Using Oracle Hyperion EPM with a Mac
I decided to write a post about my life at work using a Mac. I sometimes see surprise in the eyes of other team members who are wondering if I can actually get anything done with Hyperion with a Mac.
A little background
I am not a PC guy. I never bought a PC in my life, I built one in 1998 but I never bought a Dell, a HP, or an IBM machine. When I was younger, I had an Atari ST that I kept forever then I bought a blue iMac back in 2000. I also remember using a white iBook in 2002 to write documentation but that was all I could do at this time, no Essbase, no Excel Add-in. Things really changed when Apple shifted from the PowerPC architecture to Intel. There were ways to run some virtualization before the Intel era but it was too slow to use, Microsoft Office existed for Mac, the icons were super cute but it was very slow and quite buggy. When Mac sales took off, Microsoft seriously invested in the Mac platform and today I prefer Office for Mac over the PC version.
It is possible to use a Mac when you are a Hyperion consultant or a Hyperion user. You need to be ready to invest and be aware of a few things though.
The Hardware I use
I have a top of the line MacBook Pro with an i7 processor, a 500Gb SSD, and 16 Gb of RAM. I did not pay for it, my employer (Topdown Consulting) gives it to me for work. This means TopDown have the capability to support Mac, not all companies can do this. When you go with a Mac, it is an important investment whatever your configuration so you’d better go big so you can run Virtual Machines (VMs) and also use your laptop for several years to make the investment worth.
I like to add nice decals to my machine, I find good ones on MacDecals.com or Amazon. Currently, I am sporting a very nice gold lion, I think it perfectly expresses my current mood. Before that, I had a nice sticker with Bruce Lee.
When I am working from home, I use a 28” screen I bought on a Cyber Monday at Amazon, it is not as good as an Apple screen (and it does not have its connectivity) but I can have 5 screens like this one for the price of one Apple screen.
I also love my 3M privacy screen, you see perfectly clear when you are in front of the computer, otherwise, you see gold; it make a perfect addition to the roaring lion. I always use it and you should use one as well, I cannot count the number of times I read Hyperion related emails or proposals when flying. You never know who is sitting next to you.
The software I use
At TopDown, we have Office365, which means I have Outlook and the entire Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Lync) for 5 machines. The number of licences is very important because you need one for your Mac and one per VM you run.
I have a lot of VMs: one VM for Windows, one for Essbase/Planning 18.104.22.168, one VM for HFM 22.214.171.124, and one VM for Essbase/Planning 126.96.36.199.500. I have the VMs I use the most on my hard drive and the one I use less often on a USB stick.
Using Hyperion with a Mac
Planning: when you use Firefox, you can go and use Workspace and do everything with 188.8.131.52 (forms, Calc Manager, EPMA, LCM, FDMEE, …) exactly like you did with old Internet Explorer but faster.
EAS: EAS works with a Mac starting with 184.108.40.206, this is such a relief, just open the EAS url, which should be like: http://servername:19000/easconsole . I actually really enjoy EAS on a Mac as the fonts are smoother than on a PC.
There is one big bummer: no SmartView for Office for Mac. What does it mean? It means that you need to run a Virtual Machine with Microsoft Excel to use SmartView. With the recent version of VMWare, you can run your VM in Unity mode making your Windows applications accessible from the Dock.
Running a VM with Oracle Hyperion EPM
One important thing when you run a VM on your machine is how much resources you allocate to the VM and how much you keep for your base system:
This is the setting I use for my EPM VMs. 2 cores and 8 Gigs of RAM. Services take a little while to start (about half an hour) but forms open rapidly and calculations take a decent amount of time. Of course, it is not an Exalytics machine but because everything is on the same machine, performance is ok.
What I like the most
- Battery life: I can almost work a full 8 hours on battery, this is quite impressive.
- Quick Sleep and wake up: when I close the lid, the machine immediately goes to sleep and when I open it, by the time it is open, the system is back up.
- Excellent keyboard: one of my colleague thinks this keyboard is the best in the world, I cannot contradict him.
- The screen: yes, the Retina screen is excellent. My eyes are not tired after a hard day of work in front of my machine.
- Speakers: the sound is surprisingly good for a small machine like that.
What I would like to see improved
- Well, with Mac OS El Capitan, I have weird behaviors, I really regret I updated my machine. This is something I’ve nor had before and that is a disappointment.
- The Del key: one day, Apple will add a real Delete key, for the moment, I use fn + Delete to perform a PC Delete.
- The overpriced Apple Mouse: this mouse is great but the signal keeps on dropping (even after I reset the PRAM), apparently, it is related to batteries loosing the connection. At this price, they could do better.
The future is ours
Future is looking good: PBCS works perfectly on a Mac, try the Simplified Interface if you don’t have Cloud Services, you’ll see it for yourself.
With Essbase on the Cloud, you will be able to do more from your Mac, I just hope we will be able to enjoy SmartView natively. My understanding is that it is more a MS problem than an Oracle one.