Sunday, 4 November 2018

EPM Cloud – Managing users with EPM Automate and REST API update

In the 18.09 release of EPM Cloud new functionality was added to provide the ability to manage users and roles at an identity domain level with EPM Automate or REST API. I covered this functionality in detail in a previous post which you can read all about here.

The EPM Automate commands added in that release were:
  • addusers – Creates new users in the identity domain based on the contents of a comma separated file.
  • removeusers – Deletes identity domain accounts based on the contents of a comma separated file.
  • assignroles – Assigns an identity domain role to all users that are contained in a comma separated file.
  • unassignroles – Unassigns an identity domain role to all users that are contained in a comma separated file.
Since writing the post, I have been asked a few times if it is possible to add users to a group. Well, from the 18.11 release this has been made possible and there are two new commands available for EPM Automate.
  • adduserstogroup -- Adds a batch of users contained in a file to an existing group in Access Control.
  • removeusersfromgroup - Removes a batch of users contained in a file from an available group in Access Control.
In order to use the commands, a file containing a list of users has to be uploaded to EPM Cloud. As you would expect, the functionality is also available through the REST API.

In this post I will quickly go through the commands, first with EPM Automate and then with the REST API.

Let us start with the “adduserstogroup” command.

The syntax for the EPM Automate command is:

epmautomate addUsersToGroup FILENAME GROUPNAME

Where FILENAME is a file containing a list of users that has already been uploaded to EPM cloud. GROUPNAME is the group you want to assign the users in the file to.

The users will need to exist in the identity domain, if they don’t you can add them with the “addusers” command. The users will also need to have an identity domain applied, this can be achieved with the “assignroles” command.

I would have preferred it if you could specify the user and the group they should be assigned to in the file instead of only being able to assign a single group at a time.

I will go through an example to add the following user to a group.

The user has already been assigned an identity domain role.

The group to assign the user to already exists in “Access Control”.

The group does not currently have any users assigned to it.

To be able to use the EPM Automate command, you need a file containing the list of users to assign to a group.

Obviously you can include as many users as you like in the file.

The file must have the header “User Login” otherwise you will generate an error when trying to use the command.

Once the file has been produced it has to be uploaded to EPM Cloud, this can be achieved with the EPM Automate “uploadfile” command.

The file will then be available from the application “Inbox/Outbox Explorer”.

Now the file exists, the “addusertogroup” command can be executed to assign the users in the file to the group specified in the command.

The response from issuing the command will include how many users were processed, including the number of successful and failed group assignments.

Checking the group in "Access Control" confirms the user has been successfully assigned.

To remove users from a group is pretty much the same concept, only difference is this time it will be the command “removeusersfromgroup”. I am going to use the same user file and remove them from the same group.

The output will once again highlight how many users in the file were successfully or unsuccessfully removed from a group.

As the command successfully removed the user they have been unassigned in "Access Control".

If you try to run the command against a group that does not exist, then you will receive an error.

I did wonder whether the command would allow you to add a group to a group and not just users to a group.

Considering the header in the file has to specify “User Login” I wasn’t holding out much hope, anyway I added a group to the file and uploaded.

Running the command generated a failure.

It would be good if the command included a parameter to define where to assign users or groups to a group. This would be preferable over another new command.

Now on to achieving the same functionality with the REST API.

I am not going to go through uploading a file using the REST API again as I covered that in my previous post.

The REST API URL format for adding/removing users to/from groups is:


To assign a group to the users contained in a file a PUT method is required, the body of the request should include the filename, the group name and a job type of “ADD_USERS_TO_GROUP”.

I said this in my previous post, but it is a shame that the user/group information could not have been included the body of the request instead of having to upload a file.

Using a rest client an example to assign users to a group is:

The response will contain job information for adding users to groups. A status of -1 means the job is in progress, a URL is included which then can be accessed to check the job status.

