Oracle EPM 11.2 is the long-awaited sequel to EPM 18.104.22.168. EPM 22.214.171.124 has been with us since February 2015 and is starting to show its age with many company IT departments getting edgy about the end of support for their Microsoft and Oracle Linux platforms.
EPM 11.2 has been in the works for a while. Over the last 2 years we have heard various noises from Oracle that EPM 126.96.36.199 or 11.2 was going to be released. This year we have had a couple of expected release dates - February, June, September and October - with the latest information being that Oracle is expecting to release EPM 11.2 by the end of 2019. Looking at past EPM release dates suggests that this may well move to the beginning of 2020 since nearly all Hyperion software releases have occurred in the first half of a year, and most of those being in the first quarter.
Oracle recently extended Premier support of EPM 188.8.131.52 by an extra year till Dec 2021, giving those customers on EPM 184.108.40.206 some more breathing room. This has put quite a few organisations in a predicament.
Those on EPM 220.127.116.11 on Windows 2012R2 are in the best place at the moment as the only supported upgrade path being proposed by Oracle is EPM 18.104.22.168 to EPM 11.2, primarily through the use of Life-cycle Management and Database Schema upgrades. Once EPM 11.2 is released, the community will likely find other imaginative upgrade paths that suit real-world scenarios. Upgrading will mean a new environment with a new OS on which to carry out the EPM 11.2 installation and perform the migration to.
There are even still EPM 22.214.171.124 installations out there running on Windows 2003, which saw Microsoft cease support for in 2014. Meanwhile the EPM 126.96.36.199 and 2.3 installations on Windows 2008/R2 will see their support by Microsoft conclude this coming January 2020.
Once Microsoft stops support for an Operating System or database, clients will no longer be provided with:
- Security patches
- Assisted technical support from Microsoft
- Software and content updates
When the time comes for those older EPM installations to upgrade, they will need to be upgraded to EPM 188.8.131.52 prior to moving to EPM 11.2, either upgraded in place (if supported) or migrated through an intermediary step via a staging environment from EPM 11.1.2.x to EPM 184.108.40.206 and then on to EPM 11.2.
We are seeing more and more pre-EPM 220.127.116.11 clients biting the bullet, after having waited for the release of EPM 11.2, and being pressured into upgrading to EPM 18.104.22.168. The drivers for this are:
- So that their OS and Database Support is maintained by the software vendors
- They are under more and more pressure from their Security Officers who, rightfully, express concerns that running prehistoric versions of Java, TLS configuration and un-patched Middleware components on top of unsupported operating systems is an unacceptable risk for their organisation.
What will we get with EPM 11.2?
Oracle's primary aim with the EPM 11.2 release is to upgrade the whole underlying Middleware layer to later versions of Java, Weblogic, ADF etc., so that support and patches can be delivered into the foreseeable future (2030). With this upgrade, Oracle will also be able to provide updated platform support of Windows/Microsoft SQL Server/Oracle and Linux.
At the time of initial release, EPM 11.2 will probably be Windows only (except for the DB layer) and contain no new functionality (save for DRM). In fact with the initial release there will be a large chunk of lesser-used products and features not included at all, some of which might see re-introduction at a later date.
The tentative list of products included in the initial EPM 11.2 release:
- Calculation Manager
- Smart View
- Financial Management
- Financial Close Management
- Essbase (initially version 22.214.171.124)
- Predictive Planning
- Tax Provisioning
- Profitability and Cost Management
- Financial Data Management Enterprise Edition
- Financial Reporting (HFM/Planning Datasources)
- DRM (to replace EPMA)
Notable items tentatively not included with the initial release of EPM 11.2:
- EPMA (Replaced with a restricted use license for DRM)
- Hyperion Strategic Finance
- Essbase as an Financial Reports Datasource (will probably be addressed in future)
- Financial Reporting Studio (replaced by the Financial Reports Web Studio)
- Reporting and Analysis framework (now integrated into Foundation)
- Simplified UI for Planning
- Workforce Planning
- Capital Asset Planning
- Project Financial Planning
- Public Sector Planning and Budgeting
- Financial Management Analytics
- Quantitative Management and Reporting
- Disclosure Management
- Interactive Reporting
- SQR Production Reporting
- Web Analysis
- Performance Scorecard
- Exalytics Support
In addition to the removal of some products, the requirement for Flash for Calculation Manager has finally been removed.
The OS and Database versions that will be supported with EPM 11.2 has not been officially communicated. However, looking at all the support dates and popular platforms, it is likely that the minimum OS version will be Windows 2016 and MS SQL 2017, which will see an EPM 11.2 upgraded environment potentially run through till at least 2026 or longer.
- Microsoft Windows 2008R2 Supported till Jan 2020
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008SP4 Supported till July 2019
- EPM 126.96.36.199 is supported till December 2021
- Microsoft SQL 2012R2 SP4 Supported till July 2022
- Microsoft Windows 2012 Supported till Oct 2023
- Microsoft SQL 2016 Supported till July 2026
- Microsoft Windows 2016 Supported till Jan 2027
- Microsoft SQL 2019 Supported till October 2027
- Microsoft Windows 2019 Supported till Jan 2029
- EPM 11.2 Supported till 2030
From previous EPM release experiences, when EPM 11.2 is released it will work, for the most part, but will likely have defects which will make the initial release unfit for immediate production use for some clients. This will mean that clients are advised to roll out a POC environment well in advance of their proposed upgrade date so that they can isolate any defects which are specific to their use of the software and ensure that the Oracle Development team have sufficient time to fix the defects before the actual production implementation and migration activities begin.
In the past we have seen that the EPM products are highly configurable and their usage unique to a company; what works perfectly for one client is a show stopper for another client. Therefore, it is not safe to assume that once the first service pack has been delivered that the software will work perfectly for your organisation. Oracle Development cannot fix issues they do not know about and the software is so complex that they are unable to test every use case before releasing a patch. The sooner they know about an issue, the sooner they can fix the issue and avoid pre-Go Live panic.