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Reduce Costs and Improve Customer Service by Automating Oracle EBS Tasks


 

When businesses try to find more efficient ways of doing business, they often ignore some of the easiest ways to save time and money. Automating repetitive tasks is one of those things that can fall through the cracks. Automating Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) tasks is a perfect example of something that is easy to do but saves a significant amount of time, and therefore money, as time goes on.

The Benefits of Automating Oracle EBS Tasks

Oracle EBS drives a number of complex applications such as ERP, CRM, and Supply Chain Management. Its complexity requires more management than many other types of installations. Because Oracle EBS is involved in so many mission-critical activities, ensuring that it runs optimally is critical.

Automating many of Oracle EBS’s repetitive tasks provides a range of benefits:

  • Able to reassign DBAs to perform more valuable work once you relieve them of mundane, repetitive tasks.
  • Manage today’s talent shortage by retaining talented DBAs when you provide them with more challenging work.
  • Eliminate human error that is inevitable when employees complete boring, repetitive tasks.
  • Receive automated alerts that let you address issues before they become problems.
  • Avoid having your users notify you of system problems before you’re aware of them.
  • Increase the level of service you provide to your users.

 

How can you automate Oracle EBS tasks? We have worked with many clients to help them write custom code to create software bots that complete repetitive or mundane tasks without human intervention.

The Top 7 Automation Opportunities in Oracle EBS

Luckily, there are many repetitive tasks that you can automate to make managing your Oracle EBS installation more efficient. Here are the top seven tasks that software bots can easily automate.

  1. Clones and Refreshes

    You need to create clones and refresh them to create environments for a number of reasons, including development, training, and quality assurance. At Datavail, we have automated a clone that took 12 hours to complete. Now it takes three hours, and no intervention is needed. With that software bot in place, you can give your DBAs time to do more valuable tasks.

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  3. Daily Dashboard and Health Checks

    Your DBAs need to evaluate the health of your systems every day. The checklist of daily checks can be lengthy, especially if your DBAs are monitoring more than one environment. Software bots can turn a task that usually requires hours of logging in and out of systems to perform checks manually into an automated task that only takes a few minutes.

    Another excellent feature you get when you automate daily checks is that the reports are produced at different levels of detail to meet the needs of different audiences. Making these reports automatic, and eliminating human error, can often help identify problems before affecting users.

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  5. Concurrent Managers and Workflow Monitoring and Alerting

    Concurrent operations are at the heart of the Oracle EBS application. If the concurrent managers and workflow components aren’t operating at peak performance or running with their assigned processes, requests may not be processed optimally or at all. It doesn’t take long for users to identify that a problem exists.

    The beauty of automating these processes is that you will get alerts that help you identify a problem. No one needs to be assigned to do manual checks. You can frequently fix manager problems before they cause a significant problem.

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  7. Detecting Concurrent Requests: Pending, Long Running, and Errored

    Automating Oracle EBS tasks such as tracking pending, long running, and errored requests let you be proactive rather than reactive when problems occur. Whether your system has pending, long running, or errored requests, your Oracle EBS installation is about to affect important business operations.

    For example, many of your users won’t monitor their scheduled requests. If a request related to a mission-critical operation fails to run successfully, it will affect the outcome of those processes. That situation can have a substantial impact on your business operations.

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  9. Lingering Sessions

    Sessions can linger on Oracle EBS, which take up an amazing amount of system resources. Sessions can also create shadow sessions that tie up memory and processes as well as lock  other sessions from running.

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  11. Performance Tuning

    You can create automated reports to identify requirements for performance tuning. Rather than scrolling through hundreds of SQLs to find the ones that need to be tuned, you can let the software bot identify them for you.

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  13. Request Sets and Month-End Close Activities

    The month-end close process is often complicated and requires the involvement of employees in almost every department. Having a software bot to check the status of request sets can save untold time, frustration, and costs.

