SAP BusinessObjects BI 4 is (Mostly) 64-bit

There’s still some 32-bit code lurking in the BI 4 platform.

One of the marquee features of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 and BI 4.1 is that is 64-bit. But is important to note that it is mostly 64-bit- not fully 64-bit. Certain portions of server code are still 32-bit, which is why SAP by default installs the software in the 32-bit program files directory C:Program Files (x86) instead of the 64-bit program files directory C:Program Files (and you should, too).

From section 10.14 (page 428) of the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 Administrators Guide.

BI platform servers are a combination of 32-bit and 64-bit processes. Some servers additionally launch 32-bit and 64-bit child processes. To use the correct version of third-party libraries (32-bit vs 64-bit) with BI platform processes, you must set separate environment variables for each version on the machine hosting BI platform. You must then set an additional environment variable that contains a comma-separated list of those environment variables that have 32-bit and 64-bit versions. When a process is launched by BI platform, it will select the appropriate variable depending on whether the process is 32-bit or 64-bit.

I wished that the documentation spelled out all the 32-bit scenarios explicitly instead of just saying “Some servers”. So here’s my attempt at filling in some of the 32-bit details.

Classic Crystal Reports 20xx

Crystal Reports on the BI 4 platform comes in two varieties. First, there is Crystal Reports for Enterprise, which is an Eclipse-based design tool for creating Crystal Reports. Although the designer is 32-bit, the server processes that support it are 64-bit. Second, there is “classic” Crystal Reports 2011 for BI 4.0 (and now Crystal Reports 2013 for BI 4.1 and Crystal Reports 2016 for BI 4.2). These versions are the successor of Crystal Reports 2008 that paired with the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 platform. Both the client tool and the server process are 32-bit. If you have legacy Crystal Reports, you’ll either want to migrate them to Crystal Reports for Enterprise or be sure to install 32-bit database middleware to support them.

Practically speaking, this means that you will need to install both 32-bit and 64-bit database drivers for data sources that power classic Crystal Reports. For SQL Server/ODBC, create 32-bit DSN’s that are identical to the 64-bit DSN’s. For Oracle, install both the 32-bit and 64-bit drivers, being sure to copy an identical tnsnames.ora to each. Oracle users will want to take a look at my related article, Installing Two Oracle Clients on One Server.

SAP BW via Classic UNV Universes

Another scenario where 32-bit code is used is when Web Intelligence reports use the classic UNV semantic layer to access SAP BW. In previous versions of the SAP BI platform, these requests were handled by the then-32-bit Web Intelligence Processing Server. However, a different workflow in BI 4.0 routes these requests through the 32-bit ConnectionServer32 server process. Because the connection server is 32-bit, it can only handle about 1.8 GB of RAM before things go pear-shaped. The scenario is described in SAP KB 1756239Classic universes that use a BAPI connection to SAP BW use the 32-bit Connection Server on BI 4.0 for Windows. As with legacy Crystal Reports, SAP recommends moving these Web Intelligence reports to a UNX universe on BW or a direct BICS connection. SAP BI 4.1 SP1 adds an additional wrinkle, as it includes a 64-bit SAP BW driver. However, it only gets installed with a BI 4.1 full installation. If you’re upgrading an existing BI 4.0 installation, you’ll want to do a “change” installation from the Windows Control Panel and add the SAPBW64 driver. SAP KB 1930558, How to utilize the 64-bit SAP BAPI driver with UNV universes in BI 4.x (Windows), has mostly correct instructions on how to do this. Take a moment to review the list as you may also want to add the new 64-bit Data Direct ODBC, Hadoop HIVE or OData drivers. Or go crazy and add the dBase driver, too.

Microsoft Access

I’ll mention Microsoft Access for sake of completeness. And because prior to BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3 it was impossible to get eFashion working. See my original eFashion on BI 4.0 rant, Converting eFashion from UNV to UNX, and Raphael Branger’s much more helpful article, BO 4.0 FP3: get eFashion and other Microsoft Access data sources working.

Hopefully this covers the key 32-bit exceptions of the mostly 64-bit SAP BI 4 platform. Let me know if I’ve missed any.