Thursday, March 31, 2011

Star Command Center 3.0 Launched


Star Command Center 3.0 is a major release, with a host of new features. Note that the 3.0 launch includes a product name change: Star Finance Command Center is now called Star Command Center (SCC).

You may have seen recent announcements about Star Command Center’s ability to run and monitor your Business Intelligence applications from a Smartphone. We now have a live cloud-based installation of SCC available for you to access from a web browser, from your Smartphone, or from other browser-enabled devices. The URL is Use these logon credentials: Username: "seestar" / Password: "seestar".

New in Version 3.0

  • Command Line Client, a new license option. The command line client supports:
    • Querying, starting, pausing and stopping processes.
    • Testing Agent connectivity.
    • Full and partial exports of the automation repository.
  • Web Services Interface, a new license option. The web services interface supports:
    • Starting, stopping and querying processes.
    • Support for all major BPEL engines, including Oracle BPEL Process Manager, Microsoft BizTalk Server and SAP NetWeaver.
  • An improved Client user interface. The most noticeable changes are:
    • There are now tabbed views of documents, enabling multiple automation objects to be viewed, and/or edited, at the same time.
    • The Process Overview view now uses search in place of drill-down navigation. It is similar to the existing web interface.
    • It is now possible to edit a process from the run view with a single click.
    • You can now run a Process directly from the Setup and Design view. You can run the entire Process, part of the Process starting at a particular Task , or just a single Task.
    • It is now possible to manage both 2.0.8 and 3.0.x servers using the same Client.
    • You can now see user activity via the Web and Windows Client Run & Monitor consoles.
  • An Audit Log is now available for all objects. The Audit Log answers the question of who did what, and when they did it.

audit 2

  • Previous versions of processes and file resources can now be viewed and promoted to become the current version.
  • A new Label object has been introduced. By labeling a set of specific process and file resource versions, this state can later be restored in a single operation.

labels 2

  • Productivity packs are now managed directly from Command Center. They can be downloaded and installed from the Star Analytics web site, thereby providing a seamless upgrades from one version to another.
  • The ability to set schedules with different frequencies on different dates.
  • A new Run Process task type allows one process to start another process.
  • A new Sleep task type suspends process activity for a specified period of time.
  • There is now an option to skip a task.
  • Process and ecosystem variables have been improved. Previously a variable could be expanded only once, and you could not nest variable references. Now you can use variables like:
    • VAR_A = Command
    • VAR_B = Star $(VAR_A) Center
    • And $(VAR_B) will expand to "Star Command Center"
  • Mathematical expression handling has been enhanced. This is used primarily for automated data validation. The new engine supports the following:
    • Support for basic mathematical operators: + - * / ().
    • Support for mathematical rules of operation.
    • ABS - Returns the absolute value of a specified number. Example: Abs(-1) returns 1.
    • Ceiling - Returns the smallest integer greater than or equal to the specified number. Example: Ceiling(1.5) returns 2.
    • Floor - Returns the largest integer less than or equal to the specified number. Example: Floor(1.5) returns 1.
    • Max - Returns the larger of two specified numbers. Example: Max(1, 2) returns 2.
    • Min - Returns the smaller of two numbers. Example: Min(1, 2) returns 1.
    • Round - Rounds a value to the nearest integer, or to a specified number of decimal places. Example: Round(5.22, 0) returns 5.
    • Truncate - Calculates the integral part of a number. Example: Truncate(1.7) returns 1.


  • Import/Export now allows you to import an ecosystem using a different name. Thus, you can now create a copy of an ecosystem on the same server.
  • Agents can now process tasks from multiple servers simultaneously. If your setup includes multiple Command Center servers, you can have them execute tasks through the same physical server using a single agent.
  • In addition to the product rename, the following components have also been renamed:
    • Windows services are now SccAgent, SccServer and SccQueue
    • The UNIX installation directory is now SccAgent
  • Upgrade includes numerous quality improvements detailed in the release notes.