    There are other tasks that can be automated beyond these top seven. Consider the effect on your operations if you could automate configuring UNIX, migrating code, comparing code, or performing security audits and vulnerability patches.

Next Steps

If you have an Oracle EBS installation to manage, learn more about automating Oracle EBS tasks to make your life easier by contacting an Oracle EBS expert today!

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Automate These 7 Oracle EBS Tasks to Save Time and Improve Productivity

Download this white paper to learn how you can employ software bots, which are programs that accomplish repetitive or mundane tasks without intervention, in your own Oracle EBS environment.

The post Reduce Costs and Improve Customer Service by Automating Oracle EBS Tasks appeared first on Datavail.

6 Things to Look for in a DBA Managed Service Provider


 

Data plays an integral role in business, and the explosion in the amount of data poses a real challenge to database managers. Often, managers find that the hands-on management of all of this data overwhelming. So what options are there?

 

Cloud-based database management provides organizations with database expertise when it is needed, where it is needed, and at the scale at which it is needed. When choosing a database managed service provider, there are several things to look for to ensure you get the support and insights that address your particular challenges.
 

How to Choose a Managed Services Provider

  1. Look for Proven Industry Experience

    Chances are your current database concern won’t be your last. You want a database administration partner with the experience to help you through this issue, as well as all the issues that are sure to follow. Your database managed services provider should have proven expertise in these proficiencies (to name just a few):

    • Architecting – Look for examples of how they’ve designed and built databases similar to what you might need.
    • Analysis – They should quickly gain a strong comprehension of how your databases support your enterprise and be able to make suggestions about improving its productivity.
    • Monitoring – They should also have the capacity to define how they’ll watch over your systems and what they’ll do when they find gaps in performance, opportunities for improvements, and potential intrusions.
    • Storage and warehousing – They should have proven capabilities managing all data types and formats, so you’re never limited by what you can’t see or find.

     
    If your database concern is unique and particularly baffling, Datavail will even find a specialist database administration expert by accessing our Database Staffing Services network. Because of its long history of stellar service, Datavail acts as a central networking point for DBAs across the country, and when our clients need a specialist’s specialist, we know we can find just who fits that bill. Bringing that person on as a Datavail DBA provides our customers with the best possible consultant for their purpose and enhances our value to them, as well.

    In addition to exceptional DBA administration knowledge and skillsets, Datavail’s DBA resources are also always accessible. We have database administration managed services teams available 24x7 because we never know when you’re going to need our support and assistance.

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  3. Tailored Delivery Models

    Every customer is distinctly different, so we tailor our delivery models to meet their unique needs.

    • We start with a specific technology practice structure to match our services with our customer’s existing technologies.
    • We then assign a U.S.-based, Senior level (Tier 3) database administrator anda U.S.-based service manager to every client as their primary contacts. The Tier 3 administrator is guaranteed to have at least 10 years in the field, ensuring a high level of expertise. The leadership organization and strategy give our clients consistency in who they talk to about their concerns.
    • We then assign the project to an off-shore, technology-specific team of 20 to 30 professionals, who rotate shifts to provide ’round-the-clock services. This team approach ensures that every DBA consultant is always operating at peak performance when they’re on the job.
    • We organize our services into three tiers, and customers can choose the Tier, services, and pricing options that best suit their needs.

     
    Regardless of the tier or service structure they choose, every customer receives 24x7 live DBA support, system monitoring, and troubleshooting.

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  5. A Straightforward Billing Structure

    Too many database managed services providers bill their customers by the individual service or enroll them in a one-size-fits-all billing plan. However, those approaches don’t provide the service flexibility their customers need or the reliable monthly expense value they’ve set in their budget.

    At Datavail, we bill on a fixed-price, monthly contract, based on the types of services our customers choose and the tiers to which we’ve assigned those services. This transparent pricing system lets them control what services they receive and how much they’re going to pay for them.

    Our Tier level strategy gathers together specialized but related services into one of three Tiers, each offering significant but distinct values. Our customers can choose services from the Tier levels that best suit their needs and move from service to service and Tier to Tier over time as their business changes.
     