Using the URL from the response, a GET request can be made to keep checking the job status until it completes.

A status of 0 means the operation was successful, just as with EPM Automate details are included to inform how many assignments were processed and how many succeeded or failed.

As the details show the process was successful, the user in the file has been assigned to the group.

To remove users from a group is very similar, the only difference is the “jobtype” parameter which should be “REMOVE_USERS_FROM_GROUP”.

The response contains the same information as when using the resource to add users to a group.

The status can be checked until the job completes.

The user has now been removed the group.

To automate the process with the REST API and scripting you could put together something like:

The above script first tries to delete any existing file in EPM Cloud with the same name as the one that will be uploaded, once this is done, a file containing the list of users to assign a group to is uploaded.

The file will then be available from the applications “Inbox/Outbox Explorer”.

Next, the REST resource to add users to a group is called. The URL to check the job status is then extracted from the response. The job status is checked until it completes.

The user contained in the uploaded file has been successfully assigned to the specified group.

To remove users from a group the same script can be reused with the job type changed to “REMOVE_USERS_FROM_GROUP”.

I am sure I am going to get asked if it is possible to create a group with EPM Automate or the REST API, unfortunately there is no direct command to do this yet.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Automating data flows between EPM Cloud and OAC – Part 2

In the first part, I went through an example of extracting forecast data from PBCS using Data Management, downloading the data file and then loading this to an OAC Essbase database. All the steps in the example were manual, so in this post I am going to add some automation using REST APIs and scripting.

I would recommend reading through the first post if you have not already, as I will be referring to it and this post will probably not make much sense unless you have read it.

As always, I am going to stress this is not the only way to go about automating the process and is only to provide an idea as to what can be achieved.

I will provide examples of the REST API using a free REST client and the scripting will be mainly with PowerShell, though you can achieve the same results with pretty much any scripting language. There will also be a little bit of Groovy thrown into the mix for those that are running a user managed version of OAC vs autonomous.

A summary of the process that will be automated is:
  • Extract Forecast year substitution variable from OAC Essbase.
  • Transform variable into the start/end period for an EPM Cloud Data Management data load rule.
  • Run a Data Management data load rule to extract planning forecast data, map and then generate a file.
  • Download data file from Data Management (Groovy example, downloads directly from DM to OAC).
  • Run an Essbase Load rule to load data from file.
It is possible to run the whole process directly from OAC using Groovy, but I am trying to provide options for autonomous OAC as well. Also, I didn’t really want to show one big Groovy script because that is not very interesting for a blog post.

Before I start out, it is worth pointing out that I going to be using the same forecast year sub var, Data Management and Essbase data load rule that I covered in the last post.

For the first part of the process, I want to extract the Essbase forecast sub var. This has been created at application level.

To extract using the REST API, a GET request is made to the following URL format:


In my case this would equate to:

The JSON response includes the name and value of the sub var.

For Data Management I need to convert this to the start and end period.

This is where a script comes into play and can automate the process:

Now that the variable has been extracted and transformed, the Data Management load rule can be executed.

The idea is to execute the rule with the following values:

I have covered this in the past but to run a rule using the REST API, a POST method is required, and the body of the request should include the above values in JSON format.

The response includes the job ID (process ID), current job status and a URL to keep checking the status.

The job status can then be checked until it completes.

Time to convert this into a script which will execute the rule and store the response.

The rule has been executed and the response stored, now it is time to keep checking the status until it completes.

In the Data Management target options of the rule, a static filename has been set.

This means the file is available for download using the defined filename and from a location accessible using the REST API.

A GET request can be made to the following URL format which includes the filename.

This is where my example splits: if you want to use a Groovy script and download directly to the OAC instance, this could be an option available to user managed OAC instances.

Alternatively, for an autonomous instance which I will cover first, you can download the file to a staging location, an example to do this could be:

The file will be available to load to OAC.

There are a couple of options available, you could upload the file to the OAC instance and then run a data load rule or use the data load stream option.

