When FDM Isn’t an Option…Using Essbase to Map Data

lots-of-arrowsThere are times when you do not have an option of using FDM to do large data mapping exercises prior to loading data into Essbase. There are many techniques for handling large amounts of data mappings in Essbase, I have used the technique oultined here several times for large mappings and it continues to exceed my expectations from a performance and repeatability perspective.

Typically, without FDM or some other ETL process, we would simply use an Essbase load rule to do a “mapping” or a replace. However, there are those times when you need to do a mapping based on multiple members. For example, if account = x and cost center = y then change account to z.

Let’s first start with the dimensionality that is in play based on the example below: Time, Scenario, Type, NOU, Account, Total Hospital, and Charge Code

Dimension Type Members in
Dimension
Members
Stored
Time Dense 395 380
Scenario Dense 13 6
Type Sparse 4 4
NOU Sparse 25 18
Account Sparse 888 454
Total Hospital Sparse 5523 2103
Charge Code Sparse 39385 39385

You then need to be able to identify the logic of where the mapping takes place.  I will want to keep the mapping data segregated from all other data so I will load this to a Mapping scenario (Act_Map).  I load a value of ‘1’ to the appropriate intersection, always level0.  Since the mapping applies to all Period detail I will load to a BegBalance member.  The client will then update this mapping file from a go forward basis based on new mapping combinations.

Here is a sample of what the mapping file looks like that gets loaded into Essbase:
NOU STATUS Revised DEPT ACCT # CDM Data
SLJ   IP            2CC      2         0012013         1
SLJ   IP            2CC      2         0012021         1
SLJ   IP            2CC      2         0012062         1

Here is what it looks like when you do a retrieve.  So for 4410CC->2600427->IP->67->SVM there is a value of 1 and for 4410CC->2600435->IP->67->SVM as well.

Essbase Mapping

The next step in the process is to load the actual data that ultimately needs to be mapped. I will load this data based on the detail and dimensionality I have, again at level0.  In my experience, the data is missing a level of detail (GL account for project based planning, Unit/Stat for charge master detail, etc.). So this data gets loaded to specific “No_Dimension” member via a load rule or a generic member. Again, I load this data to a separate scenario as well (Act_Load).

In the example below you will see I am loading Account detail (67 & 68 in the above screenshot) to the Stat_Load member. The data comes across missing the account detail.

essbase mapping

The final step is to calculate the Actuals scenario based on the two scenarios above. You will see that after we run the calculation, Current Yr Actuals is calculated correctly in that the data resides where it should reside.

essbase mapping

Keeping all the data segregated in different scenarios allows you to easily clear data should anything be wrong with one of the loads, thereby keeping the other datasets intact. This process runs on the entire year in less than 2 minutes and not only performs the calculation but also does an aggregation for the Current Yr Actuals.

Oracle Business Intelligence Essbase Cube Builder: Continued Integrations with Essbase and OBIEE

Oracle has been busy focusing on improved consolidation of their BI applications this past year. This next offering within Oracle’s arsenal of BI apps will allow for enhanced integrations between the multi-dimensional and relational worlds of Essbase and OBIEE. The new application is called Oracle Business Intelligence Essbase Cube Builder (OECB) previously referenced as Oracle Essbase Integrator (OEI) during beta testing and its purpose will help refine and make for more consistent binary integrations. OECB will permit OBI apps to push metadata and data into Essbase cubes, a significant advancement for OBIEE users where leveraging in-depth ad hoc and what-if scenarios can be available. You can download OECB on the Oracle e-delivery site:

OECB Download

Oracle Business Intelligence Essbase Cube Builder

OECB will bestow an integrated BI platform that supports OLAP capabilities and dashboards among others. OECB will also allow Essbase to leverage metadata and data from OBI and OBI apps. Other supports will include what-if scenarios, allocations, spreading, changing attributes, and multiple hierarchy comparisons.