Star Command Center Plug-in Task Packs

There has been an expansion of the Star Command Center Plug-in Task Packs. The current inventory is as follows:
  • Oracle Essbase Task Pack - Standard administrative functions for Essbase such as run calculation, load data, set and receive server-side variables.
  • Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) Task Pack - Standard administrative functions for HFM, such as clear, copy, and move data, consolidate, open and close period, and execute Extended Analytics extractions.
  • Oracle Financial Data Quality Management (FDM) Task Pack - Standard administrative functions for FDM, such as Import, Validate, Export and Load, run custom scripts, run standard FDM reports.
  • Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Architect (EPMA) Task Pack - Ability to run an EPMA script.
  • Utilities Task Pack - Various utilities used for data, file management and systems management.
  • Email Task Pack - Email automation, providing the ability to send plain and HTML emails with file attachments.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Introducing Star Command Center 3.0

The next major release of Star Analytics’ flagship product is undergoing the final steps in the QA process. It will be released at the end of this quarter (Q1 2011). We are very pleased with this release, and we would like to provide an overview of some of its new features.

With new capabilities, and with increased support for cloud-based computing environments (discussed in a future blog post), the 3.0 release has a new product name: Star Command Center (SCC). SCC provides a significant expansion of capabilities that go well beyond the initial use within finance departments of Fortune 1000 companies, such as MasterCard, EDMC and Symantec.
See and read more:

Based upon user feedback, the Star Command Center Client has improved usability, enhanced audit tracking, and an additional interface to handshake with 3rd party IT-based schedulers and enterprise management systems. The screenshots below, combined with short descriptions, help to illustrate the new capabilities found in Star Command Center 3.0.

  • Tabbed/Multiple document view, enabling multiple automation objects to be viewed and edited at the same time.

Example #1: In tabbed view mode:

Example #2: In document view mode:

  • The Process Overview view uses filters instead of drill down navigation


  • It is now possible to edit a process from the Run View with a single click, thereby allowing an iterative approach to automation setup.


  • Is it now possible to run a process directly from the Setup and Design View. This allows a user to run the complete process, to run a single task, or to do a partial run starting from a task.

  • The system of Task Plug-ins has been vastly improved, and it can now be managed directly from the Star Command Center client. Task Plugins are used to add new Computing Resources and Task Types to the system.

  • An Audit trail is now available for all objects. The audit trail answers the question of who did what and when they did it, which is especially important when managing automation.

For processes and file resources, old versions of a file resource can be promoted to become current versions, thereby providing the ability to restore from a previous state. Combined with the new labeling system in 3.0, a baseline of processes and file resources can be created. This can be restored in a single operation, thereby becoming the new baseline version.

  • The Star Command Center Server audit log now can be filtered.

  • As noted earlier, a new Label object has been introduced with Star Command Center 3.0. A label can be created with a set of specific process and file resource versions, which later can be used to restore in a single operation. During an Ecosystem Export operation, Star Command Center automatically labels the automation repository before doing an import, easily allowing the import to be undone.

  • A new Run Process task type has been introduced. This task type allows an automation process to be started as a subroutine.

Functional changes

  • Improved scheduling: It is now possible to schedule a process to run at 2pm on Wednesdays and at 3pm on Thursdays.
  • Improved process and ecosystem variable usage: Previously, a variable was expanded once and did not allow for nested variable references. With this enhancement, variables behave like this:
    • VAR_A = Command
    • VAR_B = Star $(VAR_A) Center
      In turn, $(VAR_B) will expand to "Star Command Center"
  • Import/Export now allows ecosystem import using a different name. This enhancement allows making a copy of an ecosystem on the same server.
  • Agents can now process tasks from multiple servers simultaneously. With a setup that includes multiple Star Command Center servers which utilize a common remote agents, the agents can now execute tasks from each server.

Command Line Client

With the release of Star Command Center 3.0, a command line client has been added as an additional licensed feature. The command line provides the following capabilities:

  • Start/stop/pause a Star Command Center processes
  • Query the state of a running process (not started, running, paused, warning, error, complete)
  • Query process statistics (run time, last run, number of runs, run by user)
  • Test connectivity to a Star Command Center agent
  • Export one or more ecosystems

The Command Line Client complements the existing Event Listener interface and the Web Service interface. It enables Star Command Center to be part of a larger automation ecosystem traditionally made up of IT-based scheduling and enterprise management tools such as CA AutoSys, IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler, BMC Control M, UC4, ActiveBatch and HP OpenView.

A link to the above can be downloaded here.