    • Tier 1: Our first-tier level provides the comprehensive monitoring services that are in such high demand today, coupled with 24/7 live DBA support. The service starts with the implementation of monitoring and ticketing services, which connect the work we do to the work you do. Monitoring services oversee scheduled jobs, backup and recovery jobs, custom events including replications and clustering, and responding to alerts and notifications. Our 24/7 support staff is available at all times for troubleshooting, too.
    • Tier 2: Designed to respond to all Tier 1 events, Tier 2 services also include service requests, which facilitate 24/7 DBA availability to perform database tasks upon request. These customers also receive support regarding installation, schema creation, CPU utilization, performance service supports, database tuning, patching, bug fixing, and more.
    • Tier 3: Tier 3 customers enjoy the full attention of our most experienced DBAs, who act proactively to optimize systems even when there are no concerns at hand. These services give clients a dedicated DBA to engineer, architect, and collaborate with as they evolve into new iterations. Consults lead to optimized scaling, security practices, and overall database strategies.
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  7. Comprehensive Monitoring Abilities

    Your company’s mission-critical information is only safe when it’s appropriately monitored. Datavail’s comprehensive monitoring provides several assurances:

    • That your systems are functioning correctly. When they’re not, monitors will detect failures as soon as they become apparent, allowing for immediate remediation activities.
    • That access to your data is limited only to those who are authorized to see it. Monitors track audit trails to determine who’s doing what with your information.
    • That your systems are secure from intrusions. Malicious insiders are always a concern, and so are external threats of hacking, breaches, and other intrusions.

     
    Datavail’s managed services teams watch over all activities in and around the database, including tracking automatic alerts, media communications, services, and ticketing operations to name just a few. Learn more about our database monitoring services and solutions.

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  9. Simple, Flexible Contracts

    As noted above, every customer is unique, and so are the contracts we build with them. We express our terms in clear and relatable language, so you always know what you’re getting. Plus, we recognize that your needs will change, so your service agreements should be changeable, too. That flexibility gives you the capacity to scale your services up or down as needed, add new features when you need them, and even adjust your priorities within your monthly contracts, so you’re always in control of how your agreements fulfill your database administration needs.

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  11. Happy Customers

    Datavail is proud to be partners with some of the world’s most successful businesses, including Microsoft, Oracle, AWS and MongoDB. Through these partnerships (our average length of partnership is seven years), we can provide our customers with the best-in-class database administration services available on the market today.

    Customer comments reveal that our work ethic and offerings are also top-notch. They often describe us using words like ‘consistent, ‘reliable, ‘fantastic,’ ‘responsive,’ and ‘excellent.’ Some consider us more than a service provider; to them, we are a true partner.

 
Datavail is proud of its untarnished reputation with our customers, business partners, and industry colleagues. If you want the highest quality database managed service provider around, you’ll want to learn more about Datavail’s offerings.

The post 6 Things to Look for in a DBA Managed Service Provider appeared first on Datavail.

How to Achieve Success During an Oracle to MariaDB Migration


 

MariaDB is a powerful open-source database technology that offers a range of enterprise-grade features and benefits, making it an attractive migration option for organizations using Oracle. However, you need to develop a comprehensive Oracle migration plan for a successful move. Here are some lessons Datavail has learned over thousands of database migrations.

Assess Your Cost Savings

Migrating from Oracle to MariaDB is a popular way for organizations to reduce their costs because of high expenses associated with licensing, add-ons, and long lead times on feature requests. According to MariaDB, “the total cost of Oracle is 84x higher than the MariaDB Platform, and organizations can save over $9 million after three years by choosing the MariaDB Platform.”

MariaDB offers an open-source model that lowers support costs and speeds up the process for feature requests. If you have the technical resources, you can develop custom database features and add them to MariaDB yourself. You also keep a comparable level of functionality, stability, and professional support when you migrate.