From a user’s perspective, OECB will provide seamless authentication from OBI to Essbase which reduces maintenance and improves the user experience. Users can also feel confident that metadata and data will have the same context across platforms which mean users will see the same dimensions, members and measures between their OBI and Essbase apps. The environments will be synchronized as updated changes will be retained and applied with data values matching between the two apps. OBI dashboard metadata and data contents will be synchronized to Smartview. OBI physical/business model and mapping/presentation layers will be synchronized to Essbase. Additional support features indicated above affords users with the ability for more robust development. All of this becomes available starting with version 11.1.2. Prior versions will also become available after the official release of OECB.

The implication here is if you’re a traditional OBIEE shop wanting to add flexibility to improve analysis with a powerful application like Essbase, OECB will be your opportunity. As Oracle continues to provide expanded integrations between Essbase and OBIEE, see how this new offering called Oracle Business Intelligence Essbase Cube Builder can be leveraged within your organization.

ORACLE HYPERION CALC MANAGER – Part 4 – Creating RuleSets

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced Calc Manager, providing a general overview and explanation of some new terms.  In the second post we walked through the development of a Planning rule that utilized a run time prompt.  Part 3 covered templates available with Calc Manager.

In this, the final post in this series, we’ll step through the creation of a ruleset.  Rulesets are equivalent to Business Rule Sequences in Hyperion Business Rules.

We’ll begin by logging on to Hyperion Workspace and navigating to Calc Manager.  Once in Workspace, the navigation path is:  Navigate -> Administer -> Calculation Manager.

Once in Calc Manager, you’ll land on the System View tab, which appears as follows:

 

Once again, I’ll use my EPMA enabled version of my Planning app based on Sample.Basic.

To create a new ruleset, right click on the “RuleSets” node under your Planning app and select New.  You’ll be prompted to give the ruleset a name.  I’ll name mine Process_Application.  Additionally, you can change the app/database for this ruleset in this dialog box.

After I click OK,  the following screen loads:

You can display the rules available for your rule set by expanding the tree until you see the rules for your database. 

To add rules to the ruleset, simply drag and drop them onto the Ruleset Designer on the right side of the screen.

By default, the rules will run sequentially.  If you wish for rules to execute in parallel, select the RuleSet name within the RuleSet designer.  Check “Enable Parallel Execution” on the Properties tab at the bottom of the screen.

In order to run the script, save, validate, and deploy to your Planning application.

The series of posts that we’ve put together this summer were designed to give a user a basic understanding of how to work with Calculation Manager.  With any new technology, its best to dive in and immerse yourself to speed through the learning curve – Calculation Manager is no different.  Take the opportunity to experiment with the tool.  I feel that you’ll find it easy to learn the basics and before long you’ll be developing your own rules.

If you have any questions about Calc Manager, please leave a comment on any of the posts in this series, or reach out to me via email at jrichardson@ranzal.com.

ORACLE HYPERION CALC MANAGER – Part 3 – Working with Templates

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced Calc Manager, providing a general overview and explanation of some new terms.  In the second post in the series, we walked through the development of a Planning rule that utilized a run time prompt.  In this post, we’ll explore templates provided within Calc Manager.

As with the Rule Designer, which is a great tool to help less experienced developers build rules, templates provide a simple way to develop rules for basic tasks in Planning and Essbase…tasks such as copying, clearing, exporting, allocating, and aggregating data.  In addition, you can design your own templates.

We’ll begin by logging on to Hyperion Workspace and navigating to Calc Manager.  Once in Workspace, the navigation path is:  Navigate -> Administer -> Calculation Manager.

Once in Calc Manager, you’ll land on the System View tab, which appears as follows:

Once again, I’ll use my EPMA enabled version of my Planning app based on Sample.Basic.

To access predefined templates, right click on “Rules”.  Once you give the rule a name, the graphical designer is launched.  In the “Existing Objects” window, you should find a list of the pre-existing templates.  A list of the system templates follows:

CLEAR DATA

In order to use the system template to Clear Data, drag and drop “Clear Data” from the System Templates to the Rule Designer.  This will then invoke a member selection window asking you to specify the data to clear.  Keep in mind that this template generates a calc script utilizing the CLEARBLOCK command as opposed to a CLEARDATA command.

In my sample app, I select “FY11” for the Years dimension and “Final” for the Version dimension.  The dropdown box for “Clearblock Option” can be used to define the blocks to be cleared…”All” is the default.  The code that is generated appears below.

