Migrating to SAP BI 4.1 from BusinessObjects Enterprise 5.1.8 – Lessons learned
Migrating from an older Version to SAP BI 4.1 is always a challenging task. In the last weeks i had a Migration Assessment at customer Side from a very special Kind.
The Customer is using the Product BusinessObjects Enterprise 5.1.8. For those of you who dont know this kind of Product, this was way before the “SAP World” within the BusinessObjects product line. In these days there was even no Server. A real Client/Server Architecture was introduced with “BusinessObjects Enterprise XI” after the merger of Crystal Decisions and BusinessObjects. Some time after the merger we had two different Platforms in our Product Portfolio. “BusinessObjects Enterprise” and “Crystal Enterprise”. With “BusinessObjects Enterprise XI” these two Products became one and “BusinessObjects Enterprise” was decommissioned. As we know the Product today in “SAP Business Intelligence Platform 4.1”, “Crystal Enterprise 10” is still the base of this Product.
With “BusinessObjects Enterprise 5.1.8” we had the following Setup:
- Three Repositories storing the Information
- The “Security” Repository storing all your Users/Groups and Security Settings.
- The “Universe” Repository storing your Universes.
- These Days the Universes where stored centrally in the Database as Files – Not in a File based Repository as we have it Today.
- The “Document” Repository storing your “FullClient” Reports.
- These Days the Reports where stored centrally in the Database as Files – Not in a File based Repository as we have it Today.
- Desktop Intelligence, or in these days “FullClient”, was installed locally on all Users PC`s. Creating. modifying and consuming Reports has been done with the “FullClient” – No Browser…..no fancy viewing capabilities as we have them today in the BI LaunchPad.
- Universe-Design-Tool, or in these days “Designer”, was also installed locally on all Users PC`s who created and maintained Universes.
- Documents could be stored in their Repositories…but….it was more or less “Best Practices” to store them locally. So you had a vast of “Reportjungles” througout the Company on local PC`s.
There is no much difference in point 2. and 3. compared to the last DeskI Release in SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 except that you can review reports in the “fancy” Browser way via InfoView. Even today in SAP Business Intelligence Platform 4.1 you maintain the legacy .UNV Universes locally with the “Universe-Design-Tool” and publish them to the Repository. Same way with the new .UNX Universes in the “Information Design Tool”.
BOE 5.1.8 became GA at 11/28/2003 and went EOL at 09/30/2005. In these days we talked about an OS Level of (in best case) WindowsXP….but the majority was Windows 2000. Thefeore it was even more interesting that both Clients where running on Windows7 64 Bit ❗ at Customer side.
BOE 5.1.8 had also a Server part. But not many customers used it. We had already Web Intelligence (WebI 2.0) and scheduling functionality with the “Broadcast Agent” (BCA). Please note: Both had to be licensed seperatly and espeically the BCA part was everything but cheap. So Customers helped themselve with writing VBA based programs including Scheduling capabilities.
As shown in this picture we can see that there is no direct Migration path possible. Only the Indirect Migration path is available.
There are several Reasons why there is no Direct Migration path available. The most common one is that there are to many Versions in between. In this Scenario we are talking about six ❗ Versions in between.
So what we did was installing a Sandbox with SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP6 Patch 2.
If you have the chance to use your “own” Environment for such a Migration i highly recommend to take the latest Version of SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1. From there we have a direct Migration Option available to SAP BI 4.1.
Honestly, the Migration progress was pretty smooth. I had no issues Migrating the Content (Users, Groups, Universes and Reports) from BOE 5.1.8 to BOE XI 3.1 SP6 Patch 2 using the Import Wizard.
Please note that we didnt changed, edited, modified any kind of Content in the BOE XI 3.1 System. We migrated it to there 1:1 from the BOE 5.1.8 Source System. I encourage you to do the same. Do your modifications on the Destination System only, the SAP BI 4.1 System.
From there we used the “Upgrade Management Tool” (UMT) from the SAP BI 4.1 Environment to migrate the content 1:1 from the BOE XI 3.1 System to the SAP BI 4.1 Destination System.
