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Self Service at Pret – Technical Details September 7, 2011

Posted by Duncan in Look and Feel, PeopleTools, PIA, Strategy.
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I posted a video yesterday showing some of the work we’d done at Pret and thought I’d add a little more technical detail and some clearer screenshots. (more…)

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Self Service at Pret a Manger September 6, 2011

Posted by Duncan in Look and Feel, PeopleSoft, Strategy.
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I’ve been a little quiet over the last year or so as I’ve been working hard helping my colleagues at Succeed implement PeopleSoft at a retail client here in the UK – Pret a Manger.

It has been a challenging project and we’ve all worked really hard. The end is in sight now though, and we’re proud of what we’ve delivered.

It has been refreshing to work with a client that isn’t afraid of customisation if it improves the user experience for their employees. And Pret really have held the engagement of their Self Service users as of paramount importance.

This short video shows some of the highlights:

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.

Release of PeopleTools 8.50 September 19, 2009

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools, Strategy.
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It’s been a long, long time coming, but PeopleTools 8.50 has been released!

There were a couple of docs floating around that listed 18th Sept as the release date, but no official confirmation from Oracle, so I wasn’t 100% sure that it was coming.  Further details here:

http://blogs.oracle.com/peopletools/2009/09/general_availability_ga_of_peopletools_850.html

Rather intriguingly not only is there this release (which is the biggest in the PeopleSoft world for a good year or so) but also a new release of the Oracle Database, and a hardware tie-in with Sun in the last few days.  Why are these being released now, with OpenWorld so close?  Is there something even bigger that is going to be unveiled during OpenWorld?

Intriguing Oracle WebCast July 1, 2008

Posted by Duncan in Fusion, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Strategy.
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Oracle have made available a WebCast outlining their future direction for MiddleWare strategy, and announcing what’s in store for the BEA product line.

I must admit that I haven’t listened to the WebCast myself (to be honest I didn’t think there’d be much there that affects PeopleSoft in the short term) but after reading summary posts on a couple of other blogs it seems I was wrong.

The most surprising announcement for me was that going forward

“BEA WebLogic Server is now Oracle’s strategic JEE container and will be integrated into Fusion Middleware stack immediately; OC4J dev to continue though”

This was a bit of a shock as I expected Oracle App Server to be slowly pushed as the Web Server of choice. It’s a change of tack too as in many ‘prepare now to get a headstart for Fusion’ presentations I’ve got the impression that clients should be implementing what they perceive to be Fusion middleware components now, and I’d have had Oracle App Server down as one of those applications.

Antony Reynolds also says:

“But the surprising bit was the emphasis that Thomas Kurian made on Tuxedo. It seems as though the Tuxedo guys are being rehabilitated after years in the wilderness at BEA since the WebLogic acquisition. I was amazed at the increase in connectivity and functionality that has occurred in Tux since I last came into contact with it some ten years ago.”

I’ve tried to view the webcast to find out exactly what’s behind this but can’t seem to view it. I’ll post more if I can get it working …

EDIT: Mulling this over further, I think the decision to use WebLogic over Oracle’s own product is good news for the other acquisitions. If Oracle is willing to use a product that it deigns is superior instead of just using its own product ‘because it’s Oracle’ then that bodes well for any areas of functionality within PeopleSoft, Siebel etc that may be better than corresponding areas of eBusiness suite.