FIX ("FY11","Final")
  CLEARBLOCK ALL;
ENDFIX

COPY DATA

The Copy Data template helps to walk the calc developer through the process of copying data from one slice of the database to another.

In the remainder of the wizard, you select the “Copy From” member and the “Copy To” member.  The calc script generated follows:

FIX (@RELATIVE("Measures" , 0),@RELATIVE("Periods" ,0),@RELATIVE("Product" , 0),@RELATIVE("Market" , 0),@RELATIVE("Years" , 0),"Budget")
DATACOPY "Working" TO "Final";
ENDFIX

AMOUNT-UNIT-RATE

The Amount-Unit-Rate template allows the developer to build a calc script to solve for either an amount, unit, or rate, basically whichever is missing.  I’ve added a couple of measures to my application to facilitate the demo.  Using the member selection wizard, I’ve selected “Sales” as my amount, “Cases” as my unit, and “Revenue per Case”  as my rate.  The script generated by the template follows:

"Sales"(
  IF ("Sales" == #missing and "Cases" != #missing and "Revenue per Case" != #missing)
    "Sales" = "Cases" * "Revenue per Case";
  ELSEIF ("Sales" != #missing and "Cases" == #missing and "Revenue per Case" != #missing)
    "Cases" = "Sales" / "Revenue per Case";
  ELSEIF ("Sales" != #missing and "Cases" != #missing and "Revenue per Case" == #missing)
    "Revenue per Case" = "Sales" / "Cases";
  ELSE
    "Sales" = "Cases" * "Revenue per Case";
  ENDIF
)

ALLOCATIONS

Two types of allocation templates are provided within Calc Manager.  The first template, Allocate Level to Level,  allows you to allocate from one level to another.   In my example with my Planning app, you would use this template to allocate marketing expenses  from product family to product using a driver like revenue.  This approach utilizes @ANCESTVAL to build the script.

The second template, Allocate Simple, allocates values based on a predefined relationship, such as Marketing->Market * Cases/Cases->Market.

Both templates walk the developer through the setup of the allocations, selecting members that are fixed throughout the process, offset members (if any), etc.

AGGREGATION

The aggregation template aids the developer to create a script to aggregate the application.  The first screen of the wizard, pictured below, allows you to select members for the FIX statement in the aggregation – here you would limit the calc to a particular version, scenario, or your non aggregating sparse dimension members.

The next screen prompts for dense dimensions to aggregate.  However, if dynamic calcs are properly utilized, this should not be necessary.

The third screen asks for sparse dimensions for the aggregation.  You should exclude any non aggregating sparse dimensions from this selection.

Next, you’re prompted for partial aggregations of dense dimensions.  Again – if dynamic calcs are used properly, this should not be an issue.

In the final screen of the wizard, the developer selects settings for the script…

The code generated by Calc Manager follows:

SET AGGMISSG ON;
SET FRMLBOTTOMUP ON;
SET CACHE HIGH;
FIX (@RELATIVE("Years" , 0),"Working","Budget")
CALC DIM ("Product");
CALC DIM ("Market");
ENDFIX

Please note that this code is not optimized.  In this example, I would use the following:

AGG (“Product”,”Market”);

The code as generated by Calc Manager will result in an extra pass through the database – the calc can be accomplished with a single pass.  Additionally, AGG can be used in place of CALC DIM if there are no formulas on the dimensions being calculated.  Generally speaking, stored formulas on sparse dimensions should be avoided due to performance issues.

SET Commands

The next template walks the user through setting various SET commands for the calc.  This is a fairly straightforward exercise.

EXPORT DATA

This is another straightforward template that helps create a data export calc script.  You need to define the fixed members for the export,  delimiter, #MISSING value, export type (flat file, relational), etc.

In the final part of this series, due for posting on August 13, we’ll walk through the creation of a ruleset.  If you have any questions before the next post, please leave a comment!

ORACLE HYPERION CALC MANAGER – Part 2 – Creating a Planning Rule

In Part 1 of this series we introduced Calc Manager, providing a general overview and explanation of some new terms.  In this post, we will walk through the development of a rule for Hyperion Planning using the graphical interface within Calc Manager.

