Do I Feel Lucky? Musings on Promotion Management

Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

Nothing as exhilarating as having all eyes of the project team on you as you use Promotion Management (formerly known as Lifecycle Manager) to move SAP BusinessObjects universes and reports into production at the 11th hour.

Do you feel lucky?

I know what you’re thinking. “Did he create six Web Intelligence reports or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is Promotion Management, the lifecycle management tool for the most powerful business intelligence suite in the world, and would blow your promotion job clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?

Well, do ya, punk?

Today when I create and run a Promotion Management job, I get nervous, say a prayer, and hope I get lucky. I’m currently helping a customer apply a patch from BI 4.0 Support Pack 5 Patch 6 to Support Pack 6. Unfortunately, Promotion Management does not correctly calculate linked universe dependencies and the core universe does not get promoted to its proper destination (refer to SAP KB 1767657 for details). The issue was corrected in Support Pack 4 Patch 4; however, that patch- and many others- was forward fit to SP6 (refer to SAP BusinessObjects maintenance schedule and forward fit plan), not to SP5.

Let’s hope that SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1– which was released to customers (RTC) and into ramp-up this week- brings some improvements to the promotion management process when it goes into general availability (GA), expected in late Q3 2013.

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.1.7 for iOS

Is this the last release of the Explorer mobile app?

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.1.7 for iOS is now in the iTunes store.  It’s a minor bug fixing release arriving quickly on the heels of last December’s SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.1.5 for iOS release that introduced iPhone 5 and iOS 6 support. The release notes in the iTunes App Store indicate the following three changes:

  • Resolution of issues that occurred when updating from version 4.0.7 directly to 4.1.5
  • Technical improvements
  • Performance improvements on iPad

For a list of detailed changes in SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.1.7 for iOS, download the latest What’s New in SAP BusinessObjects Explorer for iPhone/iPad User Guide from the SAP Help Portal. (NOTE: When I wrote this post, the SAP Help Portal still had the older 4.1.5 edition of the What’s New guide).

This release of Explorer for iOS may be the last.  Ty Miller, Senior Director for Solution Management at SAP, confirmed yesterday during an ASUG BI 4.1 Roadmap webcast that Explorer will soon become integrated into the Mobile BI app. Android users should also expect Explorer functionality to be added to their existing app rather than looking for a separate app.

Having a single mobile app will be great for users. I only hope that SAP will also combine the two web applications, folding MOBIServer functionality into MobileBIService. Having a single mobile app on the web application server will make life great for BI platform administrators as well.

This is my 300th blog article.  Thank you to all of my readers!

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_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).

Related Articles

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

Waiting on SAP BusinessObjects BI4

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence is scheduled to become generally available (GA) on Friday, September 16, 2011.

The official word came this week, see Update on SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 General Availability, that SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 is scheduled to become generally available (GA) on Friday, September 16, 2011. I was installing BI4’s SP2 Patch 4 today and noticed the following “WaitForCMSForTheFirstTime” message.

Wait For CMS For The First Time
Wait For CMS For The First Time

Today wasn’t the first day I’ve waited for SAP BusinessObjects and I’m sure it won’t be the last. But I’m excited for the future and grateful for the hard work the various SAP BusinessObjects teams have put into getting this major release into customer hands. As luck would have it, this article is my 200th blog posting. I’m looking forward to writing many more postings about SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence.

Getting the most out of your Web Intelligence Processing Servers

Matthew Shaw helps us get the most out of our Web Intelligence Processing Servers

Matthew Shaw, a Business Intelligence Architect at SAP, has posted this tremendously helpful article entitled “Performance Tips: Getting the most out of your Web Intelligence Processing Servers” on the SAP Community Network. I frequently get into religious arguments over number of server instances vs. maximum connections per server, which he has elegantly demystified.

I’m sure to be reading it over and over, so I’m putting up this article for easy reference.

Thanks, Matthew!

Follow Matthew Shaw on Twitter

Who Moved My BusinessObjects?

Change is both fun and frightening.

The 2010 ASUG BusinessObjects User Conference begins this week at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Hundreds of SAP BusinessObjects enthusiasts will gather to make the most of their current tools and to see a glimpse of the future. I’m presenting three breakout sessions at the conference. The focus of the conference will be the public unveiling of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0, the first major release of the BusinessObjects platform since SAP acquired BusinessObjects two years ago.

