Ten Features That Absolutely Must Be in BI 4.2 SP3

It’s been four years since I published my wish list for BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3. I revisit the list and see what, if anything, has made it into the SAP BI suite.

Four years ago, I wrote an article entitled Ten Features That Absolutely Must Be in BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3. With SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP3 soon going into general availability, I thought it might be interesting to review the current status of my original wish list.

1. Tree control for Web Intelligence universe selection

No improvements here and none expected for the forthcoming SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 Support Pack 3. But perhaps SAP will surprise us with a redesigned universe selector panel in the fully-functional Java-free Web Intelligence coming next year in Support Pack 4?

2. Improved visual distinction between UNV and UNX universes in Web Intelligence

I don’t think there’s been much change here. Still an opportunity for some subtle UI improvements.

3. OLAP universe support for Explorer

Lack of OLAP support for this aging product is by design according to SAP KB 1559221My friend who requested it got tired of waiting and is now a Tableau developer. True story.

4. UNX universe support for Live Office

Fixed. UNX support was finally added to starting with SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 SP6. Live Office isn’t for everyone, but Excel geeks seem to really like it. And Live Office is going to live on in the simplified BI portfolio as its functionality is converged into a future version of Analysis for Microsoft Office.

5. Improved qualification selection in Information Design Tool

Fixed. There have been many usability improvements in the Information Design Tool and this is one of them. If you last took a look at Information Design Tool way back when version 4.0 was released, it’s time to take a second look at the new 4.2 release.

6. Corporate customization of Central Management Console

This request is still unfulfilled but perhaps we’ll see something when the CMC gets the Fiori treatment next year? I’m not looking for robust customization like the BI Launch Pad has. I just want a simple way to change some text strings and colors (using preset themes) to easily distinguish multiple landscapes in the BI lifecycle (Development, Test, Production).

7. No more monolithic Adaptive Processing Server

Fixed. SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 introduced the System Configuration Wizard for APS configuration and some other post-installation tasks, which you can read about here.

My big gripe here continues to be that Design Studio and Lumira both add services to the Adaptive Processing Server. Because these two products are “add-ons”, the System Configuration Wizard doesn’t accommodate them very well. I hope the situation will improve next year when Lumira and Design Studio 2.0 standardize on a single server-size engine.

8. Improved control of Web Intelligence default paper size

Still an open item. Since non-A4 paper size mostly an accommodation for American users, no doubt this improvement is far down on the enhancement backlog, if it’s there at all. Perhaps paper size is less relevant in a greener 21st century?

9. Improved browser support

Fixed. SAP has made major strides in browser support. The biggest obstacle to browser support is how various browsers handle (or refuse to handle) plugins like Adobe Flash and Oracle Java. Fortunately, SAP is working really hard to deliver a plugin-free version of the platform, starting with enhancements to the Web Intelligence HTML panel in the forthcoming BI 4.2 SP3.

10. Improved and better organized sample content

Still as bad as before, except that SAP has added some really nice sample content for mobile devices (see related article, Sampling the Mobile BI Samples with BI 4.1).

Conclusion

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence BI 4.2 Support Pack 3 is almost ready for general availability and contains some really exciting improvements, including four of the items on this wish list. But I hope there’s still time to include the remaining six improvements in BI 4.2 SP4.

What’s on your SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP3 wish list?

Sizing the Adaptive Processing Server in BI 4.1

The Server Configuration Wizard just might be the best new feature of SAP BI 4.1.

This week, I installed SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 SP1 as an upgrade to an existing SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 SP6 environment. BI 4.1 brings a lot of small refinements to the BI 4.0 platform but still whets our appetites for the release of BI 4.2 next year.

The Adaptive Processing Server

The Adaptive Processing Server in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 contained twenty-one discrete services. BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3 added the Insight to Action Service. And if the optional Design Studio server components are installed, there will be a total of twenty-four discrete services in a single Adaptive Processing Server.

  1. Adaptive Connectivity Service
  2. Analysis Application Service (optional Design Studio server component)
  3. BEx Web Applications Service
  4. Client Auditing Proxy Service
  5. Custom Data Access Service
  6. Data Federation Service
  7. Document Recovery Service
  8. DSL Bridge Service
  9. Excel Data Access Service
  10. Insight to Action Service (BI 4.0 FP3 and higher)
  11. Lifecycle Management ClearCase Service
  12. Lifecycle Management Service
  13. Monitoring Service
  14. Multi Dimensional Analysis Service (MDAS)
  15. Platform Search Service
  16. Publishing Post Processing Service
  17. Publishing Service
  18. Rebean Service
  19. Security Token Service
  20. Translation Service
  21. Visual Difference Service
  22. Visualization Service
  23. Web Intelligence Monitoring Service

Introducing the System Configuration Wizard

Deciding what to do with the Adaptive Processing Server was probably the single most difficult thing in planning and sizing a SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 environment. Over time, SAP provided much better documentation and a fairly cookbook approach to how to split the Adaptive Processing Server and modify Java heap sizes.