Again, in order to access Calc Manager, log on to Hyperion Workspace.  Once in Workspace, the navigation path is:

Navigate->Administer->Calculation Manager.

Once in Calc Manager, you’ll land on the System View tab, which appears as follows:

 

For purposes of this demonstration, I have created an EPMA enabled Planning application from the Sample.Basic application that we all know and love.  When the Planning node is expanded, this is what I see:

First, to help illustrate functionality available in Calc Manager, I’m going to create a script component that contains my standard SET commands for the rule.  In order to create the script component, right click on “Scripts” and click on “New”.  Give your script a name and click on “OK”.  This will launch the Component Designer.

From here, you have two options.  If you know what your SET commands need to be, you’re free to type them in directly.  If you wish to be prompted through the process, click on the  button at the top left corner of the Component Designer window.  This will launch a window with all of the calc functions and SET commands.  The following shot displays the function selection interface for SET commands.

For my purposes, I’m going to directly type my SET commands into the Component Designer.  Once complete, save and validate.

Think of script components as an easy way to reuse code…SET commands, standard cube aggregations and the like. 

Once we have saved the script component with our SET commands, it’s time to develop our rule.  To begin, right click on “Rules” under the database node and select “New”.    Give your rule a name and click on “OK”.  This will launch you into the Rule Designer window.

In this example, I’ll create a rule that aggregates the cube, using a run time prompt for the Version dimension.

We can now begin to develop our rule.  First, we’ll select the script component for our SET commands that we developed earlier.  Simply drag this into the rule designer to the right of “Start”.  The Rule Designer window now looks like this:

Let’s take this opportunity to create our variable for the Version dimension run time prompt.  Go to the “Tools” menu and select “Variables”.  Once the Variable Navigator launches, expand the Planning, application, and database nodes.  I’m going to create a run time prompt variable for the Version dimension.  Right click on your rule name and select “New”.  Once I populate the fields on the “Replacement” tab, my screen looks like this:

When complete, save the variable.  Now, back to our rule…

We’re going to specify members for our “Fix” statement.  To do this, select “Member Range” in the New Objects portion of the Rule Palette.  

To add to the rule, drag and drop to the right of the SET command script.  My screen looks like this:

Next, we’ll populate the members for our Fix statement.  I’ll start with Measures.  For my rule, I want to select all of the level 0 measures.  Once I click on the Value field for the Measures dimension, an Actions box appears. 

I want to select a Function.  This invokes the function selection window that we observed earlier.  I want to select @LEVMBRS from the list, which will then prompt for the dimension and level number.

I select Measures from the drop down box and enter “0” for the level name.  I’m going to repeat this process for all of my dense and non aggregating sparse dimensions, with the exception of the Version dimension.  This will be handled via the run time prompt.  For the Version dimension, select “Variable” in the Actions box.  Change the Category selection to “Rule” and this is what we see.

Highlight the variable and click OK.  My member range box looks like this:

Now, we’ll develop the script component to aggregate the Product and Market dimensions.  I’m going to drag a script from the “New Objects” portion of the Rule Palette into my member range.  The graphical display looks like:

Again, I’m going to select a function (AGG in this case).  I then select Products and Market from the dimension selector. 

Now, save and validate.  To deploy the rule to Planning, select Quick Deploy:

Once deployed, the rule can be run from Planning.

In this post, we’ve provided a walk through on developing a new rule using the graphical designer.  More experienced developers can directly code the calc in script mode.  To convert to script mode, select “Edit” and “Script” from the menu. 

In the next post, due by July 31, we’ll explore templates and ruleset creation.  In the meantime, please leave a comment if you have any questions!

ORACLE HYPERION CALC MANAGER – Part 1

With the continued investment in the Hyperion tool set by Oracle, there was a desire to centralize the development of calculations for HFM, Essbase, and Planning.  As a result of this, Oracle Hyperion Calculation Manager was born.  Calc Manager is a powerful tool for developing and administering rules for Planning and Essbase.   An intuitive graphical interface is available to help in the development process, helping to expedite movement through the learning curve for people just beginning to dip their toes into the world of Oracle Hyperion Planning and Oracle Essbase.

