Still making fun of the Microsoft Windows ODBC panel.
The new Information Design Tool (IDT) in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0, like the other client tools in the suite, is a 32-bit application. Even if the IDT is installed on a 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows, it wants to use 32-bit ODBC DSN’s created with the 32-bit ODBC panel, not 64-bit DSN’s. If you attempt to create a new universe connection and specify a 64-bit DSN name, the following error appears.
[Microsoft][ODBC Driver Manager] The specified DSN contains an architecture mismatch between the Driver and Application
To resolve the issue, make sure you’re using the 32-bit ODBC panel (see related article) at C:WindowsSysWoW64Odbcad32.exe. If you are running the client tools and server on the same platform, create a 32-bit ODBC DSN for the Information Design Tool and a 64-bit ODBC DSN for the server (BI Launchpad, Web Intelligence Processing Server, etc.). Make sure both DSN’s have identical names.
Remember that Crystal Reports 2011, Crystal Reports 2013, and Crystal Reports for Enterprise clients are also 32-bit. If they are installed on the BI4 server (which is supported, but oddly enough not recommended), they will also require 32-bit ODBC connections even though the Crystal Reports Processing Server requires 64-bit ODBC connections. Note that the legacy Crystal Reports 2011/2013 Processing Server will also require 32-bit ODBC connections.
Customizing BI 4.0 is one of my most widely read articles. Next Thursday, November 8, 2012, I’ll be presenting a free webinar entitled Going from Stock to Custom: Customizing BI 4.0. It’s part of EV Technologies “Be a Better SAP BOBJ Admin” webinar series. I’ll cover a variety of techniques (many that I’ve not yet written about here) that can be used to customize the SAP BusinessObjects BI Launch Pad and mobile applications like Mobile BI and Explorer into something uniquely suited for your organization.
If you can’t make the November 8 webinar, I’ll be presenting a repeat session one week later on November 15.
A modest but very welcome enhancement to the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform.
Now is the time of year when SAP BusinessObjects administrators begin daydreaming of exotic destinations like Mediterranean cruises. Or family holidays to Walt Disney World. But the software engineering team at SAP had some different ideas about exotic destinations when developing SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.x.
Sending documents to other users and destinations is one of the features of the SAP BusinessObjects user portal, known as the BI Launch Pad beginning with SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 and as InfoView in prior releases. With sufficient access rights, users can send documents to one of four standard destinations (BI Inbox, Email, File Location, and FTP Location).
One of the frequent criticisms of prior versions was that all four destinations were displayed by default, even if they weren’t enabled or configured. The only opportunity for out-of-the-box customization was to completely disable the Send button via rights- an all or nothing proposition. A popular modification request was to only show destinations that the organization was actually using; however, this modification required customization of the BusinessObjects web application source code. These source code modifications had to be carefully managed externally, as they were always in danger of being overwritten by a service pack (now known as a support pack) or fix pack (now known as a patch).
In a moment of serendipity, I discovered that BI 4.0 includes some helpful improvements. The screen shots below are taken from SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 Support Pack 2 (SP2) Patch 10.
Only Enabled Destinations are Displayed
For the first time in SAP BusinessObjects history, only destinations enabled by the Adaptive Job Server are presented to users. So out of the box, only the BI Inbox is shown.
The BI Launchpad now has intelligence and only shows destinations that have been enabled by the SAP BusinessObjects administrator. For example, our current environment only enables BI Inbox, Email and File Location, leaving the FTP Location disabled.
Because the FTP destination was never enabled, it does not appear on the Send menu.
Now lets enable the FTP Server in the Central Management Console.
As expected, all four destinations now appear in BI Launch Pad, including FTP Location.
Each Destination Can be Individually Secured
So those are unilateral settings for all users of the BI platform. But what about limiting access to these destination by user or group? For the first time in SAP BusinessObjects, there are individual rights for each of the four destinations. Prior to BI 4.0, there was a single right that controlled whether the Send button was enabled or disabled. The four destinations can be independently configured in custom access levels, then assigned to users and groups per your security requirements.
These enhancements are certainly not marquee features likely to be demoed from a keynote stage. However, they have been on the feature request backlog for some time. It is great to see tangible proof that SAP is listening to business intelligence administrators, not just business users.
