This blog is about some interesting features of SAP Business Objects LifeCycle Manager and its advancements in the new BI 4.0
SAP Business Objects LifeCycle Manager is a powerful evolution in BOE 3.x. Though it was so flakey in the initial phases, it is evolving as a matured tool by getting most of its bugs fixed in the recent 3.1 Service Packs and Fix Packs.
Since SAP has already decided to sunset Import Wizard replacing it with LCM in BI 4.0, it is a best practice for the customers to start implementing LCM for their Business Objects content Promotions rather than using Import Wizard.
LCM is a safe, reliable, traceable and controlled tool compared to Import Wizard. Though it a time consuming procedure to use LCM for content promotions when compared to Import wizard, the promotion Jobs once created in LCM are reusable, schedulable and a job once executed can also be reverted back by its most interesting roll back feature which has added LCM a perfectly safe and controlled mechanism. It gives a flexibility to include or exclude the content dependencies as required, gives ability to set recurrence on the promotion job schedules.
Anther intuiting feature that has been incorporated into LCM is Version Management. SAP provides Subversion as default version management software packaged with LCM. The content added to the Version Management will have track of all the previous versions in the CMS repository. Any of those versions can be retrieved when needed.
Here are some most advanced and exciting features of LCM in BI 4.0,
In the New SAP BI 4.0, LCM is being integrated in to the Central Management Console; it is no more a stand alone tool that has to be installed separately.
Capable of promoting dashboards along with the dependant objects like universe queries and dependant SAP BW objects.
Capable of promoting content between SAP BW environments by triggering the transports which includes any kind of dependant objects such as, Info Cubes, Multi Providers and BEx Queries.
Introducing Command Line Input option which enables the content promotions through command line input.
Introducing “Override setting” option which gives an ability to promote overrides through job promotion or BIAR File
Introducing “Visual Difference” which gives an option to view the differences between two different versions of a same file.
Here are some scenarios that explains how LCM is a better solution for content promotions compared to Import Wizard in a user perspective,
If I promoted 2 reports and a universe from DEV to QUAL, after user acceptance testing, if the changes made to one of those 2 reports were not accepted,
I can just roll back the promotion of that one report that was failed in user acceptance testing. This is called partial rollback, where the rolled back report will be put back to its previous state and the remaining report and universe changes that were pushed as part of the same promotion job to QUAL remain unchanged.
Note: Complete Rollback operation can also be performed where all the changes part of the promotion job will be rolled back and all the contents in the promotion job will be put back to their previous states.
Version Management System Functionality:
Any report in the enterprise repository can be added to the version management system to keep track of all the changes made to that object.
The best practice is to add DEV content to VMS, because it is in DEV that any content changes will be done before pushing those changes to any other environment.
If I added a report to the VMS in dev environment and if the report has been modified and published in to the DEV environment after adding it to the VMS, I can see that the CMS Version of that report has been changed and not committed in VMS. Once I commit that change in the VMS, the VMS version of the report equals the CMS version.
I can always get the latest version/any previous version of that report when needed.
Job reusability and scheduling Functionality:
Let’s say, I created a promotion job with source as DEV and destination as QUAL and included Report_A, Report_B and Universe_AB to that job. I can reuse the same job to promote the same content from DEV to PROD or QUAL to PROD by just changing the source and destination environments. I will also be able to schedule the same job to run in off-peak hours to avoid content promotions when there is lot of user activity going on in the environment.
Universe and Crystal report connection Changes in LCM:
If a universe or crystal report is pointing to a different Database/Connection in the destination environment, in general we make those changes manually from the destination environment through Crystal client or Designer right after the promotion, but using LCM, we can do that ahead of time before promoting the content. That way when there are number of crystal reports or universes in a promotion job, the connection changes can be made at one place with in the LCM instead of going through multiple applications, multiple times and multiple clicks. This saves lot of time and effort.
Promoting Dependencies and Triggering Transports in SAP BW:
LCM lists all the dependencies of any object where we can include or exclude all/some of those dependencies in the promotion job. For example,
Repository Objects like Business Views for Crystal reports, Universe/Universes for Web Intelligence Document, Connection/Info Cube/Multi Providor/BEx Query for Universe, etc.,
If there are any dependent changes to BW content like Info Cubes or Multi Providers or BEx Queries, then those changes can also be promoted from one BW environment to another BW environment by triggering those Transports right from the LCM.