Steps for a successful ECM migration using ILINX Export

As a Sr. Systems Engineer at ImageSource, I am currently engaged on a project where the customer had a need to migrate all content out of their Stellent IBPM 7.6.0.0 software platform. (This is the same product stack as Optika Acorde and Oracle IPM; the product has gone through a few name changes over the years with the different acquisitions.) In my experience, I have found there are several steps that need to be taken when considering migrating content from your current ECM repository.

The first steps in any migration are to analyze existing content and ensure that the majority has been discovered, identified and prioritized.

  1. Categorize content into categories (document types, applications, folders, etc.)
  2. Prioritize content based on:
    1. A business value rating to the content
    2. A difficulty level associated with the migration effort

Categorizing Content:
All discovered content should be cataloged by the indexes or field data that exists for it and the file formats used. All systems that may be migrated need to be investigated for existing export tools that can export data into various formats, such as CSV or directly to custom databases. If the system is lacking any direct export capability built into the product it is necessary to either develop a migration tool or purchase one. In my current project we are using a tool developed by ImageSource called ILINX Export. ILINX Export supports migrations out of Oracle IPM (along with Stellent IBPM and Optika Acorde), WebCenter Content 11g, EMC AppXtender, IBM FileNet P8, and IBM FileNet ImageServices. Continue reading

IPM 10g is Going Away, Now What?

Earlier this month ImageSource hosted our annual ECM conference Nexus.  I had the chance to meet with many of our customers and have some really great conversations.  Many of these folks are running IPM 10g as a core component of their enterprise and since that product is being end of life’d they are taking a long hard look at their installations.  Everyone wanted to know what options they had and to talk about the best way for them to move forward.  The 11g version of IPM was frequently a core topic of conversation and everybody wanted to hear how to get from here to there.

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Oracle IPM 11g Released!

For those of you who have not heard Oracle has released the next generation of their Enterprise Content Management Software, Imaging and Process Management (IPM) 11g.  This version is the first major step that Oracle has taken to tightly integrate the product into Oracle’s overall software architecture…IPM 11g has been completely overhauled to be part of the Fusion Middleware (FMW) tech stack.  From the ECM perspective, Oracle now has a complete seamlessly integrated end to end offering that includes the storage repository, document management, business process management, library services, web publishing, records management, reporting/monitoring and application integration.  This creates many advantages for customers that use or plan to use other Oracle products in their workplace, as well as, integrating and leveraging existing investments in non-Oracle software.

I have been working as a Systems Engineer and Project Manager with the IPM software base for over 8 years, through the Stellent IBPM acquisition, all the way back to the Optika Acorde and eMedia days.  A couple major differences in implementing the latest Oracle 11g version are the requirements for Oracle Universal Content Management (UCM) for the storage repository and Oracle WebLogic Server for the application/web server.  I look at both of these requirements in a positive light.  UCM and WebLogic Server are powerful robust products that provide standard approaches to managing content storage and applications, respectively, from the FMW perspective.  With that said, if you do not have experience with either UCM or WebLogic, you will need to get up to speed with them to succeed in an IPM implementation.  Neither of these products can be installed through the “Next, Next, Next, Finished!” approach, so careful upfront planning and architecting is required to ensure a successful implementation.

Let’s talk about the new user interface a little bit.  Oracle has followed suit with the rest of the major players in the ECM world by creating a complete web based interface for performing all administrative and end user functions.  This makes administration duties of the system much easier than in past versions that require administration to be done through the “thick” client.  Also, by moving to the WebLogic Server the full featured web interface is now much more browser agnostic than in the past.  The image viewer comes in two flavors that support over 400 file formats; a zero footprint view only version and the a re-written java applet that allows for full annotations, annotation security, and server based conversion/rendering for access speed.  The following are a couple of screen captures of the user interface from IPM 11g:

The Client Interface

The Zero Footprint Viewer


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The System Engineer Tool Belt and Problem Solving

Quite often, System Engineers are called upon to solve unusual problems. The greater our depth of knowledge about various technologies, the greater our problem solving ability.

My primary technology tool belt consists of knowledge in document capture, business workflow, enterprise content management, web development, .NET programming and web services, ERP Accounts Payable systems, and several other useful technology tools and systems.

Recently, a customer came to ImageSource with a problem. We had taught the customer how to use the PAWSER Oracle Imaging and Process Management (IPM) web SDK capability. What PAWSER makes possible is a specially constructed URL that can securely call an IPM system and retrieve a specific stored image. The P in PAWSER stands for “public” meaning there is no need for the calling user to log in to the imaging system.

For example, consider the following URL:

http://mywebserver/IBPMExpress/External/DocumentActionProcessor.aspx?ToolName=PAWSER&SearchName=APSEARCH&CheckDate=11/18/2009
&CheckNumber=0&VendorNum=1234567&Viewer=ImagingPlugin

URL explanation:

“APSEARCH”: This is the name of the Saved Search being queried in Oracle IPM
“CheckDate”: The field being searched
“CheckNumber”: The field being searched
“VendorNum”: The field being searched
“Viewer=ImagingPlugin”: This launches the IPM viewer

In this case, the customer was dynamically constructing this url in a J.D. Edwards WORLD ERP system to retrieve an image related to an invoice screen. The problem is that the WORLD environment only allows 123 maximum characters for the URL string. The required URL for the call has more characters than that.

So stop here, don’t look below. How would you solve the URL length problem?
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Planning Applications and Repositories within Oracle IPM

One of the philosophies I have developed over the years is the separation of applications and their image repositories for every application developed. I build a storage volume and a storage class incorporating the volume for each individual application. These do not need to be physically distinct locations, they can be virtual names for the same location such as a Centera device or they can be two different folders on a SAN drive. The key is being able to reference them individually within the IPM product.

The advantage I have found is if there comes a time when the images must be separated, or different purge cycles are desired, these actions can be accomplished from the standard Oracle IPM interface. Also, the individual application could be spun off into its own installation with some work by a IPM professional.

The short term cost in time of building these extra storage class and volume references in my opinion is well worth the potential of not having limited your future actions with the system.

Jeff Doyle

Senior Systems Engineer

ImageSource, Inc.