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The integration option for SharePoint software (aka IOMS) enables SAP Business Intelligence (BI) solutions to work with the SharePoint software.  In this blog post I will walk you through few of the key IOMS features in BI 4.x.   

 

To start, here are some of the selected key highlights of IOMS

  1. Free download through service market place
  2. Deployed as a SharePoint Site template IOMS, IOMS provides instant access to content stored in BusinessObjects from SharePoint with native SharePoint look and feel.  
  3. Provides Authentication/SSO support and allows users to search, manage, view and interact with BusinessObjects content from the SharePoint environment.
  4. Includes out of box webparts for extending other SharePoint sites with BusinessObjects reports, dashboards, and more. 
  5. Supported platform:  Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 (64 bit), 2010, and 2013
    1. Note: IOMS for SharePoint 2013 is supported as of 4.1 SP03

           

During installation, the installer will deploy a BusinessObjects site template in your SharePoint Server allowing instant access to the BusinessObjects content directly. 

    

When you access your IOMS portal URL (e.g. http://<machine_name>:80/), you will see the SAP BusinessObjects logon screen.  Users can setup SSO to skip the logon page using their Active Directory, LDAP, or BusinessObjects Enterprise credentials. 

LogonPage.jpg.png

Upon logging in, you will see a pre-deployed homepage composed of 4 main sections: Announcement, My Favorites, Recently viewed, and Recent Searches.    

 

For those of you familiar with BI launch pad, the “Recently Viewed” webpart is equivalent to the “My Recently Viewed Documents” widget in the BI
launch pad landing page.   The BI contents within IOMS are synchronized with your BusinessObjects servers where any changes you made in IOMS will
be reflected immediately in BI launch pad.

IOMS_BILP.png

 

The BusinessObjects SharePoint site template is designed to provide a native SharePoint user experience.  The familiar look and feel and navigation experience accelerate user adoption as users can move seamlessly from the IOMS to other SharePoint sites without having to change their basic working patterns or behaviors.  

 

The deployed BusinessObjects template comes with 3 main tabs: SAP BusinessObjects, Browser, and Page.  Within the Browser tab, you can navigate, manage, and view the BI content within SharePoint.   The “Page” tab allows you to easily customize the homepage using the out of box BusinessObjects webparts.  I will cover more on this in the later part of the blog post. 

landing page.png

 

The report (e.g. Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence reports, etc) can be viewed directly within the webpart (e.g. My Favorites).  You can perform similar capabilities such as printing, refreshing, and interacting with the reports with the IOMS viewers. 

view_webi.png

The “Inbox” and “Report Repository” drawers are equivalent to BI launch pad’s “My Documents” and “Folders” drawers.

 

InBox_Repo.png

 

The close integration with SharePoint’s native functionalities includes the breadcrumb navigation allowing users to jump straight to a specific folder
without having to navigate through the folder hierarchy. 

Breadcrumb.JPG.png

IOMS also provides flexible site searching option allowing users to search just the IOMS site or the IOMS site plus all the other SharePoint sites.  When searching just the IOMS site, the contents returned are identical to the contents returned if you were to do a search within BI launch pad. Within the search result page, you can also view or manage the report directly via the context menu. 

Search.png

Within the “SAP BusinessObjects” tab, you will find functionalities such as “New”, “Action”, “Upload” menus or Category View mode which are similar
what you would see in BI launch pad.   

BO_tab.png

The schedule option in the context menu also allows you to schedule and manage the BI reports within IOMS. 

Schedule.png

 

One of IOMS’s key functionalities is the ability to customize your landing page by enhancing other SharePoint sites by using the BusinessObjects
webparts that comes out of box.  These webparts allow you to

  • Viewing and interacting with Crystal Reports, Xcelsius (Dashboard Design), and Web Intelligence
  • Opening Office and PDF documents
  • Browsing the BusinessObjects repository
  • Searching and displaying search results from BusinessObjects
  • Helpful units for recent views and recent searches

 

webparts.jpg

It’s important to note that IOMS is meant to be used by the end users.  The administration tasks (e.g. starting and stopping servers) are still to be done within CMC. 

 

Reference Materials

  1. IOMS Installation and Administration Guide
    1. http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sbo41/en/sbo41sp3_ioms_admin_en.pdf
  2. IOMS Getting Started Guide
    1. http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sbo41/en/sbo41sp1_ioms_getstarted_en.pdf
  3. Official Product Tutorials – Integration Option for Microsoft SharePoint Software
    1. http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-19234

Sometimes understanding exactly what part of a particular workflow is contributing to slow response times can be challenging.  In the BI Platform landscape, there are many components and variables which contribute to the response times that end users are experiencing.  Thanks to the tight integration of SAP BI Platform 4.x and CA APM Introscope, we have a very useful and powerful tool that we can use to see under the hood and provide response times for very granular aspects of the reporting workflow.  This tool is the Transaction Tracer and is included in the set of monitoring and diagnostic tools that Introscope provides.  The Transaction Tracer is a feature of the Introscope Workstation that allows you to record transactions across the landscape and then filter these transactions based on SAP Passport which is generated by the SAP Client Plug-in.  After the trace is generated and filtered, the data can be quickly analyzed in great detail using the Workstation's rich graphical user interface.

 

In this article, I will demonstrate how to generate and analyze an end to end trace using the Introscope Transaction Tracer and SAP Passport without the use of SAP Solution Manager.  In place of SAP Solution Manager, the SAP BI Platform Support Tool (a free utility for BI administrators) will provide the capabilities needed to generate the query which will be submitted to Introscope.  If you are interested in this topic but are instead using SAP Solution Manager (rather than CA APM Introscope in stand-alone mode), check out this wiki page for a tutorial.  If you do not have Introscope configured for BI Platform 4.x yet and are looking for instructions and a tutorial, refer to the following article A complete guide to setup CA APM Introscope 9 for monitoring SAP BI Platform 4.1 on Windows [PART 1/2]

 

Validate that metrics are being collected

 

The first step that should be done prior to generating the trace is to confirm that all the necessary metrics are being collected for the workflow you are tracing.  In this example, we will be tracing the time that it takes to refresh a Web Intelligence document against the E-fashion database.  We can use the provided BOE 4.0 Introscope dashboards to confirm that metrics are being collected for the agents that belong to the landscape that we want to trace.  If you plan to trace some other workflow and are not sure which BI components are involved, you can refer to the official BI 4.x product tutorials for guidance.  See below an example of the Webi Refresh workflow and the Introscope dashboards we need to check:

 

introscope_dashboards.png

 

  1. Launch the CA Introscope Workstation using the URL http://IEMHOST:8081/workstation and logon to the Introscope Enterprise Manager (where IEMHOST is your CA APM Introscope Enterprise Manager hostname and 8081 is the HTTP port)
  2. Click Workstation, new Workstation
  3. Click the LENS button and sort by host, then multi-select all the hosts that belong to the BI landscape where you are performing the E2E trace and click APPLY.  This will filter out all the un-necessary metrics and allow us to confirm that we are seeing metrics from the hosts involved in our workflow

    consoleLens.png
  4. Next, click the dashboards drop-down and select the BOE 4.0 WEBI WAS dashboard

    dashboard_drop.png
  5. Confirm that you are seeing metrics for the Webi Web Application dashboards

    dashjh.png
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for each of the dashboards that are relevant to the workflow you are tracing.  If you are unsure of which dashboards should be checked, refer to the BI4 RCA guide for detailed descriptions of each dashboard.  Also, if you find that metrics are missing, refer back to the configuration guide and confirm that the Introscope Agents were configured correctly.  For support on this topic, open an incident under component BI-BIP-DEP.

    In this example, the dashboards to check include:

    - Apache Tomcat Dashboard

    - BOE 4.0 WEBI WAS
    - BOE 4.0 PLATFORM SDK

    - BOE 4.0 WEBI SERVER DETAIL
    - BOE 4.0 WEBI SERVER OVERVIEW

 

 

Execute the E2E Trace

 

The SAP Client Plug-in is used to launch the browser and send the necessary header variables which will instruct Introscope to automatically record the Transaction Trace on the Introscope Enterprise Manager.  The benefit of using the SAP Client Plug-in is that you do not need to manually start/stop the Transaction Trace tool inside Introscope Workstation which greatly simplifies the workflow.   Download the SAP Client Plug-in and close all browsers before continuing with this section.

