Installing Siebel 16 on AWS

Well, it was only a matter of time before I ended up working with Siebel again!

I’ve been introduced recently to Amazon Web Services – AWS to you and me. So this is what Cloud Computing is all about! I’m utterly gob-smacked by the power of this platform, the stuff you can do and the speed at which you can do it.

I was tasked with building a Siebel 16 installation using AWS and it is amazingly straight forward. Not to mention incredibly cost effective, compared to using physical hardware and on-premise virtualisation.

I thought I’d share with you the process of spinning Siebel up “in the Cloud”!

First up, my architecture involves two AWS instances – an RDS instance for the database and an EC2 instance for the Application and Web Servers. Using RDS, I’m able to spin up an Oracle Enterprise Edition 12c database in less than 10 minutes. It’s literally a few clicks and you’re done – no more slaving away with OUI, downloading files and the installation and configuration process. AWS captures parameters from simple web pages and does the rest – lightening fast. AWS will even keep my Oracle installation up to date, automatically applying minor patch updates during a maintenance windows that I can define.

SiebelDBAWS

So, I have a database instance up and running. I then spin up a new Windows 2012 R2 server. Again, the process is ludicrously quick. I choose from a number of types that have varying RAM, CPU and bandwidth allocations, allocate C and D drives with 60 and 120GB respectively and click a button. Less than 10 minutes later, I have an RDP file to download to my laptop that allows me to connect to the new server. I then jump on to Oracle eDelivery and download the Siebel installation media – I’m getting speeds of nearly 70MBs (that’s mega BYTES, not BITS!) and download the full Siebel installation in under 15 minutes. I unzip the media and backup the installation files to Amazon’s storage offering, S3.

SiebelE2App

I download and install a Java SDK, Oracle 12c 32-bit Client and SQL Developer then set up my TNSNAMES. I then run SNIC to extract everything and prepare my Siebel installation media and kick off my Siebel installation. Within another couple of hours I have a fully functioning Siebel environment.

While this is all pretty much “installing Siebel on a remote server”, the real benefit comes of now saving my Siebel Server installed as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). This will allow me to VERY quickly spin up new Siebel 16 server environments for whatever I need – training, dev environments, the list is endless.

I’ve always been a bit of a cynic when it comes to “Cloud” computing but AWS has got me converted. This stuff is HUGE and it is AWESOME – with this stuff, server rooms are sure to become a thing of the past.

Siebel IP 2016

Siebel Innovation Pack 16 (AKA Siebel IP16 or just Siebel 16) has hit Oracle eDelivery! I kicked off a download of the installation media over the weekend and have been chipping away with the installation over the last couple of days.

download

Nothing exciting to report at the moment, as I’ve successfully patched up my Siebel 15 installation across the Server, SWE, Tools and Web Client. A couple of quick notes, until I get around to testing out the new functionality:

  1. Downloads from Oracle Software Delivery Cloud (AKA Oracle eDelivery) have been greatly improved, thanks to the use of Akamai Download Manager. Akamai lets you queue large downloads (Siebel 16 is 75GB in total!) and resume any that have failed. I left Siebel downloading over-night to be met with a full set of ZIP files in the morning
  2. You are now, very directly, asked to accept Oracle’s ‘Oracle Standard Terms and Restrictions’ agreement. Make careful note of the text here, if you’re setting up and using a ‘trial’ environment such as I am. Oracle have provided guidance on the use of it’s software outside of licensed customer environments.

The installation wizards offer nothing new but, progress bar insanity aside, everything has installed smoothly.

My next challenge is to install Siebel Tools on XE and enable the new Siebel Composer functionality. XE is proving to be an interesting challenge, as my base Siebel Server box already uses Oracle XE as the Siebel Server database. When I attempt to enable XE on the Tools instance installed there, I get an error: presumably because XE is already installed. I guess I’ll have to set up a separate Windows 8/10 WM to get a local Siebel Tools instance installed.

As soon as I have the process of installing Tools with XE and enabled the new funky functionality, I’ll post up a new article.

Watch this space!

Siebel Client Installation Tip

Moving around from client to client, I have one recurring job – installing Siebel Tools and the Siebel Web Client. I’ve done this dozens of times, with dozens of different Windows builds, and it always takes way longer than it should.

Siebel 6 Client and Tools were delivered using InstallShield, which just worked – and why wouldn’t it, those components have always been Windows only. OUI does try hard, bless it, but it always seems to be on the lookout for ways to make things difficult.

Elusive

Elusive

If the Siebel installation software is on a network drive, and you don’t have access to your local “Administrator” user, you may be used to the OUI “setup.bat” running for 30 seconds, unpacking a load of crap to your hidden AppData\Temp folder and then falling silent. I certainly am. It would seem that OUI likes to run elevated and hates running from a UNC path. Mapping a drive then running a CMD prompt as administrator doesn’t help, as Windows will not give Administrator access to your personally mapped drives.

Thanks to Winability.com, there’s a way around this. Add a simple DWORD registry key:

Reboot, map a drive to your Siebel installation folder. Run CMD as administrator, CD to your required installation folder and run setup.bat

Simples!

Siebel 15 – First Impressions – Download and Install

I have, of course, downloaded the Siebel 15 distribution from Oracle Delivery Cloud – how could I resist? I’ve completed the installation on 64-bit Windows Server 2012 (note that R2 is also fully supported) and I thought I’d share with you my thoughts.

