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Upgrading to SAP BusinessObjects 4.1

September 3rd, 2014 No comments

 

Don’t Miss Out!

There is an excellent Technical Webinar Series happening right now: Upgrading to the SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.1

These sessions started back in July and have been an excellent resource for understanding what’s required to upgrade, best practices, SSO, monitoring, strategy and roadmap, etc.  For details on the schedule go here.

On Thursday we will see part 5 in this 13 part series.  To register, click here.  Harjeet Judge, who presented the session on BI 4.1 Deployment Best Practices will also be leading this session and will be covering:

  • Planning, preparation and prerequisite tips to install and configure SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1
  • Important post-installation configuration that is required on the BI 4.1 server
  • The necessary steps for building up a patching strategy to take advantage of the latest fixes and enhancements

Previous Recorded Sessions

To catch you up on what you may have missed check out sessions 1 – 3.

  1. BI Upgrade:  Value Proposition and Tools
  2. BI 4.1 Upgrade and Upgrade Best Practices
  3. BI 4.1 Sizing and Visualization

I would also strongly recommend that you consider going through the BusinessObjects 4.1 training available on open.sap.com for free!   Here is the URL to access it:
https://open.sap.com/courses/bifour1/items/6hhPDeSmvThBgZwCUmZntT   All the content and videos are also available offline which is really handy when you’re learning on the go.

If you are interested in other upcoming enablement events, you can always see the current list of sessions by going to the enablement website.

It’s time to leverage all the many free resources regarding the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 Suite and get your organization upgraded now.

«Good BI»

Categories: Administrators, BI Platform Tags:

Virtualizing SAP BusinessObjects BI 4

June 18th, 2013 1 comment

Last year I wrote a quick article about Virtualization support for BusinessObjects.

Since that time, SAP has been doing a lot of testing and refinement to guidelines regarding virtualizing your BI 4 environment.

Originally only advertised to a handful of attendees at Sapphire the www.sap.com/bivirtualization link has had over 1,000 views per month.

This is the official guidance you should be pointing all customers, partners and employees to when it comes to BI 4 virtualization.  This document can be used by your BI team to make sure and negotiate the right sized infrastructure from your IT team for a large scale move to BI 4.  Don’t get caught short.

Ashish Morzaria has done a great job and putting everything together in one place.   He’s collected feedback from actual customers together with performance tests that have been run internally at SAP.  All this information is put together in a 42 page everything-you-need-to-know whitepaper on VMWare ESXi 5:
http://www.sap.com/bivirtualization

Check it out!

«Good BI»

BusinessObjects XI 3.1 SP6 full build available…

March 27th, 2013 14 comments

I was reviewing my SAP Support Portal Newsletter after returning from vacation and discovered that SAP has released SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 Service Pack 06 – Full Build.  I really wasn’t expecting that — but I was happy to see it.  It sure beats worrying about the correct ‘upgrade path’ to such as the complications associated to moving to SP5.

XI 3.1 SP6 has released on all the standard platforms:  Linux on IA32 32bit,  HPIA_64,  HP-UX on PA-RISC 32bit,  AIX 32 Bit,  Solaris on SPARC 32bit.

Although I’ve been actively using v4.0 for a while, I know that many SAP Analytics customers haven’t yet made the transition to v4.0.

I would definitely like to hear from customers who are still waiting to make the move to find out where the hesitation is.  From what I understand most of the core stability issues have been resolved.

Highlights on XI 3.1 SP6

The big standout I saw was support for Windows Server 2012, which I had been asked about several times and I’m glad to see it’s there.

This release also fixes an outstanding issue with the length of the opendocument URL character limit of 2083 characters, which can be an issue if you are doing a lot of document to document hyperlinking.

If you are interested in additional details around what’s new, you can find that here:
http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir31SP6/en/xi31_sp6_whats_new_en.pdf

You can also find the PAM document here:
https://websmp107.sap-ag.de/~form/sapnet?_SHORTKEY=00200797470000096350&_SCENARIO=01100035870000000202&

Other Notables for XI 3.1

Know your dates and deadlines.  You need to plan to be off XI 3.1 by the end of 2015 and that’s not very far away.

Release to Customer:09/30/2008
General Availability:09/30/2008
End of Mainstream Maintenance:12/31/2015
End of Priority One Support Phase:12/31/2017

It’s hard to believe it’s been 7 years already!  I’m feeling old.

Are You Getting Notifications?

If you have access to SAP Support, then you should also be taking advantage of regular alert notification emails that you can proactively receive from support.   You can sign up for them here:
http://service.sap.com/notifications

You can define exactly what products you want to receive notifications about.

Here is a video tutorial that walks you through it.

Don’t delay.  Sign up today.

«Good BI»

Visual Intelligence – Resolving Start Up Issues

January 10th, 2013 No comments

Enjoying Visual Intelligence?  I am.  Unfortunately however every once in a while something will go wrong.  Most of the time stopping and restarting Visual Intelligence will fix the problem but sometimes not.

One error I received recently was:  Open document failed / The engine failed to start before timeout.  Restart the application.  (HDB 10005)

Open document failed / The engine failed to start before timeout. Restart the application. (HDB 10005)

Here is a quick article about this topic from SCN about this error:  http://scn.sap.com/thread/3256250

Here is an SAP note which also has additional details:  http://service.sap.com/sap/support/notes/1783894

These articles provide good information but didn’t solve my problem.

Sybase IQ Hiccups

As you probably already know that Visual Intelligence leverages an embedded Sybase IQ engine for data manipulation.

Here you can see both SAPVisualIntelligence.exe and the embedded Sybase engine, iqsrv15.exe, listed in the task manager.

