At the end of this month it will have been 9 months at Huron – it’s been very busy since joining.   We usually see a slow-down in CY Q4 for EPM work where we can catch up.   For whatever reason: recovering economy, growing practice, great people we’ve not had the luxury to catch our breath.

We have an Exalytics X3-4 implementation we’ve been working on with another partner, Oracle, and HP on – going live soon.

At another client it’s a bigger deployment using the Exalytics T5-8’s – you need all your fingers to count their environments from dev, test, stage, train, reg, and prod to red, yellow, blue, and green.   On an Oracle call we mentioned we had 10 environments and they said, “you have 10 servers”.   No we have about 60 servers which host the 10 environments….was an amusing conversation.

What’s the future hold for the blog:

  • EPM Test Drive III (a bit late)
  • EPM Test Drive IV (hopefully right on time – II was out within 24 hours of 2.2)
  • Performance Testing with JMeter (Essbase MDX to begin with)
  • Playing with WebLogic Enterprise Manager plugins

On to Kscope14.   The title Falling in Seattle is true. Monday night of the conference a sidewalk decided to disagree with me and I received a minor sprain from the spat. This happened to be the same leg I broke a few years ago so it was a bit concerning.   Mike Nader joined me for a 3 hour tour of a local hospital interrupting our crashing of an Oracle client event (Mike I very much appreciated the company – Debb says I should get you a fruit basket or something).

Shout outs to those helping during my time of mobile impairment:

Susan of our marketing team, Jesus one of our planning leads (funny story one of my clients referred to him as a higher power during an email exchange I had while doing the work thing during the conference thing), Reg and Tim of Qubix, Venkat from Canada (thanks for the assist leaving the conference), Cameron who I shamelessly asked for assistance a few mornings and last but not least Natalie for her moral support (she would have been at the hospital however Mike had my back there).

So what about Kscope14 John?   You get all chatty, go off the normal topic, enough on to this Hyperion mastery thing!

Some very cool things coming down the pipe (or pike?).   I tend to think of it as pipe personally vs. a fish or water device.

PS4 or PS4 as the Oracle folks refer to it is coming in Winter. Makes you wonder if they are watching Game of Thrones….(the books are decent up through #3 by the way). My guess is December 15th, 2014.

BI on the Cloud

BI on the cloud looks very intriguing – they’ve build some nice training content that leads you through configuration and setup.   You’ll get 5 GB of DB space (gmail gives me 15 GB of free email by the way and my iPhone is rocking with more flash than that) and it sounds like you will be able to license Oracle DB on the cloud for additional space.   I’m positive on the product and am looking to convince my practice we should sign up for this guy.

Essbase (and Essbase on EXA)

Some very compelling statistics were shown for Essbase both on commodity and Exalytics.

Commodity was shown to be faster than Exalytics on 000 (realize commodity in this context is the exact Oracle Hardware)

On Exalytics with .500 we are now seeing linear increases as the number of threads (cores) are increased for applicable calculations.   We now have the analytic power we were promised – it’s very encouraging how the platform has been steadily improved at a rapid pace.

We also heard mention of a new X designated Exalytics.   Had some conversations on X vs T – my take on that is pick the OS your IT team is most comfortable with Linux for X or Solaris for T.   Both systems perform exceptionally well on


We are going to see EPMA ported to the Unix platforms at some future time – my guess is it doesn’t hit the cloud though (although I could be wrong).   Datasync is going away from EPMA (see FDM EE)


I called this one a few years ago – FDM EE is going to be all things data/metadata for the EPM Suite.   Source adaptors for EPM products will be coming and this will replace the Datasync feature being obsoleted in EPMA.   As an aside — one of my colleagues Leo Bichon has implemented metadata and data on FDM EE from an EBS system and it’s pretty slick. I also finished up a deployment of FDM EE on SAP late last year. I’m becoming quite the fan of Jython as a scripting language too.

Hyperion Financial Management

It’s coming to Unix specifically the Exalytics platform first. We’ve heard this for a while and they really sound confident it will come out in Word is this thing will be pretty fast.   It will be nice to be able to have a full unix stack when this and EPMA hits.

Oracle Data Integrator

One of the few unhappy things I heard about (I was happy about Datasync going away – go Classic) was it appears the Planning and HFM Knowledge Modules are going to no longer be produced staring with ODI 12c.   Apparently not enough companies use these for it to make sense to continue them.   Flat files using either the HFM API or Planning Outline loader.


Some very cool stuff coming to planning. My hat is off to the Planning Product teams (Management and Development) for invigorating the platform.

The Essbase Hybrid engine along with an updated ADF control for grid entry turbocharges Planning.   With the new web grid control the web blows Smart View performance away.   Several grids were demonstrated going up to and over 100,000 cells which rendered in less than 10 seconds without bring the client machine to it’s knees.

A note about Hybrid – this will require one of the following licenses to make use of:

Planning Plus + Essbase Full Use

Planning Plus + BI Foundation Suite

Enterprise Planning Suite (I think since it allows limited use ASO it should also confer the limited use Hybrid) – the Suite license also give you a ton of other products from Planning Modules to HSF to FDM EE.

We also see some cool new web/tablet interfaces (coming in and PS4 rumor says) as well as valid combinations ala PeopleSoft.

Infrastructure Deep Dive

This year Thursday was changed up a bit – I had an early (delayed) flight out so didn’t stick around for the closing ceremony however our (Rob Donahue, Eric Helmer, and myself) 9:00 – 11:00 session was well attended even with it being last day and America and Germany squaring off at the World Cup.

Download the presentation EPM Infrastrucure Deep Dive.

Well that’s all for now and hopefully this makes up for my lack of content over the last year.

John A. Booth

Company:     Infratects      

Categories: Just make it work

First Look –

March 22, 2013 4 comments

I had the opportunity today to get my hands on the upcoming release.   It’s looking very good.   My guess on release date this year is April 22nd.

The quick take away’s from in installations point of view are:

  • You may configure all databases at once.  This means a much quicker installation.
  • The services have been renamed for the most part (see below).
  • Less Microsoft specifics when we talk about FDM EE (no ASP.NET requirement)
Company:     Infratects      

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