Tuesday, 28 June 2016

PeopleSoft Predictions 2016


I regularly get into conversations with PeopleSoft customers, consultants and others about the future of PeopleSoft.  There is no doubt that Oracle continues to invest heavily in PeopleSoft technology and applications and I don't think there's been a more exciting time to be a PeopleSoft customer.  Is it just me or does it feel like that in recent years there's been a huge increase in the new release of new features, enhancements and new technology in the PeopleSoft products?  This product is far from being in maintenance mode.

  • Best in KLAS winners for ERP systems in the healthcare sector, a leading student administration solution for university campuses and the feature rich HR system used by some of the largest organisations in the world.
  • Recent (since 2013) innovations from Oracle include continuous delivery of features through Selective Adoption, responsive mobile ready UI (Fluid), PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture, Pivot Grids, WorkCentres, powerful facet based search (SES), REST based web services, Push messaging technology, Activity Guides, PeopleTools Test Framework, inclusion of JQuery and Oracle JET, and more.  And this is just referencing the underlying technology and development framework.  I haven't spoken of the thousands of new features and enhancements across the applications themselves.

So, talking about the past and present is easy.  But what does the future look like?  Here's some of my thoughts on what might happen in the Oracle PeopleSoft world.  I reserve the right to be proved right when these predictions come true and I reserve the right to change my mind as time goes by.

(Actually some of these things have already happened since I started writing this blog)

1) One click provisioning of PeopleSoft Update Images in the Oracle Compute Cloud.  I've been saying for some time now that Oracle were very likely to allow customers to buy on a pay as you go basis a PeopleSoft Update Image on the Oracle Computer Cloud.  You can now do this through the Oracle Cloud MarketPlace.    Read more here or access the images here and search for PeopleSoft.

2) Easy Migration of existing on-premise PeopleSoft instances to the Oracle Cloud.  Actually this already exists as of 8.55 and is part of the DPK toolkit.  I think we'll see this process get easier in time.  Read more here

3) One click provisioning of individual PeopleSoft components in the Oracle Compute Cloud.   Tuxedo, WebLogic, PS_HOME file systems, Batch Servers are all commodity items in the PeopleSoft stack.  Yes... they can be configured and tuned but the platform itself is pretty much black-boxed as far as PeopleSoft is concerned (in my opinion).  A natural step is for Oracle allow customers to provision individual components in the Oracle Compute Cloud and plug them together with other Cloud based components or even on-premise components.  WebLogic doesn't even need an operating system either as since 11g you can run in just JRockit in  hypervisor mode.  I wonder what Oracle will do with one of it's most recent, Feb 2016, acquisition Ravello Systems, specialists in virtualisation, instance provisioning and cloud management tools.

4) PeopleSoft on Oracle Database Cloud (DBaaS).  An Oracle PeopleSoft database in the Oracle Cloud.  I predict we'll see this as a deployment option when installing PeopleSoft or when migrating an on-premise instance.  An easy, low cost, pay as you go, hassle free database platform for all those test, development, trial, UAT, training instances of PeopleSoft and soon, one day, even production.  Read more here  I'll be writing in more depth on my experiences of getting a PeopleSoft instance operational in the Oracle Database Cloud soon.

5) Automatic patching of Oracle Cloud provisioned components.  I predict this will be a service offered by Oracle and/or Partners.  If the component is running in the Oracle cloud then why can't you pay some extra $ and have all the latest security updates and bug fixes  automatically applied.  As Dan and Kyle ( point out in a recent podcast this may well take other forms as such as patching a shadow component and hot swapping the old for the new.  Either way,  I don't worry if my electricity supplier has patched their sub-stations.... I pay for a service and they deliver.  One day PeopleSoft component will be purchased in a similar way.

6) PeopleSoft Update Manager in the Oracle Cloud.  I think that prediction (5) above will extend to include PeopleSoft application and PeopleTools updates.  I wonder what this might look like as an automated service?  A monthly subscription to keep your PeopleSoft application up to date with every new PeopleSoft Update Image?

7) PIA(web) based drag and drop development of Fluid pages.  The beauty, power, future proofing and extensibility of PeopleSoft is the underlying PeopleTools meta data driven architecture.  Ha !!! GENIUS!!!  It made the transition form WIN32 client apps to HTML based pages relatively straight forward and it will make the development of a drag and drop web based page and component designer for building Fluid pages a natural evolution.  We already have seen this with the drag and drop Forms Designer.   Combine this with the powerful Event Mapping framework which allows customisations without customising and hey-presto you have a cloud application that you can extend and modify.

