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18 May 2017

Head in the Essbase Cloud No. 3 -- Costing the Essbase Cloud

What price Essbase?

I can(‘t) get it for you wholesale

Oft times when I set pen to paper, I endeavor to get the geeky part of whatever I write just as accurately as I can manage to do.  Yes, I get bits wrong – Hah!  You’ll never, probably, know ‘cos I have a legion of haters fans who read my missives to you, Gentle Reader, with the zeal of Carrie Nation coming across Harry’s New York Bar whilst travelling Europe on $5 a day (‘natch, back home the 18th Amendment has shut down the honest whistle-wetting establishments so she’s got to go overseas) and, upon finding a teensy-weensy error on my part (Essbase is a very large egg that has gone off?  Planning is a color that reminds me of love?  I am a genius as yet undiscovered?  Non sequiturs are my chosen métier? ) point it out to me most lickety-split so that I may thus correct it before you even know it. – but they’re generally fixed just as soon as I can mutter culpa mea culpa and try to atone for the error of my ways.

Whew.  Did I lose you?  I know I lost myself but, through advanced navigation skills, have found myself again.

Unhappily, this post finds me (sorry, could not resist) in the unenviable position of an almost certainty of being corrected because:  none of this is technical, some of the information came to me secondhand, I’m making wild SWAGs about the mix of products, and, as Barbie once infamously said, “Math class is hard”.  

Money makes the world go round

On my laptop resides a Windows VM.  On that VM runs Windows 2008 Server (legally purchased I might note).  On that Windows install runs (most of) EPM 11.1.2.4.  You almost certainly have access to something like this.  You’ve paid for it (you’d better, Oracle customers, or an audit from Hell aka Oracle Contracts is almost certainly on its way), or you’re using it to evangelize the glories of Oracle software for free (Hah!, a second time because we all know I am far too lazy and stupid to ever profit from this blog.) and thus can use it for educational purposes which I fervently hope is tickety-boo with Oracle.  No matter how you’re here, you have a server(s), and someone installed Essbase and EPM and everything that goes with that.

If you’re using it in a commercial on-premises context, you’re paying for it.  There’s an upfront license fee and then a yearly maintenance charge equivalent to 22% of Essbase’s (or EPM-whatever’s) list price.  The server you run it on, the OS that surrounds Essbase, the relational database that supports EPM repositories, the backup software your firm buys, the antivirus package, the data center, etc., etc., etc., belong to your employer.  You (or your company) get to choose Linux over Windows, the Oracle Database over SQL Server, and so on down the line as you configure what makes Essbase your Essbase.  The choices and the costs are yours.

Essbase aka Oracle Analytics Cloud is totally different.

In the OAC cloud there are no:  local installs, VMs that you can see, payments to infrastructure consultants, patches, supporting software, or data centers and their server farms.  Other than the choice of buying Essbase in the cloud, there simply aren’t any choices to make; that’s all in Oracle’s bailiwick because Essbase Cloud is a PaaS product.  There are however monthly payments.  Some of these we can tease out but others Remain A Mystery that only an Oracle sales representative can answer.

Can’t means won’t and won’t means jail

No prison pallor is on the menu, but I can’t really know what you pay for on-premises Essbase nor can I tell you what Oracle will actually sell Essbase Cloud for.  The former is unknown because I haven’t (and don’t want to – there’s a reason I never got that JD) read your firm’s contract.  The latter is because, as my very first real world boss said, “Everything’s negotiable.”  I can say that generally there’s a 30% to 35% discount from list price on many of Oracle’s products but what you’ll actually pay is known only to you, your Oracle sales representative, and God.  Good luck.

What can I do through this post?  Break down all of the bits and bobs that actually comprise an Essbase Cloud instance because it’s not as clear as you might think.  With that information, you can berate/beseech/bargain with your Oracle sales representative when it comes down to cash on the proverbial barrelhead.  At least you’ll be forearmed when the reality distortion field known as a Sales Call envelops you.

What does it take to get to the cost of an Essbase Cloud instance?

I am, alas, not a wise old owl although with my glasses I do look a bit owlish so there’s that.

So just what are the components of an Essbase Cloud instance?  I’m not at all sure how one would figure that out based on OAC’s pricing page which really doesn’t list what it takes to truly run OAC.  

I’m not a lawyer but I play one on TV

OMG, the documents you’ll read to figure out what really and truly makes up and how much an Essbase Cloud instance costs.

To start with, take a look at

What you see below is my best guess as to what a customer actually needs to buy to get OAC at his company.  I could be – maybe am – wrong on this but as noted, this is what I can suss out.  I’ll correct this as I get corrections.  

