Unfortunately, Narrative Reporting (NR) does not use EPM Automate like other products within Oracle EPM Cloud. I find this very disappointing and frustrating, but it is what it is and we’ll adapt.
One of the basic tasks that I set up whenever working with a client on an implementation is to download and retain daily snapshots of the application. This has saved development on multiple occasions when it was necessary to restore the application from backup. It is recommended best practice to retain 10 days of backups. Clients may choose to keep more or less. In non-NR EPM applications, this is easily accomplished with a batch script calling EPM Automate commands. In NR we will need to create a process using the NR File Transfer Utility.
First, download the utility from NR.
Download the zip file to a computer that will be used for executing the NR tasks. I’ve downloaded to a folder on my C:\ drive.
Unzip the file, you will then have the file eprcsctl.exe and a folder that holds many other files.
We now have the utility ready for use. Open a command prompt window and change the directory to where eprcsctl.exe is saved.
From this command prompt we can use the NR commands. A full listing of the File Transfer Utility commands can be found at https://docs.oracle.com/en/cloud/saas/enterprise-performance-reporting-cloud/adepr/using_the_file_transfer_utility_151340.html.
Commands can be executed from the command prompt, with batch scripts, or with XML files. Instructions for the XML files are at the link above, our focus will be on directly entering the commands into the command prompt and with batch scripts.
Using the command “download_dbsnapshot”, we can execute the snapshot download from the command prompt.
The download process can be executed using a batch script, this can be more efficient and be scheduled to run on a regular basis to ensure current backups are available.
We have created a simple batch script to download the snapshot, rename with a timestamp, and retain the 10 most recent files. The script can be enhanced with logging if desired.
In my opinion, though the Narrative Reporting File Transfer Utility is not as comprehensive as EPM Automate, it is a capable utility, and when integrated into batch scripts can be made more efficient. As noted at the beginning of this post, I’m disappointed that Oracle is using a different tool in NR when most of the other applications in EPM Cloud use EPM Automate. (Note: A colleague pointed out to me that NR can use EPM Automate for reset and recreate commands, but I was unable to find documentation with additional information. Also, EPM Automate is on the roadmap for NR.)
There is an important deficiency in File Transfer Utility that I want to point out. There is not a method to use an encrypted password in the command line, either in the command prompt or in a batch script. This is concerning, especially in a batch script, because the password will be visible. The utility apparently is encrypting when the login credentials are passed to the web, but users will need to be careful where they save batch scripts so as to not compromise access. One work around would be to prompt in the script to enter the password, but this would then prevent the scheduling of the script.
The process for downloading snapshots can be replicated to use with other File Transfer Utility Commands, and if using a batch script, one script can be used to execute multiple commands.