Siebel 15

Siebel 15 Login Screen

Download and Installation

Very little, if anything, has changed with respect to download and install in Siebel 15, compared with IP2014. Expect the usual downloads, running of snic.bat and creation of installers. Running the installers themselves present no new features or issues – I did notice that both the Tools and Web Client installers ran quite slowly and the progress bars were completely wonky. I can live with that, though!

Having installed all of the base software without issue, I installed Oracle XE and set up a test database with data and index table spaces.

SynergyHome

“Synergy” theme

Setup and Configuration

As this was a new installation, I got back to basics and started with “grantusr.sql”. This hasn’t changed since 8.1.1.9 and it still does not GRANT QUOTA UNLIMITED on your index table space. A minor inconvenience, but I wish it were a standard part of the set up.

I still can’t get used to having to run the Gateway and Enterprise configuration tools first, before running the database setup. However, without the ODBC settings created by running those two steps, I was unable to connect to my XE instance within the database setup wizard. Having created a Gateway and Enterprise, I was then able to use the ODBC source (SBA_82_DSN) to kick off the database installation.

Database creation was very quick but there is still an issue with duplicate seed data. This has been an issue in previous releases and means that the creation process takes much longer than it should. It also makes reconciliation and genuine error identification and resolution almost impossible. However, once complete, all is well and I proceed to set up the Siebel Server.

Nothing new here to report – the option to “Enable OpenUI” is present, as it was in 8.1.1.14. I don’t see any specific Component Group for CRM composer, which is interesting; the new Composer bookshelf guide points you to the installation guide which contains nothing related to Composer. Hopefully that will change shortly and anyway, the SWSE CFG shows a new entry for “WebTools_enu” so I’m guessing it’s quite straightforward to get going.

WebTools

It IS easy to get up and running!

Setting up the SWSE was as simple as it has ever been and, having created the profile, I quickly applied this to my Windows Server 2012 IIS instance and I’m ready to go. Don’t forget to explicitly enable ISAPI and 32-bit App Compatibility in IIS, or you’ll just see HTTP 500 errors the moment you try to access the SWE.

With all services started, I attempt to log into Sales and Public Sector OpenUI thin client with great success.

Stay tuned and thre’s a lot more to come on the new Synergy theme, enhancements in OpenUI and, of course, CRM Composer!

Siebel and Windows 32-bit

So, you’ll know by now that Oracle have ended their support for Siebel running on a 32-bit Windows platform. As of 8.1.1.14 (IP2014), Siebel Server components must be running on 64-bit Windows servers. The reasons for this are pretty clear, and the formal “End of Life” of Windows Server 2008 this January really was the final nail in the coffin.

SiebelCertificationb

However, that leaves customers running earlier releases on 32-bit Windows platforms with a bit of a quandary: if we upgrade to 8.1.1.14 (even from 8.1.1.11), we’ll need to upgrade our OS to 64-bit Windows.

This can be a big deal. I’ve worked on a programme which had 8 Production Siebel Servers, running a clustered Gateway and FS service, two load balanced OM servers, two workflow servers and two load balanced web servers. Add in dev, test, fix, pre production and we’re talking nearly 22 servers, all on Windows Server 2008. Microsoft do not support in place upgrading of 32-bit to 64-bit OS’s, so the clients only option to move to 8.1.1.14 is to build 22 new servers, re-install Siebel, and switch it all out. It’s complex, costly and time consuming – though virtualisation, and Oracle’s support of it in a Production Siebel site, helps matters no end. All this just to upgrade from 8.1.1.11 to 8.1.1.14.

So, I was wondering – are you in the process of working through this problem yourself? What are your thoughts on the matter? Is this preventing you from upgrading altogether?

I’ve put together a simple poll to tally responses, but please feel free to add comments to the post to explain what you’re doing in more detail.

[poll id=”6″]

Critical issue with upgrade to IP2014: SBL-SCL-00143

UPDATE: As @lex points out, this is hinted at in the Installation Guide and referred to in the Siebel Security Guide:

NOTE:  When you upgrade to the current release, the Siebel Server system service password, which is required to connect the Siebel Server to the Gateway Name Server, is automatically reencrypted using AES encryption. The Gateway Name Server Password parameter, which is set at the Siebel Enterprise level, is also automatically reencrypted. You do not have to reencrypt these passwords manually.

Shame the installation doesn’t seem to do either! 🙂

I reported last week that I had significant issues with the upgrade to IP2014: I ended up with an “un-startable” Siebel Server and yet another open Service Request (still unanswered, I might add).

One of my readers and valuable contributors, Lance, has done some investigation and has found the solution to this problem: a new encoding mechanism (AES instead of RC4) for the password component of the Windows Service / Linux daemon command line and SIEBNS.DAT has been implemented and is not updated correctly by the installation process.

I’m not even going to begin to rant about how disappointing this is in terms of Oracle’s failure to test their software – it’s a story I’m really quite tired of repeating. So, on with the solution.

Recreate the Siebel Server Service

Execute the following on the command line:

This should update the ImagePath with the newly encoded password, allowing the Siebel Service to start.

Fix SIEBNS.DAT

Open a copy of your SIEBNS.DAT file in Notepad. Note down the encoded enterprise level Password parameter.

Run the following command line:

This should fix SIEBNS.DAT and allow all of your components to start.