A modest but very welcome enhancement to the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform.
SAP KB 1620597 – “Send to” option in BI Launch Pad does not show expected destinations
SAP KB 1603377 – How to enable the option “Send to” within BI Launch Pad
Have you made any serendipitous discoveries of BI 4.0 improvements?
Copying ODBC DSN’s from XI 3.1 to BI4 need not be a tedious chore.
I’m still having fun with 64-bit Windows and ODBC. This time, I’m working with SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 SP2 Patch 10 (BI4) instead of my previous exploits with SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 (see related article, More Fun with 64-bit Windows and ODBC). My challenge was to easily copy ODBC DSN’s from a customer’s existing XI 3.1 environment to their new BI4 environment without hours of tedious typing in the Windows control panel.
The procedure is simple enough, as ODBC DSN’s are stored in the Microsoft Windows registry. Simply use the registry editor on the source machine to export the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ODBC tree. Move the generated registry file to the destination machine and load using the registry editor. But when moving between 32-bit Windows and 64-bit Windows, there’s a small catch.
In 64-bit Windows, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ODBC is where the 64-bit DSN’s are stored. 32-bit DSN’s are stored in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\ODBC. This means that the 32-bit DSN’s that you import from the 32-bit XI 3.1 server automatically become 64-bit DSN’s on the BI4 server by virtue of their registry location.
SAP BusinessObjects BI4 is primarily 64-bit, so most services like the Web Intelligence Processing Server will be looking for 64-bit DSN’s. However, classic Crystal Reports 2011/2013/2016 are 32-bit (even on the BI4 server), so it will look for DSN’s in the second Wow6432Node. I ended up creating these 32-bit DSN’s manually using the ODBC panel on our BI4 staging server (see related article, SAP BusinessObjects BI4 is (Mostly) 64-bit).
However, once I have both 32-bit and 64-bit DSN’s created on the staging server, I can move them easily to other 64-bit Windows machines. I just have to remember to export both the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ODBC and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\ODBC keys.
TIP: Remember that each set of DSN’s has its own control panel. To avoid going insane during testing, take a moment to create separate desktop shortcuts to the 32-bit and 64-bit ODBC DSN panels on your 64-bit Windows server (see related article, More Fun with 64-bit Windows and ODBC).
One of the first things I like to do after installing SAP BusinessObjects is copy the Central Configuration Manager (CCM) shortcut to the Microsoft Windows Start Menu startup folder. Most SAP BusinessObjects administration is handled from the browser-based Central Management Console (CMC). But when I bother to actually log directly into the Windows server, the CCM is generally the first thing I want to check. Adding it to the startup folder to automatically launch saves me some time.
First, navigate to the C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\SAP BusinessObjects BI platform 4.0\SAP BusinessObjects BI platformdirectory and copy the Central Configuration Manager shortcut to the Windows clipboard. The ProgramData folder is hidden, so you’ll want to set Windows Explorer options to show hidden files and folders.
Next, paste the shortcut in the adjacent C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup folder.
The Central Configuration Manager (CCM) will now start automatically when you log into the server using Remote Desktop.
Administrators will appreciate that the Query Builder is still lurking about in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0.
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 went into General Availability (GA) on September 16, 2011. Although there are numerous administration improvements in the Central Management Console (CMC), fans of the less refined yet useful Query Builder will be thrilled that it remains in BI 4.0, despite its disappearance from the Windows Start Menu and its new location. You can find the BI 4.0 Query Builder at http://[hostname]:[portnumber]/AdminTools/querybuilder/logonform.jsp, or http://localhost:8080/AdminTools/querybuilder/logonform.jsp if you’re using the default Apache Tomcat web application server.
UPDATE: Query Builder lives on in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 at the same location.
Query Builder provides a crude but effective means of querying data stored in the CMS database. Using a rudimentary SQL interface, you can query data that is exposed through the SAP BusinessObjects SDK into virtual “tables”. Your database administrator won’t find these imaginary tables- CI_APPOBJECTS, CI_INFOOBJECTS, CI_SYSTEMOBJECTS- in the CMS data structure. See my related article, Queries to identify universes and their universe connections.
