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iSetup and Oracle Projects

If you have never heard of iSetup or like me have not used it for many years you may wonder why you should need it now. If you have a large number of Oracle instances and frequent configuration work to do please read on and I will try to show you that iSetup is a welcome weapon to have in your armoury.

So what’s the problem?

We have all had this experience I suspect. We are at a large installation and a new implementation is in full swing. After a strenuous few weeks the conference room pilot and user acceptance testing have come to successful conclusions. There is a collective sigh of relief and then the client’s project manager will say “That’s great. We just need to get this set up into the live instance now”. It’s that “just” that always gets me. Replicating a set up from one Oracle instance to another is not usually straightforward and is certainly not quick.

Actually the situation, except on small implementations, is frequently a great deal worse than even this because there will be several occasions when you need to get some or all of a set up from one instance into another without the high profile support that end of testing or CRP lends to the exercise. Then, after you have managed to get the set up into the new instances, a QA person, or even worse an auditor (I can say this, I used to be one), will ask you to show that these multiple configurations are the same. This first article will look at the business of replicating and loading configurations. A second will look at satisfying the QA and audit concerns.

There are several ways to tackle this recurring issue of re-configuration without iSetup of course. You can use various data loading routines and products or simply sit down with an enormous BR100 configuration document and manually re-enter the required set-up. All of these can and do work if used correctly but all suffer from one particular weakness. This weakness is that control and accuracy are dependent on processes external to the tool, product or person performing the set up and not an intrinsic part of the set-up process. This is manageable for small installations and a small number of re-configurations but becomes a serious issue the greater the number of instances and frequency of re-configuration.

Key Features of iSetup

iSetup comes from Oracle’s Life Cycle Management (LCM) range of products, so part of its purpose is to incorporate controls and processes to manage the life cycle of implementing Oracle software. The two main functions iSetup provides are:

  • Migration from one instance of the Oracle E-Business Suite to another
  • Reporting on the extracted data and comparing two sets of extracted data to identify differences.

As these functions are used in a multi-instance installation, iSetup has the concepts of “source”, “target” and “central” instances. You must have a source and a target, a central is optional but highly recommended.

Let’s look at the structure and logic of iSetup by means of a simple migration and then look at the coverage of iSetup in more detail.

Structure

First we log on in the normal way. iSetup has its own responsibility so we must have that assigned to our user.

iSetup and Oracle Projects

Once in iSetup we are presented with a very clear structure.

  • Home shows us the recent activity and gives us some shortcuts
  • Migrations we define and apply the extracts that we wish to use to pull configuration data from our source, have the option to “transform” the extract in some cases and then load it into our chosen target instance
  • Administration is where we define the target instance
  • Reports has the standard and comparison reports.

The best way to see how all this works is to go through a simple example.

A Simple Migration Example

We have 2 instances, VIS12 (source) and VIS12BI (target), both R12 Vision environments originally but now a little divergent. What we want to do is to take one particular Expenditure Category and two Expenditure Types from VIS12 and create them in VIS12BI. All these items are named with an “iSetup” prefix so are easy to find and filter.

To do this at all with iSetup we must first meet some important pre-requisites.

  • The eponymous “iSetup” responsibilities must be in each instance
  • The instances must be patched to the same level
  • The database configuration files (DBC) must contain the correct configuration.

The manual itself does not explain what that correct configuration should be! Mercifully MetaLink Note 560719.1 does, though you may need to change it a little depending on how many sources, targets and central instances you have. As I said earlier we are just using one source and one target for this exercise.

Logged in to VIS12 next we go into Administration tab, Instance Mapping sub-tab and define a migration. This is where we need the DBC File for this first step in the migration of mapping the instances. We are in VIS12 and mapping to VIS12BI.

If there is anything wrong with the DBC file you may find that you cannot “see” iSetup or other responsibilities in your target. Assuming all is well we hit “Apply” and now have an instance mapping. So now we go into Migrations tab where we follow the Extract-Transform-Load cycle. Our first step is to create our Extract.

When we hit “Create” iSetup gives us a list of extract templates, 20 in all, from which we can chose to give our “selection set”. We are interested in Projects.

The complete list is as follows:

  • General Foundation
  • Product Foundation
  • Organization Structure
  • All Profile Options
  • Employees
  • Financials Setup
  • General Ledger Daily Rates
  • Suppliers
  • Discrete Mfg. and Distribution
  • Financials Operating Unit Level Setup
  • Payroll Element
  • Australian Leave Liability
  • Profitability Manager Setups
  • Transfer Pricing Setups
  • Projects Setup
  • Personalizations
  • XML Publisher
  • Workflow Business Event System Objects
  • Workflow Definitions
  • Lease Management Setups

There are some really useful templates here as we can see and one complete oddity. Exactly why “Australian Leave Liability” is in I have no real idea but perhaps this article will encourage someone to tell us! iSetup also ventures into what I would regard as data rather than configuration, for example employees. The migration processes are however the same.

