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SAP analytics customers have benefitted from the fact that our SAP BI applications and our Information Management solutions – SAP Data Services (DS) and SAP Information Steward (IS) – share a common platform, called the Business Intelligence Platform or BIP. Thanks to these shared platform services, administrators have a single environment for creating and maintaining users and doing other maintenance tasks.  Also, data stewards can perform Data Lineage Analysis for BI reports and can have a shared metadata management capability across the data landscape. And having BI and DS/IS installed on shared hardware makes for lower Total Cost of Ownership.

But these features have come at a price; namely, users are constrained from upgrading or patching their BI system when they want.  Because of the dependencies between the BIP layer and the DS/IS applications, it often occurs that development cycles for these products are not completely synchronized. This means that customers cannot always upgrade or patch their BI systems when they want to, because they must wait for the corresponding DS/IS patch or support package to be released.

Of course, customers have long been aware of this limitation and have done a great job of compensating. Those customers (including Edge version customers and our OEM partners) that do install BI and DS/IS on shared hardware have been managing the cross-system dependencies and waiting to upgrade components until compatible versions of all solutions are released by SAP.  They follow SAP Note 1740516 to understand which versions are compatible and plan their upgrades accordingly.

Other customers get around these limitations by installing Data Services and Information Steward separately from their BI system, on the Information Platform Services or IPS server. By doing this, they can manage their BI installation separately, and they do not have to wait for DS/IS patches to be released in order to upgrade the BI system.  This does mean that they lose some benefit of the integrated installation.  In the first place, metadata management and data lineage analysis with Information Steward is not as seamless as in the integrated case.  They must also manage users separately, although this is not so bad; the BI system has a large and diverse user population, while DS and IS have few users by comparison without a lot of overlap.

We understand that the system dependencies, and the need to manage them, cause a headache with customers, but there is good news: to better support our customers, we are making it possible to install DS/IS on a separate server (using the IPS), while still retaining full data lineage analysis and metadata management functionality.  Starting with BI version 4.1 SP1 (now in general release) and Data Services/Information Steward version 4.2 SP1 (expected release date: mid-December 2013, although that is subject to change), integrated functionality will be available to all users of both BI and DS/IS.  The following table shows the supported integration scenarios and timetable:

Scenario DS/DI and BI Integrtion Scenario Date Supported Manage DS/IS users & security from BI 4.1 CMS? Impact Analysius and Data Lineage Services Available?
a

DS/IS 4.2 SP0 on IPS 4.0 SP5 server with BI on BIP 4.1 server    

Now No No
b DS/IS 4.2 SP0 Patch 2 on IPS 4.0 SP5 server with BI on BIP 4.1 SP1 server September 2013 No Yes
c

DS/IS 4.2 SP1 on IPS 4.1 SP1 server with BI on BIP 4.1 SP1 server

Note: Best practice scenario with loose dependency between DS/IS and BIP
versions

December 2013 No Yes
d

DS/IS 4.2 SP1 with BI on the same BIP 4.1 SP1 server

Note: tight dependency on BIP version support for DS/IS

December 2013 Yes Yes

  Note: Scenario b is only available through in DS/IS 4.2 SP0 Patch 2 via DS/IS 4.2 Ramp-up program until DS/IS general availability.

Of course, any future dates that are cited above are planned estimates and are subject to change. But the good news is that you can follow the SAP best practice of installing DS/IS on a separate IPS server  from BI, allowing for simpler system maintenance, but still get fully integrated functionality.  And that is good news indeed!

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4 Comments

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  1. Joshua Fletcher

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for highlighting – it’s great news. Can you elaborate as to whether the loose coupling is still supported if we deploy IS on a separate IPS to DS?

    Josh

    (0) 
  2. Stephen Gallagher

    Hi Paul

    do you happen to know if IS (just the metadata module) can be installed WITHOUT any dependancy on any DS components.

    I know that the install will not allow it, but wondered if there might be a way around it.

    Thanks

    Steve

    (0) 

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