… and sometimes there are problems.  I’ve found that assuming it ‘normally’ works okay (install was correct) and nothing else on your PC has changed (software/firewall conflicts), then it’s a memory issue.  Remember 8 Gig is recommended for this application.  (4 Gig minimum)

The problem is that sometimes when the Sybase Engine hiccups, it may continue to run in the background and make it impossible for Visual Intelligence to start-up again.

Resolving Issues with iqsrv15.exe

Here is what you need to do:

  1. After you shutdown Visual Intelligence, make sure that iqsrv15.exe is not still running.  You can kill the process via task manager if necessary.
  2. Delete the DataBase directory where Hilo.db is stored
  3. Restart application and it will recreate.
You will find the DataBase directory in your working directory.  By default this is located here:
C:UsersAdministratorAppDataLocalSAPSAP Visual Intelligence

Location of local Visual Intelligence Database

Hope that helps!

«Good BI»

 

Categories: Administrators, Help!, Lumira Tags: ,

Virtualization Support for SAP BusinessObjects

August 21st, 2012 8 comments

Do you need to virtualize your BI deployment?  Join the crowd.  Some say that by 2015, 80% of Business Intelligence deployments will be on virtualized in one way or another… and there are a lot of reasons to virtualize.  In fact, I’ve been doing BusinessObjects demos using VMWare for over 10 years.

So what about my production SAP BusinessObjects environment?

There are two things you need to consider:

  1. Does my existing license agreement provide me virtualization rights?
  2. Will SAP support BusinessObjects running on a virtualized environment?

The License Agreement

Virtualization language need to be included in the terms and conditions of your license agreement.  BusinessObjects license agreements from before February 2008 did not include virtualization rights… and even if you have purchased additional licenses in the last few years, you may have simply signed an addendum to the original contract which would not necessarily have included virtualization rights.
If you need virtualization rights, please contact your SAP sales representative and let them know.  They will be able to help you get virtualization language into your license agreement.
If you virtualize your BusinessObjects deployment without the associated
license terms in your contract, you will be out of license compliance.

SAP Support for Virtualization

SAP BusinessObjects has been supported on the VMWare platform for a number of years but as virtualization options have expanded it’s been harder and harder to find detailed information about exactly what SAP supports and doesn’t support and where to go to get the best information on this topic.

Earlier this year SAP support published a virtualization support statement which covers all the  SAP products, including SAP BusinessObjects. (Note: the key exceptions are HANA and BWA which are hardware solutions and virtualization doesn’t make sense.)

Here can find the statement here:
https://websmp230.sap-ag.de/sap(bD1lbiZjPTAwMQ==)/bc/bsp/spn/sapnotes/index2.htm?numm=1492000

What does this mean for me?

This means that if you are using Hypervisor vendors such as Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMWare vSphere, you will be able to get support for your SAP environment leveraging these technologies.  The same is true for AIX partitioning and Solaris containers.

The core statement is:  SAP supports virtualization solutions that behave in a fully transparent manner to the application.  Therefore, functionally SAP will support a virtual environment in the same way that it supports physical environments.

Performance on Virtualized Environments

This is a great topic.

I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that running SAP BusinessObjects in a virtualized environment tacks on about a 30% performance hit, but I’ve not seen any whitepapers to support that claim.  What I have heard from SAP support is that the majority of performance related issues are associated with how the Hypervisor or host environments have been configured.

Key To Remember

Before you provision a virtual server for your BI environment think about the workload before you start.  It’s very different from traditional application environments.

Keep in mind that:

  • Transactional applications have fairly consistent load patterns, but BI applications tend to spike.
  • Aggregating millions records is much different than streaming transactions.
  • BI environments are very I/O intensive and behave more like an Exchange Server than an ERP application
  • Your BI environment should not underresourced.

Working With Your Infrastructure Team

Sometimes the infrastructure team, in an attempt to manage limited server resources will throttle down your BI environment.    The problem is that if BusinessObjects doesn’t get enough CPU or RAM, then it will begin swapping in ways that aren’t expected.  You want to avoid this problem.

Before you call support about performance, make sure that you also understand how the virtual environment is being controlled.  It may appear that SAP BusinessObjects is using 100% of the cpu, but after hours of troubleshooting, we often discover that in reality you are using 100% of the 25% you were allocated.  You’ve topped out your ‘share’ of the cpus.

SAP BusinessObjects  is architected to use all system resources available to it.  It will be greedy when it comes to leveraging available resources, so don’t be stingy.  On a shared environment a single server is going to share the same network card, the same host bus adapter so keep that in mind as well.

Best Practices

“Don’t believe everything you hear.” – Aesop

Virtualization vendors have traditionally provided guidance to their customers on how to configure virtual environments for specific applications; however sometimes those recommendations have unintended consequences to performance.

One notable article was recently published on SCN.  VMWare had provided a number of tuning best practices for customer running Java applications and yet these best practices did not have the intended effect.  Read more here:
http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-29008

The good news is that BusinessObjects doesn’t necessarily require special tuning when running in a virtual environment. The bad news is that there is a lot of misinformation out there which might lead you astray.

Although SAP doesn’t yet have a full configuration best practices guide for running SAP BusinessObjects within a virtualized environment, I know that there are folks who are eager to hear about your experiences.  Last week I heard from Ashish Morzaria and he asked me if I knew any customers who might be willing to get involved and provide some feedback.

Well, now is your chance.

Help Us Help You

Get in touch.

If you:

  • Have already virtualized and can share your lessons learned
  • Want to virtualize and are looking for a whitepaper
  • Want to tell us your story – either a case study, reference, etc.

Please let me know and help get you in touch with the right folks.

«Good BI»

 

Categories: Administrators Tags: ,