There’s nothing secret here; your sales representative tell you all of this anyway (and as noted may correct some bits).  Regardless of the final validity of this information, my naiveté re just what makes up a cloud product appears to be without end:  I had no idea it took this many components.   

Non-metered

For non-metered usage, Essbase Cloud is comprised of:
Part
Description
Service type
Purpose
B87390
– or –
B87389
Oracle Analytics Cloud– Standard – Non-Metered – OCPU
-- or –
Oracle Analytics Cloud - Enterprise- Non-Metered – OCPU
PaaS
Essbase
B83531
Oracle Database Cloud Service - Standard Edition - General Purpose - Non-metered- Hosted Environment
PaaS
Database, Oracle, metadata, for the use of
B83543
Oracle Database Backup Cloud Service – Non-metered - TB of Storage Capacity
PaaS
Backup of Oracle database
B85643
Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Compute Capacity - 1 OCPU - Non-Metered
IaaS
CPU support for the Oracle database
B83456
Oracle Storage Cloud Service – Non-metered - TB of Storage Capacity
IaaS
Data storage
B83455
Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Block Storage - Non-metered -TB of Storage
Capacity
IaaS
Data storage

There are two paths to non-metered Essbase aka Oracle Analytic Cloud.  I believe but am not sure that the Enterprise product has full fat BICS as well as everything else in OAC.  See, I lied (again) when I wrote that this post would be uncorrectable.
  • B87390 Oracle Analytics Cloud– Standard – Non-Metered – OCPU which includes:  Essbase, BICS Mobile, 50 named users of Data Visualizer desktop per OCPU, Smart View for all users, and however many OCPUs you buy.
  • B87389 Oracle Analytics Cloud - Enterprise- Non-Metered – OCPU which includes:  BICS Mobile, 50 named users of Data Visualizer desktop per OCPU, Smart View for all users, one BICS administrator (I believe the significance of this is that Enterprise OAC is full BICS), and however many OCPUs you buy..  

Metered

NB – It’s not clear to me if metered and non-metered services can be combined, e.g. could a customer buy non-metered OAC but metered Storage?  OMG, have I mentioned who has the answer to this?  I have, haven’t I?

NB yet again – Although the OAC pricing page notes both metered and non-metered OAC, I can’t find OAC’s metered product numbers in Oracle’s Public Cloud Service Descriptions as of the writing of this post.  It’ll likely be there soon.

My bestest and most awesomest and quite likely wrongest guess as to what makes up metered OAC:
Part
Description
Service type
Purpose
B?????
– or –
B8????
Oracle Analytics Cloud– Standard – Metered – OCPU
-- or –
Oracle Analytics Cloud - Enterprise- Metered – OCPU
PaaS
Essbase
B78521
– or –  
B78522
Oracle Database Cloud Service-Standard Edition One Virtual Image-General Purpose OCPU per month – or – OCPU per hour
PaaS
Database, Oracle, metadata, for the use of
B77079, B77476,
B77477,
B77478
Oracle Database Backup Cloud Service – Metered
PaaS
Backup of Oracle database
B78516,
B78517,
B78518,
B78519,
B78520,
B85644,
B87082,
B87608,
B87285,
B87286
Oracle Compute Cloud Service –Compute Capacity - Instance – Metered
IaaS
CPU support for the Oracle database
B83456
Oracle Storage Cloud Service – Non-metered - TB of Storage Capacity
IaaS
Data storage
B83455
Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Block Storage - Non-metered -TB of Storage Capacity
IaaS
Data storage

Pricing

These are list prices.  Prices you can find, publicly, across all of those Read The Whole Thing™ links above.  What will you really pay?  As noted, it’s all negotiable and the only person that can really say is that Oracle sales rep I keep on referring to.  I am so far removed from the sales process I might as well be on another planet.  Come to think of it, I likely am on another planet (Vulcan?  Usra Minor Beta?) which explains all kinds of goofiness in my life both professional and personal.

A caveat re metered pricing:  I can’t even begin to understand it.  Read the docs, talk to your internal IT pricing analysts, talk to Oracle, but importantly, don’t bother asking me.  Non-metered is far easier although not necessarily a better fit for you.  Have I mentioned that you ought to talk to Oracle?  I have.  Again.

This example is for a two OCPU server (roughly four CPUs) with two terabytes of storage so a midsized Essbase server.

OCPUs explained

Just what is an OCPU?  Per Oracle’s, “Oracle Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service – Public Cloud  Service Descriptions-Metered & Non-Metered” document:
Oracle Compute Unit (OCPU) is defined as the CPU capacity equivalent of one physical core of an Intel Xeon processor with hyper threading enabled. Each OCPU corresponds to two hardware execution threads, known as vCPUs.