Most of these best practices have been incorporated into a new System Configuration Wizard that can be found in the BI 4.1 Central Management Console.

BI41 System Configuration Wizard Icon

The adventure awaits…
BI41 System Configuration Wizard Medium 600 01

It’s not a wizard unless it has a chipper greeting.
BI41 System Configuration Wizard Medium 600 02

Select the products you are using. This step goes beyond just the Adaptive Processing Server configuration and will shut down services that you’re not using. I’ll keep all of them selected.
BI41 System Configuration Wizard Medium 600 03

The next step is to choose server node capacity. Although my server has 32 GB RAM, I’m going to choose the 15-25 GB, or Medium, setting. Notice that the wizard will create 7 Adaptive Processing Servers with this selection.
BI41 System Configuration Wizard Medium 600 04

Next, choose the folders for the file repositories, logs, and temp space. In this case I’m upgrading from BI 4.0 and I’d like to keep my existing configuration.
BI41 System Configuration Wizard Medium 600 05

Almost there. Time to review how the wizard has been configured.
BI41 System Configuration Wizard Medium 600 06

Are you sure?
BI41 System Configuration Wizard Medium 600 07

The mystic portal awaits!
BI41 System Configuration Wizard Medium 600 08

Changes are completed. You can download a log file as well as a response file.
BI41 System Configuration Wizard Medium 600 09

Java Heap Space

A subtle but much appreciated improvement in BI 4.1 is the UI for the command line parameters. Here’s the text box in BI 4.0.

BI 4.0 APS Command Line Parameters

And here’s the improved text box in BI 4.1.

BI 4.1 APS Command Line Parameters

It is now possible to set the -Xms and -Xmx parameters without waiting what seems like hours for the command line to scroll by as it did in BI 4.0. Notice that -Xms now defaults to 512m instead of 32m and -Xmx defaults to 2g instead of 1g. BI 4.1 also adds the +UseParallelOldGC garbage collection parameter, mentioned in the latest SAP BusinessObjects Sizing Companion Guide, that is supposed to improve performance.

Issues with the System Configuration Wizard

I’m really pleased with how the System Configuration Wizard turned out in its first incarnation. But there are a few minor bugs that are worthy of correction.

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 and Design Studio

You’ll want to take time to review what the Server Configuration Wizard did and possibly make some adjustments. My only gripe here is that the service for Design Studio is not recognized by the wizard. The two servers that contained my Analysis service, BEx Web Applications service and MDAS service are still intact but they only contain Design Studio’s Analysis service. I will manually move it to the [node].APS.Analysis service, which is where the BEx Web Applications service and MDAS service now reside.
BI41 System Configuration Wizard Medium 600 10 Blur

After calling SAP Support and being told that this behavior was “by design”, I created an “enhancement” on the SAP Idea Place. Would you consider voting for my idea to include Design Studio functionality in the Server Configuration Wizard?

Duplicate CAPS Servers

For BI 4.1 SP1, both the Small (S) and Extra Large (XL) configurations create a duplicate Client Auditing Proxy Service. In each case, it’s easy enough to remedy. For the Small configuration, stop the [node name].APS.Core server and remove the redundant service. For the Extra Large configuration, the redundant CAPS is in the [node name].APS.Monitoring server.

Default File Names for Log and Response Files

The default file names for the log and response files are unique, but I wished they included the server node name, as I’d like to copy them off to a common location and remember which environment to associate them with.

Conclusion

After two years of trial and error and a lot of reading, the Adaptive Processing Server is a lot less intimidating than it was when BI 4.0 went GA back in September 2011. The new System Configuration Wizard in BI 4.1 is well done and may be the most important feature worth upgrading to BI 4.1. Well, that and the Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack, of course.

Resources

Are you upgrading to SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1? I’d love to hear some other upgrade experiences.

Where Can I Find the Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0?

Directions for finding the Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0

This is information I wrote up previously, but it seemed logical to put the information in its own easy-to-find article instead of in an Adaptive Processing Server article.