Anyway we select “Projects Setup” and get this:

We have given this example extract the name “KEW-EXTRACT-PA” and identified our source. Now we need to tailor the standard template to meet our simple needs. We have a fair amount of control here. We can select which type of objects we want to extract and we can use a filter to narrow our choice within particular objects. The way we can filter varies with the object, so we would always need to check that the filtering we want is possible. The “Supports Update” column means we can update the objects ticked but not all objects are amenable to update. Our selection set is quite simple, only Expenditure Types and Expenditure Categories. We make the selection and save the extract which now looks like this:

Only Expenditure Categories and Expenditure Types are ticked. The filters are checking for objects named “iSetup….”. This is the filter for Expenditure Types:

Without the filters we have hundreds of Expenditure Types; with the filters we have our intended two. At this point “naming conventions” will spring to most minds and the wisdom of disciplined naming is clear. Of our Expenditure Types iSetup1 has nine Expenditure Type Classes defined; iSetup2 has only one, miscellaneous transaction. So now the steps are really easy.

We run our Extract and check that we are getting what we want. iSetup thoughtfully gives us the relevant XML in a zip file if we really want to look in detail, so we can verify that all the right objects have been extracted.

We have one Expenditure Category and two Expenditure Types so now we are happy with the extract and as we are not trying to transform the extracted data we can go to loading. We can load from the Extracts sub-tab or go into the Loads sub tab. Under the Loads sub tab we define the Load and link it back to the Extract, although this is called a “snapshot” rather than an “extract”. We then run the Load as a normal process. In either case this Load is running across all the instances involved. This may mean that at ultra-secure sites where instances are isolated from one another, iSetup will be unable to help.

We just hit the “Load” button and then complete these details and submit the job.

So now we can see what has happened by looking at the Home tab:

We ran “KEW-PA-Extract-2” which pulled objects from VIS12 and we loaded those objects into VIS12BI in “KEW-PA-LOAD-2”. Finally we can run a standard report to tell us what has been loaded and we ran “KEW-PA-Extract-2-Report”. To do this we go to the Reports tab and create a report:

The standard report is a particularly useful document as it gives us the opportunity to drill right down to see the data extracted. So in this simple example:

Here are our Expenditure Types, one of the objects we extracted, at the end of the “View Details” spectacles:

And here are the Expenditure Type System Links we defined for one of our migrated Eexpenditure Types, linked automatically from the standard report:

Numbering nine in all, as the link tells us. So we know that the right objects left our source. To check the load into our target we go back to Home and follow the hyperlink to KEW-PA-LOAD-2:

Success!

Coverage

For those of us hoping for a complete BR100 (or other configuration document) replacement there is some bad news: iSetup does not provide an out of the box extract for every last piece of configuration we need. What it provides is coverage by means of the standard extract templates we listed earlier:

  • General Foundation
  • Product Foundation
  • Organization Structure
  • All Profile Options
  • Employees
  • Financials Setup
  • General Ledger Daily Rates
  • Suppliers
  • Discrete Mfg. and Distribution
  • Financials Operating Unit Level Setup
  • Payroll Element
  • Australian Leave Liability
  • Profitability Manager Setups
  • Transfer Pricing Setups
  • Projects Setup
  • Personalizations
  • XML Publisher
  • Workflow Business Event System Objects
  • Workflow Definitions
  • Lease Management Setups

This is an impressive list and if there are large volumes of configuration where you are you may be able to use iSetup for much of the configuration.

Conclusion

I hope that you can see the first major benefit of iSetup in a large installation:

Clearly defined, controlled, repeatable and documented migration of specific object configuration.

iSetup….

  • does not configure everything
  • does not replace your configuration document
  • will not replace your data loader of choice
  • has its own filtering which you will need to understand as this may affect the way you name objects
  • will not configure into a wholly new instance or one at a different patch level from where you are.

Despite all of what it does not do iSetup is well worth having and using. Next time someone asks you to “just” configure the standard 2,700 Expenditure Types in a new instance you will be able to take it in your stride.

In the next article I will look at the comparison reporting features of iSetup for QA and audit purposes and some other useful functions. If you have used iSetup and have any comments to make I should be very pleased to hear from you.

4 Nov, 2009 by

E-Business Suite

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