Perform Performance and Functional Testing at Scale

A successful and thorough proof of concept is an essential part of an Oracle to MariaDB migration. This proof of concept forms the basis of the migration plan and allows you to identify any roadblocks that could lead to failure. To get the most out of your testing, you should:

  • Use the same hardware as your production environment.
  • Emulate your application and database environment as much as possible.
  • Test against a product size data set.

Choose the Right Hardware Specifications

Trying to run MariaDB databases on non-database optimized hardware or those smaller than your Oracle environment can cause a performance bottleneck. When you select your MariaDB hardware, ensure that the following components have the right capabilities for your database load and application usage:

  • Types of drives
  • IOPS capacity
  • Drive mount options
  • RAID or other drive redundancy options
  • Memory size and type
  • CPU capacity

Leverage Oracle SQL Mode in MariaDB

One of the most significant advantages that MariaDB brings to the table over other open-source database options is its built-in Oracle SQL Mode. This feature helps companies quickly migrate from Oracle to MariaDB without completely changing their application code. Oracle Mode supports almost all PL/SQL syntax and commands. Most times, you end up making minimal code changes to make an application MariaDB compatible.

Understand MariaDB’s High Availability Architecture Gains

MariaDB’s overwhelmingly lower cost opens up more options for High Availability (HA) architecture. During one of our recent migration projects, our customer took a three-node DataGuard Architecture between two data centers and doubled their HA footprint with standard MariaDB Replication across six database servers.

Previously, this customer only had two nodes within the primary data center region. Any outages or planned maintenance left them vulnerable to outages or forced failover to the secondary datacenter if something happened to the remaining standing node.

The extra nodes added a layer of HA that helped the customer’s peace of mind and strengthened the availability and stability of their database architecture. This infrastructure also provides more scalability with MariaDB’s Maxscale Read-Write splitting between the nodes. For comparable architectures to Oracle RAC, MariaDB Galera Cluster provides multi-master clustering, which can combine with Replication to the disaster recovery site.

Adding Load Balancing Through MariaDB MaxScale

The MariaDB suite of products, included with the Enterprise license, offers the MaxScale advanced proxy server between the application and the database servers. This tool is full of useful and impressive features that make it an essential part of any MariaDB architecture, ranging from data masking to basic connection routing, automating database failover and replica promotion. MariaDB MaxScale 2.5 also introduces the MaxScale GUI, which gives you a graphic user interface for a more user-friendly experience compared to the command-line utility or working directly in the configuration file.

You can configure MaxScale with Query Caching using Native Caching, Redis, or MemCached, which can improve repetitive query speed by 8x and lighten the load on your database.

Read This Next

Going Open-Source: Making the Move to MariaDB from Oracle

Ready to start with your Oracle to MariaDB migration? This paper covers an overview of MariaDB, including key features and benefits, to help chart your course when making the migration to MariaDB.

The post How to Achieve Success During an Oracle to MariaDB Migration appeared first on Datavail.

Transforming Information into Insights: Collaboration Tools


 

Collaboration tools are an unsung, yet crucial, part of effective data storytelling. Good visualizations are rarely created by one person alone; they rely on multiple people and teams throughout the process—from extracting the data effectively, to selecting the right visual format for presentation and fine-tuning the end result.

 
In this article, we’ll discuss some of your options for collaboration tools when building great data visualizations.

5 Types of Collaboration Tools for Data Visualization

  1. Visual Analytics Tools

    First of all, many of the most popular and feature-rich data visualization platforms come equipped with their own collaboration functionality themselves.

    Tableau, for example, allows users to publish their dashboards online with Tableau Server, letting them instantly share their work and get feedback. Microsoft Power BI also allows for multiple collaboration opportunities, including sharing and annotating dashboards and reports, embedding them in portals or websites, and bundling them into apps for wider distribution.