 

  1. First, on the client where you will be executing the trace, make sure that all browsers are closed (it's also a good idea to check task manager and end task on all iexplore.exe processes)
  2. Browse to the location where you downloaded and extracted the SAP Client Plug-in and right click on plugin-starter-gui.exe and choose Run as administrator

    runAss.png
  3. Confirm that Application is set to Microsoft Internet Explorer and click Launch

    sapplu.png
  4. After Internet Explorer launches, return to the SAP Client Plug-in and give the Business Transaction Name property a meaningful name and change the Next Step TraceLevel property to High
  5. Next, queue up your browser to the place in the application where you want to begin tracing.  In this simple example, we will trace a Web Intelligence refresh.  When you are ready to begin the Transaction Trace, click the Start Transaction button on the SAP Client Plug-in then proceed with your workflow.  Confirm the trace is working by checking the Sent Bytes / Recieved Bytes.  When the trace is completed both should have values other than 0.

    exx.png
  6. When you have completed your workflow, click the Stop Transaction button then click ok on message "Please upload BusinessTransaction.xml manually"

 

 

Decode the SAP Passport with the BI Platform Support Tool

 

The key to fetching the E2E traces from Introscope Transaction Tracer is to decode the SAP Passport and query the Introscope Enterprise Manager for the historical trace records.  To decode the SAP Passport from the BusinessTransaction.xml, you must use the new SAP Passport Decoder tool which is included in the SAP BI Platform Support Tool version 1.1.5 or higher.  Download the tool from this wiki page

 

  1. Launch the SAP BI Platform Support Tool (v 1.1.5 or higher)
  2. From the menu, click Tools, then click SAP Passport Decoder

    w11.png
  3. Next click Browse, then browse to the location where your BusinessTransaction.xml is stored (this can be found in the /log/transactionName folder on the client where you extracted and ran the SAP Client Plug-in from).  For example, C:\sapclientplugin\log\20140417_090959_Refresh Webi Document
  4. Notice that all of the information required to view the Transaction Trace has been extracted and decoded for you from the uploaded BusinessTransaction.xml

    passportDecoderr.png

 

Query the E2E workflow in Introscope Transaction Tracer

 

Now that you have decoded the SAP Passport, you can now query for the Transaction Traces inside the Introscope Workstation

 

  1. Launch the Introscope Workstation
  2. Click on Workstation then Query Historical Events

    qhe.png
  3. Next, click the drop-down box next to Time range and select Custom Range then set the time range according to the start and stop time in the SAP Passport Decoder tool then click ok.  Make sure you specify a few minutes before and after the specified start/stop time to ensure you query for all the transactions that were part of your E2E workflow.

    times.png
  4. Finally, copy the Introscope query from the SAP Passport Decoder tool into the Events Query box inside the Historical Query Viewer and click the GO button to execute the query

    copyPaste.png
  5. The E2E Transaction Trace results are shown only for the workflow that you recorded using the SAP Client Plug-in

 

 

Analyze the E2E workflow in Introscope Transaction Tracer

 

  1. To begin the E2E analysis, first click the Timestamp column and make sure that the timestamps are sorted in ascending order then press CTRL-A or multi-select all of the transaction events in the Historical Query Viewer

    -e.png
  2. To view the most expensive methods and transactions for this recorded workflow, click the Summary View tab, then click the Call time (ms) column to sort descending.  In this example, the processDPCommandsEx( ) method took the most processing time (2 calls at 1.7 seconds each)

    -b.png
  3. To analyze the E2E workflow in a heirachical callstack format to understand where a bottleneck might be, click the Tree View tab.  Notice, in this view we can drill-down into the processDPCommandsEx( ) method to see which methods called by processDPCommandsEx( ) actually consumed the most time

    -c.png
  4. To view the E2E trace in a timeline format, click the Trace View tab.  Notice, clicking on specifc methods reveals parameters passed into the method

    -d.png

  • Align your BI Strategy to your Business Strategy –  use BI as an enabler to change.
  • Design your BI Strategy around ‘logical’ business models, not constrained by your existing systems. This will better meet your strategic drivers and enable source systems to be changed with less impact on Management Information. (Plug & Play Operational systems).
  • Perform top down, ‘blue sky’, business analysis alongside bottom up data analysis – where the two easily map, will provide quick wins. Gaps will indicate future system enhancements or new data capture requirements.
  • Define KPI’s that are affected by operational activities. This will allow operational staff to get direct feedback, allowing low level activities to align with the high level strategy. (Drill down from top to bottom).
  • Correlate ‘lead’ indicators with ‘lag’ indicators to predict and manage future performance. Big Data now gives us more customer insight and more accurate predictive capability.
  • Establish an organisational structure that can deploy BI into the business, use it for change management and then measure the impact. (BI Culture via a BI Competency Centre (BICC)).
  • Use the BI initiative to form a cross organisational ‘committee’ to better integrate different areas of the business and provide cross functional insight into your organisation’s performance. This group should also oversee Master Data Management, Data Governance and Meta Data Management (BICC).
  • Define the long term BI Roadmap but accept that short term tactical solutions may be necessary. Ensure any short term deployments are managed within the longer term strategy (bigger picture).
  • Implement and manage BI as a continual programme and not a single project.
  • Use multi skilled, self-organising SWAT teams, working together to deliver the solution.
  • Adopt an Agile development methodology to provide iterative solutions on a continual basis. This will pro-actively engage IT and the Business together, enabling them to cope with change and provide quicker results. Avoid the ‘waterfall’ development methodology for BI, which requires the final solution to be defined in detail before development – BI projects always evolve during development – cater for this evolution.
  • Use BI to validate your data and then implement Data Quality initiatives to resolve any issues. Make this a business led function, not an IT exercise – stop the dirty data at source, don’t continually clean it!
  • Do not compromise on quality, if necessary manage the scope instead.

 

If this is of interest you should join us for our next Business Intelligence Centre of Excellence Event, click here for more information: www.it-performs.com/events

From time to time it is possible to find something exceptional. It's just something you don’t find every day. And one of these findings is

Open SAP course BI4 platform Implementation.

So why do I consider it being so great?

  • It's completely free even for non SAP customers.
  • Contains a lot of useful information from people who are pure professionals
  • Contains not only videos but exercises and practical examples as well. Full of how-to images. Detailed and helpful.
  • OK, for whom is that?
  • Primary focus is on administrators
    • Tips before upgrading to BI4 - What sizing tools use and how
    • Very Detailed guide how to perform installation, configuration and upgrade
    • What are the best practices for deployment between individual environments.
    • How to set up and configure BOBJ environment for small or large distributed landscape
    • Best practices for  promotion management to be quicker and more stable
    • Troubleshooting best practices-What tools should be used for issues tracing and problems resolving -focused on network, database and even client layer. SAP BW included. Root cause analysis included.
    • How VMware should be configured for optimal performance in case of virtual environments
    • How to setup and use monitoring app
    • How to setup authorization, authentification and SSO
    • How to perform performance tests with jMeter
    • ...

rights1.PNGlogs.PNGmonitoring.PNG

monitoring2.PNGproblem3.PNGapache.PNGlcm.PNG

 

For BOBJ coordinators & application managers

    • What is New in BI4  platform
    • How to setup and optimize change management (deploying from dev to prod)
    • When new Service pack or fix will be released?
    • What is the best patching strategy?
    • What can be done for monitoring platform and its components for being able to predict possible performance issues
    • What can be done for resolving possible user issues
    • Where is information about limitations for your release
    • What are supported prerequisites for individual tools
    • What is SAP strategy for dashboards
    • ...

A few demo images:

  • patchstrategyx.PNGreleases.PNGreleases2.PNG
  • whatsnew1.PNGdashboards1.PNGdashboards2.PNG

See also my previous blog: Installing SAP BI 4.1 SP01 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x Step-by-step

 

 

The Heartbleed Bug has generated a lot of discussion.

 

In this Blog, I will go over what I know about Heartbleed based on my personal experience.

 

 

Be advised that this blog is for informational use only and SAP BI Support has authored a KBA (pertaining to the BI Platform) will be continually updated with all of the knowledge we have around this topic.

http://heartbleed.com/heartbleed.png

 

Resources:

 

Official Heartbleed siteHeartbleed Bug
CVE-2014-0160CVE -CVE-2014-0160
OpenSSL Advisoryhttps://www.openssl.org/news/secadv_20140407.txt
Apache Tomcat Bugzilla  BugID:56363Bug 56363 OpenSSL security advisory - Heartbleed bug
Tomcat SSL how toApache Tomcat 6.0 (6.0.39) - SSL Configuration HOW-TO
SAP BI Platform KBA

http://service.sap.com/sap/support/notes/2003582

 

 

Summary of the Heartbleed Bug:

 

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in certain versions of the OpenSSL cryptographic software library.  The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by vulnerable versions of OpenSSL.  An attacker could then obtain encryption keys which will allow decryption of past and future traffic to protected sites.

 

 

Affected OpenSSL versions:
  • Bug was introduced to OpenSSL in December 2011 and has been out in the wild since OpenSSL release 1.0.1 on 14th of March 2012. OpenSSL 1.0.1g released on 7th of April 2014 fixes the bug.


Status of different versions:

  •     OpenSSL 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f (inclusive) are vulnerable
  •     OpenSSL 1.0.1g is NOT vulnerable
  •     OpenSSL 1.0.0 branch is NOT vulnerable
  •     OpenSSL 0.9.8 branch is NOT vulnerable

 

 

SAP BI Platform SSL:

 

Here is a breakdown of where SSL is leveraged in the BI platform:

 

http://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/s/en_GB-1988229788/928/d7686547091e645d7b0285207c0b86be721c74eb.17/_/images/icons/emoticons/check.png
Streamwork integration:

XI3.1 and BI4.x includes redistributes OpenSSL 0.9.8 which is unaffected by heartbleed.  in addition, this library is used only in situations where outbound connections with SAP Streamwork is leveraged.

http://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/s/en_GB-1988229788/928/d7686547091e645d7b0285207c0b86be721c74eb.17/_/images/icons/emoticons/check.png
Server to Server SSL (Corba)

In situations were Corba SSL is enabled, the platform is utilizing an RSA implementation which is unaffected by heartbleed to provide secure SSL functions.  This configuration is documented in the admin guide http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sbo41/en/sbo41sp3_bip_admin_en.pdf

http://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/s/en_GB-1988229788/928/d7686547091e645d7b0285207c0b86be721c74eb.17/_/images/icons/emoticons/warning.png
Tomcat SSL

The default build of Tomcat does not have APR/SSL enabled

 

Tomcat can use two different implementations of SSL:

  • The JSSE implementation provided as part of the Java runtime (since 1.4)
  • The APR implementation, which uses the OpenSSL engine by default.

