This is a companion piece to my first guest post on the ORACLENERD blog about installing Oracle E-Business Suite. I'll try to address questions and errata from that post here, rather than repeatedly asking Chet to tweak his blog just because I was unclear or incorrect.
Why Release 12.1.1, and why Linux? Why not an older E-Business Suite version, like 11.5.10 or 12.0.4? Why not Windows?
I chose this combination because those are the components that are most conveniently available to me, and probably to you. Oracle only hosts the most recent version of the software (12.1.1 at the time of this writing) on E-Delivery. To get an older version of the E-Business Suite software, you'd need to log an SR with Oracle Support, and they'd probably have to ship you physical media. You'd also need to be a supported EBS customer to have your request fulfilled.
As far as the OS choice goes, you can download EBS-capable versions of Linux for free (Oracle Enterprise Linux, for example, or CentOS, another favorite "just like RHEL but without the pesky fees" release). Not everyone is going to have access to a Windows Server license. There are people who have installed EBS on a desktop-class Windows OS, such as Windows XP, but I prefer to indulge in different sorts of crazy.
You're kidding about the disk space requirements, right?
Nope. According to the installation Guide, the Release 12.1 Vision install requires 208GB for the database software and data files, and 35GB for the applications tier install. If you want any sort of breathing room for log files, etc., you'll want to reserve a little space beyond 245GB. These numbers have been growing pretty steadily over the past few releases of EBS.
And the memory requirements? Those seem pretty over-the-top, too.
Well, you'll be running an Oracle 126.96.36.199 database and a bunch of Oracle Application Server 10g components on this server, and those tend to have hefty memory requirements. Later on, I'll provide pointers to some resources that explain how to reduce the memory footprint of E-Business Suite for single-user demo systems like the one we're setting up, but those changes can't be made until after the software's installed.
EBS runs on an Oracle database, right? Do I need to install database software first?
No, you don't. The Oracle Applications installer delivers everything you need (a 40+GB certainly should) to run EBS. It will lay down an 188.8.131.52 RDBMS ORACLE_HOME, in addition to all of the database data files. I don't recommend pre-installing a database to run EBS. A separately installed database ORACLE_HOME will probably not have all of the patches necessary to comply with requirements for running EBS. The database ORACLE_HOME delivered by the EBS installer, by contrast, has all the necessary patches "baked in." Check the $ORACLE_HOME/.patch_storage directory after the installation, and you'll see what I mean.
What's this "Vision install" stuff you keep mentioning?
Vision is the name of the fictional company Oracle uses to demo features of the E-Business Suite. A Vision install of Oracle Applications delivers a pre-configured environment complete with dummy data, suitable for exploring features, training users, and learning how all of the pieces of E-Business Suite fit together. The other install option, a "Fresh Install," delivers an empty database (mostly) and unconfigured EBS environment, and is the starting point for a production deployment of Oracle Applications.
Why do you recommend installing EBS in a virtual machine (VM)?
For lots of reasons that aren't necessarily EBS-specific, just general virtualization benefits:
- Compartmentalization: satisfying prereqs for EBS doesn't mean you need to pollute your normal working environment, and it's way easier to shut down/pause a VM if EBS starts to drag down your host system's peformance
- Ability to take snapshots and roll back a VM, which can be handy when testing patches or new configurations
- Ability to tweak resource allocation (memory, number of CPUs, etc) after the virtual server is created
- Allows creation of dynamically expanding disk images, so storage isn't allocated until it's needed. When you're looking at 250-300GB of storage for an EBS Vision install, that can be a big deal.
- Portability: If your VM is stored on an external drive, you can carry it with you for demos and whatnot. If you get pressed for space, you can burn the VM files to DVD and restore them later if needed.
- If you're a Mac user like me, there's no other choice, really.
Yeah, but aren't you worried about degraded performance while running in a VM?
Me, personally? Not really. Your situation may be different, though. In my case, I'm trying to cram a huge database and an application server into a relatively small box, with 3G of memory, 2 CPUs, and one large (500GB), slow (5400 rpm) disk. I'm not expecting stellar performance in the first place, and I'll gladly accept the additional overhead of VMware or Virtualbox for the convenience of a virtualized environment as outlined above.