UPDATE: Working with SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1? You’ll want to read this article instead.
SAP BusinessObjects server sizing is part art and part science. When it comes to the Adaptive Processing Server in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0, adding little magic might not hurt, either. Let’s take a deeper look.
UPDATE: I recommend reading the Best Practices for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 Adaptive Processing Servers white paper along with the latest Sizing Companion. A full list of resources appears at the end of this article.
NOTE: I used the Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 (SPO), document version 0.8 aka v2, June 2011 (file name SBO_BI_4_O_Companion_V2.pdf) when I originally wrote this article in November 2011. Newer versions have been released but seem to have less instead of more detail than the version they replace.
The Adaptive Processing Server in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 contains twenty-one discrete services. Feature Pack 3 ups the number to twenty-two. Count ’em.
- Adaptive Connectivity Service
- BEx Web Applications Service
- Client Auditing Proxy Service
- Custom Data Access Service
- Data Federation Service
- Document Recovery Service
- DSL Bridge Service
- Excel Data Access Service
- Insight to Action Service (FP3 and higher)
- Lifecycle Management ClearCase Service
- Lifecycle Management Service
- Monitoring Service
- Multi Dimensional Analysis Service (MDAS)
- Platform Search Service
- Publishing Post Processing Service
- Publishing Service
- Rebean Service
- Security Token Service
- Translation Service
- Visual Difference Service
- Visualization Service
- Web Intelligence Monitoring Service
The Adaptive Processing Server made its debut in SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1. But in that release, the Adaptive Processing Server contained only four discrete services. How should we determine a proper sizing? SAP provides us with the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Administrator’s Guide and Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0, both available from the SAP Service Marketplace. Historically, SAP Education has offered the course BOE330: Designing and Deploying a Solution, but despite BI4’s GA status, the course materials are still not ready for customers (or instructors like me). And it likely contains a lot of cutting and pasting from the admin and sizing guides, anyway. But regardless, that book is not in front of me providing additional insight.
In an earlier post (see related article, Adaptive Processing Servers in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0), I wrote that SAP does not recommend having a single Adaptive Processing Server (APS) in your BI4 architecture in spite of the fact that one is all SAP chooses to install. At a minimum, SAP gingerly suggests that you might want to create an Adaptive Processing Server for each of the six processing categories: Core Services, Analysis Services, Connectivity Services, Data Federation Services, Lifecycle Management Services, and Web Intelligence Services. On closer inspection of the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Administrator’s Guide and Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0, SAP calls out several services should be placed in their own distinct Adaptive Processing Server. I count five of them.
The Multi-Dimentional Analysis Service (MDAS) that powers the Analysis product. From page 32 of the Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0:
We recommend that you dedicate an instance of the APS to run only the MDAS service. This recommendation generally holds regardless of the service the APS hosts. Our testing shows that the optimal heap size per MDAS server instance is 4 GB.
“This recommendation generally holds regardless of the service the APS hosts”??? Does that mean put each of the twenty-one services in their own APS? Maybe. But since a “small installation” (i.e. sandbox) can keep all twenty-one services in a single APS (with breathtaking performance, I can assure you), maybe not. But I digress – let’s continue.
The Dual Semantic Layer (DSL) Bridge Service. This service handles service requests for UNX universes created with the new Information Design Tool. From page 22 of the Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0:
You should ensure there are one or more dedicated APS instances running only the DSL Bridge Service. The recommended heap size is 4 GB minimum; 8 GB or better preferred.
The Visualization Service (sometimes referred to as CVOM or Common Visualization Object Module). According to SAP Note 1640240, the Visualization Service is is used by nearly all SAP BusinessObjects BI visualization tools like, Crystal Reports for Enterprise, Web Intelligence, and Advanced Analysis. From page 23 of the Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0:
The Visualization Service (CVOM charting library service for Web Intelligence) is dedicated to Web Intelligence reporting. It is what creates the charts that are displayed in a Web Intelligence document.
The default guidance regarding APS tuning applies here: the CVOM service should run in one or more dedicated APS instances. This means those APS instances are running no other services. We recommend setting the heap size to 1.5 GB minimum; 2 GB preferred.
The Monitoring Service. From page 506 of the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Administrator’s Guide:
It is recommended that the monitoring service is hosted on a separate Adaptive Processing Server (APS) instance to avoid crash or restart or poor performance of the APS.
The Client Auditing Proxy Service, or CAPS. From page 532 of the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Administrator’s Guide:
If you are going to use Client Auditing it is recommend that you create a dedicated Adaptive Processing Server for the Client Auditing Proxy Service. This will ensure your best system performance. To increase your system’s fault tolerance you may also want to consider running the CAPS on more than one APS.
Did I miss any? If you decide to keep the remaining servers broken out by category, that will add six additional Adaptive Processing Servers. And if you’re like me, it just feels right to put the Publication Service and Publishing Post-Processing Service in their own Adaptive Processing Server. That is a total of twelve Adaptive Processing Servers. On a single node. And each APS takes at a minimum 1 GB of Java heap space. Several of the services would prefer to have more. And we’re still not talking about the other servers that you might have on the node. Or duplicates of certain APS servers to scale for performance. But at least the Desktop Intelligence servers are gone, right?
Will I propose 12 Adaptive Processing Servers on a single node? Probably not, but a customer that wants to deploy all of the BI tools and desires connectivity to relational, multi-dimensional, and SAP BW data sources has no choice but to deploy all of the components. Where the SAP guides are unfortunately silent, we can only make best guesses on sizing then validate our guesses through monitoring.
Next year, SAP is promising SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 Feature Pack 3 with new features like Exploration Views and more bug fixes. But my hope is that its installation program creates more than a single APS according to best practices (see related article Ten Features that Absolutely Must be in Feature Pack 3). Perhaps in actual practice we’ll see that some of these services aren’t using as much RAM or CPU as we feared and will become candidates for additional consolidation.
But in the meantime, you better put a lot of RAM in your BI 4.0 hardware.
- SAP BusinessObjects BI “mega site” (added March 25, 2014)
- SAP Mentor Greg Myers addresses BI4 Sizing in #6 of My 10 Steps to Get to BI4 (added February 28, 2013)
- Sizing and Deploying SAP BusinessObjects BI 4 from SAP Community Network
- My other articles about the Adaptive Processing Server, including where to find the Sizing Companion
- SAP Press SAP BusinessObjects System Administration by Eric Vallo and Greg Myers
- SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 is a Big Baby by Eric Vallo
- SAP Note 1580280– Adaptive Processing Server and Adaptive Job Server in SAP BI 4.0 are using high amounts of memory and are hard to manage and troubleshoot. (added 06/10/2013 – now locked by SAP)
- SAP Note 1694041– How to size the Adaptive Processing Server (published March 8, 2012, added to this post on May 1, 2012 – thanks Tim Moritz!)
- SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Administrator’s Guide from the SAP Help Portal
- SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform User Guide (BI Content Administration)
- Best Practices for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 Adaptive Processing Servers, an SAP white paper (added 9/18/2012)
- SAP Updates Hardware Requirements for BI 4.0 (added 12/19/2012)
- BI 4.0 Platform Tuning – Splitting adaptive servers on SCN (added 08/07/2013)
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