Happy to be proved wrong on all of these.  But one thing seems certain to me.  PeopleSoft has a bright future whether you're deciding to stay on premise or moving to the cloud.

Comments, suggestions, discussion and other predictions welcome in the comments below.

Many thanks for reading this far.  :-)

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

AMIS25 Beyond the Horizon Conference 2016

I've just returned from the AMIS25 Beyond the Horizon conference in the Netherlands.  AMIS are celebrating their 25th anniversary and put on a top rate conference with Oracle technology speakers from around the world.  They also hosted the OTN Cloud Developer Challenge at which I had the privilege of leading a team.  Featuring 30 ACE Directors from around the world the challenge was to design solutions using Oracle Cloud Services.

Here are my highlights from the 2 day conference.

Geertjan Wielenga (Oracle) with some slick, live JET demos
1) Oracle JET : Two excellent live demo sessions from Paco Van Der Linden (AMIS) and Geertjan Wielenga (Oracle).  Both gave live coding demonstrations of the JavaScript Extension Toolkit which is not a new JavaScript framework but rather a toolkit of the "best of what's available and what's most stable".  Oracle JET is included as part of PeopleTools 8.55 now and we should start to see PeopleSoft applications using these rather clever tools for charting, responsive UI, data binding of page UI elements and more.

AMIS developer Maarten Smeets on ICS Adapters

2) Why Build an Oracle Cloud Adapter: Maarten Smeets (AMIS) talked through the challenging development of new Oracle Cloud based adapters for Oracle's Integration Cloud Service.  More information on ICS adapters from Oracle here including a list of currently available adapters.  Probably best not to build one that someones already built.   You can find Maarten's excellent presentation here along with his example source code.

Prof. Steinbuch blows our minds with robotics
3) Keynote: The future of cars, robots and humans: Professor Maarten Steinbuch from Eindhoven University of Technology gave a thought provoking and captivating insight into robotics currently available, prototypes in the pipeline and what the future might look like.  He affirmed Moore's Law still to be valid and expects computing power to continue to double every few years.  If you want to understand what that might look like then if you take a 35 steps and double the size of the step each time then you'll have traveled around the world  several times!!!  This is fun to do with grains of rice on a chessboard too.   He discussed self drive cars (now a reality thanks to Tesla) and AI robot pets for the elderly who are too frail to keep a pet and the truly amazing robots that can assist a surgeon to stitch together 2mm diameter blood vessels. Whether you agree with this level of advancement or not it's happening.  

Reactive Programming Intro - Paco Van Der Linden
4) Reactive Programming: Paco Van Der Linden (AMIS).  I had never heard of reactive programming but in the world of web development the developer has to worry about asynchronous events and data streams.  This paradigm (with accompanying libraries ReactiveX) makes things a whole lot easier.  Many of my reader's world will consist of PeopleTools and maybe a bit of JavaScript so might be wondering if this is all relevant to them.  Well, it's probably not if you just stay with the synchronous model of PIA component interaction.  PeopleTools is nice as we generally only have one event at a time to manage and the component processor and client-side JavaScript does all the hard work for us.  But, I wonder where PeopleTools will go with an increasing demand for smarter and ever simpler UIs.

Database on Oracle VM Magic from ACE Director Francisco
5) Oracle VM for Oracle Databases.  Francisco Munoz Alvarez (ACED).  So here's a conundrum.  Which should be faster?  
  1. Oracle database running on dedicated hardware (using Linux),
  2. Oracle database running on the same hardware but on a virtual machine (using Linux) inside Oracle VM hypervisor
Interestingly enough.... the answer is (2) - the database running inside Oracle VM !!!!  At least... it is according to Oracle ACE Director Francisco Alvarez.  How can introducing another layer of software (the hypervisor) possibly increase the performance?  No one seemed to know... but this was a fascinating deep dive into the value of visualization to Oracle databases.  Given that Oracle VM is free to use it might just be worth some time testing it for yourself.

All the other sessions from the AMIS conference can be found on the AMIS Technology blog.

OTN Cloud Developer Challenge 

My project for the Cloud Developer Challenge was to demonstrate 100% PeopleSoft Patching in the Oracle Cloud.  This involved:
  1. building a PeopleSoft Demo Database using Oracle Database Cloud Service 
  2. provisioning a PeopleSoft Update Image instance in the Oracle Compute Cloud Service using an image from the Oracle Cloud Marketplace
  3. provisioning a Windows 2012 r2 server instance in the Oracle Compute Cloud on which to run PeopleSoft Change Assistant.
I'm gong to tell this story in detail very soon.

OTN Cloud Developer Challenge teams hard at work
Honestly Geertjan.... we are listening to your product briefing

Super Cool, inflatable session rooms.