The streaming option allows you to run an Essbase data load rule but stream in the data, removing the requirement to upload the file first.

To stream data using the REST API you must use to a POST method to indicate you want to start a stream data load. The body of the post should include the Essbase load rule name.

The response will include a URL to post the data to.

The data can then be streamed using the returned URL.

The response will include URLs to either stream more data or end the data load rule.

To end the data load, a DELETE method is required to the same URL.

If there were no errors, a successful message should be returned.

If I update the data to include an invalid member and run the data load again.

The response will indicate there were records rejected and the filename containing the errors.

This file will be available in the Essbase database directory.

An example of the error file is:

This file could be downloaded using the REST API if required.

An example of automating the stream data load method using a script could be:

I did have some fun trying to get the script to work as it needs to keep a web session active between the start and end of the streaming. I had to use “Invoke-WebRequest” where I generated a session variable and then used this in subsequent REST calls.

If you are interested in what is happening behind the scenes with the data load streaming method, here is an excerpt from the Essbase application log.

[DBNAME: GL] Received Command [StreamDataload] from user [john.goodwin]
[DBNAME: GL] Reading Rules From Rule Object For Database [GL]
[DBNAME: GL] Parallel dataload enabled: [2] block prepare threads, [1] block write threads.
[DBNAME: GL] Data Load Updated [21739] cells
[DBNAME: GL] [EXEC_TIME: 0.82] Data load completed successfully
Clear Active on User [john.goodwin] Instance [1]

If you don’t want to go down the streaming route, you could upload the file to the Essbase database directory using the REST API.

A PUT method is required to the following URL format which includes the name of the file and if you want to overwrite if it already exists:

This can simply be converted into a script.

After uploading you can then run a load job which I will cover shortly.

Going back to the Groovy option, which if available could be used to carry out all steps of the process to move data between EPM Cloud and OAC. As an example, I am going to use it for downloading the data file from EPM Cloud directly to the Essbase database directory in OAC.

In the Groovy script, variables are defined such as the EPM Cloud URL for downloading files, the data filename, location in OAC to download the file to. The user credentials are encrypted to create the basic authentication header for the REST call.

A method is then called to make the REST request and download the file.

The script should be saved with an extension of “gsh” and then uploaded to OAC.

The script can be run from the jobs in the UI.

The application/database and script can then be selected and the Groovy will then be run.

One of the disadvantages at the moment with Groovy in OAC is that parameters can not yet be passed into the script when running as a job.

After running the job, an output file will be available that contains the output of the “println” method in the script.

As the script was successful, the output file contains the following:

As this blog is all about automation we can run the Groovy script with the REST API.

A POST method is required to the jobs URL, the Groovy job type and script to run is included in JSON format in the body of the post.

The response includes detailed information about the job and a URL to keep checking the job status.

Once again this can be simply converted into a script to automate the process.

With a GET method, the status of the job can be checked with the jobs URL that contains the job ID.

A script can automatically keep checking the job status, this is a similar concept to the earlier example when checking the status of a Data Management job.

The file will have been downloaded directly from EPM Cloud to the Essbase database directory in OAC.

Finally, on to running the Essbase load rule to load the data contained in the file.

Using the REST API, it is the same call to the jobs URL. The only difference is the job type is “dataload” and parameters define the load rule and the data file.

The information returned in the response is similar to running any type of job.

The status of the job can be checked until it completes.

The beauty of running a data load job compared to streaming data is that the response includes the number of records that were processed and rejected.

This part of the process does not take much effort to convert into a script.

Now that the full process has been automated and run, the data from EPM cloud is available in OAC Essbase.

With scripting you can also automate the opposite process of extracting data from Essbase and then loading to EPM Cloud.

Once a script is in place it can be reused across different data flows by just changing variables.

If you are interested in understanding in more detail about how automation can help, please feel free to get in touch.