 

According to Apache.org (via bugzillaID:56363):

 

"The binary builds of Tomcat Native 1.1.24 - 1.1.29 have been compiled with an OpenSSL version vulnerable to Heartbleed, and are thus probably vulnerable."

 

SAP provides a Tomcat binary release which integrates an OpenSSL library directly into Tomcat (APR/Native).  This is disabled by default

 

 

How can I tell if my Tomcat version is affected?


Since Tomcat can use these 2 SSL methods mentioned above (JSSE and APR), only the APR implementation may include this affected version of OpenSSL.  For BI Platform, the out-of-the Box method to setup SSL on Tomcat leverages JSSE  (JSSE is unaffected by heartbleed).  While it is possible to enable APR and exploit the bundled tomcat, it is quite a few extra steps to enable APR and configure SSL.

 

Q: Where can I find this affected APR Binary?:

A: Check the Tomcat Native version (windows only). Cross reference this with:
Bug 56363 OpenSSL security advisory - Heartbleed bug:
tcnative.png
*Note: for *nix systems, run ->"openssl version" and upgrade openssl as necessary.

 

Although you may have an affected binary, it doesn't yet indicate that you're using it. 
Read on....

 

Q: So how do I know if my Tomcat SSL uses JSSE or APR?
A: Check your Tomcat logs and also SSL connector configuration:

 

Chances are that if you're using the Out-of the box tomcat provided by SAP BI, you're probably using JSSE.

Check your logs/stderr.log and determine which ProtocolHandler is running your SSL port.

 

Example:

 

INFO: Initializing ProtocolHandler ["http-bio-8443"]

 

From Apache.org reference: Apache Tomcat 7 Configuration Reference (7.0.53) - The HTTP Connector:

 

"The BIO and NIO connectors use the JSSE SSL whereas the APR/native connector uses OpenSSL. Therefore, in addition to using different attributes to configure SSL, the APR/native connector also requires keys and certificates to be provided in a different format."

Also its important to note that if the following message is found in stderr.log, Tomcat is not configured to load the native APR by default:

 

INFO: The APR based Apache Tomcat Native library which allows optimal performance in production environments was not found on the java.library.path: C:\Windows\SysWOW64\;C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP BusinessObjects\SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 4.0\win64_x64\

 

 

 

How do I just test my Java Application server to be sure?

 

There are a few ways to do this.  Most of the utilities are developed or derived by: https://github.com/FiloSottile

*Note: I express no warranties about the reliability of these 3rd parties.

*Note: Only do this on a TEST system.


 

1) Compile and run Heartbleed checker tool

This method is a a bit more complicated.

 

Prerequisites:

 


Install
Documented here: FiloSottile/Heartbleed · GitHub


go get github.com/FiloSottile/Heartbleed
go install github.com/FiloSottile/Heartbleed


If that all worked properly, you should now have a Heartbleed.exe in your /go/bin folder.

 

Run

goheartbleed.png

so far, so good.... 



How do I purposely exploit Tomcat so I know this tool is working?


You're basically asking:  How do I enable the affected APR and configure SSL with OpenSSL? 
Here is what you would have to do:


  1. Enable Tomcat APR.
    Ensure that Tomcat is actually loading the affected APR binary.  Locate the tcnative-1.dll (this should be in /tomcat/bin) and add this location is in your java.library.path
    tomcatoptions.png
  2. Configure SSL using the APR implementation:
    Edit the server.xml

    <Connector port="8443" protocol="org.apache.coyote.http11.Http11AprProtocol" SSLEnabled="true" maxThreads="150" scheme="https" secure="true" SSLCertificateFile="C:/SSL/servercert.pem" SSLCertificateKeyFile="C:/SSL/privkey.pem" SSLPassword="password" clientAuth="false" sslProtocol="TLS" />

    *Notice you have to provide additional parameters (SSLCertificateFile, SSLCertificateKeyFile, SSLPassword) that were not required with JSSE (JSSE requires keystore and keystorepass).

  3. Start Tomcat, check your logs:
    You should now see:

    INFO: Loaded APR based Apache Tomcat Native library 1.1.24 using APR version 1.4.6.
    INFO: OpenSSL successfully initialized (OpenSSL 1.0.1c 10 May 2012)

  4. Retest Tomcat using Heartbleed
    goheartbleed2.png


What to do if <insert application server here> is Vulnerable?


  • Keep up to date with the information on Heartbleed Bug

  • For Tomcat, stay tuned to this bugzilla track: Bug 56363 OpenSSL security advisory - Heartbleed bug. For APR users, a link to v1.130 APR is provided.  Just copy+paste and restart tomcat.  For Linux users, simply 'yum update openssl'.

    Alternatively just use the default JSSE.

  • For other App servers, contact your specific Application Server vendor



I enjoyed testing and hope you find it informative.



Hello everyone,

 

maybe you are already aware of the critical security issue within the Open Source implementation of SSL called OpenSSL.

 

There is a critical Vulnerability that grants an attacker access to the Stream of Data between the Client and the Server even if the attacker has recorded the whole Data stream of the last two years (It has gone public that this critical issue is in the OpenSSL implementation for two years now). This is possible via 64 kb small "Ping" signal that travels between the Client and the Server to check if the connection still active. This "Ping" can be compromised to read the Private Key out of the Server Memory.

 

For more Information please check the following Web Site:

 

Heartbleed Bug

 

SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.x is not affected from this Bug as it is using the older OpenSSL Libraries in the Version 0.9.8.

 

SAP Business Intelligence Platform 4.x is not affected from this Bug at is is using the RSA implementation of SSL.

 

OpenSSL Libraries in the Version 1.0.1 and 1.0.1f are effected.

 

SAP created the following Note for more information:

 

http://service.sap.com/sap/support/notes/2003582

 

Regards

-Seb.

Summary

This post summarizes noticeable features of BusinessObjects BI4, BI4.1 release from our perspective since XI 3.1. Many people ask "Why should I upgrade? Where is the value added for end user?". If you are one of them then this article is especially for you. Primary target of this article is to focus on real features for customer end user groups. Secondary objective is to provide at least basic information about features influencing development and development time plus features.

We don’t use all BusinessObjects platform tools, we use only what our customers need. What tools are used and which not will be specified later. At first it is important to introduce end user groups view:

 

User groups

  • Administrators
  • Developers
  • End users

End user groups

  • Viewers (consumers)
  • Explorers (interactive viewers)
  • Analysts (data analysts)

 

There are different requirements for different end user groups:


Requirement

Viewers

Explorers

Analysts

Report response time

★★★

They need to see information in report as fast as possible

★★

Usually possible to have higher response time than viewers

★★

Usually possible to have higher response time than viewers and explorers

Report design and accessibility

★★★

Clear and effective design is desired as well as easy use of basic functions


★★★

Clear and effective design is desired as well as easy use of basic functions

★★

Mostly not as important as for the other groups.

Modification report features

★★★

None to minimal. Usually they don’t have rights for report customization. They need to use filters and some of them need basic filtering capabilities also

★★

Moderate - usually they need to create own filters/input controls, scope of analysis and select dimensions or attributes not presented in report to create own version


★★★

Very important. Filters/input  controls, own calculated metrics, own queries and scopes of analysis, own optional prompts and queries

Advanced searching features

★★

Minimal.They are mostly satisfied with basic prompts.

★★

Moderate – basic, hierarchical or nested prompts are on daily use

★★★

Optional prompts and filters are essential as well as drilling capability. Mostly over huge amount of data with multiple conditions.

Analytical features of application

★★★

None.

★★

Important – Creating graphs and pivot tables

★★★

Essential - Creating graphs and pivot tables, data tracking, creating own metrics with different mathematical and statistical functions, using contexts

Possibility of report sharing

★★★

None, they don’t create own content.

★★★

They need special folder where they can share their customization with colleagues

★★★

They need special folder where they can share their customization with colleagues

Technical skills demands and training difficulty

★★

Very little technical skills, easy to train


★★

Medium technical skills

★★★

High technical skills and long time for training

Report types

★★★

  • Preformatted WebIntelligence & Crystal reports
  • Dashboards
  • PDF
  • Mobile
  • Excel for export mostly forbidden

★★

  • WebIntelligence reports
  • Excel
  • Explorer & Lumira stories

★★

  • WebIntelligence reports
  • Excel
  • Analysis


What tools we dont use and why

Crystal reports

  • Since XI 4 many features have been added to WebIntelligence and we dont need to use Crystals at all.
  • This saved a lot of time, developing crystal reports is neither easy nor fast

 

Comparison between Crystal reports and Web Intelligence features:

 

Feature

Crystal reports

Web Intelligence

Data source connectivity

Universe access or DB direct access (ODBC,JDBC,BICS). Impossible to use contexts on universes.

Since XI 4 it is possible to connect directly to SAP BW via BICS . Possible to use universe contexts. Still impossible to use direct DB except for BICS.


Prompts

Possible of using optional prompts and List of Values can be defined in report.

In XI 3.1 it is possible to define optional prompt on report, but  you cannot define List of Values on report.

Since BI4.0 it is possible to define own values in LOV.


Layout customization

Best of BOBJ platform. Formulas can be used for determining fields position or suppression of rows.

Since XI 4 you can hide columns and most of formatting requirements can be done by Alerters function. It has forms objects also which is why are Crystals misused.


Development time

★★

High. Also it takes a lot of time to train developer for using this application, it has never been intuitive much.

It varies. Basically it is almost always faster than developing similar report in crystals.

