Planning an Environment Family
An environment family is a logical grouping of environments. The environment family defines a set of characteristics that are shared across the environments to allow consistent management and maintenance across your production, test, and development environments.
Before you create an environment family, ensure that you have considered the following options and how you want to set them up.
Selecting Applications to Include in an Environment Family
If your organization has purchased subscriptions for multiple applications across Oracle Fusion Customer Experience (CX), Oracle Fusion Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management (HCM), you would typically provision all your Fusion Applications in the same environment. To provision them in the same environment, you add them all to the same environment family. However, if your business needs require that you run specific subscriptions in different environments, you can create multiple environment families to support those.
After you create an environment family, if you purchase a new subscription or add applications to an existing subscription, you can update the environment family to include the new applications.
We highly recommend that you group all of your purchased Fusion Applications in a single environment family. Sharing an environment family simplifies application administration by allowing you to:
- Share a common data model and objects across application modules, eliminating the need for additional integrations.
- Deploy and maintain your applications more easily by using a common setup, development tools, and utilities.
- Standardize business processes, including global deployment configuration and extension.
- Run consistent Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence (OTBI) reports and analyses across all applications and functional modules.
Choosing a Region for an Environment Family
When you create an environment family, you select a geographical region where the environments will be created. All the environments in a family are created in the region selected for the environment family.
Things to consider when selecting a region:
- The geographical location of your organization.
- The geographical location of your customers. Be aware of data privacy laws that might require customer data to be maintained within specific geographical borders.
- The regions supported by the applications.
For a list of all regions available in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, see Regions and Availability Domains.
For information on how to enable more regions for your tenancy, see Managing Regions.
For information on how to change the region you are currently working in, see Switching Regions.
Choosing a Compartment
In Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, a compartment is a logical grouping of resources for controlling access to those resources. Placing resources in compartments allows you to restrict access to as granular a level as you require.
For example, if your tenancy has multiple environment families, you can restrict access to each family to different groups of users by placing them in different compartments. You then write policy to allow access based on the group and compartment. If you don't specifically choose a compartment (or if your organization has not set up multiple compartments) the environment family will be created directly in the tenancy (also called the root compartment). If your organization chooses to set up compartments later, you can move the environment family to a different compartment.
Also, if you plan to have different administrators for your environment families and your environments, you can place each of them in different compartments to create different access policies for each. For more information about planning compartments, see Learn Best Practices for Setting Up Your Tenancy.
Understanding Environment Maintenance
Oracle automatically runs maintenance on your environments to apply feature updates and patches to your applications, according to your maintenance policy schedule. During some types of maintenance, the environment and all applications running on the environment are not accessible during the maintenance window. Oracle notifies you in advance of upcoming maintenance times. You can also get information about upcoming maintenance at any time on the environment details page. You have options for choosing when and how often maintenance occurs in your environments, although some applications have contractually mandated maintenance schedules.
When you create an environment family, you define a maintenance policy for all the environments in the family. Some aspects of the policy can be customized per environment.
Types of Maintenance and Schedules
There are several types of maintenance that can occur on your environments. The following sections describe the maintenance types and options.
Quarterly Maintenance Schedule
Oracle releases new features and major enhancements four times a year and applies them in the quarterly update. These updates are mandatory for all customers and are applied to your environment as per the quarterly maintenance months selected by you.
You can choose from the following three maintenance schedule options to receive these updates:
Exception: Oracle Fusion Cloud Payroll has mandated maintenance periods in February/May/August/November. If the environment family includes this service, you can't change the maintenance months.
Monthly patching is an optional offering that you can choose. When you select monthly patching, your environments receive bug fixes every month. The monthly patches are applied in accordance with the patching cadence (production or non-production) that you selected for the environment. Note that enabling monthly patching does not change the delivery of new features. New features are delivered only in the quarterly updates. Monthly patching updates include only bug fixes.
Maintenance Run Phases (Pre-Maintenance and Post-Maintenance)
Fusion Applications maintenance runs for both quarterly and monthly patching follow a three-phase process to minimize downtime. The OCI Console displays messages throughout maintenance runs that provide information about what phase the maintenance run is currently in.
At the beginning of your scheduled maintenance period, the Console displays a message letting you know that the system is in the pre-maintenance phase. This lasts approximately two hours, and precedes the maintenance downtime. During this period, certain Fusion Applications administrative tasks are restricted, though your Fusion Applications remain available.
The main phase of the maintenance run follows the pre-maintenance phase, and involves a short period of downtime for your applications.
After the main maintenance phase, you see a message in the Console explaining that your environment is in the post-maintenance phase. In this phase, your Fusion Applications are again available and the maintenance run is completing. Certain Fusion Applications administrative tasks are still restricted during the post-maintenance phase. Once the post-maintenance phase ends, your maintenance run is complete and you are able to perform all administrative tasks in your environment.
For more information on Fusion Applications maintenance, see the following notes in My Oracle Support (MOS):
About Maintenance Notifications
Oracle automatically notifies you by email to let you know about maintenance-related activities, including the dates for next scheduled maintenance. You can expect email notifications for the following:
- 30 days before the start of a maintenance event
- 7 days before the start of a maintenance event
- End (completion) of maintenance
- Extension of a maintenance window
- Rescheduling of a maintenance event
- Cancellation of a maintenance event
You can also view past notifications for your tenancy at any time in the Console. For details on how to view announcements and notifications, see Viewing Announcements.
The default administrator of the tenancy has permissions to receive e-mail notifications. You can enable others in your organization to receive e-mail notifications and view announcements. See Enabling and Viewing Maintenance Notifications for the setup steps.
Updates That Are Disabled Before and During Maintenance
Four days prior to scheduled maintenance, you can't make the following updates to an environment:
- Add an administrator
- Add language packs
- Add tags
- Rename the environment
- Update network access control lists
- Update maintenance policy
- Move the environment to a different compartment
- Refresh the environment
If you try to make one of these updates, you'll get an error letting you know that the environment is within the maintenance window. Wait until the scheduled maintenance is complete to make these updates.
When maintenance is in progress, you'll see a banner across the details page of the environment letting you know that updates are disabled until the maintenance completes.
Updating a Maintenance Policy
After you create an environment family, you can enable or disable monthly patching. You can't change the quarterly maintenance schedule.