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Deleting old User Profiles January 10, 2012

Posted by Duncan in Administration, PeopleSoft, Security.
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Vanilla databases often contain 150-200 ‘example’ user profiles. While these can be useful to clone as a starting point early in an implementation, they’re frequently left dormant as the project continues – and sometimes still exist in Production post go-live.

It’s a straightforward task to lock the accounts, but once you have your security setup in place and your own template user profiles to clone then these ‘example’ accounts no longer serve any purpose. Here’s an easy way to delete them. (more…)

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PeopleSoft in the Cloud / Amazon EC2 June 30, 2010

Posted by Duncan in Administration, PeopleTools, Strategy, Virtualisation.
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We’ve been trying out Amazon’s EC2 (aka Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, aaka Amazon Web Services) for some of our PeopleSoft instances.

The advantages that this setup gives us are:

  • Global access (we don’t need to be in a certain office or use a VPN to get to PeopleSoft)
  • Flexibility (we don’t need to buy all of the kit in advance and then wait a month for the servers to arrive)
  • Hourly pricing (you only pay for the server when it’s booted)
  • Processing power (we’ve found that the hardware performs pretty well compared to other – more traditional – hosting providers)
  • Price (the amount of horsepower you get for your money compares well)
  • Frighteningly fast bandwidth (want to download the latest Tools patch … it’ll only take a few minutes!)

We’ve been using Windows 2008 and MS SQL 2008, however there’s nothing stopping anyone going Linux/Oracle.  We are running 7 environments with all of the PeopleSoft tiers on a single server with the following specs:

High-Memory Extra Large Instance

17.1 GB of memory
6.5 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 3.25 EC2 Compute Units each)
420 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform

All things considered, we’re pretty pleased with how it has gone.  There have been some issues however:

– VPN access:

I’ve spent a lot of time struggling with Windows RRAS (Routing and Remote Access) trying to get a reasonable VPN for developers to use to access the backend (SQL Server Management Studio, App Designer etc).  Although I can get the VPN to work, the server frequently disappeared from the network (even other servers in the Amazon Cloud couldn’t ping it).  There are many others on the Amazon forums with the same issue, so I gave up and used a different route for developer access (RDP into smaller ‘satellite’ servers with PeopleTools already installed).

– 3-Tier Debugger

This doesn’t seem to work between the satellite servers and the PeopleSoft server, even with all firewalls turned off.  I’ve never had a problem configuring this before and I’m at a loss to explain why it doesn’t work.  We have a perfectly acceptable workaround so this isn’t a big problem.

– Config Manager Settings

On some of the servers the Config Manager settings don’t persist, even when logged in as an Administrator (and running the app as administrator).

I’ll probably add to this post over time as we get more experience with it, and I’d be interested to hear from others who’ve been trying similar things.

Service Start Up – Automatic (Delayed) July 15, 2009

Posted by Duncan in Administration, Infrastructure, Windows.
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I’ve been spending a little time putting together a VM using Windows Server 2008 and was pleasantly surprised to see that there is a new start-up type when configuring the PIA, App Server and Process Scheduler to start as services.

As well as Automatic, Manual and Disabled, there is now an Automatic (Delayed) option.

David Kurtz has spoken about using service dependencies, but I just want my App Server and Process Scheduler to start after the intial flurry of start-up activity has finished and everything else has calmed down.

Services that have a delayed start still start automatically, they just wait until all the services that aren’t delayed to finish before firing up.

It works a treat!

VMWare Player and IP Ranges June 30, 2008

Posted by Duncan in Administration, Oracle, PeopleSoft, PeopleTools, Virtualisation.
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I’ve been doing some work with VMWare Server and VMWare Player. They’re both free tools (download links can be found on the Applications page) and can be invaluable when you need a sandbox environment.

VMWare Server is great for creating the VMs, and you need it while you’re adding virtual disks etc. However once the VM is in place it may be worthwhile switching to VMWare Player. The Player is slightly faster but you can’t perform maintenance like add disks when using it. Also, they don’t co-exist on the same client machine, it’s either one or the other. To be honest, I just uninstall and install as it doesn’t take that long.

The issue I faced, and the reason for this post is that VMWare Server lets the user configure the IP Address assignments and DHCP ranges from within the application, while VMWare player doesn’t. This is a bit of an issue if you have a VM that you’ve configured with a static IP address in a non-default range, then when you switch to VMWare Player the static IP isn’t in the default range.

The secret to know is that the ability is still there, you just have to go looking for it. The utility you need is ‘vmnetcfg.exe’ and it’s under the VMWare Player install directory (i.e. ‘C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Player’). From here you can configure the IP Ranges to be whatever you wish.