For more information on sizing your SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 environment, visit Sizing SAP Solutions at http://www.service.sap.com/sizing on the SAP Service Marketplace (S-ID required). Go to Solution Life-Cycle Management -> Hardware Sizing -> Sizing Guidelines -> Solutions & Platform – New Structure -> SAP BusinessObjects, as shown below.

Sizing in the SAP Service Marketplace

There are several valuable documents here, but make sure you grab the Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0.

On a related note, my friends and Diversified Semantic Layer hosts Eric Vallo and Greg Myers are writing the SAP Press title SAP BusinessObjects Administration, scheduled for publication in October 2012. You’ll want to pre-order your copy today.

Sizing Up the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Sizing Companion

Sometimes bigger really is better.

Although miniaturization is highly valued in the high-tech world, it’s not often desired in technical documentation. Sometimes bigger really is better. Consider the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 Sizing Companion.

Several months ago, I wrote an article entitled Sizing the Adaptive Processing Server in BI 4.0 describing my initial research with the Adaptive Processing Server in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 SP2. I wrote my findings using an early copy of the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Sizing Companion, available from the SAP Support Portal.

Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 (SPO)
SBO_BI_4_O_Companion_V2.pdf
version 0.8 aka v2
June 2011
67 pages

Sadly, that edition of the sizing companion has been retired in favor of a much shorter version (reduced from 67 to just 19 pages) that omits many of the details that I quoted.

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Sizing Companion (version 4)
SBO_BI_4_0_Companion_V4.pdf
March 8, 2012
19 pages

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Sizing Companion (version 3)
SBO_BI_4_0_Companion_V3.pdf
January 2, 2012
17 pages

Apparently I should start selling the old v2 edition on eBay as a collector’s item and pocket some cash? The most recent version lists Jason DeMelo as its author, but he no longer works at SAP. Does anyone know if a larger (and more complete) sizing companion is coming with SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 Feature Pack 3 or Support Pack 4?

Many of us currently adopting BI 4.0 are looking for a “cookbook” approach to sizing and still haven’t found it. Suggestion to SAP: less Weight Watchers and more Paula Deen. Throwing a few sticks of butter into the BI 4.0 Sizing Companion would be a good start.

Have you found the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 Architecture and Sizing Cookbook? I’m still looking. In the meantime, try baking a batch of SAP Mentor Dave Rathbun’s famous Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Ten Features That Absolutely Must Be in BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3

My wish list for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3. Or 4.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 (BI4 or BI 4.0) went into general availability in September 2011 after a lengthy ramp-up period. But despite the delays, there were still many features missing or deferred to what we now know as Feature Pack 3 (FP3). Here are my picks for “must have” features in Feature Pack 3, based on my experiences so far with the current release. I have no inside information about Feature Pack 3’s final feature list,  I’m just making the case that these ten features should be coming, if not in Feature Pack 3 then in Support Package 4.

1. Tree control for Web Intelligence universe selection

When choosing a universe in Web Intelligence, the user is presented with (cue fanfare of trombones) a list. This sad situation has been the case for far too long. Although the universe folder is displayed next to the universe (in the most confusing way possible), the current UI doesn’t help users navigate through our purposefully constructed universe folder structures. This situation is also a problem on the BI Launch Pad home screen, where I may have recently used universes with the same name but in different folders. Users need to always quickly grasp the universe’s location.  And more detailed information via a mouse-over of the universe name would be a nice touch.

2. Improved visual distinction between UNV and UNX universes in Web Intelligence

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 introduced the Information Design Tool (IDT) and its new semantic layer. Universes created by the IDT have a UNX extension rather than the legacy UNV extension. But in the current UI, the only way to tell the difference is that the UNX suffix is appended to a new universe while the old UNV universes have none. I am finding the process of testing converted UNX universes versus their unconverted counterparts to be very tedious. I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for here (unique icons?) but would like some usability improvements.

3. OLAP universe support for Explorer

Not sure whether this is coming in Feature Pack 3 or not, so I’m mentioning it. Currently, Explorer 4.0 can only create information spaces on relational UNX universes, not OLAP ones (UPDATE: see SAP KB 1559221).

4. UNX universe support for Live Office

Live Office didn’t receive a lot of enhancements in BI 4.0, although the ability to push a spreadsheet back to Explorer is an interesting addition. Live Office currently supports classic universes. Will the situation be changed in Feature Pack 3 to support UNX universes? UPDATE: According to SAP KB 1582061, UNX functionality “is in the roadmap but [has] no confirmed date from the [SAP] product group” (although the rumor mill is suggesting we’ll see this feature in BI 4.1 SP6).

