Squeezing the BusinessObjects sizing model until it bursts
I’m working on a project that may (or may not) deploy SAP BusinessObjects (or BI 4 something) to a few users. Or maybe a lot of users. Or maybe a whole lot of users. Here’s how the questions start: “How many users do you expect will use this new system that we haven’t designed yet?” “Could be a lot. If it works well, could be a lot more. If it doesn’t work so well, maybe not so many.”
With that mandate, I began looking for reference materials. My friend and colleague Greg Myers suggested these SCN documents to start with:
And SAP Notes:
So that took me to the “SAP Business Objects BI 4 Sizing Estimator version 1.1”, which, alas, is a Flash file (.swf), meaning no iPad modeling. And the URL is something to behold: http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/1055c550-ce45-2f10-22ad-a6050fff97f1?QuickLink=index&overridelayout=true&57659935956208
(Easy for you to say…)
The instructions suggest user count is a critical metric, and in fact, that’s all the inputs that are allowed. When I run models, I like to tune them up my throwing high and low values at them. Otherwise, if I just plug in one number, I can’t be sure how it scales. Let’s start with no users.
Seems reasonable – 8,000 SAPs just to get the propellers running and the ship moving down the runway. Let’s add 100 users, just in web intelligence, to see what one component might require.
Under Information Consumers, I put 20, business users 50, and expert users 30. Oops. Red line. What does that mean? Eventually I clicked on the question mark next to SAPs and tried to read this fine print:
I could not zoom in, could not copy/paste the text, and, as it turns out, this is rather important. It would be nice if this was searchable text. Oh wait: Google.
When the SAP estimate turns red, be sure to consult an SAP sizing expert to adjust the estimate accordingly for your deployment.
Barely 100 concurrent users, and this model is saying: “don’t trust me.” Who do I turn to for sizing? It’s supposed to be me, but without further data I’m in a pickle.
I trolled, I mean trawled, around SCN looking for more information, and found this interesting document:
It’s not quite applicable to my project, but has good clear testing and scaling methodologies written up, and essentially describes what an end state in a couple years might look like if we fail, er, fall, on the side of too many users. With clustering and other redundancy built in, this design would have 10 systems – 2 for Tomcat, 2 for CMS, and 6 for Web Intelligence. I would only need to refine the last tier, and decide whether to start with 2 or 4 systems, since we’d probably want to cluster the first two anyway.
Now I just need to figure out what “SAPS” means.