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  3. Instant Messaging Services

    When you need a quick answer ASAP, instant messaging services are the collaboration tool of choice. Platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack allow users to create and join different workspaces and channels, ensuring that messages are contained to the appropriate topic. Both Microsoft Teams and Slack also integrate with visualization tools that make it easier to communicate about a given project.

    For example, Microsoft Teams is fully integrated with Microsoft’s Office 365 ecosystem—including Microsoft Power BI for building interactive dashboards, reports, and visualizations. Meanwhile, third-party services such as PushMetrics and Kiwi can deliver Tableau reports directly into a Slack channel.

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  5. Video Conferencing Software

    When a quick instant message isn’t enough, video conferencing software like Zoom and Google Hangouts can serve as a platform for longer meetings and discussions. Zoom includes third-party integrations with cloud hosting services such as Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and Box, letting you easily share external documents with attendees.

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  7. Project Management Tools

    With longer data visualization activities, project management tools such as Asana and Trello are a must.

    Project management tools allow the members of a given team to break up a project into tasks and subtasks, set tasks for each other, group tasks into sections and columns, assign task deadlines and start times, create links and dependencies between tasks and much more. For best results, look for dedicated project management tools with extensive features and functionality, such as:

    • Calendars for quickly viewing tasks and deadlines.
    • Kanban boards for visualizing a project workflow (e.g. displaying tasks that are completed, in review, in the backlog, in testing, etc.).
    • Gantt charts for visualizing a project schedule, with activities displayed as bars along a given timeline.

    Not only can you use project management tools to stay on top of your data visualizations, but you can also reverse the relationship by visualizing your project management data. Tableau, for example, can also analyze and visualize data from Asana, e.g. to see how well team members are meeting their assigned deadlines.

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  9. Real-Time Coding Platforms

    Last but certainly not least, real-time coding platforms are a tremendously valuable collaboration tool for building data visualizations—at least among your technically minded team members.

    Real-time coding platforms, as the name suggests, allow multiple users to view and work on the same code base remotely at the same time. Together, team members can jointly edit and debug code, share the same resources (e.g. terminals and servers) and more. Not only can real-time coding platforms be used for collaboration and pair programming, they’re also highly useful for demonstrations, presentations, and remote technical interviews.

    Your options here include Microsoft’s Visual Studio Live Share, as well as the Teletype package for the Atom text editor. Websites such as Codeshare and CodeBunk also offer real-time collaboration—but they lack the robustness of other solutions and don’t save your data long-term, so they’re best to use in a pinch.

Conclusion

By dramatically improving your employees’ productivity and efficiency, good collaboration tools are worth their weight in gold. Not only can you use them for data analytics and visualization projects, you can also employ them throughout the rest of the organization as well.

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The post Transforming Information into Insights: Collaboration Tools appeared first on Datavail.

Choosing the Right Configuration for an Oracle to MariaDB Migration


 

Your database’s configuration makes or breaks an Oracle to MariaDB migration project. You may end up with data loss, data corruption, bad performance, and poor query optimization without the proper settings. Here are the lessons Datavail has learned from thousands of database migrations.

MariaDB Built-in Features That Are Add-ons in Oracle

MariaDB has many features built into its Enterprise software that are only offered as add-ons in Oracle. As part of your Oracle migration project, it’s helpful to assess the features or settings that can best benefit your application.

For one of our customers, the flexibility and granularity of MariaDB’s permissions and user roles met their security needs far better than the Oracle add-on security packages they had purchased. The flexibility of using multiple table engines on a table-by-table basis is a unique feature in MariaDB and MySQL. Most implementations use the standard transactional InnoDB Engine; but reviewing your workload and table footprint helps determine if another engine may be better for some tables. Different engines can provide two to three times the compression, 10 times the IO write or store petabytes of data with powerful analytics speeds.

Evaluating Your Default Transaction Isolation Level

Consider the need to change from the default isolation level to better match the level on which your application was built. Oracle’s default Transaction Isolation Level is Read Committed. MariaDB’s default is Repeatable Read, which is fully ACID compliant and performs more locking, as all SELECTs within a transaction return the same result. If you use a level that the application isn’t written for, gap locks appear, and performance deteriorates.

