Viewing Large Web Intelligence Documents with Mobile BI

Keep the dreaded ERR_WIS_30272 error away from your mobile devices.

Are your Mobile BI users seeing a ERR_WIS_30272 error on their iPhone or iPad when viewing Web Intelligence documents?

Maximum character output size limit reached. Contact your BusinessObjects administrator. (Error: ERR_WIS_30272)

The error is triggered by large temporary XML files, particularly when Web Intelligence is working with large data sets. SAP Note 1370045 describes how to correct the error by increasing the size of the Maximum Character Stream Size of the Web Intelligence Processing Server.

Web Intelligence Stream Size 02

The default value is 5 MB (shown), but a value of 10 or even 20 MB is recommended. According to SAP Note 1826015, SAP Lumira can also benefit from a larger Maximum Character Stream Size when working with data sourced from a universe. And blogger Femke Kooij describes situations where the error can show up in Dashboards (formerly known as Xcelsius) that use Query as a Web Service (QaaWS) or BI Web Services (BIWS) (see related article, Maximum character output size limit reached).

Remember that you’ll need to adjust the settings of each Web Intelligence Processing Server in the cluster. Setting and using the service configuration template is a good way to keep these settings in sync across all Web Intelligence servers in your cluster.

Interested in tuning other Web Intelligence Processing Server settings? Matthew Shaw has an excellent article on the SAP Community Network (SCN) entitled Getting the most out of your Web Intelligence Processing Servers.

The Fun Never Ends with 64-bit Windows and ODBC

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.

Having fun with 64-bit Windows and ODBC?  You may find my other articles on ODBC helpful.

Going from Stock to Custom

Take your BI portal from stock to custom.

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.

Visit the EV Technologies site to register for this webinar and check out the rest of the series.

Exotic Destinations in SAP BusinessObjects BI4

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.

Conclusion

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?

Still Having Fun with 64-bit Windows and ODBC

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_MACHINESOFTWAREODBC 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_MACHINESOFTWAREODBC is where the 64-bit DSN’s are stored. 32-bit DSN’s are stored in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeODBC.  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, Crystal Reports 2011 and 2013 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_MACHINESOFTWAREODBC and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeODBC 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).

Related Articles

For more information, check out this related thread on the BusinessObjects Board (BOB).

Adding Central Configuration Manager (CCM) to Windows Server Startup Folder

A simple but useful trick.

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.

Central Configuration Manager XI 3.1
Windows 7 and Windows 2008 handle the start menu differently than their predecessors (see related post Windows 7/Windows 2008 Start Menu), so here is the procedure.

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.

SAP BusinessObjects Query Builder 4.0

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
FROM CI_SYSTEMOBJECTS
WHERE SI_PROGID='CrystalEnterprise.Server'
AND SI_SERVER_KIND='fileserver'
AND SI_SERVER_IS_ALIVE=1
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
FROM CI_SYSTEMOBJECTS
WHERE SI_PROGID='CrystalEnterprise.Server'
AND SI_SERVER_KIND='fileserver'
AND SI_SERVER_IS_ALIVE=1
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.

Resources

And what about you?  Glad that the Query Builder is still alive?  What are some of your “favorite” Query Builder queries?