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Last Friday, Saroj Parmar, SAP, provided an ASUG webcast (hosted by the ASUG BusinessObjects Strategic SIG) on the BI 4.0 Maintenance Model.  The maintenance strategy has changed from XI 3.x line versus the 4.0 release.

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Figure 1: Source, SAP

Figure 1 outlines the maintenance strategy goals. Why change?  SAP wants the customer to understand is expected from service pack, fix pack, and quality and customer expectations of what delivering.

 

On the agenda:

  • New delivery vehicles
  • Maintenance roadmap
  • Forward fitting

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Figure 2, Source: SAP

 

Support packs are like Fix Packs as shown in Figure 2.  Minor versions could be compared to Service Packs.  Patches are cumulative. 

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Figure 3: Source, SAP

As Figure 3 shows, patches would include critical and especially those that are affecting a customer’s going live.  Support Packages will include Priority 2 issues and internal corrections, any new platforms, and small enhancements.  Minor versions includes all fixes plus new features, priority 3, new languages, new platforms or complex corrections.

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Figure 4, Source: SAP

According to Figure 4, minor versions will not be shipped after 5 years.  Support packages will be every  4 months  for first 4 years.  Patches will be every 2 weeks; goal is to release as soon as possible. 

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Figure 5, Source SAP

BI 4.0 will be support using the 7+2 model, with 7 years of mainstream maintenance and last 2 years will be only critical issues and not minor issues as shown in Figure 5.

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Figure 6, Source: SAP

 

Saroj said there is confusion surrounding BI 4.0 will end in 2013, maintenance will end but by then the 4.1 release will be out.  Figure 6 reflects this.

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Figure 7, Source: SAP

 

Figure 7 provides a visual display of how the patching model will work.  It shows that with BI 4.0 SP02 has already been released.  Each support pack will be supported for one year and fixes on that patchline for one year.   Each release will be supported about 2-2.5 years. 

With BI 4.5, the support packs will be done every 6 months.  The last support pack will be supported for 2 years as shown in Figure 7.

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Figure 8, Source: SAP

 

Cumulative patch model (in Figure 8) is new.  It is cumulative – take last patch on support pack and will get all fixes.  Each fix is being documented.  There is extra testing; with LAfixes only customer-specific testing.  Patches will be going through a lot more testing.

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Figure 9, Source: SAP

 

As Figure 9 shows, all fixes on a patch line will get forward fitted to support packs, and from support packs will be forwarded to the next open line.  So a 4.0 support pack will be forward fitted to 4.1 so when you upgrade from one SP to another you do not lose your fixes.

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Figure 10, Source: SAP

 

Saroj said when customers were applying LAfixes they were hard to track.  The customer had to keep track of them.  With 4.0, SAP is keeping track of patches and will show up on control panel (see Figure 10).  Saroj said you will be able to sequentially back out of the patches if you need to as long as you do not delete the back up folder.  This is available both on Windows and Unix.  Patches can be downloaded from SMP (service marketplace) (unlike LAfixes).

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Saroj said they will have the 3rd decimal have the support pack and patch. You can then see what component has what version. 

 

More resources:
Product Availability Matrix (PAM):
http://service.sap.com/pam
The “PAM” shows what releasing at what time and what end of life times are, maintenance end dates and upgrade paths. 

The release strategy brochure can be found at http://service.sap.com/releasestrategy to see maintenance guidelines. 

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Figure 11 Maintenance Schedule, SAP

The maintenance strategy can be found at http://service.sap.com/maintenance
The maintenance schedule (Figure 11) is found here http://service.sap.com/sp-stacks and this includes release and Forward Fit data at the bottom of screen.

 

Maintenance schedule is posted one year in advance to allow you to plan for upgrades and see when support packs will be available.  They are also doing smarter installs to see what customer has installed.

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Figure 12 Benefits of Maintenance Model, Source: SAP

 

With the new maintenance model, from Figure 12, patches are better tested.  Forward fits means you are not losing fixes and cleaner install and uninstall.  Future will have smaller installers as customers want smaller patches so they are componentizing their code. 

 

Questions & Answer

Q: Will there be a way to be notified when a new patch, support package, or minor version is available?

A: Not covered in the webinar, but this service is available:

See note 1553034 – What are SAP BusinessObjects Notifications and how do customers sign up?

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Back in April, fellow SAP Mentor Simon To Introducing the new “SAP Business Analytics Product and Support Tips” web page about the new SAP Business Analytics Product and Support Tips page SAP BusinessObjects Implementation Planning&Maintenance Tips.

Q: What does RTC mean?
A: RTC means Release to Customer

Q: When will 4.1 be available?
A: Saroj cannot answer

Q: Are these Patch/Support Stack Guidelines are the same for all SAP Products or they are BOBJ specific ?
A: They are the same for all SAP products; covered in release brochure.

Q: Can you confirm that 4.0 is GA for EDGE?
A: It is not yet (as of the webcast)

Q: Is BI 4.0 SP02 considered as a base version in BI4.0 series?
A: That is correct.  To be more precise SP02 patch 5 is the base series.

Q: Is 4.1 a minor release?
A. Yes, 4.1 is minor and 4.0 is major

Saroj said this is something new they are working on with BusinessObjects and is a work in progress and she welcomes feedback from ramp-up and customer validations.

Thanks to Saroj for a great webcast.

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