SAP CrystalReports JavaScript API

The JavaScript API lets you customize the report viewer, and add interactivity to your Crystal reports content.


Since XI 4 (in XI 4.1 SP2 greatly improved) you may use SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence RESTful Web Service SDK. You may also use jQuery or similar library to do some necessary changes in html mode,it is very useful.


End user groups

★★

Viewers

Viewers, explorers, analysts.


Email notifications

Possible directly send notification about metrics change. Furthermore notifications may be viewed in notifications tab in LaunchPad.


★★

It is possible even since XI 3.1, but only with event file support with publication

Export file type options

PDF,XLS,CSV,RTF,HTML,XML

PDF,CSV,XLS

Since BI4.0 XLSX


Linking to Document

You can open report or report part via OpenDocument link. Fully supported and documented.

In XI 3.1 it is possible to open document.

Since BI4.0 it is possible even open document part. This is not official feature but it unlikely will be ever removed because this functionality is essential for Workspaces.


Publishing

Suitable for large landscapes (thousands of reports) and customizable – you can partition reports according to specific parameter. It is a little better than WebI though, since BI4.1 SP3 you may easily deploy to other languages.


Very similar possibilities of publishing. Since BI4.0 it is possible to have custom user defined parameter for partitioning reports when publishing.

 

 

  • Considering these features we have decided not to use Crystal reports in the future. Still, it may not be your case and you have to use it. I recommend to look at news for CR BI4.0 FP3CR news for BI4.0 SP5 and news CR for BI4.1.
  • Keep in mind that most of news for CR are for developers and not end user groups (there are some thought like new graph types)

 

Dashboard designer (Xcelsius)

  • Since XI 4 it is possible to create query not only via QAAWS but via semantic layer (universe - unx) as well. Be prepared - it may take some time before you can use this connectivity option. It’s likely you will need additional server configuration.
    • Altough this is really great feature, you may spend another enormous amount of time when recreating individual QAAWS into universe queries. Since this queries cannot be duplicated, this may be the right activity delegated to summer workers. There are cases when QAAWS are still better option.
  • It is also possible to create dashboard without using Excel
  • New user interface
  • Sadly said the most important limitations are still present and development in this tool is still limited:
    • You cannot create bigger tables because in resulted flash file it is everything but smooth. Furthermore there is still excel limit, you cannot save more than a few thousands of rows in DD’s dashboard.
    • Dashboards still cannot be scheduled - which means database layer must be prepared for very quick response. This is achievable, but at what cost .
    • Some elements available in XI 3.1 have been removed
    • Mobile support is very limited, at least incompatible objects are specified which is good for development as well as HTML5 mobile preview
    • Flash is evil and HTML5 export has many limitations
  • As a result we have decided to use Dashboard designer as a deprecated tool which means we will not develop Dashboards with this tool anymore. Dashboards from xi 3.1 will be available, however. We also decided to get rid of QAAWS and replace it with new unx universe.

 

Dashboarding now and in the future?

  • Since XI 4 graphs have been significantly improved in Web Intelligence we use this feature in combination with Workspaces. It is possible to create very good looking dashboard. If you enhance Webi report with some jQuery functionality you may get some clickable buttons and animations as well. And because there is native possibility of scheduling Webi reports, you don’t have to spend too much time with another database super aggregation layer.

Design studio

  • At first this tool seemed in BI4.0 as a replacement for Dashboards for SAP BW. But since version 2 it is possible to use this tool with universe connection and it looks promising. HTML5 output and mobile features support is at least level above Dashboard designer. You don’t have to use Excel which is plus.
  • Sadly said, control elements and graph types are in HTML5 quite limited (more than in Dashboard designer). If we are ever about to go back to pure dashboard tool again, it would be probably this tool. I suppose we may expect merging Design studio and Dashboard designer in one tool in the future.
  • Its development cycle and adding new features seems to be faster in comparison to Dashboard Designer, you should check what’s new in Design studio from time to time, the amount of available elements is getting higher
  • If you for some reason want to develop dashboards in Dashboards or Design studio now, you should still do it in the older one since this is still very new tool unless you are primary focused on developing your own highly customized mobile dashboards (customized = JS programming etc).

 

Analysis (edition for OLAP)

Support for Oracle XMLa and Teradata OLAP (BIO) looked very promising (Available since BI4.1 SP2). But long development time, additional license and maintenance cost for Teradata OLAP and maintaining and developing OLAP cubes could not justify functionality of this application which usability is far from Office (Excel) version. If you don’t have SAP BW and looking for tool which enables users quick analyzing of bigger amount of data (2M+) this tool is not for you. Sadly said, it is not Web Intelligence either. I recommend to look here for information about application which may provide missing functionality in the future.

 

Development and administration

Although this post is not primary focused on development and administration features, it’s good to know at least the most important ones.

 

Development

Focused on semantic layer and deployment. For news in client applications you may consider following the analysts group which is closest to developers in the last table in this post.

  • There is a new tool for universe creation, Information Design Tool (IDT)
    • Old Universe designer has been renamed to Universe design tool and still exists.
      • Using Universe design tool for BI4.0 is more justifiable than for BI4.1 because in BI4.0 it has many bugs (limitations…"features"). Most of them have been removed in BI4.1
      • Universe in IDT consists of three parts: Data foundation, business layer and connection.
        1. It is possible to create data foundation with more connections (multisource universe)
          • When multisource universe is used, BOBJ federation engine is in use. In this case you may use another new tool - Data federation administration tool which is excellent for monitoring queries (SQL) which are created for querying. You can see SQL even with OLAP data source. It is also possible to optimize federation for specific connections via many available parameters and this offers and it is more flexible than "simple" joining from different sources at report level like in xi 3.1. Since BI4.1 you may also create data federation dataflow.
          • Multisource engine may be used even for single sources, but it is recommended only when it is required (i.e. for SAP BW relational connection)
        2. Queries on business layer for or previewing data - it is very useful feature since universe changes can be fully seen on report only when you log off and log in again. In XI 3.1 reopening document was enough. Not in XI 4 platform.
        3. It is also possible quickly analyze previewed data - count of unique values, sorting, filtering and  even graph creating- much improved against XI 3.1
        4. Views on data foundation and families (slide 11)- if you have big universe which means tens or hundreds of tables, this is something what can lower the time for understanding relations and maintenance, it is also quicker for viewing and you may also consider simplifying contexts.
        5. Comments are now customizable. You can also use HTML Tags to color code the descriptions of objects (slide 12). Since BI4.1.
        6. You may consider creating more business layers on one data foundation. Unfortunately this feature is not as good as it could be - when you export more business layers to your CMS and then retrieve it, you may notice that these data foundations are separate and you will have to do the changes twice.
        7. Parameters and List of Values - you can reuse list of values for parameters with prompts, you can define hard coded (static) LOVs with multiple columns. Since BI4.1 it is possible to create index awareness prompts, but you should know that it may be difficult to set up it to working without issues and effective
        8. New functions like @Execute enables you to use advanced database functions with width clause - recursion, trends and it may be useful when time is important and you cannot easily do views or new tables on database layer
        9. You can share your universe with other developers - you can publish universe or its parts to the server (not CMS)
  • Since BI4.0 many JAVA SDK classes have been removed. It means your Java programs developed in XI 3.1 may not work.
  • Since BI4.1 SP2 most of essential JAVA API is usable again. Certain amount of functionality needs to be rewritten, however.

 

Limitations you should know about

    1. In BI4.0 you cannot change format for more objects at once in IDT. Solved since BI4.1
    2. In BI4.0 you cannot use database specific SQL in derived tables in multisource universe. Also solved in BI4.1
    3. You cannot create custom SQL in LOV based on @DerivedTable function
    4. Universe parameters (like END_SQL, ANSI92, JOIN_BY_SQL etc) may be reason for strange behavior or errors. Always check SAP OSS notes
    5. @Execute function has been introduced in BI4.0SP4, but it is usable since BI4.1SP2 FP3
    6. There is a new tool for promoting to next environment  -* Lifecycle management tool
      • Its performance is not great, for many objects (i.e. for 1000 reports you should consider using command line which is significantly faster or UMT tool in special mode, look at next paragraph )
      • You cannot use Import wizard tool because since XI 4 it does not exist. There is very similar tool named Upgrade management tool but it is focused only on getting content from XI 3.1 to XI 4. There are some parameters for administrator for being able to send biar from XI 4 system to another XI 4 system, but it is not for normal use. It is important to optimize change management process as much as possible.

 

Versioning system

It is possible to version content with Version management which is accessible through CMS.

    1. For DEV environment it is great tool and developers should use it on daily basis. Not only for documents, but universes as well as for LCM jobs.
    2. Sadly said, it is not as feature rich as it should be. This means certain limitations:
      • cannot schedule automatic backup of your selected documents
      • it is also impossible to quickly add file to Version management in LaunchPad. You have to log in CMS, go to version management, navigate through folder structure and select the right object

 

Comparing differences

I recommend to use visual difference application. It features of comparing LCM jobs or LCM biars. It may be capable of comparing WebI documents and universes in the future. But not now. Still, it is good addition to versioning and promotion management.

JAVA SDK

You should know about Restful raylight web services because it may significantly reduce time for doing common tasks when doing small change in many reports or working with publications. It also replaces some of missing functionality in JAVA SDK.

 

IS Development faster in XI 4 comparing to XI 3 platform?