What kind of Xeon chip at what speed isn’t spelt out in the Service Descriptions document.  Shall I repeat the “you should talk to” statement?  Good, there’s no need.

Part
Description
Quantity
Purpose
B87390
– or –
B87389
Oracle Analytics Cloud– Standard – Non-Metered – OCPU
-- or –
Oracle Analytics Cloud - Enterprise- Non-Metered – OCPU
PaaS
Essbase
B83531
Oracle Database Cloud Service - Standard Edition - General Purpose - Non-metered- Hosted Environment
PaaS
Database, Oracle, metadata, for the use of
B83543
Oracle Database Backup Cloud Service – Non-metered - TB of Storage Capacity
PaaS
Backup of Oracle database
B85643
Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Compute Capacity - 1 OCPU - Non-Metered
IaaS
CPU support for the Oracle database
B83456
Oracle Storage Cloud Service – Non-metered - TB of Storage Capacity
IaaS
Data storage
B83455
Oracle Compute Cloud Service - Block Storage - Non-metered -TB of Storage
Capacity
IaaS
Data storage

List pricing

The below numbers are straight from Oracle’s web pages.  Again, what you will pay for may very well be less.

Is it worth it?

Only you can answer that.  What you see in the list prices above is the full cost of the product.  This is all you pay for non-metered Oracle Analytics Cloud.  No servers, no installs, no fighting working with IT.  You have the whole kit and kaboodle.

So what are license costs for on-premises?  Were you to buy Oracle Essbase Plus from shop.oracle.com for four unlimited CPUs for one year the price is…

Wowzers.

That almost $200,000 (this number is a bit high because the first year’s support is a one-time charge that differs from the 22% yearly maintenance fee but still) doesn’t include any of the infrastructure or internal support:  servers, relational databases, installs, OS license fees, etc. without mentioning Data Visualizer.  OAC beats Essbase Plus when comparing list to discounted cost and it includes all of the things that PaaS brings to the table.

Oracle Analytics Cloud isn’t just a good deal, it’s a fantastic deal.  Perhaps you should talk to your Oracle sales rep?  Probably.

Be seeing you.

Don’t be afraid to correct me

I don’t think there’s anyone afraid of that.  Fire away and I’ll correct accordingly, especially around metered products.

05 May 2017

The Compleat Idiot's Guide to PBCS No. 21 -- Change is the only constant

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

I use a lot of Oracle EPM products:  Essbase (all the time), Planning (some of the time), Essbase Cloud (more and more of the time), PBCS (some of the time), FDMEE (never of the time but I need to do more (some?) of it), HFM (even looking at the export file gives me the hives) etc., etc., etc.  Does this make me an expert?  A generalist?  A dilettante?  Jack of all trades, master of none?  You decide as I certainly can’t.

That’s a lot of products, regardless.

Do I need to relearn them every six months?  Nope.  EAS is EAS is EAS world without end or at least since 2005-ish.  Good, bad, or indifferent (although you’d have to be willfully deaf not to know about the direction Oracle is taking wrt on-premises EPM), the UI has stayed the same.

If a static tool is a dead one, I fear that on-premises is at least in God’s waiting room.

Nothing’s Gonna Change

Don’t believe me?  Cast your eyes downwards.

9.3.1

Did I see this first in (I think) 2006?  Is that possible?  Probably.

11.1.1.3

It’s pretty much the same with that stupid ship’s wheel – Wheel of a ship = navigator which is not nearly as clever as someone in Hyperion’s product management group thought it was.  Can you even see it?  I just thought of it as a poor man’s Start menu.

11.1.2.3, 11.1.2.3.500, and 11.1.2.4

Now things are looking a bit more modern.  NB – This may actually have changed in 11.1.2.2 but I never implemented that release so I just don’t remember.  In any case, there is not much (none, actually) functionality change and just a tweak of the colors.

AFAIK, only the colors have changed.  And oh yeah, it works much better in Firefox than it does in IE, a 180 degree change.  Gah, I hate IE so that’s a good thing.

Same as it (n)Ever Was

In light of Oracle’s channeling of Patton channeling (mistakenly apparently) Frederick The Great (What, you come to this blog for just EPM geekiness?) when it comes to Cloud, Cloud, Cloud, Oracle’s motto is L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.   And what that means is that the UI (and quite a bit of the rest of the toolset) changes.  In the example I’m going to give below, I hadn’t seriously looked at PBCS’ UI in about seven months and upon return was…confused.

The first set of screenshots are from approximately a year ago (so early 2016) that I used for a Kscope presentation.  There’s no other way (well, I guess if you work at Oracle and can get someone to cough up an old VM) to see what PBCS used to look like other than someone else’s screenshots.  And no, I won’t be able to (and don’t want to) examine each and every change.  