Over the course of several posts this summer, I’ll explore Calc Manager functionality from the Essbase and Planning points of view.  For EPMA-enabled Planning applications, use of Calc Manager is required.   With version 11.1.1.3, Calc Manager can be used with Classic Planning apps as well.  However, the focus of my blog posts will be EPMA-enabled apps, as Classic Planning rides off into the sunset.

Calc Manager, a component of EPM Architect, is integrated into EPM Workspace, the standard entry point for many Hyperion applications.  In order to access Calc Manager, log into Workspace, and select Nagivate->Administer->Calculation Manager (see screen shot below for navigation path).  However, before we get too far into actually navigating the tool, we’ll need to get comfortable with the terminology within Calc Manager.

There are three types of objects within Calc Manager:  components, rules, and rulesets.   Components are smaller pieces of a larger rule.  Things like SET commands, FIX statements, formulas, etc. are examples of components.  I’ll explore this in much greater detail in a future post, but think of a standard types of SET commands that you use in all of your scripts – this can be saved separately as a script component and pulled into a new rule very easily.  Included below is a shot of the Component Designer with a sample of some standard set commands.

Essentially, rules are the finished calc script, similar to Business Rules in the past.  Rules are used for modeling/allocations/aggregations and the like.  Rules can be built using system templates.  Oracle has provided standardized templates for tasks such as clearing, copying, allocating, aggregating, and exporting data.   Again, these templates will be explored in additional detail in a future post.

Rulesets are similar to Business Rule Sequences under Hyperion Business Rules.  Rulesets can be used to launch rules sequentially or simultaneously depending on your logic requirements.

Now that we’ve covered the basic terminology related to Calc Manager, in my next post, which should be online by July 4, we’ll walk you through creating a rule for an EPMA enabled Planning app.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, leave a comment!

Using Hyperion Essbase to Report Comparable Store Sales

One of the commonly used measures in the retail industry is “comps” – comparisons of actual sales for this year versus last year.  The goal of reporting comparable store is to provide information on what portion of a company’s sales comes from increasing sales growth in existing stores versus opening new stores.   This metric is used to measure whether a company’s sales will continue to grow when store base reaches a saturation point, or the company slows expansion.

What are the considerations in defining comp store calculation?

  • Definition of comp store. In addition to having a store open for at least 1 year, it’s important to compare stores that have not changed significantly.  In this case, we are using square footage in the store to identify significant changes to a store.  In our example, if square footage changes by more than 25%, sales are no longer comparable to prior periods.  Also, if the status of a store changes (i.e. opening, closing, moving, temporarily closing), comp store sales are not comparable with prior periods.
  • Definition of applicable time periods. In this case, we used month to date, quarter to date, and year to date.  Each applicable time period is calculated monthly.  The applicable time period amount is calculated only for stores open during the applicable period.  For example, the June YTD amount for 2010 is only calculated for stores in existence from Jan 2009.
  • Calculation of comp sales. Most clients prefer to remove the effects of currency translation on this calculation.  In this case, only net sales are used for comp store analysis.

Implementation

The database outline for the comp sales database contains the following 10 dimensions:

  • An individual store is uniquely identified as a member in the stores dimension.
  • Comp store amounts are only calculated for the comp stores scenario.  Actual data is loaded to the comp store scenario.

Below are sections of the accounts dimensions used for the comp store calculation.

The comp store control stats are used to calculate the comp status counter, which is the first determinant of whether a store is a comp store.

The comp store metrics hierarchy stores the applicable comp store amounts in local currency and USD.  Local currency comp store metrics show amounts for current year and prior year for MTD, QTD, and YTD.  USD comp store metrics show amounts at a constant exchange rate.

Approach

There are 2 different calculations for the comp store process:

  • The calculation of the comp store sales counter determines whether a store qualifies for comp store status based on square footage and store status.
  • The calculation of comp store metrics is dependent on the calculation of the comp store sales counter.  The metrics calculation determines comp store amounts.

The key processes for the comp store sales counter calculation are as follows:

  • Calculate monthly square footage amounts.  Set beginning balance equal to prior December.  Accounts calculated are: square footage, store status, and comp store counter.
  • Calculate monthly square footage change percent.
  • Calculate ending store status and comp store status counter based on inputs for square footage and change type (open, close, move).  The comp store status counter is used to identify qualification for comparable periods.