Keeping Time Zones and Dates Consistent

Any migration should assess time zone settings at an application, database, and system level. Many legacy solutions are built in a specific time zone and face challenges with staying consistent, adding new time zones, and adjusting to daylight savings time changes.

During an Oracle to MariaDB migration, it’s imperative to assess the time zone impact because MariaDB doesn’t support the datatype “datetime with time zone” from Oracle. If this process isn’t handled correctly, time zones get stripped from the dataset. This data would be essentially useless with only a datetime stamp.

You can use Oracle Golden Gate to convert to the UTC time zone during the migration process to eliminate many of these issues. An alternative is adding a column to track the time zone, but this requires code changes.

Reviewing Your Indexes

Good indexing is critical to database performance, but DBMS systems approach query execution plans in different ways. Many legacy systems accumulate indexes over time that may no longer be relevant or helpful. Even if those indexes were created for active queries, MariaDB might choose a different index to execute that same query. Foreign Key Cascade on Delete behavior and Circular Foreign Keys are two other components that may cause performance issues if they’re not optimized for your current needs.

You also need to confirm that MariaDB supports your Oracle indexes. For example, it does not support Function-Based Indexes and Index Compression.

Review these indexes to determine if they’re beneficial in the new system or are just added overhead. When you’re reviewing slow queries on the migrated system, you can identify the need for any new indexes or indexes modified for MariaDB’s query optimizer.

During the actual migration process, performing the initial load without indexes on very large tables may improve the overall migration time. Importing bulk data will slow down when you have large tables with many indexes that need to be written to disk concurrently. Sometimes, using the ADD INDEX command after the initial load is beneficial.

Pay Attention to Sequences, Triggers, Stored Procs, and Jobs

Give special consideration and preparation to Objects that may behave differently across the databases or require syntax changes to migrate. MariaDB’s Oracle Mode helps with Non-ANSI Stored Procedure Construct and Stored Procedure Parameters; you should review and test all Stored Procs and triggers after converting the necessary syntax to confirm they still work and return the same data as Oracle. Some elements may not have equivalent objects or functions in MariaDB. For example, triggers in Oracle can fire on DML, DDL, or Database changes, but MariaDB triggers are only for DML changes. You can convert all Oracle scheduler jobs to run as MariaDB events.

Sequence Options are slightly different between Oracle and MariaDB. It’s vital to keep sequences disabled in MariaDB until after it becomes the master. The following Oracle Sequence Options don’t exist in MariaDB: NOORDER, NOKEEP, NOSCALE, and GLOBAL. You can use a basic sequence create statement on MariaDB to match the Sequence numbers on Oracle when you cutover. For example:

CREATE SEQUENCE DATABASE1.TABLEA_PK_SEQ START WITH 13541225;

Check for Compatible CharSet and Collation Selections

If your migration tool or target database has a character set that doesn’t include all the characters used in Oracle, the migration ends up with corrupted or lost data. Similarly, choosing different collation settings in MariaDB than in Oracle could completely change query results against the MariaDB database, as the sorting and case sensitivity changes.

One of our customers didn’t review their character sets between their Oracle and MariaDB environments before their first migration attempt. They quickly found that the mismatched character sets caused errors in their Oracle GoldenGate migration, and certain characters in the data couldn’t migrate. Their source database had a universal charset utf8mb4, while their target was using Latin1. After changing the character set on the target database and its tables, the migration was completed successfully with no data loss.

Read This Next

Going Open-Source: Making the Move to MariaDB from Oracle

Want to learn more about the Oracle to MariaDB migration process? Download our white paper for more details. This paper will provide an overview of MariaDB, including key features and benefits, to help chart your course when making the migration to MariaDB.

The post Choosing the Right Configuration for an Oracle to MariaDB Migration appeared first on Datavail.