Automate PeopleTools Database Patches

With PeopleTools 8.55, applying database PeopleTools patches with Change Assistant is easy to automate. In 8.54, Change Assistant gained the ability to apply patches from the command line. But with 8.55 and the PeopleTools Client DPK, the process is even better.

There are three main steps to getting your PeopleTools 8.55 database patched:

  1. Install the new PeopleTools Client (and Change Assistant version)
  2. Configure your target environment
  3. Run the PeopleTools patch command

Let’s look at each step.

PeopleTools Client and Patch Files

The first step is to install the updated PeopleTools client using the Client DPK (PeopleTools Patch Client Install section). When you install the client, make sure you select “PeopleTools Patch” or “Full PeopleTools Upgrade”. Both of those options will create a PTP folder under the client home. The PTP folder will contain the PeopleTools Patch (PTP) .zip files and Change Assistant expects those files in the PTP folder. Make sure you install the new Change Assistant version too. With 8.55, you can install more than one version of Change Assistant; I used the convention C:\Program Files\PeopleSoft\Change Assistant-8.55.xx for the install path.

1-ptclient.gif

Change Assistant Configuration

In the updated version of Change Assistant, you need to create an environment definition for the target database. If the environment existed in an older version of Change Assistant, use the new Import feature under “Tools > Export/Import Change Assistant Settings”. If you don’t have an environment defined, to to “File > New Database” to create it. For your target database, change the PS_HOME directory to the new PeopleTools Client folder. Verify and Save the environment definition.

2-caenv

Automate

Open a command prompt and navigate to C:\Program Files\PeopleSoft\Change Assistant. We’ll kick off the PeopleTools Patch using the changeassistant.bat file. There are 4 parameters we specify:

  • -MODE: The Change Assistant mode to run (UM for Update Manager mode)
  • -ACTION: The change action to run (PTPAPPLY for a patch or PTUAPPLY for an upgrade)
  • -TGTENV: The target environment name
  • -UPD: PeopleTools Patch ID (PTP855xx)

3-ptpapply

Check the softwareupdatePTP855XX{-DBNAME}IP output folder (defined under Tools > Options > Output Directory in Change Assistant) for the logs. Change Assistant will create the usual logs, but you will also find a job.log file. job.log is the same output that you normally see in the left-pane inside Change Assistant.

I applied PeopleTools 8.55.08 (to an 8.55.05) database and the patch job took less than 10 minutes.

#31 – Change Assistant

This week on the podcast, we share a new trace analyzer tool, a great tip for managing Oracle Client versions, a fun game to learn VIM, and discovering the Oracle Cloud Migration DPK. Then we go in depth on the new features (and bugs) with Change Assistant 8.55.

We want to make this podcast part of the community discussion on PeopleSoft administration. If you have comments, feedback, or topics you’d like us to talk about, we want to hear from you! You can email us at podcast@psadmin.io, tweet us at @psa_io, or use the Twitter hashtag #psadminpodcast.

You can listen to the podcast here on psadmin.io or subscribe with your favorite podcast player using the URL below, or subscribe in iTunes.

Podcast RSS Feed

Show Notes

Change Assistant and File Servers

Last week I talked about setting up a new directoy on our file servers to handle patches: PS_APP_PATCH_HOME. The role of PS_APP_PATCH_HOME is to hold SQR, COBOL source, and other file system objects from PUM Patches. But, to make it easier to apply patches to the new PS_APP_PATCH_HOME, we want those folders to show up in Change Assistant as a file server. Then Change Assistant will deploy the files to PS_APP_PATCH_HOME for us.

With two changes, we can get our PS_APP_PATCH_HOME to show up as a file server.

  1. Copy the file appsfilesrvr.info from PS_APP_HOME\bin\client\winx86\ to PS_APP_PATCH_HOME\bin\client\winx86\.
  2. In the PSEMAgent\envmetadata\config\configuration.properties file for your file server, add the path for PS_APP_PATCH_HOME to the windowsdrivestocrawl or unixdrivestocrawl. For example, windowsdrivestocrawl=e:/psoft/hr92dev-patch|<your other folders>

After you add PS_APP_PATCH_HOME, issue a recrawl to your EMF Agent.

startagent.bat recrawl

When you re-open Change Assistant and validate the environments, the new path should show up. The e:\psoft\hr92dev-patch folder will also show up in the list of File Servers when applying a patch.

PS_APP_PATCH_HOME as a File Server

#12 – Migrations

This week on The PeopleSoft Administrator Podcast we dig into migrations. Kyle shares everything he likes about Phire and the benefits of a version control tool. Dan discusses an alternative to Phire and Stat – Change Assistant. We also discuss the new Native Push Notifications update in PeopleTools 8.55.