The following is an example of how the comp store status counter logic would be applied to a store.  Note that the store comp counter is incremented monthly once a store is open, but a change in square feet of the store resets the counter.  This is to assure that sales from the 2000 square foot store are not compared with the 3000 square foot store.

After calculating the store comp counter, the key processes for the comp store sales metrics are as follows:

  • Copy actual (a rollup scenario including general ledger amounts and adjustments) to CompStoreAnalysis  (another scenario).  This allows reporting comp store results in a single scenario.
  • Create blocks for every year based on prior year gross sales.
  • Calculate net sales current year and net sales prior year in local currency for each appropriate time period, based on comp store status counter and the applicable comp time period (MTD, QTD, and YTD).
  • To be included in QTD comps, a store must have a store status counter of 13 and have been in existence since the beginning of the current quarter last year.  For YTD comps, the store must have been in existence since the beginning of last year.
  • Calculate comp store sales in USD using the prior year rate.
  • Aggregate comp store metric amounts in the comp store analysis scenario by stores, products, geographies, and legal organization.

Note in the sample store shown above, comparable net sales on a MTD basis would be calculated for December 2008.  Amounts would be calculated both in local currency and USD.  The USD accounts are for current and prior year would use the same rate (last year’s).

Special uses for Life Cycle Management (LCM)

In my previous post, I showed how to use LCM to back up or copy an entire planning application environment.  Here I’ll expand on that subject a bit by showing some other uses you may find handy.  This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive collection – just a few suggestions you may find useful and which may provoke ideas for other uses.

Copy single dimension from one app to another

This can be done for any dimension, including the standard planning dimensions.  Here, to expand on the subject we are also going to export from the “Organization” dim in one planning app & import to the “Entity” dim in another.

Select the artifacts to export (no harm in copying everything).

Click thru the next screen to this one.

Since we need to change the dimension name, we must export to files, not directly to the other app.

Then click thru the remaining screens to execute the migration.

After the export finishes, go to the \Hyperion\Common\Import_export directory. Under the Username@Directory folder find the files you exported.

In the “info” directory, edit “listing.xml” changing all instances of “Organization” to “Entity”.

Now find the XML file for the dimension to be migrated with name change.

Rename to the target dimension name.

Now edit the file to change “Organization” to “Entity”.

In Shared Services->Application Groups->File System, open the extract and select the (newly renamed) Entity dimension.

Define Migration…

…and click thru the remaining screens to execute the migration.

Lights-out Operation

In Shared Services select the artifacts to be backed up and define migration.

We need to back it up to files so type in a folder name…

…and click thru the remaining screens until you get here.

Now, instead of clicking the Execute button, click “Save Migration Definition.”

You will get this screen…

…click “Save.”

Shared Services wants to save “MigrationDefinition.xml” where you tell it to.

You can name the file any name you want (I suggest using naming conventions to differentiate the operation being saved) and anywhere you want.

After saving the file you will get this…

…click “Close” and the backup definition will be saved.

Now look in the Automation folder where the xml file was saved.

The file has everything Shared Services needs to run the backup from the command line utility except the USERID and PASSWORD.

Edit in TextPad or other text editor and type in a Userid and password.

After running the job the password is automatically encrypted.

The job is run from an Oracle supplied process, “utility.bat.”

…and you pass the path information to the migration definition file you created above.”

You should channel the output to a log file so you will have a record of success or failure.  The following message is an excerpt from that log which, in turn, lists the detailed log location & name and whether the process was a success or failure and it will also tell exactly where any failure occurred in the process.

I hope I’ve shown you enough to get you started using LCM.  It can certainly be a valuable tool, whether you want to do one-time tasks or perform lights-out operations such as regular backups.  The important thing to remember is to test it and see what, if any, problems you will have and either fix those or work around them.

Using Oracle’s Hyperion® Life Cycle Management

What is LCM?

LCM (Life Cycle Management) is a tool which can be used to migrate Hyperion applications, cubes, repositories, or artifacts across product environments and operating systems. It is accessed through the Shared Services Console.

Does it work?

