BI4 Patching Strategies & Best Patches – ASUG Webcast Part 1
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:
- https://service.sap.com/support > 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.
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”
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:
- Patch Installation: http://service.sap.com/patches
- SAP BusinessObjects BI suite 4.1 Patch Update Guide: http://service.sap.com/~sapidb/011000358700001131172013E/sbo41sp2_patch_update_en.pdf
- Official Product Tutorials – SAP BO BI Suite
- Business Intelligence Platform Administrator Guide: http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sbo41/en/sbo41sp2_bip_admin_en.pdf
- Product Availability Matrix (PAM): http://service.sap.com/pam
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.