The 2015 fall meeting of the Upper Midwest Regional User Group (UMRUG) was last week. There was lots of great information from Oracle and other users. Here are the highlights:
Opening Keynote: Oracle
Jim Ellis, from Oracle, gave the opening keynote. Much of the presentation was also in the OpenWorld slides.
Jim asked the audience how many people used Fluid, or were planning to use Fluid. Only a few people raised their hands. Going foward, Fluid will be the new UI for PeopleSoft. Starting in 8.55, it will be the default navigation. New features will soon be Fluid too.
- CFO Tool (Cummulative Feature Overview)
The CFO Tool is now image-based so you can check new features every time an image posts.
- PeopleTools 8.55
No release date yet, but lots of hints that it may drop before the end of the year. (Obviously, that’s a non-binding hint!)
PUM and Selective Adoption
Jim emphasized the need to stay current. (This was a theme the entire day – more on that later.)
More emphasis on the PeopleSoft Test Framework with the PUM. With selective adoption and the PUM, the need for automated testing goes up. New PUM features include customization detection and test coverage when selecting patches.
- 9.1 and 8.55
Jim didn’t know for sure, but PeopleTools 8.55 should support 9.1 applications.
This is my favorite part of the day; all technical people in a room talking about issues and features.
- PUM and PI’s and Patching
This topic took up most of the morning roundtable. Everyone is trying to figure out the best way to stay current. Many people have concerns about applying full images frequently, or they don’t have the resources to apply that often. Most organizations are tying to get current once a year, but a few are trying to get current twice a year.
There were also questions about how to manage demo environments. The discussions are similiar to upcoming episode 4 of The PeopleSoft Administrator Podcast. Take a listen to that if you want a deeper recap.
- PeopleTools 8.54 Patches
A few organizations said they patched to 8.54.11-13 and had issues with IE 11 rendering. When IE was in Enterprise mode (aka, Quirks mode), pages had rendering issues. According to the Oracle reps, the PeopleTools team has been working to make the HTML generated standards compliant. In the long term, this is a great change. But it needs changes to IE settings. Or use Chrome.
Also, check the Browser Compatability Guide (746222.1) for details on browser certification.
- 2-Tier Query
8.54 broke some queries that ran in 2-Tier query. With 8.54, some new query features were not added to the
psqryapplication, like Default Prompts.
The Oracle representatives confirmed that a new search tool will be available in 2016. The new software will be Elasticsearch. SES has been taking off Oracle’s price sheet, so that product is essentially done. PeopleTools 8.55 will support SES, and at release time will only support SES. Sometime in 2016 PeopleTools 8.55 will add Elasticsearch support.
The goal for Elasticsearch is to be a drop-in replacement for SES. Most of the work to set up and customize search indexes will carry forward to Elasticsearch.
This should go without saying, but this information isn’t official. The Oracle reps were attending the conference and giving out as much information as they could, but none of these details are binding.
PeopleTools Platform and Cloud Architecture Update
Oracle presented and was like the OpenWorld session. There were lots of updates covered including certification changes and new 8.55 enhancements.
Here are the highlights for the certification changes:
- PeopleTools 8.55 will support Java 7, not Java 8.
- The Microsoft Edge browser will gained support in PeopleTools 8.54.16, and 8.53 will get support in an upcoming patch
- SES 188.8.131.52 will get Oracle Database 184.108.40.206 support on Windows soon
- Elasticsearch support in PeopleTools 8.55 sometime in 2016
- Crystal is not supported in PeopleTools 8.55 (even for 9.1 applications)
- Excel 2016 support in PeopleTools 8.55 (but not Word 2016 at release)
PeopleTools 8.55 makes large changes to the server infrastructure and builds on existing features. The highlights:
- The new Deployment Kits (DPK’s) will focus on making consistent and stable environments.
- DPK’s will use Puppet and Automated Configuration Management (ACM) to automate deployments to the PUM. You can also use DPK’s in your own environments.
- In 8.55, the PUM will let you use different VM platforms instead of VirtualBox
- Tools patches in 8.55 will be a DPK using a single configuration file (via Puppet)
- The ACM will perform all PIA configuration (for DPK’s)
- The new PUM DPK’s will have a VirtualBox shell, but you don’t have to use it
- 8.55 Beta customers were able to spin up new environments in less than an hour using DPKs – exciting!
- The ACM will ship with 25 plug-ins, but you can write your own to extend the tool
- Push notifications in 8.55 gain the ability to send native notifications to mobile devices (iOS/Android)
PeopleTools 8.55 is looking to be a big shift in how administrators will work on the system. I’m excited to try the DPK’s and see how Puppet integrates with PeopleTools. We use the the beta version of ACM (in 8.53) and like it.
PeopleSoft Update Manager Panel
The last session I attended was a panel on the PUM and how organizations are adjusting to the Selective Adoption support model. The short version of the panel was: everyone is trying to figure out what works best. A few organizations have applied full images, but most were in the planning stage.
One organization was trying to apply images twice a year, but they have a large QA team and the development staff to handle the workload. But, they also removed, or re-wrote customizations so they didn’t conflict with delivered code. The rest of the panelists said they plan to get current once a year. That fits with majority of the people in the Technical Roundtable.
There were good suggestions from the panelists that you may want to adopt:
- Review the latest PI (PeopleSoft Image) when released. There may be bug fixes in the PI you didn’t know about.
- Oracle recommends you stay within 8-12 months of the latest image
- Use the CFO tool to find new features in the images you may want. You can apply the latest image and not enable new features if you’re not ready.
- Moving to regular release (monthly, quarterly, etc) helps your team incorporate bug fixes from the latest PI
- Need more testing with selective adoption – especially automated testing
- Developers must understand the importance of bolt-on customizations to reduce conflicts when appling images. This may be a cultural change, but it will benefit the organization in the long run.
This was a great meeting, and thanks to QUEST and the UMRUG volunteers for putting on the conference.