  • For BI4.0 I cannot say that, I would say it’s even worse. This applies especially for Web Intelligence. The whole BI4.0 platform features many bugs (although many of them have been fixed) and no wonder there is already SP9.
  • For BI4.1 where many bugs and limitations have been removed, it is definitely much better. Comparable to stability of 3.1.
  • Keep in mind that you have more options and you can do certain things in a better way. This does not mean it is always faster.

 

Administration

Server side is 64bit platform - you cannot install on 32bit OS. And it is good thing because on 64bit OS you can use more RAM. This is something you will need more than before. Check out the sizing guide for getting more information.

 

Noticable applications

  • Monitoring - great tool for monitoring server health. But it may take a while to set the correct metrics and alerts - depends on your system. You should check this guide.
  • SAP BI Platform Support Tool  - This tool allows landscape, content and licence analysis without additional licence cost. It can be downloaded and runned very quickly by any user with administrator rights. It is easy to use and is suitable especially for large landscapes where comparing certain technical KPIs may be essential for predicting possible issues. Can be run since XI 4.
  • System configuration wizard - this tool makes sence since BI4.1 and can be used with positive impact on performance. I recommend to use it as a starting point and then do other customizations manually

 

Other platform thoughts

  • Session management upgrade - Since BI4.1 SP3 you can kill users sessions. Finally you don’t have to restart servers or develop custom script to do that - it is native functionality. It is not all featured – it cannot be scheduled nor parameterized by user sessions count yet. Still, good start. Something what BOBJ admins have been waiting for many years.
  • Security framework - it may take a long time before you set the appropriate access rights to access levels for you user groups. There are plenty of new application and system rights. And new features sometimes need special organization of application groups

 

Visualization and exploration

  • BI4 platform is a huge step in visual analysis. There are new tools such as Lumira and Predictive analysis and older Explorer was updated as well.
    • There are some thoughts you should know about:
      • Explorer is very limited in the matter of customization as it always has been, no significant improvement, advanced users may not be satisfied with predefined chart types or tabular exploration - pivot table is not available . In comparison to XI 3.1 you can connect it to universe (both types since BI4.1)
        • Since BI4.1 Explorer is not a part of default server installation. Apparently for some good reason, before installing make sure you make full backup of your server. In some cases it may ruin your installation so badly you will have to reinstall the whole server including FRS.
      • Lumira (formerly Visual Intelligence) offers some customization options including data preparation and it may be used as forecasting tool as well. Chart types and possibility of stories creation are impressive as well as dataset rows limit (15M on 32bit Os,32M on 64bit OS). The greatest issues lies somewhere else. You cannot export your story to CMS as a flash, HTML5 or something similar where casual users could benefit from your created visualizations.
        • There is a possibility of exporting to Explorer, but dataset only.
        • Simple said-sharing is very limited and for being able to provide your visualizations to others, they have to use Lumira as well. And since it is desktop application, it is limitation for easy content sharing. Even if your users have the Lumira, you need additional Lumira server for sharing possibility in your company. This does not fully apply for companies or individuals who may use SAP cloud for sharing.
        • If you are individual or your company does not have common security procedures and regulations you may be interested in publishing Lumira stories to public cloud and then it is  possible to include published page into workspaces

 

Features comparison since XI 3.1

Most important chapter of this post. In following table you can find new features since XI 3.1 for specified end user groups. At first look at rating table:


Rating Legend- comparing to XI 3.1

Worse

Better

Desc

▼▼

▼▼

-

★★

★★

★★★

-

A little

Quite

Far

No change /

hardly noticeable

 

Application/Feature

Comment

Feature rating

Launch Pad

  • Customizable home tab
  • Tabbed interface

Since BI4.0

Customizable HOME tab may contain recently opened documents, new inbox objects, available applications

It is possible to pin frequently used documents into tabs

It saves a lot of time for users and it is fairly faster navigation than in InfoView

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

★★★

Explorers

★★

Analysts

★★★

Launch Pad

  • Enhanced publishing and scheduling features

Since BI4.0

It is possible to partition publications with specific user defined variable.

Also publishing engine has been greatly improved in matter of performance and publishing is now much faster than in XI 3.1.

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

Explorers

Analysts

★★

Launch Pad

  • Viewing document/instance of the document

Since BI4.0

If document has an instance, it is displayed. If it has not, document itself is opened. This is better than behavior in XI 3.1 where it cannot be achieved (you may have set for all documents to open last instance but if it had no instance on double click user was not able to open document)

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

★★

Explorers

Analysts

★★

Launch Pad

  • View/design HTML mode for WebI

Since BI4.0

Launch Pad Webi HTML design (edit) mode is more usable than interactive mode in xi 3.1, it is similar to java mode more than interactive mode to edit mode in xi 3.1. Look at link for comparison of individual edit modes.

For viewers there is no additional added value, they cannot edit document

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

-

Explorers

★★

Analysts

Workspaces

  • Content linking between modules
  • (sub)tabbed interface
  • multiple document viewers in one workspace
  • ability to select specific instance to be opened
  • 3 viewing types for displaying specific document

Since BI4.0

Workspaces are now fully customizable even by end users. You can add multiple report types (WebI, Crystals, Flash) and html pages. Great alternative for creating dashboards without Dashboards/Design studio restrictions. Content linking between modules may be useful when you need navigate from one report (i.e. with graph) to another report (with table). This can be done by GUI tool, follow this example.

Since BI4.1 you can specify default prompt value for a Workspace

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

★★★

Explorers

★★

Analysts

★★

DesktopIntelligence

  • Discontinued

For BI4.0 there is neither compatibility mode nor webi features which may replace DeskI functions.

Since BI4.1 WebI is more powerful and in many cases replaces missing functionality. Furthermore there is compatibility pack which enables running DeskI.

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

-

Explorers

Analysts

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

-

Explorers

-

Analysts

-

Web Intelligence

  • New user interface
  • Customizable web application interface

Since BI4.0. New ribbon interface is huge step. Question is forward or backward?

For viewers the change is not so big and is mostly accepted well. Explorers and analysts may edit document and at beginning they may not accept the UI change well. It is similar change as it was between Office 2003 and Office 2007. For those who are familiar with ribbon it is easier to get used to. Still, navigation in edit mode is considered to be a little clearer in XI 3.1.

Since BI4.1 it is possible not only to assign certain functionality via access levels with specific rights for specific application, but it is also possible to assign specific functionality (buttons) for specific user groups. This is especially useful for viewers who need to see input controls, but they should not be able to see save button nor design toolbar. Furthermore it is possible add single dimension to already created merged dimensions without recreating (similar behavior like in XI 3.1, in BI4.0 it was very inconvenient you had to unmerge all of them first)

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

-

Explorers

Analysts

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

Explorers

-

Analysts

-

Web Intelligence

  • Notification before expiring session and ability to refresh it by simple click

Since BI4.0

This is one of the small things which make huge effect for all end users. "Your session has been expired" without notification was one of the most evil things in XI 3.1 especially on PROD environment where you could not have long time before timing out

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

★★★

Explorers

★★

Analysts

Web Intelligence

  • Data refresh
  • Data preview

For BI4.0 it is possible to refresh only the whole document. This may be problematic if you have many document queries and one report is linked to one query. Data refresh response may be significantly higher.

Since BI4.0 It is possible to preview data even for one query. The disadvantage of data refresh is partially reduced by this feature, but only for explorers and analysts.

Since BI4.1 it is the same as in XI 3.1 - you may refresh selected queries in document

Group

BI4.0

Viewers

Explorers

Analysts

Group

BI4.1

Viewers

-

Explorers

Analysts

★★

Web Intelligence

  • Prompts
    • Hierarchical prompts may be used in filter at any level of hierarchy
    • Better dependent (nested) prompts

Since BI4.0
Firstly, if
hierarchy prompt in UNX universe is created user will be able to filter by any level of hierarchy on the report which means great simplification and interactivity. This is achievable only by using Information design tool and unx universe.

Secondly, nested prompts behavior is improved- if you selected prompt without filling the previous one (on which is specific prompt dependent), there is link to it. Furthermore prompts in List of values do not require additional prompt with the same name like in certain situations in XI 3.1. This works on prompts created both in Universe designer and Information Design tool.

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

★★

Explorers

★★

Analysts

Web Intelligence

  • Charts features
    • new graph types
    • design improved
    • enhanced options

Since BI4.0 there are new graph types such as s Scatter Bubble, Polar Bubble, Dual Axes Charts, Heat Maps, Box Plots, Series Pie Charts and Tag Cloud.
Graph design has been completely recreated as well.
Now you can create professional looking graphs and this is one of the reasons you don’t have to use Dashboards anymore. You may assign shadows and lightning effects, gradient - it is similar change as it was between excel 2003 graphs and excel 2007 graphs.

For possibilities of customizing chart look it is good to know that you can finally assign different axis values (for specific chart types), choose from predefined color palettes preferred style or set color transparency.

Sadly said, in BI4.0 there are some things which reduce usability and x-times prolong development time:

  • when you assign/change/remove dimensions or attribute from graph, most of graph settings are reset and you need to do many clicks again and again
  • you may have only one custom color palette (furthermore you have to define its colors into xml file and save it to specific location on server- not exactly user friendly)

Since BI4.1 there is not only new Waterfall chart type, but mentioned limitations have been fixed - you don’t lose your chart settings and you can +create more custom color graph palettes +directly in WebI. Since BI4.1SP3 you may also defined line width. As a result, WebI charts are in BI4.1 fairly better and more importantly, report charts customization/recreation is faster.