5. Improved qualification selection in Information Design Tool

While there are many new workflows in what is essentially a brand new product, there are several from the old Universe Design Tool that I miss. One is the ability to easily change an object’s qualification from dimension to detail (now called an attribute) to measure. In fact, I have so far been unable to figure out how to convert an existing dimension to a detail (uh, attribute) or vice versa.

6. Corporate customization of Central Management Console

Feature Pack 3 includes vastly improved customization capabilities for the BI Launch Pad, which will be greatly enhanced from what existed for InfoView in SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1. But what about the Central Management Console (CMC)? I would like to be able to choose from multiple pre-defined “themes” that tastefully change the color scheme of the CMC to indicate which environment I’m using (Development, QA, Production, etc.). These themes should be based on which cluster I’m logged into, not which web application server I’m using. I frequently have multiple browser tabs open to multiple environments but visually they’re alike- indistinguishable. Literally seeing red, for example, would help me remember that I’m working with the production cluster and shouldn’t do anything stupid. I’d also like to see the cluster name at the top of each web page, perhaps next to my login name. And maybe a long “pretty” name for the cluster if my organization has cryptic standards for cluster name. Lastly, the cluster name should appear in the browser <TITLE> tag, so I can infer the environment on minimized browser windows, too.

7. No more monolithic Adaptive Processing Server

The BI 4.0 installation program creates a single, beastly Adaptive Processing Server (APS) that according to “best practices” should be divided into multiple APS’s. Regardless of whether the current situation is a result of the BI 4.0 installation team trying to meet a deadline or concern about minimal memory requirements, this situation must be handled by the Feature Pack 3 installation program. XI 3.0’s revised CMC introduced the ability to view services by application (Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence, etc.) and the out-of-the-box configuration of the APS should continue to support this important idea. For example, if I’m a non-SAP ERP customer, I want to see APS’s clearly defined for SAP that can be safely turned off, just like I could turn off clearly labeled Desktop Intelligence servers if I didn’t need them.’

UPDATE: Early adopters of BI4 will want to read SAP KB 1580280,  a chipper article entitled “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.”

UPDATE: SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 introduces the System Configuration Wizard for APS configuration and some other post-installation tasks, which you can read about here.

8. Improved control of Web Intelligence default paper size

For those readers outside the United States, A4 paper is as unfamiliar to most Americans as the metric system or soccer (which you call football).  So one of our first post-installation tasks is switching the default paper size to A4 (see my related article on the EV Technologies blog).  Ideally, the paper size should be controlled via the Central Management Console and not by the web application tier per current practice. While we’re at it, let’s add printer support to the Web Intelligence Job Service identical to the Crystal Reports Job Service, both of which are now part of the BI 4.0 Adaptive Job Server.

9. Improved browser support

Everyone assumes that Feature Pack 3 will finally bring Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 compatibility to the BI 4.0 platform. And SAP has promised to accommodate Mozilla’s need to update Firefox versions what seems like every 48 hours. These are all good developments.

But I’d also like to see Apple Safari for Windows officially supported for the same versions as supported on the Macintosh.  And I agree with Jamie Oswald (see related SAP Community Network article One App to Enable Them All) that we need support for mobile browsers, not just mobile applications.

UPDATE 02/14/2012: Google Chrome support was rumored for Feature Pack 3 but does not appear in the official supported platforms document.  Google’s browser adoption strategy appears to be “make Google Docs flaky enough in IE so enterprise customers will use our browser”.  SAP should officially support Google Chrome in Feature Pack 3.

UPDATE 01/08/2013: Support Pack 5 improves the browser support for both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Sadly, Apple quietly discontinued the Safari browser for Windows platforms.

10. Improved and better organized sample content

BI4, just like XI 3.1 before it, has two versions of the eFashion universe. To make matters worse, they point to slightly different Microsoft Access databases with different year ranges.  But the final insult for me is that the installation program rudely places content in the root universe folder.  So for Feature Pack 3, I’m asking for:

  • No universes placed in the root universe folder
  • A single top-level Samples folder, both for content (objects) as well as universes and connections
  • A single eFashion.unv universe, not two
  • An Information Design Tool that properly converts eFashion.unv to eFashion.unx.  Don’t include eFashion.unx because I think it’s valuable for a customer to try out the IDT conversion feature.
  • A new sample UNX universe that brilliantly shows off all of the new features of the Information Design Tool. And not eFashion, which has become as out of fashion as eBusiness.  Unlike eFashion, this new universe will have at least one date object as part of a date hierarchy. But I hope it still includes party pants.

So that’s my list of ten features that absolutely must be in Feature Pack 3. What’s yours?

