nVision Performance Tuning: 11. Excel -v- OpenXML

This blog post is part of a series that discusses how to get optimal performance from PeopleSoft nVision reporting as used in General Ledger.

The general objective the performance tuning changes described in this series of blog posts has been to improve the performance of individual nVision reports, but also to allow many reports to execute concurrently.
However, if you use Excel 2010, Excel 2013 or above, then you may notice run times are significantly longer than with Excel 2007.  Also, from PeopleTools 8.54, Excel 2007 is no longer certified.
The problem is discussed in Oracle support note E-NV: nVision Performance using Microsoft Office 2010 and above (Doc ID 1537491.1).  Essentially, Excel 2010 upwards only runs single threaded.  Only one Excel nVision process that is not waiting for a database call to return can run concurrently on any one Windows server at any one time.  If you want to be able to run 10 concurrent nVision reports you would need to run one on each of 10 process schedulers, on 10 different windows servers.
From PT8.54, OpenXML is the default and preferred engine for executing nVision report on the process scheduler.  This uses a different PeopleSoft executable (PSNVSSRV).  It does not suffer from the single-threading problem so multiple processes can run concurrently.  It can also be run on non-Windows environments.
However, there are some limitations with OpenXML:

  • Excel macros are ignored during report generation, although macros can be put into a layout that will execute when the generated report is subsequently opened in Excel.
  • There are problems with nPlosion.  
  • Any print area set in the layout is lost.
  • When rerunning nVision to file any pre-existing file is not overwritten.

Therefore, it may be necessary to continue to run some nVision reports on Excel.  This would require:

  • Separate process schedulers configured to run Excel rather than OpenXML on each available Windows server.  Excel is selected by setting the variable Excel Automation = 1, in the nVision section of the process scheduler configuration file (psprcs.cfg).  
  • A new Excel nVision process type should be configured to run specific layouts or reportbooks on Excel.  
  • That new process type should only run on these additional process schedulers.  It should have a maximum concurrence of 1, or at most 2, on each Process Scheduler.  These schedulers should be configured to run this new process type (and a single Application Engine so that the purge process can run).