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Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas

BI4 Patching Strategies & Best Patches – ASUG Webcast Part 1

Foroohar Rafiei gave this webcast today.  Based on end user feedback BI platform was a top topic area Announcing ASUG BI 2013 Community Survey Results

This was the agenda:

  • Current BI Maintenance Practices
  • Patching Best Practices
  • Parallelized Patching
  • Outlook on Planned Maintenance Improvements

Foroohar explained that the risks are time consuming.  The risk is your update wipes out a previous fix or overwrites a previous fix

Time could be a factor; people might want to avoid updating if not have to.

You can update system successfully and more successful than before.

With this webcast, Foroohar reviewed the necessary steps to building a patching strategy and also updating your BI 4 system successfully.

And at the end of the webcast Lawell Kiing, SAP explained the outlook on planned Maintenance Improvements


Figure 1: Source: SAP

Naming conventions take a “One SAP” approach

Service pack is now a minor release (e.g. BI4.1)

Fix pack is now SP

LA fix is now Patch


Figure 2: Source: SAP

SAP wants to reduce the number of fixes in patches to ensure better quality

Patches have a short time release; testing time could be short

Support packs have a longer time to test

Patches should be just critical

Figure 2 shows the “One SAP” approach for common naming conventions across products


Figure 3: Source: SAP

Figure 3 shows “lots of notes”.

It is a snapshot of note at the bottom – SAP notes that tells you when open ticket – severity will determine if fix goes in a patch or a SP


Figure 4: Source: SAP

Dates might change; you can plan for calendar week

BI4.1 in middle, patch 1.7 will be March week 10

SP3 will be calendar week 13, end of March


Figure 5: Source: SAP

Figure 5 shows how to access the maintenance schedule.  I don’t have many notes on this part but I forget myself where these things are located.


Figure 6: Source: SAP

Figure 6 shows a change to the maintenance strategy

As an example, at beginning patch 2.21 in BI4 – when fix is found, fix goes in 2.21 and goes in next latest SP

Patch to Patch Forward Fitting means that “all fixes from patches of older SPs are added to the latest patch of the highest already delivered SP”.

From SAP slide:

You can find Release Notes below:

  1.  > Software Downloads > Support Packages and Patches > A-Z Index > B > SBOP BI Platform (former SBOP Enterprise) > SBOP BI Platform (Enterprise) > SBOP BI Platform 4.1 > SBOP BI Platform Servers 4.1 > (Server OS) > Patch or SP > Info

This “requires login credentials to the SAP Service Marketplace”

“Release Notes for Patches and Support Packs contain a cumulative list of all the ADAPT fixed in a given release”.  As an example the Release Notes for Patch 4.9 will contain a list of all the fixes in Patches 4.1-4.9.

Release notes are important “the source of truth” and tells you what has been fixed according to Foroohar


Figure 7: Source: SAP

When you build a strategy make sure you track ADAPT problem reports that track your deployment instead of installing every patch

Foroohar said there is no need to install every patch.  Every 6 months evaluate a maintenance release in a test environment, and make sure you have a test environment

“Make sure all BI Servers and Clients are at the same patch level.”

Best Practice before Patching – Backups:

Windows: Do a full server backup as because “the registry gets altered and the file system is extensively touched”

Unix: There is no registry, the user’s home folder and the product install location are all that are needed.

Common to both unix and Windows : back up FRS, the entire whole data folder, not just input and output; CMS/Audit databases need to be backed up.

More than once Foroohar said to read  “Backing Up and Restoring Your System” in the Business Intelligence Platform Administrator Guide.

Other tips:

When upgrading from SPx to SPx+n, run the UPDATE INSTALLER and not the full installer (seen this issue on SCN).

SPx Full build is for fresh installs, and it should not be used to update an existing installation.

Common question – “You can go from any SP level to any higher SP level without uninstalling or installing the intermediate SPs or patches.” I

Foroohar advises going “over the latest support & feature pack release notes available at SAP Help Portal or SMP”

He said turn off all servers, except the most essential servers such as CMS, File repository servers (FRS) and CMS Database


Figure 8: Source: SAP

You shut down at non-essential processes by running process explorer or task manager

Figure 8 shows command line column section in task manager – look at the command line to make sure which process to “kill”.

If you still see any BI4 platform related process or sub processes besides CMS, Input FRS and Output FRS, terminate them.  This doesn’t include Tomcat and the CMS  database processes with BI Platform.

Downtime can be expensive, and error-prone

Symptoms of failure – when a patch fails, several files are left in the packagestemp folder.  The install log will show “install failure”

What’s New

SAP has listened to customers about distributed system patching.

The deployment order has changed for distributed systems with a concept called Parallel Patching.  This technology is in BI 4.0 SP5 and after and can even be applied to a mix of platforms.


Figure 9: Source: SAP

Figure 9 shows you update the CMS and then update the rest.


Figure 10: Source: SAP

Foroohar said to wait for all machines updating in parallel to finish before proceeding to the next step.

During the process, at least one CMS machine should be running.

He said you should not be running any additional installation, maintenance processes.

Then once all the updates have finished, restart the servers.

Then repeat the process for every product that is installed on the machines in the cluster such as BusinessObjects Explorer and the client tools.

References provided by SAP:

Part 2 will cover planned improvements and question & answer – see BI4 Patching & Best Practices: Improving BI Support Process – Part 2 ASUG Webcast Q&A


Join ASUG June 2nd for ASUG Annual Conference BI4.1 pre-conference session: Jump Start ASUG Annual Conference SAPPHIRE with a Pre-Conference Session – Back and Better than Ever

BI 2014 has sessions too covering this topic.

Upcoming ASUG BI Webinars – February 26, 2014

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