We want to make this podcast part of the community discussion on PeopleSoft administration. If you have comments, feedback, or topics you’d like us to talk about, we want to hear from you! You can email us at podcast@psadmin.io, tweet us at @psa_io, or use the Twitter hashtag #psadminpodcast. You can listen to the podcast here on psadmin.io or subscribe with your favorite podcast player using the URL below, or subscribe in iTunes.

Podcast RSS Feed

Show Notes

My PeopleSoft Update Manager Setup

With PeopleSoft 9.2, new patches are delivered through PeopleSoft Images every few months. The images are Virtual Machines you download from Oracle Support. With 3 applications (HR, ELM, Finance), we are constantly downloading new images.

This is how I setup and manage our PeopleSoft Images for 3 applications.

Hardware

We run the PeopleSoft Images on a powerful desktop that sits in our cube. Our server infrastructure is managed by a private cloud, so we can control a desktop without getting the server team involved. Having a desktop also let us run VirtualBox instead of VMWare (our cloud’s platform). Running on VMWare means converting the image every time a new one is released.

The desktop has these stats:

  • 2 – 2 Core CPU
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • 500 GB C: drive
  • 3 TB E: drive

The C: drive is used for the OS (Windows 2007), downloading images, and VirtualBox. The E: drive is where we store .OVA files, and the VirutalBox images. In VirtualBox, I changed the default for the VM’s to E:VirtualBox so new VM’s are imported to the large drive.

Network

We let the ERP Tech Team access the images and wanted to make the access simple. I made an assumption that we would only have 1 Image running for an application at a time (e.g, only 1 ELM image running). The network team made 3 DHCP reservations (1 for each application) and created 3 DNS entries for those IP’s. So, we have hrpum.psadmin.io, elmpum.psadmin.io, and fspum.psadmin.io that point to static IP addresses. When a user needs to access a PeopleSoft Image, we boot up the VM they need and the URL does the rest.

That does mean that we have to configure the PeopleSoft Image so the static IP/DNS work. When you boot the image for the first time, skip the DHCP settings and manually enter the IP, Subnet and Gateway settings. I also make the hostname match the DNS entry.

If you selected DHCP when setting up the VM, you have two options:

  1. These steps will let you change the IP and hostname. Be aware though, the configuration process when booting the VM created the tnsnames.ora file with the old IP.
  2. Reset the Image and start over with the configuration questions.

Naming Conventions

When importing the .OVA file into VirtualBox, I always make one change to the name: I include the image number! By default, the PeopleSoft Images don’t include the image number, just the PeopleTools version. For example, HCMDB-92-854-03 was HR Image 9. Unless you can remember that Image 9 was delivered on 8.54.03, you’ll have to boot it to find out.

(The only reason I can think of why the image number was not included in the name is because PeopleSoft assumes you will only run the latest image. More on that below).

So, the change I make is to add the 3 digit image number to the end of the VM. For example, HCMDB-92-854-03-009 for HR Image 9.

Client/Change Assistant Setup

New images are always shipped on the latest PeopleTools version. This means you will constantly install new PeopleTools clients. I install them to c:client-8.54.xx and keep older versions around for a while in case we boot up an older image or have a PeopleTools version issue (like the encryption change in 8.53.17).

We also have a folder where we export environment information from Change Assistant. Unlike App Designer, you can only have one version of Change Assistant installed. When you install Change Assistant, it wipes out all the environment information you had previously loaded. Since we always apply patches to Demo, we export our environment configuration. After the updated Change Assistant is installed, we can simply import the environments.

(This is “working as designed”. Please file an SR on this so. I did, and this should be fixed. If all you settings in Outlook were wiped out when patches were applied, you’d be pretty upset).

TIP: when you refresh environments, retain the value in PSOPTIONS.GUID after the refresh. The Environment Management Framework uses the GUID to identify which app/batch/web server belong to which database. That will keep the agents from getting confused after a refresh.

PeopleSoft Image Downloads

With 3 applications, we are downloading image almost every month. As soon as an image is released, I grab the WGET script, download the image and create the .OVA file. Even if we don’t need to use the image, I keep a copy around for while. More than once we have had to start an older image to grab a patch (new image had too many dependencies). Having the .OVA file ready to go will save you hours when a user sends that high priority email asking for a patch to be applied yesterday.

TIP: After you create the .OVA file, always verify the MD5 and SHA1 hashes. Sometimes a download fails without you noticing, but the ova_gen script will still create the .OVA file. On Windows, for $10 the HashTab plugin will give you the hashes in the File Properties window.