I asked Eric Vallo, chief architect at EV Technologies, whether the Query Builder was still relevant to SAP BusinessObjects administrators. He replied that:
The Query Builder gives good, quick insights in small chunks, to high level data. You can gain quick access to users in groups, reports in folders, and much more. The bad news is, there is no easy way to automate or more granularly report on this information.
Several add-on tools have cropped up to overcome Query Builder’s limitations, and EV Technologies’ Sherlock is one of them. Here’s Eric Vallo again:
Technologies such as Sherlock automate the acquisition of this data to remove limits on performance, row counts, and drill down many levels deeper into the hierarchy of the API to make this information easier to report on. Further, this analysis can be extended in more detail into the semantic layer, detailed report construction, and usage analysis.
As an example of using the Query Builder, the Administering Servers course for XI R2 contained an activity using the Query Builder to determine which of multiple Input or Output File Repositories was active. Sadly, the activity was removed from the XI 3.0/3.1 course. Here’s the original query for the Input File Repository Server (iFRS).
SELECT TOP 1 SI_NAME, SI_SERVER_DESCRIPTOR, SI_SERVER_IS_ALIVE, SI_STATUS_CHECK_TS
AND SI_NAME LIKE 'Input%'
ORDER BY SI_SERVER_DESCRIPTOR
It requires a slight modification to continue to work in BI 4.0.
SELECT TOP 1 SI_NAME, SI_SERVER_DESCRIPTOR, SI_SERVER_IS_ALIVE, SI_STATUS_CHECK_TS
AND SI_NAME LIKE '%Input%'
ORDER BY SI_SERVER_DESCRIPTOR
Of course, you can modify the query to SI_NAME LIKE ‘%Output%’ to examine the Output File Repository servers (oFRS) instead.
And here are the results. I still wish they could be easily exported to Microsoft Excel.
Manikandan Elumalai has a series of articles on the SAP Community Network (SCN) about writing Query Builder queries with many examples (see part one, part two, part three, and part four) added June 10, 2013
Customize the BI4 Launch Pad and brand the user experience for your organization.
UPDATE: Customizing SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1? Read this article instead.
Today, September 16, 2011, is an exciting day in SAP BusinessObjects history and one we’ve waiting a long time for. SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 is finally GA (generally available) in the SAP Service Marketplace!
I’d like to say a heart-felt “thank-you” to the hundreds of SAP employees who gave blood, sweat, and probably tears to make the release happen.
Since many folks will be downloading the software this weekend, let’s discuss some basic customizations to perform after the installation is complete. In previous posts, I’ve described how to customize previous versions of SAP BusinessObjects on both Microsoft Windows (see related article, Customizing SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1) and Linux (see related article, SAP BusinessObjects on Linux and Unix – part 3). Today, let’s take a look at SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 on Microsoft Windows. I’m using Windows 2003 Server 64-bit in my examples.
To simplify the customization of the BI 4.0 web applications, SAP now uses properties files that can be easily changed using a text editor, instead of the previous XML files. A key benefit of the new approach is that properties files aren’t modified by solution packs (service packs) and patches (fix packs). While this should be a huge improvement from previous releases, I still struggle with custom properties files being overwritten by patches, especially from Explorer.
The default location for properties files is the C:Program Files (x86)SAP BusinessObjectsTomcat6webappsBOEWEB-INFconfigdefault directory. To modify properties from their defaults, copy the desired properties file from the default directory to the adjacent custom directory, which is C:Program Files (x86)SAP BusinessObjectsTomcat6webappsBOEWEB-INFconfigcustom. To make sure your changes are preserved and not lost the next time the WAR files are deployed (typically during patch upgrades), be sure to follow SAP Note 1615492 and copy the custom files to <BOE_HOME>SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 4.0warfileswebappsBOEWEB-INFconfig.
Customizing the BI Launchpad Login Page
BI Launch Pad is the name of the BI 4.0 user portal, formerly known as InfoView. Its settings are located in BIlaunchpad.properties.
NOTE: You’ll want to install SAP BusinessObjects Explorer (which has a separate installation program) first before customizing the properties files, as it appears to wipe out the changes.
