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Visual Solution Architect
IP2016 Oracle XE challenges

So, IP2016 is out and you want to try it. Good. First of all let us tell you that it would really make sense to try a complete installation of Client, Tools AND Server. This would allow you to test all the new features, including the REST interface, the new WYSIWYG Web Composer and basically the complete set of functionalities. But you might want to wait for a Cloud instance for the Server and start immediately with a local installation of Client and Tools. 

 

So here are some points you might want to check to have a nice experience testing IP2016 rather than wasting time in trying to install it:

 

- If you are installing IP2016 on your working PC, it probably contains also old dlls and ODBC instances. While it is absolutely possible to maintain 2 different versions of Siebel, one including a Sybase based, you have to be careful on handling the two instances differently. Try not to make any confusion between dlls: the DBODBC9.DLL is the Sybase one, while the Oracle one is the SQORA32.DLL (if 32 bit version). Don't get fooled by the same "Sample" name - always refer to the underlying DLL.

 

- Have you ever worked with an Oracle DB? Well, I do hope so, also because many Siebel installations out there rely on an Oracle Database on the Server side. If not, well, practically you have to understand that you don't have a file based database any longer as in the case of Sybase (forget the .dbf file), but a proper database software. Oracle manages its instances as a kind of own services and you can manage them via the Enterprise Manager (at port 5500, if you have installed a Server DB) or simply with the 2 files - tnsnames.ora and listener.ora, above all in the case you simply installed a client DB instance (usually Oracle will propose a client_1 subfolder name if it is the first time you installed an Oracle client). The listener is actually a separate process that runs on the database server computer, therefore if you just install the Client you won't actually use it. The tnsnames.ora contains the "addresses"/"services" of the different database instances, so expect to have an instance in there for the sample database you are going to install.

 

- Because you now rely on a database instance and its directory structure, rather than simply on a file, you have to understand that before installing Siebel you need to have an Oracle Database on your machine. If you want to install a server or a client, it totally depends on the installation you are plannning, but usually a client is sufficient for a simple local test scenario. So go on and download an 11g Oracle database client and install it (for example here).

NOTE - I am sure you got it, but just in case: one thing is installing a database client, another one is installing an instance. The first one is the software, the second one is the data... got it? Ok, the first one is the metadata (the Database definition itself) the other is the actual data (tables, records, etc.). I am not going further with this...

So, now you are installing the necessary Software to create a database instance, represented - in this case - by the Siebel Sample database. OK?

 

- Once you have a local Oracle Database Software, you can proceed with installing the Siebel Client and the Sample. The step where the XE sample database gets installed is silent - so good luck with that. Without any further doubt, simply check the box of the Sample DB when you install the Siebel client, but once finished check that the Siebel Client folder contains an oraclexe subfolder. If not, you can forget about start using your brand new Siebel IP2016 - it simply won't work. Something got wrong in the process. Rather than telling you which steps you have to follow slavishly and maybe without understanding what's going on, I prefer explaining what actually happens when you install the Sample DB this time: the Siebel client installation process takes the files structure of the Oracle Client DB software and replicates it under the chosen Siebel installation folder, plus creating the Sample DB instance - with its tables and records. That's why you need to have a proper Oracle DB client installed before installing Siebel! 

 

- You need to refer to the Siebel folder for the tnsnames.ora file, NOT the Oracle client one. Imagine you have defined C:/Siebel/IP2016 as your base Siebel folder, the full path to the tnsnames.ora file would be something like this: C:\Siebel\IP2016\Client\oraclexe\app\oracle\product\11.2.0\server\network\ADMIN. Of course the path varies based on the version of Oracle client you installed in the previous step (in this case it was an 11.2). Soon after the Siebel client installation (and the parallel silent Sample DB), inside the tnsnames.ora you should find a service instance like this:

XE =
(DESCRIPTION =
(ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = NameOfTheMachine)(PORT = 1526))
(CONNECT_DATA =
(SERVER = DEDICATED)
(SERVICE_NAME = XE)
)
)

Just to keep things clean, you might want to create a copy of this at the end of the file but with the name SAMPLE_XE. This is in fact the name you will probably use also for the ODBC and for the name in your Client and Tools .cfg

 

NOTE - as the path name suggests, basically the Siebel Sample DB is behaving like a server on your local machine. This is because your Siebel Client and Tools are going to refer to it to process data (not viceversa!).

 

- This is tricky. For things to work correctly, you have to be sure that your Windows PATH system variable contains a reference to both your Oracle DB client installation folder and to the Siebel client. BUT you have to be sure that the Oracle DB client one is BEFORE the Siebel Client. So you might want something like the following: "C:\OracleDB\product\11.2.0\client_1\bin ;  C:\Siebel\IP2016\Client\oraclexe\app\oracle\product\11.2.0\server ; ...". If you are wondering.... this is not actually Siebel 's fault, rather Oracle DB itself (it's not a first one in the Oracle DB world...).

 

- Just in the case you use a Server instance, make sure that your listener.ora listens to the same port as your Oracle XE instance - having your listener "listening" to port 1521 and your client being open on the 1526 port is the perfect combination for failure. Be sure the ports are always aligned.

 

- Independently from the fact that you have a clean machine or one with previous - Syabase based - instances, you still need an ODBC to connect to the XE database! So, before even trying to launch the Client, be sure that you create an ODBC dedicated to the Sample database connection, by using the correct dll, that is SQORA32.DLL. Usually it comes with the name OraClient11g_home1 (if you are using an 11g client and this is your first installation...). Test the connection of the ODBC in the usual way and be sure to put the same name of the Sample instance you have on your tnsnames.ora file in the SERVER field (e.g. SAMPLE_XE). Hopefully you will receive a "connection established!" message.

 

- While previoulsy you just got the Sample database to make your tests (above all if you did not install the Server and consequently create a full repository extract), now you have 2 databases available: the SAMPLE_XE and the LOCAL_XE. As the name suggests, one is the sample database while the other could be used for development purposes straight away rather than having to extract a full local database from the Server.

 

- this is not a DIY guide to install Siebel IP2016 - it's a hopefully useful piece of advice for consultants and customers out there that might find some challenges in embarking the new Siebel era... so I am not going to tell you that you have to customize your Siebel .cfg files to create instances for the client or tools and this sort of things - I do hope there is no more need for this stuff, otherwise you can refer to other websites out there.

 

I cannot think about anything else at the moment, but if you have any further challenges feel free to comment so that everyone is aware of that.

Enjoy.

 

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