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The SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform 4.1 includes significant performance benefits when one reports on SAP BW. These benefits are a great reason to upgrade for those of you using BW. Specifically there are enhancemets:

On report creation or edit with Web Intelligence or Crystal Reports for Enterprise documents which are based on BEx Queries.
  
On report refresh with Web Intelligence or Crystal Reports for Enterprise on BEx queries with variables.
  
On addition of a BEx Query to an Analysis for OLAP workspace
 


Web Intelligence documents based on BEx Queries via BICS


A big advantage here is that when you select a BEx query with mandatory variables which do not have default values, a variable screen (shown below) will display BEFORE the query panel. This will save some time.

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Additionally, you should see a substantial performance gain for the report refresh portion once you’ve entered the variable values via this prompt window. Note that this particular gain is not seen when user-defined prompts are combined in a document with BEx variables.

View time also brings quicker rendering of the prompt window (screenshot below) as well as a quicker refresh once the mandatory prompt is entered for your end users.


54560748-58F3-4932-8FAC-796708DF3468.png


In addition, there is now a new “Design Time” API that has been implemented at design / edit time. This particular feature requires that your SAP BW server is updated to the level indicated at the bottom of this blog. This Design Time mode allows for the fetching of metadata and master data with far less RFC calls. Specifically, the new API is used when you select queries while designing a report.

How does that look in actual practice? Well as an example, when you select your query

QuerySelect.png

You’ll see a lot less of the loading screen Loading.png
before the BEx queries available objects are displayed (shown below). The first query you select on a particular server will take more time than the rest due to the initial handshake / warm-up process. Afterwards, it should be very fast. You’ll still get some of these benefits even if your BW server isn’t of the version listed below.

QP.png

Crystal Reports for Enterprise


Report creation or modification on BEx Queries
  
Similar to the workflow in Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports also shows a variable screen before the query panel when the query contains mandatory variables without default values. Due to this, the variable screen should load more quickly. This allows the query panel itself to load more quickly. Finally the report itself is refreshed more efficiently.

The report consumers will also see benefits at view time. The prompt screen (shown below) will render more quickly. In addition, there are improvements with the generation of lists of values in this variable screen. The gain increases as the list grows larger. Finally, the report should refresh more quickly.

Crystals.png

Analysis OLAP – selection of BEx Queries

The Open Data Source interface has changed slightly. It now opens to the Find tab instead of the Folders tab. This is helpful when there are a large number of queries on the system as you can immediately search without waiting for  the initial folder / query view to load.

AOLAP.png

FAQ:

What are the BW server requirements to take advantage of the Design Time improvements?

As mentioned earlier, you should still see improvements without the following in most areas. However, to get the maximum you must meet the following criteria (subject to change):

The BW backend needs the following service pack levels and SAP notes in order for the design time improvements to be enabled and fully functional:

BW 7.30 SP8 or BW 7.31 SP5+, plus all the SAP notes listed below.

For critical cases, there is also a collection of notes for 7.30 SP7 available (excluding the notes mentioned below, so you need to apply them as well).

Even better, the versions which already contain everything are 7.30 SP10, 7.31 SP08 and 7.40 SP05

Additional SAP Notes:

        • 1771995 – Wrong hierarchy level
        • 1750788 – Meta data extension (contains a collection of extensions and fixes)
        • 1767351 – Missing meta data of characteristics in the fix filter – only relevant for characteristics that do not support drill down (i.e. are only in the fix filter of the query).
        • 1776999 – Sorting type of hierarchies is always “HIERARCHY” although it was changed in the query designer
        • 1777544 – Missing meta data of hierarchy node type attributes
        • 1778347 – Hierarchy node type attributes are not read
        • 1770434 – Correction for selection state of compound characteristics
        • 1762156 – Correction for nodes in selection space
        • 1776688 – Optimization for reading hierarchy nodes, too many hierarchy levels are read
        • 1798297 – Correction for issue found on Samsung queries
        • 1806813 – Correction for missing text for members used as default variable values
        • 1809517 – Correction for invalid variable order when retrieving the list of variables through the design time services
        • 1811124 – This note fixes the sorting of the of drill down characteristics returned by the design-time API so that it matches the runtime sorting
        • 1812142 – This note fixes the sorting of the hierarchies returned by the design-time API so that it matches the runtime sorting
        • 1817482 – This note adds the feature for the Design Time API to choose whether members should be read initially or not. By default, there are not read; this provides a performance enhancement for SL.

I’ve heard good things about the performance gains from our BI 4.1 ramp-up customers and would love to hear stories of any improvements from those of you reading this blog.

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11 Comments

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  1. Ă–mer Akcay

    Hi John, thanks very much for this useful scenario. Please go further with it.

    As I am facing performance issue with CR 4 Enterprise built on BEx Query (SAP BW 7.3 SP7) this could be definitive a go to upgrade to BI 4.1 and BW 7.3 SP8 or higher.

    The values for the prompts is taking too long.

    Thought there were already an improvement in XI 4 SP5 and SAP BW 7.3 regarding BEx variables and prompts.

    Another question is, is it still the case that you are not able to enter manually a value in the prompt in 4.1 with Crystal?

    https://ideas.sap.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?c=A5E8DEA8-D886-4250-BA2B-039F7D32FFC0&idea_id=117443CC-093D-4F8A-A22F-2A9839954932

    Take care

    Ömer

    (0) 
  2. PRASAD JRK

    Hi John,

    Thank you very much for this useful information. I have an issue with the BW version


    As per PAM, SAP BW minimum Version required for BI4.1 is BW 7.31 SP04+.

    Does it means that 4.1 SP1 is supported for BI version BW 7.31 SP04 & above orBW 7.31 SP05 on words?

    (0) 
  3. Kelly Stone

    Hi John,

    You mention the performance improvements.  What version/release are they improved from?  BI 4.0 SPx?

    I would also like to hear of others improvement stories as it pertains to Webi.

    Kind Regards,

    Kelly

    (0) 
    1. John Mrozek Post author

      Hi Kelly,

      Some of the improvements have come in previous versions / patches. So what I can say is that the newer your version, the more gains you’ll see.

      Thanks,

      John

      (0) 
  4. Carter Russell

    John –

    Did you come across any issues with RFC calls to BW via Explorer indexing on JCO Rel. Connections? I am 4.1 SP1P1 and having some issues.

    Thanks!

    (0) 
  5. Moritz Hoedel

    Hi John,

    You mentioned

    “For critical cases, there is also a collection of notes for 7.30 SP7 available…”

    Can you tell me which notes are part of this collection?

    Regards

    Moritz

    (0) 
  6. Jonathan Brown

    Fantastic post John!

    Another benefit of upgrading is the new 64-bit driver that ships with BI 4.1 (Windows) for OLAP Universes (UNV) that connect to BW.  This allows for the Webi processing server to natively load the connection server drivers it needs and greatly improves memory limitations and stability for classic UNVs that connect to BW.

    Here’s a post in case anyone is interested.

    http://scn.sap.com/community/businessobjects-web-intelligence/blog/2013/10/24/finally-a-64-bit-driver-for-unv-to-sap-bw-bapi-connections-on-windows

    Thanks for sharing JM.

    JB

    (0) 

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