After using LCM at a few clients I think the answer is a definite YES, but there needs to be a realistic setting of expectations:  Yes, LCM has some very good and handy uses; but NO, it is not necessarily going to be a painless, simple answer to your migration and/or backup needs.

What can I do with it?

You can use it for migrations:

  • One environment to another
  • One app to another (same SS environment)
  • Selected dimensions or other artifacts

And for backups/restores, including keeping two separate environments synchronized:

  • Selected artifacts
  • Lights-out

Products which can be migrated are:

  • Shared Services
  • Essbase
  • Planning
  • Reporting
  • HFM
  • The dimensions housed in EPMA

This blog is going to concentrate on using LCM for planning application migrations although, as you can see from the list above, it can also be used for other products as well.

First I’ll show how a migration is done, using screen shots, to give a detailed look.  Then I’ll point out things to look out for including things which will cause the migration to fail — with work-arounds where possible.

To migrate an entire Planning application, you will need to copy (4) areas:

  1. Shared Services
  2. Essbase (For Planning, only need the Essbase Global Variables.  All App/DB specific variables are migrated with the Planning Application)
  3. Planning Application
  4. Reporting and Analysis (if applicable)

The order in which you export these is not important but when doing the import, the order is very important.

Some important considerations:

  • Target app can have different name from source
  • Source and destination plan types must match
    • Can be changed by editing the files
    • Target plan types must be in same order as source
  • Start year must be the same
    • Number of years doesn’t need to match
  • Base time period must be the same
  • Target app’s Currency settings must match Source
  • Standard Dimension names must match
    • Can be changed by editing the files

When exporting any application it is advisable to just export everything.  If necessary you can be selective on the import side.

Start the process by opening the Shared Services console and go to the Application Groups –>Application (in this case – Shared Services under Foundation).

In the lower part of the screen, click “Select All” and then “Define Migration”

Now go through the screens:

Leave each field with an * and Choose “Next”

Type in a file name for the export.  It is advisable that you use a naming convention for this since you will end up with (possibly multiple) files for each application.

Review the destination options & click “Next.”

Finally, review the Migration summary and click “Execute Migration.”

NOTE:  If this process is going to be re-run in a lights-out environment you should instead choose the “Save Migration Definition” button.  I’ll discuss this more fully later on.

You will get this information screen.  Click Launch Migration Status Report to actually see the migration progress.

As long as the migration is running you will get a status of In Progress

Click Refresh to keep checking status (if desired) until you get a status of Completed or Failed.

All of the other applications can be exported this same way, each with slightly different screen sequences but generally the same process.

The primary differences will be for Planning and Essbase where, if there are other applications in the same Shared Services environment, they will be offered as possible targets for the export, in addition to the File System.  Selecting one of these will cause a direct migration from the source application to the selected target application.

After the exports are finished the LCM export files can be copied to the target server environment, if needed.  These export files can be found on the Shared Services server under \Hyperion\common\import_export\username@directory.

Copy the entire directory (in this example, Essadmin@Native Directory) to the Hyperion\common\import_export directory on the target server.

The import side is where things are more likely to be tricky.  Here you will reverse the process, selecting the export files in proper order (Shared Services, Essbase, Planning & Reporting) and importing them to whatever target is appropriate.

Start the process by logging in to the Shared Services console as the same username you used in the export process.  Under Application Groups–>File System, find the appropriate export files and click “Define Migration.”

Click through the screens, including the SS screen selecting the target application to import to.

On the destination option screen select Create/Update and increase the Max errors if desired (default = 100)…

…and run the migration.

For the Planning import select all to begin.

Click through the screens and select the planning application to import to.

And click through the remaining screens to execute the migration.

The Reporting migration is similar.  Select all the artifacts you want to import.

And go through the remaining screens to execute the migration.

In many cases, especially where you are keeping two identical environments in sync, these migrations should go smoothly and complete without error.  However, at other times, especially when doing an initial migration or one where the security will be much different from one to another, you may have to make several passes at the migration.  When even one item fails to migrate successfully, LCM will send back a status of “Failed”.  Click on that link in the status report and LCM will tell you what items failed to migrate.  All other items will usually have migrated successfully.   You will then have to figure out why the item failed and either fix the problem, work around the problem or ignore it and migrate the item another way.