Group

BI4.0

Viewers

★★★

Explorers

Analysts

★★

Group

BI4.1

Viewers

★★★

Explorers

★★

Analysts

Web Intelligence

  • Calculation engine enhancements

Since BI4.0

Mostly used only by analysts and some explorers. For explorers they don’t use most of functions so there is very little impact. For analysts (and developers) it’s a bit worse. They are mostly not pleased with the new behavior. Furthermore, they are disappointed with changing behavior which depends on specific Support Pack not only on major release and they are confused.

For BI4.1 check the changes since xi 3.1.

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

-

Explorers

Analysts

Web Intelligence

  • Additional export options

Since BI4.0

For someone unimportant for someone one of most important features is full support of excel exporting. It means the rows limit is increased from 65k to about 1M rows. Furthermore, images are exported to XLSX as well.

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

Explorers

★★

Analysts

Web Intelligence

  • Improved copying:
    • cell format copy
    • object copy between documents

Since BI4.0

This functionality is applicable to explorers and analysts.

Cell format copy facilitates setting the right format for selected objects in the first case. Explorers, who are often more interested in good looking style, benefit from it quite well.

In the second case it is great enhancement when working with multiple documents or reports. It has many limitations though - users are unable to copy sections, queries are copied as well in most cases and Java mode/rich client is required. You get an error quite often when copying. 

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

-

Explorers

★★

Analysts

★★

Web Intelligence

  • Input controls improved

Since BI4.0 FP3

You may use hierarchy objects in input controls and it is shown as a tree. That is stunning. Sadly said, this is possible only on BICS SAP BW source. It simple means it cannot be achieved with any other source or relational connectivity)

Since BI4.0 it is possible to define custom list of values directly on report.

Since BI4.1 SP3 it is possible not to show “all values” option in any element. Furthermore when duplicating document tab (report) all input control elements are preserved. It saves a lot of time.

Group

BI4.0

Viewers

Explorers

Analysts

★★

Group

BI4.1

Viewers

★★

Explorers

★★

Analysts

Web Intelligence

Since BI4.1

Excel “drilling” alias folding/unfolding for tables is available even in HTML mode. This is particularly useful for viewers who don’t use java environment.

Group

BI4.1

Viewers

★★

Explorers

Analysts

★★

Web Intelligence

Since BI4.1 SP2

Freezing headers or columns is something what excel fanatics (and not only them) voted for years. Finally it is here. And it works great.

Group

BI4.1

Viewers

★★★

Explorers

★★

Analysts

Web Intelligence

  • Hiding abilities

Since BI4.0

Another good feature which mostly explorers and analysts benefit from:

1) It is possible to hide column very simply. Works only on dimensions.

2) It is possible to use hide when condition not only on section (XI3.1) but on a table as well. And because tables are copy-able elements to other documents, users may benefit from it even more.

Group

BI4.0,4.1

Viewers

-

Explorers

★★

Analysts

Web Intelligence

  • Object value selector

Since BI4.1

Usable for those who write many formulas which are mostly analysts

Group

BI4.1

Viewers

-

Explorers

-

Analysts

★★

Web Intelligence

Since BI4.1 SP2

This is something what use to be in Desktop Intelligence. Since it is discontinued in BI4.0 it is welcome feature for explorers and analysts who need to create their own lookup quickly without redesigning universe or data layer. This great feature is available since BI4.1 SP2.

Group

BI4.1

Viewers

-

Explorers

★★

Analysts

Multiple applications

  • Mobile support enhancements

It wouldnt be fair not to mention some mobile enhancements especially because in many companies managers may use company smartphones or tablets and mobile devices are more and more important. Currently supported mobile OS: BlackBerry,IOS and Android.

Since BI4.0 there is a new Mobile Home page which display only mobile reports. When properly configured, you may add more mobile reports by assigning the right mobile category which is really quick way for releasing new reports.

Futhermore,Dashboards reports may be deployed to mobile devices. Support for current applications have been improved, i.e. it is possible to add some input controls elements.

Since BI4.1 it is possible to export analysis documents to VisualStudio and from there you can export this kind of reports to mobile devices as well so analysts may benefit from it.

It is also possible to open another document over hyperlink to another mobile document (OpenDoc).

Group

BI4.0

Viewers

★★★

Explorers

Analysts

★★

Group

BI4.1

Viewers

★★★

Explorers

★★

Analysts

Should you upgrade or not?

I believe it is simple. It is not question if you should or not. The question is when. If you are not sure which XI4 version is better, I can say from my experience that BI4.1 release is a big step forward comparing to BI4.0. Just like XI 3.1 against XI 3.0 was. It does not mean the BOBJ platform is errorless now. It does not mean it features all required functionality either. It means, that improvements mentioned are real and represent significant added value for end users.

Josh Song

BI4.1 architecture diagram

Posted by Josh Song Apr 3, 2014

I've been asked a number of times if there is a good architectural diagram of the processes within BI4 and how they all interact together. In version 3.1 there was a standard slide that SAP released and was well know by everyone, but since version 4 came out, this has been something that has been lacking and most people just put together their own materials displaying the most important parts.

 

However, I just came across this diagram which is great and shows it quite clearly how it all connects. Have a look and I'm sure you will be the star when presenting this to your clients.

 

http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sbo41/en/sbo41_bip_architecture_en.pdf

 

There's also this flash version with good information about each server.

BI 4.0 FP3 Platform: View components

 

Cheers,

Josh

tomcat77.png

 

Troubleshooting CPU bottlenecks on the Apache Tomcat application server can be challenging.  Since Apache Tomcat is running as a Java Virtual Machine, understanding which JVM threads are consuming the overall Tomcat CPU can be a bit of a black box since this information is not easily accessible in regular monitoring tools.  Recently, I have discovered a brilliant new tool called JVMTOP which provides direct insight into the performance of threads running on a Java Virtual Machine.  Additionally, JVMTOP also shows in real-time which threads are blocked and also the id of the thread it is currently waiting on.  In this article, I will provide a demonstration on how this tool works and what information you need to collect once you have identified the problematic Java thread(s) so that SAP can perform a deeper root cause analysis.

 

Identify the CPU bound thread using JVMTOP


I have made a slight modification to the JVMTOP application (updated the exectuable jar manifest for ease of use) and created a new batch file to launch the application.  Download the version linked from this article when following this tutorial.  Note, this tutorial was tested only against Apache Tomcat running SAPJVM


  1. Download jvmtop.zip

  2. Extract the files from jvmtop.zip to <INSTALL_DIR>\SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 4.0\win64_x64\sapjvm\bin on your Apache Tomcat node

  3. Open a command prompt and browse to <INSTALL_DIR>\SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 4.0\win64_x64\sapjvm\bin
  4. Open task manager, click view --> select columns, select PID (Process Identifier) and determine the process id of tomcat.exe

    tomcatt1-1.png

  5. In the command prompt, execute the command: runJVMTOP.bat <PID>.  For example:

    tomcatt3.png

  6. JVMTOP will connect to the SAPJVM and list the top 10 Java threads which are consuming the most CPU.  Notice, it will continue to stay connected and the values are refreshed automatically in real-time similar to the Unix version of toptomcatt5.png

    COLUMNDESCRIPTION
    TIDJVM thread ID
    NAMEName of JVM thread
    STATEThe state that the thread is currently in
    CPUCurrent CPU utilization (in ratio to available cpu time on all processors)
    TOTALCPUCPU utilization (in ratio to process cpu consumption) since the thread is alive
    BLOCKEDBYIf this thread is blocked, this column shows the thread id which is blocking this thread

  7. In the above example, we can easily identify that the thread creating the CPU bottleneck is http-8080-5 with thread id 48


Create thread dumps using JVMMON

Now that we have identified the offending thread, we need to generate a thread dump so that we can analyze the call stack of the code currently being executed by this thread.  SAPJVM includes a utility called JVMMON which makes creating thread dumps very easy to do without a lot of additional configuration.


  1. Open a command prompt and browse to <INSTALL_DIR>\SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 4.0\win64_x64\sapjvm\bin
  2. Execute the file jvmmon.exe and it will print out a list of running JVM processes and their corresponding process id (PID)
  3. Enter the process id of the Apache Tomcat Server JVM and press enter

    tomcat7.png

  4. Enter the command “print to file” and when prompted for “file=” enter a path and file name for the first thread dump. NOTE: You must first create the folder structure where you intend to save the file.

  5. Next, enter the command "print stacktrace" and at the same time, take a screenshot of the current JVMTOP output. 

    tomcat10.png

    The threads shown in JVMTOP will match the thread details shown in the thread dump and then deeper root cause analysis can be performed by SAP

    tomcat12.png

  6. Repeat the thread dump / JVMTOP screenshot collection while the CPU is bottlenecked (at an interval of five minutes between each collection).  The more iterations of this information that is collected, the easier it will be to diagnose the bottleneck

  7. Exit JVMTOP by typing CTRL-C and choose (Y) to end the batch job.  Use the command exit to exit from JVMMON

       tomcat13.png

 


For more information about JVMTOP, you can visit the homepage at:

 

 

 

Documentation - jvmtop - Java monitoring for the command-line - Google Project Hosting

 

 

 

 

 

 



As some may have seen in the "what's new in SP3" document, there is a small handy little feature delivered in 4.1 SP3 to provide a link directly to a folder.

This is just like you can already have a direct link to a document (OpenDocument).

 

Simply right click on a folder and click on the Folder Link.

 

Copy & paste the link contained:

 

Share the link.

A person clicking on the link will be taken directly to the folder.

 

This extends the preferences settings you can already set on users and groups to take users directly to a folder on logon

Summary

This post describes how to set up configuration on Business Objects platform to enable end users VIEWERS (consumers) to use feature of Input controls. It is focused on release XI 4 and XI 4.1 specifically.