SysInternals hosted May 29, 2008

Posted by Duncan in Administration.
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I’d wager just about everyone involved in PeopleSoft technically has – at some point or other – resorted to using one of SysInternal’s utilities before to troubleshoot an issue with either a Windows server or a client PC. Whether it’s AutoRuns, Contig (useful for defragmenting large VM disk files), diskmon, filemon, regmon, handle, portmon (just which port is that process using), or even the Blue Screen of Death screensaver …

There was a bit of a clamour when Microsoft bought them out, but it appears these must-have tools are still available for free. They’re now hosted in a file share for easy access:

http://live.sysinternals.com/

REN Server Ports on Multi-App Installations February 7, 2008

Posted by Duncan in Administration, Infrastructure, Oracle, PeopleSoft, PeopleTools, PS Admin.
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When you have more than one App Server on a single machine – and they both need to run a Ren Server process – you need to adjust the port number in the same way you do for other processes (although the REN Server is easy to miss – like I did – as it’s near the bottom away from the other port numbers).

If you do boot the App Server without changing the port you’ll get an error message:

exec PSRENSRV -A -- -C psappsrv.cfg -D PADMO -S PSRENSRV : CMDTUX_CAT:1685: ERROR: Application initialization failure

tmboot: CMDTUX_CAT:827: ERROR: Fatal error encountered; initiating user error handler

tmshutdown -qy

OK, you think. I know what that is, it must be a port clash. So you reconfigure the port in PSADMIN and then try to boot it again. Same error. Checking the REN Server log gives the following clue:

(ERROR) nssock: Cannot listen on port 7180. The port may already be in use.

It’s still looking on port 7180, not the new port!

The missing step is to update the database, as the port is stored there also:

UPDATE PSREN SET PORT_NUM = 7185, SSLPORT_NUM = 7148

You should then find you App Server and Ren Server boot fine.

Fixing up PSAdmin and Services October 26, 2007

Posted by Duncan in Administration, PeopleTools, PS Admin.
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I’ve just stumbled across what looks like a great new product by the Grey Sparling guys. Most (Windows) PeopleSoft DBAs and consultants who run VMs on their laptops will have been frustrated on many an occasion by the (kind of clunky) PSAdmin utility. Sure, it does what we need it to, but shouldn’t we have something better by now?

(more…)

Using the PIA Welcome Message June 13, 2007

Posted by Duncan in Administration, PeopleSoft, PIA, SQL.
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The PIA Welcome message, or Portal Greeting is a pretty simple piece of functionality, but I’ve not seen it used on a single client site. For those that haven’t seen it before, it looks like this:

Welcome Message example

The welcome message is stored on a per user basis, it is set using the ‘Personalize Content’ link on the Homepage, and it is stored in the table PSPRUHDEFN. If updated via SQL, it won’t appear instantly unless you either bounce the App Server (and clear the cache) or increment the versions in PSVERSION and PSLOCK. There is an (Oracle) sql script to update the message – so it appears instantly – at the foot of this post.

A more constructive use of the greeting would be to alter it slightly. Particularly during development and testing it would be useful to display the logged on user and the environment name. An extremely simple change to a Tools object (yes, I know, but it’s such a small change that the upgrade implications will be minimal) allows this.

Updated Portal Greeting

There are two steps, output the user/database in the greeting and make the message appear on every page, not just the Homepage.

(more…)

Clearing the Process Scheduler Cache – without a Reboot June 11, 2007

Posted by Duncan in Administration, Application Engine, PeopleSoft, SQL.
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I subscribe to a couple of PeopleSoft technical mailing lists / websites and I came across an interesting tip tonight that I thought I’d pass on.

The post was on IT Toolbox (peoplesoft.ittoolbox.com) and the poster was a guy called Neil Pak (at least that’s what the email said, I guess his real name could be anything).

The issue being discussed was one that’ll be familiar to all developers who’ve written a few App Engines in their time – needing to bounce the Process Scheduler to clear the cache, to get the Process Scheduler to use the latest changes. Sometimes it picks them up, sometimes it doesn’t, particularly if you’re changing an existing object – and for me this has happened mostly with SQL Objects. (more…)

PeopleTools 8.49 April 24, 2007

Posted by Duncan in Administration, PeopleSoft.
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I heard a mention earlier today that Tools 8.49 is expected before the end of the month.

Having a quick browse on Customer Connection it looks as though it’s a release to get 3rd party software up to date, rather than to introduce new functionality (in the way that Tools 8.48 did).

Details of software requirements here:

http://www4.peoplesoft.com/psdb.nsf/0/74DAD3F64698E696882571EE0083C128?OpenDocument

(customer connection logon needed)

Update:

Tools 8.49 has been released. Details here:

http://www.peoplesoft.com/corp/en/support/roadmap/documents.jsp?doc=7E371AF2B1AAE3CC882570D0007E6E5C