Instead I’ll focus on three use cases:  application management, inbox/outbox, running a job

LCM

Old

Not just old, Workspace old.  Yes, big icons, but Workspace all the way after that.  Workspace was the to access Application Management aka LCM.

As noted, there was no way to do this in the Simplified User Interface or as Jason Jones noted, the Candy Crush UI.  What do we like:  SUI or CCUI?  You decide.

This is typical Workspace design:  it looks like Windows Explorer and there’s an awful lot of information that way.  I actually prefer this approach as busy as it looks.  It’s a PC/Mac paradigm, not an iPhone/iPad interface.

Yeah, it’s hard to read.

But, given that I like to keep my Windows 7 looking as close as I can to Windows NT 4.0 that shouldn’t be all that surprising.

And yes, a screenshot of my desktop while writing this post is a bit of an Infinity Mirror.

Things Change

Remember Workspace?  Note that Workspace is gone and it ain’t never coming back.

Now go either to the pretty buttons to get to Migration:

Or use the navigator.  Yes, it’s back.  That unnamed and unknown product manager has had his revenge.  What’s nice (I am capable of a very small amount of grace) about the new navigator is that I can access everything from anywhere.  Now I like the concept of a navigator.  I still don’t miss the graphic.

Once into Migration aka used-to-be-Application Management-aka-used-to-be-LCM the UI is a lot easier to read but has way less information per screen.

But oh yeah, prettier.

In-N-Out with the old inbox

What a difference a year makes

What about changes between versions of the SUI?  

Note again how this version of the Navigator (which doesn’t have a link to Application Management):

Differs from today’s Navigator:

Back to 2016:  Navigator?  Wassthat?  Nope, we go to the Console to get at the Inbox via the Application screen.  NB – Today PBCS doesn’t have a Console.

Now we’re at the Inbox/Outbox Explorer.

Upload that file from your local box.  Yes, I’d script the whole thing but I am reviewing the UI.

New Explorer Revue

That was then, but as noted there is no longer a Console.  How then do we get to the Inbox/Outbox Explorer?  

Either through the front page’s Overview…

Or via Navigator’s Application/Overview link.  Choice is good.

It isn’t much of a change, but the Overview, Cubes, Dimensions, and Activity Reports are no longer on the side but are now tabs on the top of the Application pane are written out instead of icons.  These are minor differences but can be a bit confusing after a long absence.

The Explorer looks much the same as before.

Get a job

The UI of the past

Here we back to the beginning of 2016.  Schedule the job with a run-it-right-now property via the sadly-no-longer-with-us Console.  Click on the calendar icon (second from the top) on the left hand side and then “Schedule Jobs”.

Run it now, now, now.

Pick the job.

Confirm that it’s to be run.

And here it is a-runnin’.

Meet the new boss, same as the old one.

In 2017, go to the Navigator and then pick Jobs.

Getting into the Scheduler is a bit of a different path.

But once in, the scheduler looks and acts the same.

So no real change for the rest of the process.

Yup, it’s the same.

Whew, so at least one bit that’s the same.  For now.

Planned obsolescence

Talk about perishable goods.  I’ve documented the change between a fraction of PBCS’s administrative UI in 2016 and 2017.  I like to pretend that while I’m not writing for the ages, at least my posts are good for a year or two.  Given what I’ve shown you, that isn’t likely.

My whining aside, why belabor all of this?  Simply that your skills, skills that could once be mastered and then left on the figurative shelf, are going to go stale.  Stale means obsolescent, and obsolescence  means unemployment.  It’s always been this way but we’ve had time to adjust during that gap from 11.1.1.3 to 11.1.2.4.  No longer.

And there are a lot of changes across far more than the UI.  A lot and something that you’re not all that likely to keep up.  

So what to do?  RTM.  

Oracle and their documentation team very kindly (perhaps they take pity upon us?) provide a complete (compleat?) list of all of the changes from 2015 through the present month by month.  A feature changes?  It’s there.  But wait, you get more:  readmes, documentation links, and even videos.  I know I write a lot about Oracle’s documentation (eh, I write this blog, such as it is, books, presentations, etc. so why wouldn’t I be in favor of documentation?) but my point here is that they spend lots of $,¥, €, and £ to make this all happen.  And they need to ‘cos the product changes all the time; the UI is a minor component of the constant change of the Cloud.

PBCS and EPM are but a subset of the other cloud products Oracle has on offer.  Gentle Reader, I encourage you in the strongest terms to explore.  It’s the only way we can survive.

Be seeing you.