Here are some things I’ve found which will cause you problems in using LCM:

  • In exporting a planning application with many substitution variables, the EXPORT failed – refusing to export all of the variables.  This was worked around by exporting only the variables and then exporting everything except the variables.
  • OR, you can play with the group count/size settings as well as report and log files location within the migration.properties file.
  • Default settings usually are:
  • grouping.size=100[mb]
  • grouping.size_unknown_artifact_count=10000
  • Using “All Locations” in HBR will cause failure for those forms.
  • Essbase server names—if not same in source & target, you will have to modify the import files for target name.
  • Report Name Length is limited to 131 characters less folder name.
  • Dim members “Marked for Delete” won’t migrate.  You will have to delete them using a SQL query if you want them migrated.
  • Form folders may get re-ordered on migration.  You can work around this by manually adding the folders to the target application in the proper order.  LCM will not reorder existing folders.
  • Doesn’t support parentheses ( ) in form names.  You won’t get an error indication in the export/import – the forms just won’t be there in the imported app.  You’ll have to rename the forms to get them to come over.
  • Member formulas need to be in planning – if just in Essbase they don’t come over.  If this is a one-time migration you can use the EAS migration utility to bring the outline over after the LCM migration.
  • You must manually delete Shared Services groups in the target app if you deleted them in the source app (or they will remain).
  • Reports – you must manually update the data source in the target.
  • Members don’t come over with certain special characters.
  • Doesn’t support Clusters; must use the outline as HBR location.
  • Global Variables with limits in their definition don’t work.

Well, now you should be able to use LCM and judge for yourself whether it is right for your application.  In another BLOG I’ll show how to run LCM in a lights-out mode and also how to do some modifications to the export files so you can do things like sharing dimension detail between planning applications.

Enjoy!

Business Intelligence Technology Environment – Welcome to the Buffet

Business Intelligence Technology Environment or BITE is my own little tag line and acronym (maybe I should copyright it) to express the host of solutions available in the Business Intelligence application world today. (It could also be used as a verb to describe the plethora of poorly designed solutions… ahh but that is another story.)

My current blog series will be Oracle EPM/BI+ solution centric while remaining Oracle EPM/BI+ application agnostic (now dictionary.com is paying off). I hope that you will enjoy this real life approach to the process of decision making on software solutions interspersed with some genuine tips and tricks of the trade — some that you have seen before and some you have never imagined.

In other words, I hope that you will not find this blog to be represented by my newly coined acronym — BITE.

Rules of conduct while at the Buffet

First we need a definition. Yes a definition! Don’t be afraid, definitions are a good thing, they keep us grounded, they set limits and finally they determine if we are true to our mission. I define BITE as processes, software and goals needed to precisely solution the business data critical to the legal, accounting and business decision needs of a specific entity.

Inventive techno junkies, single tool consultants and one track sales people – CLOSE YOUR EYES / SHEILD YOUR COMPUTERS for this next statement else you might go blind. “Precisely Solution” in the definition of BITE includes the moral imperative of not misusing software for intent other than its design and picking software that fits the current business life cycle of a company. (Those of you with Software Misuse problems, I will be posting a number you can call to get help. Remember the first step is admitting you have a problem.)

The application stack for EPM / BI+; HFM, Essbase (with all its add-on modules), Smart View, OBIE, OBAW, FDM, DRM, ODI and a few products you might not have heard about or you’ve heard about but never assessed for your purposes. NO, NO, No, no folks this is not a software sales blog, it’s a solutions blog and in our solutions toolbox we need to do more than use a single hammer creatively to remain competitive from an efficiency and business life cycle standpoint.

The Personalities in the Buffet Line

Now that we have some parameters (and I know it was painful for you left brainers) by which we can solution, we need some realistic company situations to solution. Let’s start with four companies each different in their business life cycle, staff sizes and demands for a BITE at success. You can email me if you will absolutely die without a very specific company example however, I cannot boil the ocean here in this blog (small ponds are all that will be possible).

Our four companies need to be different to see solutions in the work. Let’s pick a manufacturer, a technology company, a retailer and a commodity group. In my next addition we will outline the companies, their mission, their needs and their resources.