Sizing the Adaptive Processing Server in BI 4.0

SAP BusinessObjects server sizing is part art and part science. And possibly a little magic.

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.

  1. Adaptive Connectivity Service
  2. BEx Web Applications Service
  3. Client Auditing Proxy Service
  4. Custom Data Access Service
  5. Data Federation Service
  6. Document Recovery Service
  7. DSL Bridge Service
  8. Excel Data Access Service
  9. Insight to Action Service (FP3 and higher)
  10. Lifecycle Management ClearCase Service
  11. Lifecycle Management Service
  12. Monitoring Service
  13. Multi Dimensional Analysis Service (MDAS)
  14. Platform Search Service
  15. Publishing Post Processing Service
  16. Publishing Service
  17. Rebean Service
  18. Security Token Service
  19. Translation Service
  20. Visual Difference Service
  21. Visualization Service
  22. 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.

Additional Resources

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Adaptive Processing Servers in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0

How many adaptive processing servers will you need?

UPDATE: Working with SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1? You’ll want to read this article instead.

I still remember taking the server administration courses for BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R1 at a 2005 fast-track session for BusinessObjects partners in Atlanta, Georgia. The coursework focused on memorizing the boxes on the architecture diagram, remembering the difference between the Crystal Reports Cache Server and Crystal Reports Processing Server (which was then called the Page Server), and knowing how many of each server type was required. Fortunately, my instructor, Greg Gianuzzi, prepared me well and I passed each of the three certification exams on the first attempt.

Fast forward to 2011, where I am furiously reading documentation and fumbling through my SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 virtual server. So much is unchanged in BI 4.0, but so much is new. Take, for example, the Adaptive Job Server and Adaptive Processing Server. Both of these made their debut with SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.0. I affectionately call them the “junk drawer” servers, as they contain multiple unrelated services. Previously separate services like Search and the Web Intelligence Job Server were assimilated in XI 3.0 and the trend has escalated with BI 4.0. Previously distinct servers like the LifeCycle Management and Multi-dimentional Analysis (MDAS) servers are now integrated into these two servers.

My first thought was “won’t that be confusing?” followed by “how will we size each of the services?”.  Well, today (while looking for something completely unrelated) I stumbled upon the following nugget from page 60 of the Business Intelligence Platform Installation Guide for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform 4.0 SP2 (click here to download, S-ID required).  The emphasis is mine.

5.3 Creating additional Adaptive Processing Servers

The installation program installs one Adaptive Processing Server (APS) per host system. Depending on the features that you’ve installed, this APS may host a large number of services, such as the Monitoring Service, Lifecycle Management Service, Multi-Dimensional Analysis Service (MDAS), Publishing Service, and others.

If you are installing a production environment, do not use the default APS. Instead, it is highly recommended that once the installation process is complete, you perform a system sizing to determine:
• The type and number of APS services.
• The distribution of services across multiple APS servers.
• The optimal number of APS servers. Multiple APS servers provide redundancy, better performance, and higher reliability.
• The distribution of APS servers across multiple nodes.

Create new APS server instances as determined by the sizing process.

For example, if the outcome of your sizing happens to suggest the creation of one APS for each service category, then may end up creating eight APS servers. One for each service category: Advanced Analysis Services, Connectivity Services, Core Services, Crystal Reports Services, Dashboard Design Services, Data Federation Services, Lifecycle Management Services, and Interactive Analysis Services.

Personally, I would have favored the installation program creating the eight APS servers for neatness and clarity, even though there is some obvious overhead for smaller deployments. But it is what it is. I hope to receive my SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 instructor manuals later this month to see how sizing topics such as this one are is addressed by the new curriculum.

 

 

There are sizing resources for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 on the SAP Service Marketplace. For instructions on how to locate them, read the related post
Where Can I Find the Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0? In particular, you’ll want to download the Sizing Companion for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0, which contains gems like:

For small deployments (running a dozen or less users) like development systems, small demo systems or sandbox systems where performance isn’t critical, you can run multiple types of services in a single APS.

For medium to large deployments, it is a general recommendation that an APS instance host only one service for those services which are critical to performance and that you will need to scale out as capacity is added. For example, you would not have one APS instance hosting the CVOM [Visualization] and DSL Session Service – you would have at least one for each. The memory requirements of the some of the services hosted by the APS can be quite large. By separating services across APS instances (and nodes), you gain better manageability for memory and scalability considerations.

In summary, one Adaptive Processing Server from the default BI 4.0 installation will work in a sandbox or development environment, but probably not for a QA/UAT environment. And definitely not for a production environment, unless you’re an Edge BI 4.0 customer.