Basics

Input controls is great feature since Business Objects XI 3.1 SP2. It enables powerful filtering options for all user groups. This post is focused on viewers which means the user group cannot modify (edit) report. This is very important not only from business view (they cannot change defined version of the truth), but it is important from application view as well (viewers have mostly cheaper license). Since XI 4.0 its functionality has been improved so it’s even more useful than in XI 3.1.

 

Problem definition

Rights are the issue. For enabling Input controls in XI 4, the user group requires following Web intelligence application rights:

  • create and edit input controls
  • create and edit report filters and consume input controls
  • enable formatting

The last one is the troublemaker. Why? Because when this right is assigned, users have available design button and its features:

ProblemIC.png


Problem solution

XI3.1

Situation is similar, you have to assign following application rights:

  • Interactive:Formatting - Enable toolbar and menus
  • Interactive:Reporting - Create and edit report filter

But since basic viewers can’t modify their preferences to interactive viewing, the rights here won't influence other functionality which means they cannot modify report. And because in xi3.1 is no design button everything is set=>no problem in XI 3.1.


XI4.0

Your only option is to remove project (folder) rights for write. It may be enough for justifying your license, but it is hardly justifiable for end users - "Why do I have design option when I cannot save my changes?"

 

XI4.1

Since XI 4.1 there is a new feature which enables administrators to customize the user interface based on user group. Which means you can simply hide certain features like design button. But as you may expect, this feature may have some glitches. And it does. The trouble is that if you have more WebI application roles (which is usually requirement) you will have another issue. Here is an example:

  • EAP_WebIntelligence
    • EAP_WebIntelligenceBasic - LEVEL 1
      • EAP_WebIntelligenceInteractive - LEVEL 2
        • EAP_WebIntelligenceFullControl - LEVEL 3
    • This model works on access rights inheritance. Which means at level 1 users have less rights than at level 2 or at level 3.
    • If we disable certain feature at level 1, it is inherited to level 2 and level 3 and even if there this feature is present, it does not work. Maybe bug maybe feature. The important thing is you will need a workaround. The only option how to set it is following:
  • EAP_WebIntelligence
    • EAP_WebIntelligenceBasic - LEVEL 1
      • EAP_WebIntelligenceInteractive - LEVEL 2
        • EAP_WebIntelligenceFullControl - LEVEL 3
    • EAP_WebIntelligenceBasicAlternative - this application role have design button feature disabled

 

It means you will have two Basic EAP_WebIBasic groups. It may require customization of your security framework but it works as expected: end users viewers may use Input controls and no design button is present:

XI41.PNG


Quick summarization

  • In XI 4.0 there is no good way how to solve problem to restrict viewers design options
  • In XI 4.1 is good way how to do that, but it may require additional optimizations

Since the release of BI 4.0 (and going back as far as XI 3.x and XI R2), we've had various issues related to stale user sessions.  I'm referring to a user session initiated from the BI Launchpad, CMC or other SDK application that should have expired and been deleted by the CMS hours or days ago, but is somehow still listed in the CMC > Sessions page.  These open sessions not only consume a license but also take a small bit of CMS resources as long as they're kept open.  BI4.1 SP3 has a nice new feature that brings us one step closer by offering a way to manually drop a session.  But this still leaves it up to the Administrator to manually do this periodically.  See screenshot below from prereleased copy of SP3:

 

sp3_feature.jpg

 

As you can see above, here's a session that has been active for almost a week.  The new SP3 feature will now allow you to select one or more sessions and click 'end session'.  This is no doubt a step in the right direction.  Prior to BI4.1 SP3, you really had two options:  1.) Recycle the CMS or  2.) run an sdk script to do the delete.  I think we can do better than this.

 

I’d love to be able to solve the real issue(s)... which would be for the BI product to always close the session when it expires (or possibly even sooner, for instance when the user is finished with it).  But unless we knew the exact workflow a user followed that led to a stale session, we can't prevent and fix these types of problems in a patch or code correction.   If you find a specific workflow that can cause a session to linger for hours or days after it should have  expired, please raise an incident with SAP in the BIP-BI-SRV component and we'll do our best to resolve it.  Also, be sure to read kbase# 1862925 – "Session handling and tuning”.  Until the workflows are each identified, I’m offering you more of a reactive approach to this problem. 

 

 

 

I've seen a few scripts on the SCN offering a way to delete user sessions.  But I couldn't find one that offered a way to automate the task, delete it safely and most of all delete a user session based on its age.  The script I created can be uploaded to your BI 4.x environment as a Program File and automated via a recurring schedule or it can be run on from a command line manually on or off the BI server. I've tested it under various locale and regional settings and it works well on both Windows and Linux installations.  As any program, there are probably flaws so please use at your own risk and let me know if you run into problems.

 

Due to file format restrictions on the SCN, the ‘biUserSessionKillScript’ (both .biar and .jar) can be downloaded from:

 

kbase#:  996692 - How to Automate the Cleanup of Stale BI4 User Sessions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uploading as a Program File:

 

There's two ways to insert the Program File into your BI4 environment.  You can either add it via CMC as a Program File or import it via Promotion Management via an .lcmbiar file.

 

CMC insert method:

  1. Login to the CMC, Navigate to a folder, click on the ‘Manage’ menu and select:   ‘Add’  > ‘Program File
  2. Browse to the biUserSessionKillScript.jar file and change the 'Program Type' radio button to ‘Java’. 
  3. Select OK

 

Promotion Management method:

  1. Log into the CMC and open the Promotion Management page.
  2. Choose 'Import' > 'Import File' and select the attached .lcmbiar file.
  3. After clicking OK, select the destination dropdown and login to your CMS.  Click 'Create'.
  4. In the next screen, click 'Promote'.

 

Scheduling the Program File:

 

Scheduling a Program File is very similar to scheduling a report.  The only difference is you’ll need to specify a few arguments to tell BI how to run the program.

 

  1. Right click on the Program File and click ‘schedule
  2. Select the ‘Program Parameters’ option on the left
  3. The only argument the script needs when run within BI is the Age of a Session in Minutes
  4. Specify this value in the Arguments textbox.  For safety reasons, the value must be >= 60. Anything less and you risk deleting an active user session.
  5. In the 'Class to run" textbox, type:   biUserSessionKillScript
    • schedule_page.jpg
  6. From here, you can specify any of the other scheduling settings you need like recurrence, notification, etc. and then click ‘Schedule’ to run the job.
  7. Regardless if the script succeeds, there will be a text file saved to the Output FRS with the results.  Click on the instance title to view the output.
    • output_file1.jpgoutput_file.jpg

 

Running the jsp outside of BI

 

Run manually on the server console via cmd line:

 

  1. Copy the ‘biUserSessionKillScript.jar’ into the equivilant folder in your BI4 installation directory:
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP BusinessObjects\SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 4.0\java\lib
  2. If your path is different than above, then you'll need to also edit the 'biUserSessionKillScript.bat' file so the correct path is referenced.
  3. Execute the .bat file directly.
  4. To prevent the cmd window from disappearing at the end of the program, open a cmd window first, drag the .bat file into the window and click enter.
  5. Or you can copy the syntax within the .bat file and paste directly into a cmd window.

 

 

Run manually on a non-BI server via cmd line:

 

The biUserSessionKillScript.jar was compiled without including the BI4 dependency jars.  This helps keep the file small and allows for a quick and easy download.  Also, when the .jar is scheduled, BI already knows where to find the corresponding dependencies so there is no need to package them.  However, if you want to run the script on a pc manually where neither BI4.x nor the client tools are installed, then you will need these depencies inserted into the jar.  In this case, follow the steps below.

 

  1. On the BI4 Server, open the ‘biUserSessionKillScript.jar’ file with WinRar.
  2. Navigate to the path 'C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP BusinessObjects\SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 4.0\java\lib' and insert all of the files below into the .jar.
    • aspectjrt.jar
    • bcm.jar
    • biarengine.jar
    • ceaspect.jar
    • cecore.jar
    • celib.jar
    • ceplugins_core.jar
    • certjFIPS.jar
    • cesession.jar
    • corbaidl.jar
    • cryptojFIPS.jar
    • ebus405.jar
    • logging.jar
    • TraceLog.jar
  3. Prior to adding the jar files into biUserSessionKillScript.jar, it will look like:
    • small-jar.JPG
  4. After adding the files, it should look like:
    • large-jar.JPG
  5. To Execute the file, open a command prompt and run:
    • <path to java.exe> -jar <path to biUserSessionKillScript.jar> <username> <password> <CMS servername> <Auth Type> <session age in minutes>
    • manual cmd.JPG
Greg Wcislo

Kill Session in BI4.1 SP3

Posted by Greg Wcislo Mar 24, 2014

There are a number of good reasons to upgrade to BI4.1 SP3. 

However based on discussions with many customers, this one will make many BI admins happy.  It has been one of the more requested little features for some time.

Kill session is finally here!

 

The CMC Sessions page has been modified to list out individual sessions for each user, with the ability to force end any one or all of a user's sessions.

 

You will also notice that we list the client type that affects the session, for example Information Design Tool

 

 

You can select multiple sessions for a user and end them all at the same time.   Note that we cannot get finer granularity than "BI Launhcpad", since a user could be using CR, Web Intelligence and other tools in that sessions.

 

Also notice the session ID listed.  This ugly looking string can be used by the administrator to reference the audits and logs to further trace down to what the user is doing, and help you isolate problematic sessions to keep those from occurring in the future.

