BusinessObjects XI R2 Fix Pack 6.4

SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 Fix Pack 6.4 is the final patch for the XI R2 platform.

Last week, I installed SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 Fix Pack 6.4 on a Service Pack 6 virtual machine running Microsoft Windows Server 2003. This fix pack is the final patch for the XI R2 platform. Below is the Central Configuration Manager on Service Pack 6. Notice that most servers such as the CMS are at version 11.5.12.1838; however, the Web Intelligence Report Server and Performance Management servers (AA Alert, etc.) have been updated to version 11.5.12.1916.

BusinessObjects CMC for version XI R2 SP6

The patch was easy to install. After accepting the license agreement, the only two decisions are whether you want to “deploy webapps when install completed” and “restart servers when install completed”. Both are selected by default. When finished, the following screen appears:

BusinessObjects XI R2 SP6 FP6.4
When completed, the CMC reveals that the Web Intelligence Report Server and performance management servers have gone to version 11.5.12.2126.

As expected, the Web Intelligence Java Report Panel applet has also been patched to 11.5.12.2126. Notice that the certificate is signed by SAP.

Webi certificate BusinessObjects version XI R2 SP6 FP6.4

And here’s the Web Intelligence Java Report Panel splash screen confirming the applet version.

Webi About BusinessObjects version XI R2 SP6 FP6.4

After daylight savings time in the United States ended this past weekend, I created scheduled jobs for the Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence, Desktop Intelligence and Program job servers. Everything ran “on time” as expected. In addition, I confirmed that the Web Intelligence Java Report Panel and Desktop Intelligence client were capable of putting the correct refresh date in the status bar.

I went to all this trouble to be sure that Fix Pack 6.4 installs cleanly; however, I am not sure that I’ll ever install the patch for a customer. We’re encouraging customers to move to XI 3.1 SP3. Professionally, it’s been a long, strange trip with XI R2 since November 2005. I’m a much different consultant than I was five years ago and its hard to believe that this blog entry may very well be my last one for that release. This week, I’m helping a customer install SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP3 and Explorer XI 3.2 and migrate from XI R2. I’m looking forward to the ramp up of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 later this month and general availability early next year.

NOTE: As with any service pack or fix pack from any vendor, you should install and test in a separate environment before installing on your production environment. Please feel free to post comments if you have any positive or negative experiences with this final fix pack.

SAP BusinessObjects Support for Windows 7

Curious about SAP BusinessObjects support for Microsoft Windows 7?

Curious about SAP BusinessObjects support for Microsoft Windows 7?  The following SAP BusinessObjects client applications support Microsoft Windows 7:

  • SAP Crystal Reports 2008 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and higher (SP3 is currently available)
  • SAP Xcelsius 2008 Service Pack 3 (SP3) + Fix Pack 3.3 (FP3.3) and higher (FP 3.3 is currently available)
  • SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 Service Pack 3 (SP3) – desktop applications such as Web Intelligence Rich Client, Live Office, Import Wizard, Universe Designer, etc.

Supported Platform/PAR documents as well as software downloads are available from separate areas of the SAP Support Portal and require an S-ID to access.  I got tired of flipping through multiple PAR documents so I decided to write this short post.  As you can see from the above list, SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 is not officially supported on Windows 7.  Since XI R2 is no longer on patch support, there won’t be any fix packs or service packs to address Windows 7 compatibility on that release.  I haven’t attempted to see if the combination works despite lack of support, but you can check out the experience of others on the BusinessObjects Board (BOB).

 

 

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is a web application and therefore does not list supported OS versions, only supported browser versions.  I’ll address SAP BusinessObjects browser support in an upcoming post.

I’ve currently installed supported versions of Crystal Reports 2008 and Xcelsius 2008 on my Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) laptop (see related post), but primarily use the laptop to run Windows 2003 Server virtual machines running the entire SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise stack.  Feel free to post a comment describing your experiences with SAP BusinessObjects and Microsoft Windows 7.

BusinessObjects XI R2 – Good to the Last (Code) Drop Part 2

For those who did not catch my earlier post or those who may be bitter, clinging to their guns and SAP BusinessObjects XI R2 CD’s, I found an interesting message on  the SAP Support Portal (S-ID required) while downloading XI 3.1 software this week:

How to obtain SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XIR2 Patches and Full Builds

SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XIR2 arrived at its product end-of-life (EOL) on June 30, 2010. SAP BusinessObjects has agreed to provide Best Effort Support for all customers until June 30, 2011. During this time, customers may still need to access full XIR2 builds, fix packs and service packs. Please read How to obtain SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XIR2 Patches and Full Builds for information on how to locate these downloads in the SAP Support Portal.

To get a full build of SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2, please create a customer message on the SAP Service Marketplace…

Guess I better keep my XI R2 CD’s in a safe place…

BusinessObjects XI R2 – Good to the Last (Code) Drop

The BusinessObjects XI R2 Era is Over.