If you keep the Migration Best Practices in Mind from SAP Note – 1904814 you wont face any major Issues.
We didnt migrated and converted the whole BOE 5.1.8 Environment of the Customer to SAP BI 4.1. It was a Migration Assessment only to show that it is possible. Therefore we only migrated and converted a representantive amount of Content.
Beside the fact that we dont need to convert the legacy .UNV Universes to .UNX we did it to show that it is possible. If you dont need any feature of the new .UNX Universes you can keep your legacy .UNV Universes. They will still be maintained and supported by SAP.
From the Report side we had a conversion success of 50 %. In my eyes this was pretty good because we jumped over six Versions of an evolved Product. On the “Fully converted” Reports we had to do some slight visualization rework meaning we had to adjust some Picures, Table sizes and Date formats. Everything else was fine.
From the “Not converted” Reports we had to rework the “Linked Dimensions”. With “Linked Dimensions” you do the same as with “Merged Dimensions” in WebI. You link two Queries based on two Data Provider over a Dimensions together. I found it strange that the RCT wasn`t able to convert this feature. After breaking these linked Dimenstions we where able to convert the Reports. Afterwards we but back this Feature using “Merged Dimensions” in WebI.
Since SAP BI 4.1 you are able to convert the Reports on the same Environment. Meanting the RCT can connect to your SAP BI 4.1 System as Source and Destination. Prior you where only able to connect to your older Source Environment (f.e. BOE XI 3.1) and to your Destination Envrionment (f.e. BI 4.0).
During the whole Migration i came to the following Lessons learned.
- Disable UAC when using the RCT.
- Disable the UAC from Windows when using the RCT. In my case the RCT didnt start and came up with a JRE Error. Even when using the Function “Run as Administrator” i had no chance.
- “General Supervisor” required in BOE 5.1.8
- When using the Import Wizard to migrate your Content from BOE 5.1.8 a user with the Profile “Supervisor” is not enough. “General Supervisor” is required. Please see SAP Note – 1810054.
- RCT is throwing the Error “Failed: Error on Migration Engine” when trying to convert a Report.
- When the RCT can`t convert a Report for any Reason it sometimes comes up with the above Error. This is reported as a Bug and is currently under Investigation. Please see SAP Note – 1883831.
- RCT Audit Universe not working on shipped Sybase SQL Anywhere 12.0 Database.
- We used the shipped Sybase SQL Anywhere 12.0 Database for CMS and Audit Repository within SAP BI 4.1. We also wanted to use this Database for the RCT Audit Table. You can see in SAP Note – 1846268 How to configure the RCT Audit Universe and i highly encourage you to do so. It gives you great information about the conversion progress and if you have problems the possible Solutions or Workarounds.
- Anyhow we didnt managed to make it run. I read some Forum posts that there are no issues with MS SQL Server or even a MS Access DB. I can`t confirm that this is a bug or more just a configuration Issue. As a quick Workaround you should go for a MS Access DB or MS SQL Server.
- Installation Order for the DCP
- “DCP” stands for “Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack”. The DCP won`t bring you DeskI back but it is a good Feature to maintain and edit your DeskI Reports in SAP BI 4.1 to be able to convert them into WebI. If you want to use the DCP you have to consider a special Installation Order (As back in the SAP Integration Kit days). You can find this Order in SAP Note – 1939383. This is also mentioned in the DCP User Guide.
I wrote this Blog to show you that such a legacy Version isn`t a Showstopper to move on to the latest Version of SAP BI. I`m pretty sure that you won`t face this Kind of Scenario quite often outside in the Field. But if you, i hope this Blog helps you a bit to migrate this legacy Deployment to SAP BI 4.1.
Something i didnt mentioned in this Blog, but you should thing about it, is Education and Training. If you make such a huge Step in your Company all the involved people need adequate Education. There are very less points where you can compare this Version of the product with the Latest. All your involved Users such as End- Users, Developers, Administrators should be attend the required Trainings to have the latest Know- How of the Product and close the (huge) Knowledge gap between BOE 5.1.8 and SAP BI 4.1.
If you need more Information about migrating to the latest Version SAP BI 4.1 this Page is the Best Place to Start with: