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Being in the IT/Software industry for close to 20 years I’ve seen a lot of troubleshooting sessions and late nights spent trying to fix a problem.

With this experience came an understanding that with proper methodology it is possible to troubleshoot and find root cause of any issue.
So what is the right methodology ?

I’ll list what I use and you can comment on what you use. In the end we can create a set of steps that will resolve any problem.
Here is how I start my troubleshooting :

  1. Determine what is the exact workflow that is problematic. – I cannot stress enough how important this is.
    A lot of time can be lost troubleshooting wrong problems….
    You need to be sure you know when exactly, what exactly and how exactly a problem is happening. Do not trust your user words !!!
    Verify by asking to show you !! Users, for the most part, are not technical people, to them “report doesn’t work” is good enough description. You, as administrator, need more !!
    If you do not have access to your user machine, have the user take a screenshot of the error message. Most users know how to take a screenshot these days, and having the exact error message and error code helps to search the “Error Messages Explained” document on help.sap.com. That can help the admin then target the pieces involved.
  2. Once you know what is happening – determine what pieces you’re dealing with – how many servers, what’s installed on each, any proxies/ web servers and firewalls, any other devices are part of the workflow etc.
    As administrator, you should have all the environments properly diagrammed and documented so this part should be easy.
    Work with your IT colleagues who manage network and servers to determine what sort of network latency is between pieces etc.
    Environment diagrams and proper documentation of your deployment is very useful when asking SAP support for help.
  3. Start simplifying the picture !!
    Simplify to the lowest possible level (no web, no ssl, no proxies, no LB’s, no network : single box etc) – is the issue still there ?
    If yes – concentrate on that last remaining piece , rest are not a factor !!
    If no – let’s add next piece and so forth !!!
    (this works with any product or tool, adjust freely – use your imagination)
  4. Once you know How exactly and Where exactly the issue is happening, only then go and look if the issue is known, if there are KB articles, SCN posts, your internal knowledge base history etc. that are related to this problem.
    A lot of times, specially if you’re using an established version of SAP product, the issue will be known and documented.
  5. When all of the above is done – here comes the technical part : traces, debug, head scratching, detailed configuration reviews etc…

 

Now that we have covered the basics, what basic tools does the SAP BI4.0 administrator should utilize in troubleshooting ?

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22 Comments

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  1. James Rapp

    Thanks for sharing your approach to troubleshooting Denis … looking forward to seeing this approach vetted in greater detail and with examples!

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    1. Denis Konovalov Post author

      I will definately look into it. I was also hoping to see real life examples from SCN users on creative troubleshooting.

      Like recently an LCM/Promotion management issue root cause was found by using UMT as part of troubleshooting process.

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      1. Asma REZGUI

        Hello Denis,

        Could you please explain more about this affirmation : “LCM/Promotion management issue root cause was found by using UMT as part of troubleshooting process”?

        Many thanks,

        Asma

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        1. Denis Konovalov Post author

          We were getting un-usual errors when saving and promoting a particular promotion job that had custom access levels. One of the errors was about missing lcm.properties file, but we found it in FRS… Traces were not very helpfull either.

          Then the “be creative” part of the methodology came in 😉 and we decided to try UMT to export to BIAR for same content. We got same error with a bit more detail, that allow us to figure out the FRS location we were looking for was wrong and we were missing not one, but 2 files…. Details in SAP KB 1809688.

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  2. Adil Khan

    Hello Denis,

    I hope you are doing great. Could you please help me here. I have got a project for upgrading from XI3.1 to BI 4.1. I would like to know what will be the initial questions, I need to ask from Customer. Do you have prior questioner or something I should know? Your help will be highly appreciated.

    Regards,

    AK

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  3. Peter Phillips

    Hi Denis, you mentioned in a previous thread that it is technically possible to upgrade from 4.2 to a 4.1 domain. I have a business objects report written on 4.2 that I wish to use on a 4.1 instance. I have used the CMC ‘promotion management’ tool and created an LCMBIAR file. I have imported that file using the Promotion Management tool onto my 4.1 environment. I can see the folder and report. However, when I try to open or edit the report on the 4.1 domain, I get the following error.

    ‘The action cannot be performed. (Error: INF.)’

    We tried cycling servers but no luck.

    Any ideas on how to resolve?

    Thanks Peter

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    1. Denis Konovalov Post author

      It is technically possible to move/migrate content from 4.2 to 4.1, but it is not recommended because in a lot of scenarios that content will not work in 4.2.
      If report was designed in 4.2 – it will not work in 4.1, even though you can move it from 4.2 to 4.1.

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