Today is June 30, 2010, a day that will live in infamy. It is the last day of patch support for SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2. Limited tech support will continue for an additional year, until June 30, 2011. But it means that XI R2 Service Pack 6 (XI R2 SP6 and a few fix packs, Fix Pack 6.4 being the latest) is the end of the XI R2 distribution. With the recent release of XI 3.1 Service Pack 3 (XI 3.1 SP3) and the highly anticipated BI 4.0 coming at the end of this year, SAP is signaling that it is time to move on (see related article, Customizing SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0). I can still remember the excitement of the 2004 acquisition announcement of Crystal Decisions by a then-independent BusinessObjects, followed by road shows and road maps. XI Release 1 was to ship in early 2005 with XI Release 2 following later in the year. XI R2 indeed shipped in late November 2005 and I started my first BusinessObjects migration project in January 2006. It brings a smile to my face when I think of how my career as a business intelligence professional has changed since those days.

What does the end of patch support mean for XI R2 customers? It means that although tech support is still available to assist with issues over the next 12 months, the standard approach to anything resembling a software bug will be “upgrade to XI R2 SP6, apply its fix packs, and hope the problem disappears.”  Otherwise, move to XI 3.1. XI 3.1 thoughtfully implements many of the enhancements customers requested for XI R2, including a completely redesigned Central Management Console (with new security features), a slightly redesigned InfoView portal for users, a desktop edition of Web Intelligence (the Web Intelligence Rich Client), and more. Beginning with XI 3.1 SP2, SAP introduced additional Web Intelligence features to help customers continue the migration away from Desktop Intelligence, which will either have limited or no support in BI 4.0. BTW, I have no inside knowledge here – we’ll all learn Desktop Intelligence’s fate together when SAP introduces BI 4.0 in fall 2010 (see related article, Desktop Intelligence, Back for a Limited Time).

The table below contains product end-of-life (EOL) dates courtesy of the SAP Support Portal. If your enterprise is still using classic BusinessObjects 5.x or 6.x, now is the time to begin planning your migration to XI 3.x. Customers on XI R1 or XI R2 should also begin making plans to upgrade to a fully-supported release. Because of the CMC’s redesign and its new security features, I highly recommend that organizations budget training dollars for their administrators. Although upgrading from XI R1 or R2 is not as complex as a classic BusinessObjects migration, the new XI 3.x security features, particularly the custom Access Levels (CAL) are much easier to maintain than the Advanced rights available in XI R1 or R2.

Product and Version GA Date Patch Support EOL Tech Support EOL
BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 24-Nov-2005 23-Apr-2007 30-Jun-2011
BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 SP1 30-Mar-2006 31-Aug-2007 30-Jun-2011
BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 SP2 23-Apr-2007 31-Mar-2008 30-Jun-2011
BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 SP3 20-Nov-2007 30-Sep-2008 30-Jun-2011
BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 SP4 31-May-2008 30-Nov-2009 30-Jun-2011
BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 SP5 31-Dec-2008 30-Jun-2010 30-Jun-2011
BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2 SP6 16-Dec-2009 30-Jun-2010 30-Jun-2011

BusinessObjects XI R2 Limited Support Extension

I received a tweet today indicating that SAP has extended the support period for BusinessObjects XI R2 until June 30, 2011.  You can read the scoop on the  SAP Support Portal (S-ID required):

SAP will provide limited support for most BusinessObjects XI R2 products for a further year following the end of mainstream maintenance until 30th June 2011. This is in order to give customers a longer window of opportunity to migrate to a currently maintained and supported SAP BusinessObjects release family.

A list of affected products and FAQ are also available.

I think many customers feel that XI 3.0 was “too new”, that XI 3.1 was “alright” (with SP1 and its 8 fix packs installed), and XI 3.1 SP2 has some cool features but some key issues.  FP 2.1 has just shipped but many customers are already anxiously awaiting the FP 2.2 already in the pipeline to address more issues.  Let’s hope that a stable XI 3.1 SP3 isn’t far behind that customers will feel comfortable adopting.  Aurora (XI 4, or whatever it will be called) isn’t coming until Q4-2010.

I’m currently helping a customer upgrade from 5.1.8 to XI R2 SP2, which may not seem like much of an upgrade.  But it’s the patch level supported by the OEM despite the lack of Java 6 support (which requires XI R2 SP3 and higher).  I’m sure my customer will appreciate the news of the XI R2 support extension.

I’ll be honest.  I love new toys.  I want to use the shiny, new stuff.  But this week I’m training users to use Web Intelligence XI R2.  And I still get a thrill watching new users’ eyes light up.  A good definition of business information is “delivering the right information to the right person at the right time”.  XI R2 is getting this customer much closer to that definition than 5.1.8 did.  And I get much more personal job satisfaction from a happy user on an older version than a crabby customer on a new one.

So to SAP, thank you for a decision in the best interests of your customer base.  And thanks for burning the midnight oil on the shiny, new stuff, too.

Got Support?

Have you had any Business Objects tech support lately? Apparently even some folks at Business Objects were caught off guard that the migration to the SAP support infrastructure was this past Monday, July 7, 2008. Most customers are still clinging to guns, religion, and the old support site. You can read their bitter rants here on the Business Objects Board. You can also check out an assessment of the situation from The Register.

At least one bright ray of sunshine is that you can still access documentation, which has been moved to the SAP Help Portal. Look for the Business Objects link on the page navigation at the top of the page.

As Daffy Duck would say, “what a way to run a railroad“.

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