Having said that, session management has been greatly cleaned up with BI4.1 SP2, and the feedback I have heard from customers in this regard has been very positive, so I very much hope that you will not need to spend much time in this screen.

 

The columns can also be sorted to help you quickly find old sessions, where you can list oldest sessions first.

 

One thing to be aware of is that ending a session does not end jobs that were initiated by that session.  If a user has sent a big request to the database in a report refresh, ending the user's BI session does not cancel the database request.  It only frees the user's BI session.

As you well know there is no appropriate BusinessObjects family tool for quick navigation and analysis through big amount of data (3M+) . As it stands now, you may consider following native BusinessObjects applications:

  • Advanced analysis.
    • PROS

there is a possibility of drilling down and creating link at specific drill level to other cube with where condition based on selected objects-it may consists of more conditions

    • CONS

you need multiple cubes with different granularity

you need OLAP source - too much time for developing and maintaining cubes not to mention for some database systems it may require additional cost for olap layer (Teradata)

  • Interactive analysis (WebIntelligence)
    • PROS

you can drill down

you can use input controls (and multiple or combined conditions at once) for restricting data

you can use optional prompts for expanding DB query condition

you dont need olap, you can use relational database

    • CONS

you cannot drill down and querying DB with two or more conditions at once

when drilling, parent is replaced by children which is a little confusing

using input controls is nice, but it does not limit database resultset, all data have to be retrieved before applying =>cannot be used when millions rows are to be analysed

you need prompt for each dimension and all hierarchy levels and user may need only a few (of course you do not know which ones because different users have different requirements).

  • Lumira
    • Sorry,this is for quick visualization. Altough its limits are impressive (15 millions rows for 32bit, 32 millions rows for 64bit version) , you cannot create customizable cross (pivot) tabe like in WebIntelligence and of course retrieving the whole dataset is not desirable not to mention you cannot publish the content in LaunchPad.

 

If you need quick tool for analysing data just with selecting desired dimensions and measures and drilling down using multiple database query conditions at once on each drill you are out of luck. Yes, you can create another query manually, but this approach is far from three click principle. For now.

In the near future I will inform you about new BusinessObjects tool based on XI 4.1 rest SDK which is focused exactly on quick multiple drildown and analysis on relational data sources on huge amount of data.

In next article I will describe more details about features of this application

Part 1 of my notes on today's ASUG webcast is here BI4 Patching Strategies & Best Patches - ASUG Webcast Part 1


Part 2 covers SAP's plans to Improve the BI Support Process.


SAP wants to provide a "better customer experience through streamlining our support process".  The timeline is the second half of this year.

 

SAP's Lawell Kiing said they want to provide a better customer experience especially for BI side

 

11fig.png

Figure 1: Source: SAP

 

Figure 1 covers the current support process and the proposed.

 

Currently the customer finds an issue, and if it is not answerable by product support & requires a fix, product support will open an ADAPT and provide to the customer.  They will hand over to development on ADAPT

 

Development works on correction, it is logged into a fixed issues PDF file in release notes

 

Fixes is includes in SP or patch

 

Customer searches for issue or if it has been fixed – go to fixed issues list, CTRL F and search for the patch or SP

 

Planned process to streamline – customer provides issue to SAP, product support will try to resolve it. If not resolved, it is given to development, the developer knows correction and will document in SAP note and then it goes in delivery of SP and patch.

 

They can search incident or note or SMP

 

Question & Answer ( a subset)

Q: When do you upgrade the client machines - when the non-Prod systems are upgraded or when the Production systems are upgraded?

A: I recommended they have one to two client PC dedicated to testing which we would upgrade those machines.  This way, you avoid any disruption to their production environment until testing is complete.

________________________________________________________________

Q: Where should Crystal Reports be patched in the recommended order, before or after the BI Client tools?

A: after

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: Can you please advise us we can run inplace upgrade vs create a new installation

A: Up to discussion and would rather see in place - depends on how you want to go live‑

Also see SCN; if on 3.1 and go to 4.1 - new installation, promotion; if on 4.0 SP8 and go to 4.1 - prefer in-place upgrade‑

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: Is it always neccessary to update latest TOMCAT as well along with upgrading BI4.x ?

A: If you have your own version of TomCat, please update it to the latest that PAM supports; if it is one from the default installer let the installer do it.‑

________________________________________________________________

Q: Do you only have one CMS running or multiple when you start the install?

A: If you are updating using Parallel Patching, One CMS first and if any other CMS starts you will keep that until the end of the process.‑

________________________________________________________________

Q: Is it a best practise to install the Client tools in the CMS server? why?

A: No it is not, because of the issue I just mentioned about overlapping components and complications of updating the system, however it is a supported scenario.‑

________________________________________________________________

Q: In case CMS is split in 2 (intelligence tier and Processing tier) how would you go about it?

A: Same rules apply. One CMS and FRS need to be up and running during the update and the rest stopped.‑

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: We have custom bi properties and we include them in the custom folder, but they seem to get overwritten everytime anyway. What is the point of that folder then?

A: Recommend look at the BI Admin guide - there are 2 custom folders‑

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: Has there been improvements to the uninstall procedures if a repair is needed?

A: Repair - reinstalls everything; yes getting better with each release‑

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: What is the best way to avoid that with an upgrade or patch NEW issues show up, e.i: a report issue is fixed with the upgrade but another comes up

A: You can avoid that with a test environment - fair question‑

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: If we are on BI4.0 SP4 and would move to BI 4.0 SP7. so would it be a full install or an upgrade ?

A: Since your major release is the same 4.x, and you are just upgrading from SP4 to SP7, I would personally perform an upgrade without the full install which is not necessary.‑

________________________________________________________________

Q: You are recommending upgrading server and then client tools, but if that desktop with client tools can be connected to test (4.1) and prod servers (4.0), is that OK?

A: According to Foroohar, if both client and server are not version compliant (same version), then SAP support cannot assist if there are issues.  I would recommend having a dedicated client PC for your testing, to avoid touching the production env.‑

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: Is BI4.1 SP2 supports in place upgrade on top of BI4.0 SP6??

A: Yes you can but first go to BI4.1 base first then SP2‑

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: For ADAPT are fixed then SAP release the solution via notes, any option to get the fixed issue alert(SAP notes) once released from SAP via email instead of go and search for each issue?

A: There is a way to set up support notifications for this‑

The link where you can configure you support notificaitons is...

http://service.sap.com/sbop-updates

________________________________________________________________

 

 

Q: When you are going from 4.0 SP5 to 4.1 SPx, do you go to 4.1 SP1 first and then up to SPx, or do you go straight to 4.1 SPx in step?

A: You go to base release first bi4.1 then the SP‑

 

_______________________________________________________________

Q: Is there any link which shows all the adapts and their associated SP/patch info?

A: It is all accumulated in release notes..not one documet‑

________________________________________________________________

Q: When you are going from 4.0 SP5 to 4.1 SPx, do you go to 4.1 SP1 first and then up to SPx, or do you go straight to 4.1 SPx in step?

A: You go to base release first bi4.1 then the SP‑

 

________________________________________________________________

Q: If I'm on SP5 Patch 7 and I want to upgrade to SP8, do I need to uninstall either Patch 7 or SP5 from the server?

A: No

________________________________________________________________

Q: Why Forward Fit Plans are not released right after the release of patches ? FF Plan helps us to understand what is included and what it forward fits to

A: FF = when the new release is planned they need time to be included


More: Questions Answered After the Webcast

1.) What is the Patch & Upgrade impact of the Two (2) new stand-alone “Add-On” server components (Design Studio & Analysis Office) for the Platform…?

Design Studio: You must patch both Client and the Server.

Analysis for Office: Is a pure client installation (however, there’s an add-on to BOE for scheduling), however patching is independent in this case. If there should be any dependencies, it will be documented upon release.

 

2.) Do these stand-alone “Add-On” servers need to be patched in a stand-alone fashion, or are they detected and patched by a regular SP deployment on the Platform…?

They need to be patched in a stand-alone fashion. Nothing is detected.

Design Studio: You can go to “Add or Remove Programs” on Windows or “modifyOrRemoveProducts.sh” on *NIX to find out which versions are installed.

Analysis for Office: The Add-on installer (for scheduling) requires a BOE node on Windows (.NET is required for pre-calculation). So, only check will be via “Add or Remove Programs” on Windows for both the Client and the Server.

 

3.) At some point, will the Two (2) new stand-alone “Add-On” server components (Design Studio & Analysis Office) just become a BASE-LINE part of the Platform install & upgrade (eg. 4.2, etc)…?

Design Studio: Not planned at this point.

Analysis for Office: Not planned, however product is available on other platforms (Netweaver, HANA).

 

4.) In large organizations, is there any “pop-up” messaging available on the various desktop clients to alert them that they are “out of synch” with the version/patch on the server…?

Design Studio: These checks and user messages are implemented.

Analysis for Office: No such implementation

 

5.) What is the “SAP runs SAP” internal-process to manage the detection/enforcement that all your BOE Servers and (*assumed) thousands of Desktop clients on the same Server/Patch level..?

I haven’t been able to contact the right group yet to give you their version of how they are managing all the Servers and Clients. It might take a while. Please stay tuned until I’ll get the right response.

Related:

Join ASUG June 2nd for ASUG Annual Conference BI4.1 pre-conference session: Jump Start ASUG Annual Conference SAPPHIRE with a Pre-Conference Session - Back and Better than Ever

 

Related Upcoming ASUG Webcasts:

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