Installation of Oracle Fusion Applications

Installation of Oracle Fusion Applications

Here at Beyond we recently started updating some of our internal test environments. As part of this I embarked on the rather daunting task of installing Oracle Fusion Applications. Daunting because 1) I’m not a DBA and 2) I’ve never personally done such as installation myself ever before! What could possibly go wrong? We picked up a copy of Pro Oracle Fusion Applications and set about modelling a quick architecture. We wanted something very basic with miminal effort needed for installation that would simply allow us to try things out. So I opted for a two node setup, partly to keep everything simple and partly because we don’t want to have to commission a server farm to run the thing! The basic setup looks as follows.

Infrastructure

Both machines are virtualized using Oracle Virtual Box, which allows for some nice options such as dynamic drive sizing and snapshotting of configuration. The latter is a particularly good feature, allowing you to snapshot the machine at key milestones of the installation, on the grounds that if anything is to go wrong you’re not back at square one! I think we’re going to have to pinch a bit more RAM for the fusion node though as whilst it starts up ok with 100Gb, it does end up swapping about about 10Gb throughout general use.

Oracle haven’t made it very easy in getting the software – there is an 11.1.8 release for Linux x86 available on the Software Delivery Cloud, however the 11.1.9 release is only available for AIX. After hunting around Google a while I found some conflicting information whereby one source said you had to request the later versions and another said that the 11.1.9 release was for Cloud installations only. Keen to avoid making life too difficult I went for the 11.1.8 release, primarily because that’s what the installation guide in the book is written on.

The Identity Manager (IDM) installation was relatively straightforward – however you can save yourself quite a bit of pain by ensuring you do at least the following as an absolute minimum upfront!

  • Set the file limits in limits.conf
  • Get all required operating system packages installed (including some 32 bit libraries)
  • Configure the hosts file correctly – you can get some difficult to diagnose errors if this isn’t done.

 

The main groan about the IDM installation is that the 11.1.8 installation doesn’t support cleanup and restore – so if something goes wrong it’s up to you to find out what, why and fix it (a manual cleanup and restore) – which pretty much involves as much work as the installation itself! I found that to be too much of a headache and simply opted to restore to an earlier snapshot on the few issues I encountered due to the above.
It’s very important that you snapshot the installation of IDM once complete as the Fusion install writes some data there – the last thing you want to have to do in the event of a catastrophic failure of Fusion is re-install the IDM node too!
The other thing I’m really not too keen on is that the installer ships with an 11.2.0.3 database – which as we all know is pretty much obsolete. However I wasn’t going to risk patching that up any higher just yet until I have a working environment. Interestingly, anything prior to 11.1.11 isn’t certified on 12c database – and 11.1.11 isn’t available for download.

Certification

Now onto the Fusion install. I was going to say this was quite difficult, but really it’s not – it’s just very painful when something goes wrong! And things often do go wrong for no apparent reason, which miraculously fix themselves when re-run! The same critical points as above still stand here; the more you prepare up-front the fewer issues you’ll come across.

Be well prepared though for the Fusion node installation to take a long time. I mean a really long time! The installation and post-configure steps take a good number of hours each and it’s very possible that you’ll encounter errors during them which are related to resource unavailability or timeout – these resolve upon a re-run however you have to go through the cleanup and restore, which again adds to the time. My installation got into a bit of a pickle here though – the book states that the phaseguard files (a set of files that record the progress of the installation) will ensure the installer can pick up where it left off in the event of a failure (this is supported on the Fusion node, unlike IDM) and that you absolutely must not manually modify those files.
Unfortunately after a resource failure I had a situation whereby the phaseguard files became out of sync with reality and the installer didn’t realise that the step had failed, despite be cancelling and asking for a restore. This made it impossible to clean up the installation and having already reverted back to a bare snapshot when this happened previously I was reluctant to lose an entire weekend of installation and do it again! So I found myself manually creating a failure phaseguard file which allowed the cleanup to proceed properly and then restart successfully. Thankfully that seemed to work fine and didn’t cause any downstream problems, however it does highlight that there are some odd quirks within the installer and if you’re not careful you can end up in circular loops that last many hours each. I encountered a few errors here and there which magically disappeared when re-running; I think there’s a lot down to timing and synchronisation with other tasks.

But… After many hours of blood, sweat and tears, here it is. Fully installed and working!

Fusion Installed

Hopefully I’ll get around to having a proper dig into the product and will post some further updates in due course. I’m particularly interested in what’s being done with Worforce Reputation Management as that’s surely an up and coming requirement in the workplace with social media becoming more and more prolific part of peoples lives.

Watch this space for some up and coming Fusion-based topics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × 5 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.