The first three parameters in the file are app.name, app.name.greeting, and app.name.short and behave identical to their XI 3.1 counterparts. The app.name.short attribute is used for the “greeting” and the <TITLE> tag of the InfoView home page while app.name is used for the <TITLE> tag of all other BI Launchpad pages. As best as I can determine, the app.name.greeting is unused.
And here is the result of the changes to my BIlaunchpad.properties file.
Although I made my “short” name shorter than my regular name in this example, in real life I would put the longer “Acme Business Intelligence” on the login screen using the app.name.short property and the shorter “Acme BI” on all other pages using the app.name.
You’ll most likely want to make similar changes to the default system (CMS) and authentication related properties in the CmcApp.properties and OpenDocument.properties files. You can also set a default system and authentication type for the Web Intelligence Rich Client by following SAP KB 1821519.
Adding or changing Favicons
If you want to dress up your users’ browser with a favicon, overwrite the standard Tomcat favicon.ico file with your own at <INSTALLDIR>/Tomcat6/webapps/ROOT then restart Tomcat.
Here are the favicon locations for the BI Launchpad, Central Management Console (CMC) and others. I like to replace the BI Launchpad and Explorer favicons. I prefer to leave the CMC favicon as-is, as only a few people see it and it’s easier to find when multiple browser tabs are in use.
Place new InfoView.ico in C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP BusinessObjects\Tomcat6\webapps\BOE\WEB-INF\eclipseplugins\webpath.InfoView\web\images. Place new explorer.ico in C:Program Files (x86)SAP BusinessObjects\Tomcat6\webapps\explorer.
Be sure to clear Tomcat cache C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP BusinessObjects\Tomcat6\work\Catalina\localhost before restarting.
Changing the Default Web Intelligence Paper Size
When SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 is initially installed, the default page size is A4. This international standard (see Wikipedia) is used nearly around the world but is not the same as the standard Letter size used in the United States and Canada.
Previous versions of Web Intelligence stored the default paper size in a file named defaultconfig.xml. This file remains in BI4 virtually unchanged from previous releases, but it is now located at C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP BusinessObjects\Tomcat6\webapps\BOE\WEB-INF\eclipseplugins\webpath.AnalyticalReportingweb\WEB-INF\classes. But BI4 no longer uses this file to define default paper size. Instead, Web Intelligence 4.0 derives attributes like page size, header size, footer size, and margins from a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), not the old XML configuration file. The procedure for changing the default paper size from A4 to Letter can be found on this article I wrote for the EV Technologies blog.
NOTE: Existing reports will still have the page size set when the document was saved; however, this modification will change the default page size setting for all new documents.
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 Launch Pad Default Preferences
We’ve looked at customizing the BI Launch Pad home page, the favicons, and the Web Intelligence default paper size. I’ll update this post periodically as I discover useful ways to further customize the default SAP BusinessObjects experience.
Christina Obry from SAP has written some excellent tutorials on the SAP Community Network, including some new capabilities added in BI4 SP4 and higher:
Microsoft Office 2010, mobile Web Intelligence, and more.
IMPORTANT: SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 Service Pack 5 (SP5) was released on December 8, 2011. Be sure to review the SAP BusinessObjects Maintenance Schedule and its associated Forward Fit Plan to make sure that any Service Pack or Fix Pack contains the fixes you expect it to. Also keep in mind that some of the latest features in the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI app only work if the latest Fix Pack is applied to the server.
Today, SAP released SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 Service Pack 4 (SP4). This service pack includes the Microsoft Office 2010 compatibility that was introduced in SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP3 Fix Pack 3.4. For most customers, service packs are more palatable than fix packs, so the release of SP4 is really good news. Mobility fans should note that there is also a separate download for SAP BusinessObjects Mobile XI 3.1 Service Pack 4. Service Pack 4 is a prerequisite for the forthcoming release of BI Mobile for the Apple iPad, which was demonstrated at the recent SAP SAPPHIRE conference and is expected by the end of June 2011. As usual, there are separate SP4 downloads for apps such as Crystal Reports 2008, Lifecycle Manager, and Live Office. And as usual, expect multiple tries before getting a complete and uncorrupted download from the SAP Support Portal. As of this writing I did not see any new service packs for Xcelsius 2008 or Explorer XI 3.2 (currently on SP2).
