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.
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.
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
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:
- These steps will let you change the IP and hostname. Be aware though, the configuration process when booting the VM created the
tnsnames.orafile with the old IP.
- Reset the Image and start over with the configuration questions.
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.GUIDafter 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_genscript will still create the .OVA file. On Windows, for $10 the HashTab plugin will give you the hashes in the File Properties window.
We are looking into a similar approach – utilizing a powerful desktop rather than a physical server or VMWare. We also are going to go the static IP route and map to some easy to remember hostnames.
I am looking into options for spinning up ad-hoc images for demos or sandboxes, but still allow for sharing remotely with the ERP tech team and keeping the infrastructure team out of it. What I ended up doing was setting the VM with NAT networking and then configured port forwarding(8000) from the host ip to the ad-hoc VM. Since the desktop host is domain joined, it can be accessed via computername.psadmin.io. So, you need to make sure everyone knows this URL and just tell them what port number you setup for forwarding to the ad-hoc VM.
Might be easier to just setup a larger range of static IPs to use, but where is the fun in that! 🙂
Using NAT on the host is a good solution because you don’t have to get the network team involved and can do whatever you like. That does make it more flexible for you too because you can have multiple images running at once (as long as your desktop can handle it). Our desktop is fine two with images running, but starting a third image will slow down every thing on the machine.
Don’t know if this is the best place to post this question but I hope you can help.
I’ve got a 854 PeopleSoft PUM VirtualBox up and running and am trying to start the PSEMAgent on it? I navigated to the PSEMAgent directory and started the StartAgent.sh file but get an error saying it can’t resolve the %HOME% variable.
Any ideas as to what I should have done before running the startagent file? (I just logged in as psadm2 and navigated then executed the file)
Many thanks in advance.