In today’s ASUG webcast Henry Kam, the SAP Solution Manager for BI Platform and Derek Wang – Product Owner for BI Platform provided information on what is new in the BI platform 4.1 version.
Today the version is BI4.0 SP5. The next milestone is 4.1
Please note the standard legal disclaimer applies; some functionality may not be there from what is described. Please also note these are my notes.
- Brief introduction to the BI Platform
- New capabilities introduced in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1
Brief introduction to the BI Platform
Figure 1: Source: SAP
What mean by BI Platform? In terms of capabilities – provides BI content management – where your documents and BI platform, and granted authorization, handle concurrency, scaling up system, and scale outwards for fault tolerance
It provides platform administration with a web interface in the Central Management Console (CMC)- where administrator administers system and can monitor system behavior
Audit capabilities to see what has happened in system, to see what users have been doing with content – compliance reasons, how much capacity using, what are popular documents, etc.
Platform provides information delivery – users can go and view report, provide ability to mass publish documents to hundreds of thousands of users, complex scheduling based on events
SDK’s which are software development kit – embed BI into business processes you can use RESTFul, .NET and Java SDK’s.
Figure 2: Source: SAP
Self service covers what is available for end users
Launchpad where content is organized by folders, categories and users can create new content and share with other users
BI Workspaces provide the ability to see a composite dashboard as shown in Figure 2.
Use a portal that you want to integrate such as SharePoint you can use the portal integration kit
New capabilities introduced in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1
Figure 3: Source: SAP
Figure 3 shows BI 4.1 enhancements in three types as shown in Figure 3.
Deployment to help you speed up deployment
Administration is for lowering “TCO” total cost of ownership.
Figure 4: Source: SAP
In the past set up server one by one in the CMC says Derek and it takes manual effort.
In 4.1 after install, launch CMC and you will see CMC and it will configure low-level servers accordingly as shown in Figure 4. As an example, you tell the wizard that you want to configure Web Intelligence, and it will set up the server accordingly.
It will consider the amount of resources you have and will create a server container accordingly
Command line tool can be used if you want to automate the process if you want to implement the same configuration for multiple deployments in the OEM space as an example.
Figure 5: Source: SAP
Figure 5 shows you specify where you want file locations to be; time-consuming if you have multiple machines so you only have to do this once.
Derek said nothing is taken away and you can still do it the old way.
Tool can be used when change environment; you may purchase more hardware or use case may change. You can still launch tool to make modification
Figure 6: Source: SAP
Figure 6 shows more deployment enhancements.
System sizing will be enhanced the guide and the estimator. 4.0 has a sizing guide on SCN (sap.com/bisizing)
SAP will continue to enhance for a more accurate calculation
SAP will publish best practice for virtualization
CMS will bundle with Sybase SQL Anywhere as it is small and embeddable; you can still use your own database.
Upgrade Management Tool 4.1 is enhanced with more proactive checking on dependent services
Third party authentication includes Active Directory, LDAP and so on. In 4.0 after migrate you still needed to map the user groups. Users found it too time consuming; in 4.1 will automatically remap user groups
Figure 7: Source: SAP
In BI4 SP4 offered multitenancy enhancements useful for shared services deployment
In 4.1 enhance audit database tenancy will include top level organization that user belongs to is captured in auditing database to help with chargebacks
In 4.1 you can specify the maximum number of tenants for concurrent licensing and in the CMC look at the properties of the tenant.
BI4 only handled .UNV and now BI4.1 it can handle UNX as well
Figure 8: Source: SAP
Single sign on to HANA was in BI4 SP4 via Kerberos
In 4.1 SSO will be more cross platform via SAML
With 4.1 have new API offering with SSO with active directory or trusted authentication with JSON format support.
A new state called “started with errors” – the server may still be running but not everything is running as it should.
It includes better log file, error messages, thread dumps collected
For product versions in the “About” box it may not be clear to you the version. Internal build and will include the major/minor, SP and patch number to help you support the product.
Figure 9: Source: SAP
Figure 9 focuses on end users
BI Launchpad will right to left layout language support for those languages using it
The document upload in BI4 only gives ability to add a document; couldn’t replace them or change them. Replacement would be useful. 4.1 will have the ability to replace document already uploaded –important for Explorer, allowing you to refresh data for the Explorer InfoSpace (MS Excel)
Figure 10: Source: SAP
In 4.1 you can collaborate while viewing BI document as shown in Figure 10 or collaborate on a specific instance.
You can manage user rights on an individual document.
Subset of Question & Answer
Q: How can I learn more about BI Workspaces?
A: Here’s the SAP help for that:‑
Also see tutorials at sap.com/LearnBI
Q: Are licenses needed for about Mass viewing (millions for publications). I meant these type of users
A: No additional licensing to publish to external recipients unless using small end offering – Crystal Server
Q: will the wizard base server configuration, split the APS based on the size of the deployment
A: Yes; shown in the slides
Q: Is Streamwork part of BI 4.1? no separate license required?
A: You still need separate license for StreamWork
Q: When will BI 4.1 be released?
A: planned ramp-up is May and GA after
Q: Slide says Streamworks, will 4.1 support SAP Jam?
A: Planning – long term product direction
Q: Is Java 7 supported in 4.1?
Q: Do you have the ability to do impact analysis between objects, reports, and universes and or IDT?
A: In CMC, there is a tool called relationship query which will help you to relate reports to the universes.
For more detailed impact analysis, you may consider using the product SAP BusinessObjects Information Steward.
Q: to be clearer is it compatible with UDB DB2 v10?
Q: Are there any new plans for backup and recovery?
A:In 4.0 SP4 hot backup enhancement was introduced. It remains the same in 4.1.
Q: If we are on 3.1, can we upgrade to 4.1 ? or we have to first upgrade to 4.0 and then to 4.1
A: Correct, you can upgrade from 3.1 to 4.1 without going through 4.0 first
Q: is there any improvements in the Promotion Management tool, improving from biar file, can we able to select specific objects to be imported
A: In terms of function and feature, the promotion management tool in 4.1 is the same as 4.0 SP4.
Q: How about JRE for WebI Rich Client, minumum version
A: Assume this question is asking about Java applet.
On windows, it minimum version is JRE6. On Mac OS X the minimum version is JRE7.
Q: any plans to add in-browser excel rendering like MS does with SharePoint?
A: There is no explicit plan at the moment
Q: Clarification on the Session mgmt question. In the CMC, in Sessions, you can see a list of all user sessions used, currently you can not terminate individual sessions, the only way to currently clear a session is to restart the SIA.
A: Currently, CMC doesn’t have a feature that let you force-terminate individual user session. However, it can be achieved by utilizing the BI Platform SDK
Q: Do we have prebuilt audit reports
A: You can find some sample pre-built audit reports on SDN. http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/index?rid=/library/uuid/40711187-04e8-2d10-d190-851e20c7665a
Thanks to Derek and Henry for a today’s ASUG webcast.