As with any service pack, always review the release notes and deploy first to a non-critical sandbox (a virtual machine is really good for this) before upgrading a production environment. Remember that for most customers, development is really a production environment for developers. So find a non-critical sandbox. I’ll be doing the same over the next few days so I can articulate clear upgrade plans.
To all of the developers at SAP – thank you for getting this service pack out. We know you’ve been extremely busy (and stressed) getting BI4 ready for general availability (GA).
All I can say is “SysWoW64! That’s really intuitive, Mr. Ballmer!”
This week, I helped a customer install SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.1 SP3 on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 64-bit using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 for the system (CMS) and audit databases. And once again, I was tricked by Microsoft’s ODBC Data Sources panel into creating 64-bit ODBC connections that were rejected by the XI 3.1 installation program. XI 3.1 is fully supported on 64-bit operating systems, but it’s still a 32-bit application that requires 32-bit database connectivity. The whole experience felt like deja vu, and sure enough, I blogged about this topic over two years ago when it burned me the first time. So let’s review (from Microsoft Support article 942976):
The 64-bit version of the Odbcad32.exe file is located in the C:WindowsSystem32 folder. This 64-bit version appears on the Windows Start menu.
The 32-bit version of the Odbcad32.exe file is located in the C:WindowsSysWoW64 folder. This version does not appear on the Windows Start menu.
Got that? 64-bit code is stored in a folder named “System32” and 32-bit code is stored in a folder named “SysWoW64”. And both ODBC panels are identical in appearance – there’s no real clue to which one you’re using. All I can say is “SysWoW64! That’s really intuitive, Mr. Ballmer!”
During the XI 3.1 installation, the dialog box for establishing the BusinessObjects system and audit databases for Microsoft SQL Server will have the “Consume DSN created under WOW64” box checked by default. You should see your 32-bit DSNs on the list of available DSN’s. If your DSNs refuse to apper until you uncheck the “Consume DSN created under WOW64” box, that’s your clue that you goofed up and created 64-bit DSNs. Attempting to proceed further will cause the installation program to generate a humiliating STW00225 (Audit connection) and/or STW00226 (system/CMS connection) error message.
SAP tries to warn us with the following note in the supported platforms document:
BusinessObjects products use the 32-bit ODBC registry on all versions of Windows. To administer 32-bit ODBC DSNs on 64-bit versions of Windows, run the 32-bit ODBC Administrator, located here: C:WindowsSysWOW64odbcad32.exe
Thankfully, the upcoming release of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 is fully 64-bit, allowing the use of 64-bit DSN’s to Microsoft SQL Server. So it won’t be long before we can all put this ODBC controversy behind us. Well, all of us except for Mr. Ballmer.
To minimize some of the confusion, create clearly labeled desktop shortcuts to the 32-bit ODBC panel (C:WindowsSysWoW64 folder) and the 64-bit ODBC panel (C:WindowsSystem32 folder) before even attempting your SAP BusinessObjects installation. Then create your DSNs via the appropriate shortcut (32-bit for XI 3.1 and lower, 64-bit for BI 4.0 and higher). On Microsoft Windows 2008 Server, I move these shortcuts to the hidden folder C:UsersPublicDesktop so the rest of the administrative team can use them.
I used to recommend adding _32 as a suffix to your DSN names to remind everyone that they are 32-bit connections. But then SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 arrived. Crystal Reports 2011 is still 32-bit on the server, so I now prefer that the 32-bit DSN and 64-bit DSN share the same name.
SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise includes powerful auditing capabilities that allow organizations to perform detailed reporting and analysis of user activity on their business intelligence platform. SAP includes an Activity universe and sample reports in both Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence formats to get started.
I’ll be presenting “KPIs for Business Intelligence” at the upcoming 2010 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference. My focus will be on what organizations can build themselves to analyze user activity. However, many organizations don’t have the time or resources to create their own solutions and there are several packages available in the marketplace for those who would rather buy than build.
I’d like to compile a centralized list of software vendors and their auditing products. If you are such a vendor, could you add a comment to this post? Please include:
URL to Product Information
Phone and/or e-mail contact to get more information about the product
Remember that I moderate all comments, so don’t panic when yours does not appear right away. I’ll compile the information into a future blog post and include a summarized PowerPoint slide in my KPI presentation.