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What is the difference between Explorer, formerly called Polestar, and the new accelerated version for BW?

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is the new name for the intuitive search and exploration capabilities from the portfolio of SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions. The product was formerly called SAP BusinessObjects Polestar. It was recently renamed into SAP BusinessObjects Explorer to clearly describe the value it provides. Explorer is deployed with SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise and it can access any data via universes. It is important to note that although Explorer can access BW cubes via universes, SAP recommend customers to deploy search and exploration based on the accelerated version (see below) to benefit from optimal performance and scalability.


SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, accelerated version for SAP NetWeaver BW is a bundled offering that combines Explorer capabilities, as described above, with the high-performing, scalable in-memory analytics and acceleration capabilities from SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator. The accelerated version provides direct access to BW cube data that has been indexed in BW Accelerator. It does not require universes to do so.

The accelerated version is available as a blade server appliance preloaded with all SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator and SAP BusinessObjects software required. Series of blade servers certified for the accelerated version are available from the same hardware partners as for BW Accelerator (i.e., Fujitsu, HP, IBM, and SUN) and SAP customers are free to choose any of those. SAP recommends the blade server appliance approach for optimal performance and scalability.


Explorer and the accelerated version can be deployed together in the same SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise environment already in place and/or aimed at supporting an enterprise BI strategy. In such an enterprise-wide deployment all business users can search and explore all data sources in the organization, the full benefit of accelerated exploration will only apply when exploring the BW data sources, though.

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  • Thank you Thierry for this blog, which explains well the differences between the 2 versions.

    I have a question: we use a lot of calculated and restricted key figures defined on our multiproviders. You say that users will have access to the cubes indexed in BIA, but do they have access to the calculated or restricted key figures?



    • Hi Gabriel,

      Current release of BObj Explorer does not support MultiProviders (only InfoCubes) yet, and only Cube's KFs (not CKFs/RKFs) are available for Explorer today.


      • Thierry,

        This is disappointing news regarding Calculated/Restricted Key Figures as defined in BI queries.

        Is the BObj Explorer able to handle navigational attribues as opposed to just simple characteristics from the cubes?


        • Indeed only individual InfoCubes can be indexed in BWA and there is no direct support for Calculated/Restricted Key Figures. Of course, most BW customers are typically hesitant to remodel and replace their existing MultiProviders into InfoCubes with built-in calculation/restriction due to the impact on their existing queries and data loads. So SAP RIG and Development teams have devised two snapshot solutions to support MultiProviders and one of these two solutions also allows customers to expose a limited number of Calculated/Restricted Key Figures in Explorer. Depending upon customer requirements, one solution may be better than the other. Detailed guidance and how-to information will soon be available from SDN. Note that MultiProviders and Calculated/Restricted Key Figures will be directly supported with the next release of the accelerated version. Navigational attributes are already fully supported.
          • And there, as we say in the UK, comes the rub..
            For the past 12 years, us BW designers have been limited by the concepts of Multiproviders and Infosets (limited unions and joins) and have thus gone to snapshot data models.
            This is far from ideal as it takes us away from real time BI, provides multiple versions of the truth and increase and imposes on us batch.
            With the new world of the BOBJ products, vertical data models offering a single version of the truth via universes has now become a possibility.
            This design concept lets us have real time BI by moving the business modelling out of the data model and into the presentation layers..
            Problem for us then is the BO explorer operating outside these new design principals.
            I understand why the Explorer has been designed that way.. perhaps thought may be given to deconstruct a complex SQL query given by a universe into it's component parts and then BWA will be able to utilise those "partitioned SQLs" against the cubes.
            True you are in effect having to create a front end to the BWA aggregation layer to bring the data back again... but I can;t think of another way around it..
            We really do not want to have to design snapshots - they are the cause of so much user pain. (ie they force business processes to align with IT processes)
  • Can this new version work faster with InfoCubes with non cumulative Key Figures? Can easily handle exception aggregation in queries?


    • With this 1st version, Explorer can only work with cumulative Key Figures. Non-cumulative Key Figures and exception aggregation will be supported with the next release of the accelerated version.
  • Thanks for your blog!
    Can you tell what are the configurations/requirements needed in the BW  server side (for a non SAP sw expert) to be able to work with the Explorer once it is installed in the BO server side?
    • SAP recommendation for optimal performance and scalability is to deploy the accelerated version as a blade server appliance with SAP software preloaded by hardware partners such as Fujitsu, HP, IBM, and SUN. Series of blade servers from these partners are certified for the accelerated version, and SAP customers are free to choose any of those. Should they decide to do so, SAP customers can also add accelerated exploration within an SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise deployment already in place and/or aimed at supporting an enterprise BI strategy. I’ll come back in more details to these deployment options in a separate post. A key requirement for the BW server is to run the latest version: NetWeaver 7.0 enhancement Package 1 SP2.
  • Hi,

    Without BWA can we install and configure the Explorer? If we include query in the universe, is CKF/RKF available for search?


    • Yes, you can install and run Explorer independently from BW Accelerator. This version of Explorer comes with the SAP BusinessObjects BI portfolio. Although this version of Explorer can access BW cubes, including CKF/RKF, via universes, SAP does not recommend this scenario for BW customers. The accelerated version offers moe value to BW customers with the search and exploration of unlimited data sets.
  • Thank you very much to replay
    We have SAP BusinessObjects enterprise 3.0 Setup in our company environment now I wanted to install polestar 3.1
    Can I do that? Is it required any settings/configuration? If yes please let me know if you have a any documents regarding this please send me on

    Is SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise 3.0 having the Polestar software? if yes where to download this?

    • SAP BusinessObjects Polestar was renamed into SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. You can easily upgrade from v3.0 to v3.1 provided you also upgrade the complete SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI environment. Please go to SAP Service Market Place or contact your local SAP representative to access SAP BusinessObjects software. You can access to technical details about Explorer setting and configuration from the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer community pages on SDN:
  • Hi Thierry,

    Very good post. We have not configured BWA yet in our environment and we are on SP23 currently. Is EHP1 SP2 a key requirement for installing explorer or can we install explorer with the current patch we are on.


    • You really have to move your SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0 to EnhP1. The latest SP level is 5 these days, you might like to go directly to that latest level.
      • Hi Thierry,

        Thanks for the response. I saw the Note 1248905 -SP Equivalence for update/upgrade to EHP 1 for SAP NW 7.0 and since we are on Support Package Stack 21/BI Patch 23, my impression was the SAP BO Explorer driver would come with that.