Of course, change is both fun and frightening. Just as Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw learned to cope in Who Moved My Cheese?, all SAP BusinessObjects professionals are learning to cope with “Who Moved My BusinessObjects”- SAP. SAP has already started barbecuing the sacred cow of product names (see related article SAP BusinessObjects Product Name Change by SAP Mentor Simon To on the SAP Community). But more is happening in the business intelligence world than mere software vendor acquisitions and branding strategies.  The world is indeed changing.  Five years ago, the iPhone and iPad did not exist. But the era of mobile computing is here, and we’re privileged to live in it. Five years ago, ASUG was not organizing BusinessObjects user groups. Five years ago, I was helping organizations implement BusinessObjects with their custom AS/400 and niche-vendor ERP solutions. Today, these organizations are performing global deployments of SAP ERP.

So while SAP BusinessObjects will remain open to all data, a significant number of organizations are running their businesses differently than just five years ago. And SAP is responding to the customer landscape, not just its internal marketing standards. Besides, “All Information, All People, One Platform” doesn’t magically happen once the software is installed. It happens because people make committed efforts to improve the operational efficiency of their entire organization, not just their organization’s IT department.

I’ll have to be honest. I’m not looking forward to doing Google searches on “Dashboards”. “Xcelsius” was a much more focused and relevant search term. But I have to decide if I’m going to Hem or Haw.

So let’s come together this week and admire the new shiny toys- Crystal Reports 2011, Analysis (Pioneer), Dashboards (Xcelsius), Explorer, and the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 platform. And admire the giant iPhone demos. Learn to make the most of the software we’ve already deployed. Catch up with Twitter friends that are seen only once a year. Find a table of strangers, share a meal, and build a network. Build new relationships with the folks in SAP shirts. Put on a pair of mouse ears. And have a great time.

You can follow the conference on Twitter with the hashtag #SBOUC.

I’ll see you there!

SAP BusinessObjects on Linux and Unix – part 5

Supported Linux platforms for various versions of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence.

Let’s take a minute to look at the Linux versions currently supported by SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise.  SAP supports both Red Hat Enterprise Linux (rhel) and SUSE Linux Enterprise by Novell, but the exact version depends on the version of SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise.

The SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence BI 4.1 SP6 – Supported Platforms guide indicates support for the following Linux editions:
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Update 3
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Update 2
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11

The SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence BI 4.0 SP7 – Supported Platforms guide indicates support for the following Linux editions:
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Update 2
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Update 2
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP2
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11

The SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP6 for Linux – Supported Platforms guide indicates support for the following Linux editions:
Red Hat Linux Enterprise Server 4
Red Hat Linux Advanced Server 4
Red Hat Linux Enterprise Server 5
Red Hat Linux Enterprise Advanced Platform Server 5
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 SP3
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP2

The SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 SP6 for Linux – Supported Platforms guide indicates support for the following Linux editions:
Red Hat 4.0 Advanced Server
Red Hat 4.0 Enterprise Server
SUSE Linux 9.0 Enterprise Server

Higher patches beyond the specified minimum patch requirement may be used, but they may not be officially tested by SAP. 

Next, let’s look at free versions of Linux.  These Linux distributions aren’t supported by SAP as production platforms! However, they are perfectly suited to determining if Linux is a good fit for your business intelligence system architecture. CentOS is an “Enterprise-class Linux Distribution derived from sources freely provided to the public by a prominent North American Enterprise Linux vendor”.  That vendor is Red Hat.  On the SUSE front, Novell offers openSUSE.

Although I’ve installed XI R2 on Linux for customers multiple times, I did not until recently install XI 3.1.  Eric Vallo has a valuable set of articles related to installing BusinessObjects Enterprise on CentOS.  I’ve been using his posts as a guide and will have more to say about my own experiences soon.

Resources

Updates

  • July 22, 2015 – updated BI 4.1 to SP6. Note that earlier versions, including BI 4.0, will no longer be supported at end of 2015
  • August 28, 2013 – added BI 4.0 SP7 and BI 4.1 SP1
  • July 25, 2013 – updated XI 3.1 supported platforms for SP6 and added BI 4.0 SP6 supported platforms